Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated US President Joe Biden ‘Drishta Sahasrachandro’ (one who has seen one thousand full moons when he completes the age of eighty years and eight months) by gifting him a special sandalwood box symbolising special rituals.

Biden celebrated his 80th birthday on November 20, 2022 and now he is 80 years and 8 months month. According to Ancient Indian text Krishna Yajurveda’s Vaikhanas Grihya Sutram,‘Sahasra Poorna Chandrodayam’ is considered to be an important milestone in the Hindu way of life.

The gap between two full moons is about 29.53 days, so the time span covered by a thousand full moons would be approximately 29,530 days or 80 years and 8 months. At this stage of life, the individual (who has seen one thousand full moons) is honoured and celebrated for the sheer experience of human life.

Vedic rituals

An elaborate set of Vedic rituals are performed such as Vinayak Pooja — prayers to Lord Ganesha, culminating in Poornaahuti (oblation to the scared fire) Satabhishekam and finally Sahasra Chandra Darshanam or gazing at the 1,000th full Moon.

During Sahasra Poorna Chandrodayam celebrations, there is a custom of Das Danam or donations of ten different kinds, which include — Gaudaan (cow), Bhudaan (land), Tildaan (sesame seeds), Hiranyadaan (gold), Ajyadaan (ghee or clarified butter), Dhaanyadaan (food grains), Vastradaan (clothes), Guddaan(jaggery), Raupyadaan (silver) and Lavandaan (salt).

To mark this occasion, a special gift which symbolises rituals presented as a special gesture by the Prime Minister to President Biden. A special sandalwood box has been handcrafted by a master craftsman from Jaipur, Rajasthan. The sandalwood sourced from Mysore, Karnataka has intricately carved flora and fauna patterns.

The box contains the idol of Ganesha, Hindu deity considered as the destroyer of obstacles and the one who is worshipped first among all gods. This silver idol of Ganesha has been handcrafted by a family of fifth generation silversmiths of Kolkata.

There is a diya (oil lamp) in the box which occupies a sacred space in every Hindu household where daily prayers are offered by lighting cotton wick dipped in oil. This silver diya has also been handcrafted by artisans from the family of fifth generation silversmiths in Kolkata. The copper plate, also called tampra-patra has been sourced from Uttar Pradesh.

The handcrafted delicate silver boxes contain symbolic — Das Danam or the ten donations, which signifies the donations made on this occasion and collected from various parts of the country:

  • A delicately handcrafted silver coconut by the skilled artisans of West Bengal is offered in place of a cow for Gaudaan (donation of cow).
  • A fragrant piece of sandalwood sourced from Mysore, Karnataka is offered in place of land for Bhudaan (donation of land)
  • Til or white sesame seeds sourced from Tamil Nadu, offered for Tildaan (donation of sesame seeds).
  • Handcrafted in Rajasthan, 24K pure and hallmarked gold coin is offered as Hiranyadaan (donation of gold).
  • Ghee or clarified butter sourced from Punjab is offered for Ajyadaan (donation of clarified butter).
  • A handwoven textured tussar silk cloth sourced from Jharkhand is offered for Vastradaan (donation of cloth).
  • Long grained rice sourced from Uttarakhand are offered for Dhaanyadaan (donation of food grains).
  • Gud or Jaggery sourced from Maharashtra is offered for Guddaan (donation of jaggery).
  • 99.5 per cent pure and hallmarked silver coin has been aesthetically crafted by Rajasthan artisans and is offered as Raupyadaan (donation of silver).
  • Lavan or salt from Gujarat is offered for Lavandaan (donation of salt).