Site hosted by Build your free website today!
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
View Profile
« November 2008 »
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Hindu God
The Untold Story
You are not logged in. Log in
Wednesday, 5 October 2005
The Story/ Legends of Durga Puja

The Story/ Legends of Durga Puja

Lord Rama, invoked the blessings of Durga to kill Ravana.
Creation Of Goddess Durga
Goddess Durga represents a united front of all Divine forces against the negative forces of evil and wickedness. The gods in heaven decided to create an all-powerful being to kill the demon king Mahishasur who was ready to attack them. At that very moment a stream of lightning dazzled forth from the mouths of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and it turned into a beautiful, magnificent woman with ten hands. Then all the gods furnished her with their special weapons. The image of Durga, the Eternal Mother destroying the demon, Mahishasur is symbolic of the final confrontation of the spiritual urge of man with his baser passions.

As per our great epic Mahabharat, Pandavas after wandering in the forest for 12 years, hung their weapons on a Shami tree before entering the court of king Virat to spend the last one year in disguise. After the completion of that year on Vijayadashmi the day of Dassera they brought down the weapons from the Shami tree and declared their true identity. Since that day the exchange of Shami leaves on Dassera day became symbols of good, will and victory.

Lord Rama
This festival has immense mythological significance. As per Ramayan, Ram did "chandi-puja and invoked the blessings of Durga to kill Ravana, the ten-headed king of Lanka who had abducted Seeta and had charmed life. Durga divulged the secret to Ram how he could kill Ravana. Then after vanquishing him, Ram with Seeta and Laxman returned victorious to his kingdom of Ayodhya on Diwali day.

Kautsa, the young son of Devdatt, insisted on his guru Varatantu to accept "gurudakshina", after finishing his education. After lots of persistence his Guru, finally asked for 14 crore gold coins, one crore for each of the 14 sciences he taught Kautsa. Kautsa went to king Raghuraj, who was known for his genorisity and was an ancestor of Rama. But just at that time he had emptied all his coffers on the Brahmins, after performing the Vishvajit sacrifice. So, the king went to Lord Indra and asked for the gold coins. Indra summoned Kuber, the god of wealth. Indra told Kuber, "Make a rain of gold coins fall on the "shanu" and "apati" trees round Raghuraja's city of Ayodhya." The rain of coins began to fall. The king Raghu gave all the coins to Kautsa, who gave 14 crores gold coins to his guru. The remaining coins were lavishly distributed to the people of Ayodhya city. This happened on the day of Dussehra. In remembrance of this event the custom is kept of looting the leaves of the "apati" trees and people present each other these leaves as "sone" (gold).

Mythology of Durga Puja

known as the divine spouse of Lord Shiva
According to Hindu mythology a demon named Mahishasura, earned the favor of Lord Shiva after a long and hard penance. Lord Shiva, impressed with his devotion, blessed him that no man or deity would be able to kill him and that only a woman can kill him. Mahishasur was very pleased with this boon as he thought that a woman can never defeat him. Arrogant Mahishasura started his reign of terror over the Universe and people were killed mercilessly. He even attacked the abode of the gods and conquered the heavens and became their leader.

The Defeat Of Gods
After their defeat and humiliation at the hands of Mahishasur, the gods took refuge under Lord Brahma, who took them to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The only solution left was the creation of a woman who possess the ultimate power to fight and defeat Mahishasur. Pure energy blazed forth from Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva - the trinity forming the pure energy of Godhood, all concentrating at one point that took the form of Goddess Durga.

Culmination Of Energies
Her face reflected the light of Shiva, her ten arms were from Lord Vishnu, her feet were from Lord Brahma, the tresses were formed from the light of Yama, the god of death and the two breasts were formed from the light of Somanath, the Moon God, the waist from the light of Indra, the king of gods, the legs and thighs from the light of Varun, the god of oceans and hips from the light of Bhoodev (Earth), the toes from the light of Surya (Sun God), fingers of the hand from the light of the Vasus, the children of Goddess river Ganga and nose from the light of Kuber, the keeper of wealth for the Gods. The teeth were formed from the light of Prajapati, the lord of creatures, the Triad of her eyes was born from the light of Agni, the Fire God, the eyebrows from the two Sandhyas,ie, sunrise and sunset, the ears from the light of Vayu, the god of Wind. Thus from the energy of these gods, as well as from many other gods, was formed the goddess Durga.

Power Of Weapons
The gods then gifted the goddess with their weapons and other divine objects to help her in her battle with the demon, Mahishasura. Lord Shiva gave her a trident while Lord Vishnu gave her a disc. Varuna, gave her a conch and noose, and Agni gave her a spear. From Vayu, she received arrows. Indra, gave her a thunderbolt, and the gift of his white-skinned elephant Airavata was a bell. From Yama, she received a sword and shield and from Vishwakarma (god of Architecture), an axe and armor. The god of mountains, Himavat gifted her with jewels and a lion to ride on. Durga was also given many other precious and magical gifts, new clothing, and a garland of immortal lotuses for her head and breasts.

The beautiful Durga, bedecked in jewels and golden armor and equipped with the fearsome weaponry of the gods, was ready to engage in battle with the fierce and cruel Mahishasura. Mahishasura and his demon allies found their attention drawn from heaven to Earth, as Durga's power moved its way towards heaven. Though confident of their power and control in heaven, the demons could not help being awestruck.

The Battlefield
As Mahishasura's armies were struck down effortlessly by Durga, it became obvious to him that he was not as secure in heaven as he had thought. No demon could fight her and win. Her breath would replenish her armies - bringing back to life all of her soldiers who fell. The demons were in chaos and were easily defeated and captured. Mahishasura was shocked and enraged by the disastrous events on the battlefield. He took on the form of a demonic buffalo, and charged at the divine soldiers of Durga, goring and killing many and lashing out with his whip-like tail. Durga's lion pounced on the demon-buffalo and engaged him in a battle. While he was thus engaged, Durga threw her noose around his neck.

Mahishasura then assumed the form of a lion and when Durga beheaded the lion, Mahishasura escaped in the form of a man who was immediately face to face with a volley of arrows from Durga. The demon escaped yet again and then having assumed the form of a huge elephant, battered Durga's lion with a tusk. With her sword Durga hacked the tusk into pieces.

The Victory
The demon reverted once more to the form of the wild buffalo. He hid himself in the mountains from where he hurled boulders at Durga with his horns. Durga drank the divine nectar, the gift of Kuber. She then pounced on Mahishasura, pushing him to the ground with her left leg. She grasped his head in one hand, pierced him with her sharp trident held in another, and with yet another of her ten hands she wielded her bright sword, beheading him. At last he fell dead, and the scattered surviving remnants of his once invincible army fled in terror.

The Rituals of Durga Puja

Unveiling the face of the goddess Durga's idol.
The festival of Durga Puja starts with Mahalaya, the first phase of the waxing moon in Aswin. Thousands offer prayers to their ancestors at the city's river banks, a ritual called Tarpan. The inauguration of the Goddess idol starts on Mahashasthi. The main puja is for three days - Mahasaptami, Mahaastami, Mahanavami. The puja rituals are long and very detailed and complicated. Three days of Mantras and Shlokas and Arati and offerings - needs an expert priest to do this kind of Puja. Because of these facts, the number of Pujas held in the family has reduced and Durga Puja has mostly emerged as a community festival.

On this day Goddess Durga arrives to the mortal world from her heavenly abode, accompanied by her children. She is welcomed with much fanfare amidst the beats of dhak. Unveiling the face of the idol is the main ritual on this day. Kalaparambho, the ritual performed before the commencement of the puja precedes Bodhon, Amontron and Adibas.

Saptami is the first day of Durga puja. Kola Bow or Nabapatrika is given a pre-dawn bath. This is an ancient ritual of worshiping nine types of plants. They are together worshiped as a symbol of the goddess. The main Saptami Puja follows Kalparambho and Mahasnan.

The day began with a recital of Sanskrit hymns in community puja pandals as thousands of devotees offered anjali to the goddess. Kumari Puja or the worship of little girls as the mother goddess was a special part of the rituals observed in a number of traditional and household pujas. As the day wore on, it was time for the important Sandhi Puja, which marks the inter-linking of the Maha Ashtami and Maha Navami.

This is the concluding day of Durga Puja. The main Navami puja begins after the end of Sandhi Puja. The Navami Bhog is offered to the goddess. This is later partaken as prasad by the devotees.

After the three days of Puja, in Dashami , in the last day, a tearful farewell is offered to the Goddess. Most of the community pujas postpone the farewell as long as possible and arrange a grand send-off. The images are carried in processions around the locality and finally is immersed in a nearby river or lake. Vijaya Dashami is an event celebrated all over the country.

Tradition of Durga Puja

The idol being immersed on the tenth day of Durga Puja.
Today's most authentic form of the Durga is that of a ten handed goddess modeled out of clay astride a lion. Each of those hands carry a separate weapon in them except two, which holds the spear which has been struck into the chest of the demon, Mahishasura. The four children of the Goddess had also been added to the iconography - Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, Kartik, the God of beauty as well as warfare and Ganesha, the 'Siddhidata' or the starter of everything in good sense.

The drum-beats are an integral part of the Durga Puja. This special variety of the drum, known as 'Dhak,' enthralls the hearts of the Calcutta with its majestic rhythm right from the day of 'Sasthi.' This drum is held on the shoulder with the beating side in the bottom and is beaten with two sticks, one thick and another thin.

The Durga Puja spans over a period of ten days in case of traditional and household Pujas, though the main part of it is restricted to four days only. The main Puja, however, starts on the evening of 'Sasthi', the sixth day after the new moon, generally from beneath a 'Bel' tree for the traditional ones. In the wee hours of 'Saptami,' the next day, the 'Pran' or life of the Devi is brought from a nearby pond or river in a banana tree and established inside the image. The main puja starts thereafter and the prime time is reached in the 'Sandhikshan,' the crossover time between Ashtami and Navami. Finally, on 'Dashami,' the tenth day from the new moon, the image is immersed in a pond or river.

Durga Puja Celebrations

People gathering in beautifully decorated pandal for puja.
The celebration of Durga Puja goes very far back in history and there are abundant references to it in India literature from 12th century onwards. However, today Durga Puja is generally a community festival. The Puja celebration over the years has changed color often. Earlier, it was the most expensive of all festivals and could only be performed by the rich and the powerful like feudal lords, rajas and big businessmen. However, it always evoked great enthusiasm and popular support.

But in today's ethos, The evolution of many clubs, associations and societies has made the Puja cosmopolitan in character. The social and ritualistic significance of the Puja has also been modified to a great degree. Today, this festival has become an occasion for pageantry and extravaganza. Age-old conch shells and drums have given way to loud film songs and sometimes the goddess is modeled on popular film actresses. On the flip side, animal sacrifices, a must earlier, have been dispensed with at many places and shrines.

While earlier Durga was worshiped alone, now it is, more often than not, the goddess with her family. Durga is portrayed as the supreme head; and the presence of Ganesha, Kartikeya, Shiva etc marks a wholesome picture of divinity. In southern India celebrations constitute a display of images of God and toys at home for nine days. But despite the various ways in which this festival is celebrated the feature that is common is that of the worship of the mother goddess.

Significance of Durga Puja

The making of goddess idol is a very detailed work of art.
During Durga Puja, God in the form of the Divine Mother is worshiped in Her various forms as Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Though the Goddess is one, She is represented and worshiped in three different aspects. On the first three nights of the festival, Durga is worshiped. On the following three, Lakshmi and then Saraswati Devi on the last three nights. The following tenth day is called Vijayadasami. Vijaya means "victory", the victory over one's own minds that can come only when these three: Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati are worshiped.

Meaning Of Durga
Durga is perhaps the most widely worshiped deity of Shakti. Maa Durga's divine characterization include entire Devibhagavatham is dedicated to her. Durga means one who is difficult to approach. However since she is the mother of universe she is the personification of tender love, wealth, power, beauty and all virtues.

Implications Of The Idol
The complete image of Goddess Durga represent destruction of evil and protection of good and reflects the point that in order to become divine one should keep one's animal instincts under control. Thus, by worshiping Durga the idea of ruthless destruction is invoked to annihilate all the desires and unfold divinity.

Its Connotation
ln Bengal, Goddess Durga is worshiped for nine days. In South India, an altar decorated with a stepped platform and filled with small images of gods, animals,birds,and other beings, animate and inanimate, is worshiped for nine days. This altar is known as the Kolu. People re-dedicate themselves to their profession. On this day, a child also begins to learn the alphabet in a ceremony known as aksarabhyasa. This day marks the beginning of any type of learning. One offers gifts to one's teachers, seeks their blessings,and prays for success in one's new endeavors.


Posted by nb/lalim at 4:45 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Durga Puja

Joy Ma Durga

When the scents of shiuli fill the air and kaash sway with mirth, its time to celebrate Durga Puja. Pujor Gandho can be felt in Durga Puja when sky is blue in color and happiness fills the heart of devotees of Ma. New clothes, decors, pujobarshiki and pujor gaan adds to the fun of the festival.

For Bengalis, Durga Puja is the biggest and the most important festival of all. In fact Bengalis become a cheerful lot with the onset of Sharat, a month in the Bengali calendar in which Durga Puja is celebrated. This is the month Ashwin according to Hindu calendar.

Dhaak beats and so does our hearts. Younger ones of the family are exalted and why shouldn't they be? They get days off from school to celebrate the Puja and then even the elders do not pester them to study at home. Sisters, kakimas, boudi didis all get busy selecting saris and jewellery for the festive occasion. Even the dadas, kakas and mamas aren't far behind when it comes to dressing up for the grand Puja festival. For, Durga Puja is the time to look good and feel great.

People wait for Durga Puja to gorge a variety of traditional delicacies. Hop into pandals and receive the glance of the pujo sundaris of para pandals. Its also the time to stretch adda sessions way beyond midnight and wake up late with the sounds of dhaak.

So what are you waiting for this year? If you are desperately missing the fun of Pujo in your para or city or in good old Kol all you need to do is to immerse yourself in the spirit of Durga Pujo - the festival of happiness, togetherness and a lot lot more.

Debipokher agomoney Maa er abhirbhav mrinmoyi rupey.
Meaning: With the beginning of Debipokhkho Maa Durga appears on the earth in Her earthly form!


"The Ten Wisdom Goddesses: Mahavidyas and the Assertion of Femininity in Indian Thought"
There exists in India a group of strange Goddesses, ten in number. One of them is shown holding her own freshly severed head, which feeds on the blood flowing from her headless torso; another holds a pair of scissors while sitting triumphant atop a corpse; a third is depicted as an old and ugly widow riding a chariot decorated with the crow as an emblem. The series continues - an unusual assemblage to say the least.

The story behind their birth is equally interesting and paradoxically of a romantic origin. Once during their numerous love games, things got out of hand between Shiva and Parvati. What had started in jest turned into a serious matter with an incensed Shiva threatening to walk out on Parvati. No amount of coaxing or cajoling by Parvati could reverse matters. Left with no choice, Parvati multiplied herself into ten different forms for each of the ten directions. Thus however hard Shiva might try to escape from his beloved Parvati, he would find her standing as a guardian, guarding all escape routes.

Each of the Devi's manifested forms made Shiva realize essential truths, made him aware of the eternal nature of their mutual love and most significantly established for always in the cannons of Indian thought the Goddess's superiority over her male counterpart. Not that Shiva in any way felt belittled by this awareness, only spiritually awakened. This is true as much for this Great Lord as for us ordinary mortals. Befittingly thus they are referred to as the Great Goddess's of Wisdom, known in Sanskrit as the Mahavidyas (Maha - great; vidya - knowledge). Indeed in the process of spiritual learning the Goddess is the muse who guides and inspires us. She is the high priestess who unfolds the inner truths

The spectrum of these ten goddesses covers the whole range of feminine divinity, encompassing horrific goddess's at one end, to the ravishingly beautiful at the other. These Goddesses are:
1) Kali: the Eternal Night
2) Tara the Compassionate Goddess
3) Shodashi the Goddess who is Sixteen Years Old
4) Bhuvaneshvari the Creator of the World
5) Chinnamasta the Goddess who cuts off her Own Head
6) Bhairavi the Goddess of Decay
7) Dhumawati the Goddess who widows Herself
8) Bagalamukhi the Goddess who seizes the Tongue
9) Matangi the Goddess who Loves Pollution
10) Kamala the Last but Not the Least

Durga - The Slayer Of Mahishasura
Once upon a time there lived a demon (Asura) named Mahisha. He found great happiness in hurting people. Once, he decided to pray to lord Brahma, who he thought would give him a boon, which would make him invincible.

Mahisha performed severe penances praying and fasting for months as he stood on one foot. The three worlds trembled under the strength of his penances and a pleased lord Brahma came to give him a boon. Mahisha asked for immortality, which the lord said he could not have as every creature that was born had to die. Mahisha decided that he would ask for a boon that would make him as good as immortal. He asked that no man should be able to kill and, if he had to die it should be only at the hands of only a woman. He was sure that no woman could ever fight against him however strong she may be.

Now that Mahisha was invincible, he and the other asuras went about hurting and killing everyone on earth and then went on to the heavens to fight the Gods. Even Indra's thunderbolt could not withstand the asura attack. Mahisha drove out the Gods and took over Indra's throne. Mahishasura started harassing all pious people who continued praying to Vishnu or Shiva. The Gods and people were depressed and decided to ask lord Shiva for help. Lord Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma concentrated hard and used their radiant energies, which were joined by the energies from Indra, and the other Gods. This godly energy took the form of a divine lady with thousand arms. In each arm she carried a weapon belonging to all Gods. This was Durga Devi.

She mounted a fiery lion and roared. It was a roar that shook mountains and created huge waves in the seas. Even Mahisha was worried for a second, but his vanity took over when he saw that the terrible form was that of a woman. Durga created a large army from her breath to fight Mahisha's army and then fought with Mahisha who came in the form of a Buffalo. As he struggled to set himself from the Buffalo form she killed him with her sword delivering the earth and heavens of the Burden called Mahishasura.

Mrityostulyam Trilokeem Graisitumatirasat Nihsrita Kim Nu Jihva Kim Va
Krinshanngri Padm Srinibhiranunita Krishnapadyah Padavya Prapta Sandhya
Smaraih Swayam iti Nuti Bhi Trisra Ityuhyamanaih Devaih
Devyastrulkshtamahis Juso Rakta Dharah Jayanti
[van durgopanisat]

With their hands folded and shoulders drooping as a gesture of absolute submission, Gods gathered around the magnanimous Mother of the Universe after she had relinquished the mighty demon Mahishasura.

Gods were absolutely taken aback as they saw streams of blood gushing out of the levianthon Mahishasura. They could not decide whether it was the all devastating red tongue of Mrityu or death darting out to consume all three lokas or is this the mighty current of Ganges that has turned red by coming in contact with lacre smeared on Lord Krishna's feet. Or is it the sandhya (evening) time and Lord Shiva has himself resumed his routine tandava dance? Glory unto the blood stream gushing out Mahishasura body as he is stabbed by Mother Mahishamardini's trident.

Mahisa took over the stage of world affairs and righteousness, piety and all other human values were on the verge of extinction. All votaries of virtue and righteousness were disintegrated and there was no hope of revival. Mahisa was by nature a furious expression of brutal might, ruthless subjugation and unruly cosmic derangement that conflicting all civic and cultural values. His devastating wrath was incredible. He could empty oceans by hitting them with his tail. Earth would get smashed to bits as he stamped it with his mighty hoofs. His enormous horns would disperse flakes of clouds in the heavens. And merely the force of his hissing would hurl huge mountains into the sky.... He was a living bomb that had explosive power of billions and trillions of kilo tons.

Who could kill him?
Might of all seers and Gods were trifling before Mahishasura. They cried in despair as they were grieving. Ultimately, it was the power of these Gods and Seers that were accumulated and manifestated in the form of a Goddess. Her stature was as magnanimous as the universe. She was pervading the entire universe with her profile. The Goddess carried all weapons belonging to all Gods and demigods. When she twanged her bow the sound filled all quarters and Mahisa was bewildered. "What is this?", he shouted as he dashed towards Jagadambika, the Mother of the Universe to assault her. And the stupendous battle between righteousness and evil started.

It took Her only a while to annihilate all vicious demons who were subservient to Mahisa, the embodiment of evil. Finally She was all set to terminate the buffalo demon. He began to attack from various direction, in innumerable forms. He became a lion, an elephant and then disappeared.

Goddess Durga jumped on him. Her vehicle, the lion, grappled with the mighty demon. She stamped him under her feet and poked her trident straight into his neck ..thus the dread full demon was finished.

Gods rejoiced and as they gathered to felicitate the Divine Mother. They were confused about what they saw in front of them..a massive current of stream of blood flowing from Mahisa's body. They wondered was it death's darting tongue? or Ganga has turned red. Or is it Shiva himself with his dance of devastation during the dusk??


The word Navaratri means 'nine nights.' During Navaratri, we worship the goddesses Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati, in that order for three days each. The most important day is the 10th day, Vijayadashami. The word Vijayadashami means '10th day of victory.' I will tell you the significance of this festival.

We worship goddess Durga because she is shakti - strength. This is meant to help us think about our positive inner selves. We worship goddess Lakshmi because she gives wealth and prosperity. She basically symbolizes positive qualities that are useful for overcoming your negative qualities.

The reason we worship Saraswati is because she is the embodiment of knowledge. For this worship we put our books, musical instruments and anything that gives us knowledge on the platform before god to show our respect for these tools of knowledge.

The main significance of this kind of worship is that you should not let your bad side, or negative side, win. Have self-control using shakti. Then increase you positives by worshipping Lakshmi. Once your positive side wins you can take in knowledge with Saraswathi. Finally, you will become one with god. These are the different stages to attaining Moksha. This festival reminds us of this process.

The ninth day of Navaratri is the Ayudha Puja. This is the day we worship our tools and instruments, and other objects used in daily life because they help us achieve our goals.

On the 10th day, Vijayadashami, we celebrate vijay - victory. Durga killed the evil asura Mahisura which is a destruction of our negative selves. This the day for the learner. You must always think like a beginner, like you still have to learn much more, and only then will you have a mind open to new ideas. This day is good to begin endeavors. Little kids also try to start their education by writing a letter of the alphabet in grains of rice.

On Vijayadashami, I show gratitude to all my teachers by visiting them and learning something new. My music teacher always sets up something that looks like a set of stairs. She covers it in cloth and puts her dolls, statues and lights it up. This setup is called kolu. Women exchange gifts of sweets, coconuts, and clothing to show the spirit of sharing and goodwill. Other things people will do are fruit and milk fasts, mantra chanting (also known as japa) dedicated to Devi in her different forms.

Vijaydashami is also called Dussehra to celebrate Rama's victory over Ravana - a triumph of good over evil. Large statues of Ravana and other demons are burned at night and there are fireworks.

A Durga Meditation by the Ganna Chakra
Wherever you are, imagine the form of Durga coalescing out of your surroundings - out of the sky, earth, furnishings, drawing crackling strands of electricity out of nearby power sockets, a corona of energy about her. Visualise the form of Durga forming above you. Feel her feet upon your head, sending shockwaves of power through your body, and imagine yourself to be seated on the back of her tiger. Feel the power of Durga coursing through you and meditate upon her qualities.

The weapons which Durga bears (given to her by the gods) can be taken, in this meditation, as 'attachments' - things which you think you need; tools which you perhaps rely too much on. As Durga defeated Mahisa by herself, so too, your power and poise resides in you, rather than your tools and attachments.

Posted by nb/lalim at 3:56 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
The DURGA story ......................
Mood:  vegas lucky
Topic: Hindu God

Durga's story

Once upon a time, there lived a Prince in Ayodhya, Rama, who was banished to the forest by his father. He roamed the forest with his wife Sita and his brother.

Once upon a time, there lived in Lanka a king called Ravana.

Ravana abducts Sita and Rama is furious, but helpless. A war begins, but to no avail. Ravana is a devout follower of Shiva and nothing can vanquish him. So Rama does what any astute army general of olden days has done since time immemorial. He approaches Shiva's wife, the Goddess Durga, requesting her blessing and a good word to Shiva on Rama's behalf. The request takes the shape of a puja - Durga Puja, out of season. The fact is Durga Puja, also known as Basanti Puja, is held in spring. But Rama cannot wait, so he makes preparation for Durga's puja in the middle of autumn. This is the puja that has come down through the ages and is referred to as Akal Bodhan.

Anyway, to get back to the story, Goddess Durga, herself a power to reckon with, can hardly be appeased without much ado. Rama gets 108 blue lotuses to conduct the ceremony. Just as he is about to begin, he discovers one blue lotus is missing. He sets out to get the last flower, but strange are the ways of the gods. He searches heaven and earth, but there is not another blue lotus to be found. Frustrated, he returns, and starts to offer one of his eyes which have often been compared to a blue lotus. Needless to say, the missing flower was hardly missing. Goddess Durga had removed it to test Rama. Now that she has had proof of his devotion she returns the flower. Rama completes the ceremony and eventually succeeds in defeating Ravana.

Then there is, of course, the story behind the actual Durga Puja. The demon Mahishasur, another devotee of Shiva, is creating havoc, but he is blessed by the Supreme Lord and cannot be defeated by any man. So the gods, strategic geniuses as they were, form a conglomerate. Goddess Durga emerges armed with all the arsenal the gods can provide. Naturally, this is a bit too much for Mahishasur. He succumbs. Durga is triumphant.

This story merges with the story of Durga Puja popular among Bengalis, namely, the daughter Durga's return to her father's house. Mother Menoka eagerly awaits her daughter's visit. All this finds expression in the Aagamani songs of Bengal sung during this festive season.

So much for myths and legends.
Durga in Bengal
Durga, the emblem of female power or Shakti, appears to us since Vedic times. We find a female goddess astride a lion on seals from Mohenjodaro and Harappa. Today, Durga Puja has reached a zenith of popularity in Bengal, although it is celebrated with a great deal of fanfare in states like Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar. Yet, the history of the Durga Puja is shrouded in obscurity. There is controversy about the advent of this puja in Bengal.

According to one school of thought, Raja Kangshanarayan Roy of Tahirpur started the worship of this deity towards the end of the sixteenth century. According to another, the first Durga Puja took place in 1606 and the gentleman responsible was Bhabananda Majumdar of Nadia.

Calcutta's oldest
It is held that the oldest puja in Calcutta took place in Baghbazar. It was started by Prankrishna Haldar almost 400 years ago. The image was carved in black stone known as kastipathar in Bengali. In this puja Durga is accompanied not by her children but by her two companions Jaya and Bijoya. Historical records show the first Durga Puja took place near Barisha in 1610 conducted by Lakhsmikanta Roy Majumdar of the family of Sabarna Roy Choudhuri. The Sabarna Roy Choudhuri family was the owner of three villages Sutanuti, Govindapur and Kolikata. Subsequently, these three villages merged to form the city of Calcutta. So, the 1610 Puja of Sabarna Roy Choudhuri is considered to be among the oldest Pujas of Calcutta.

As years went by prominent families of Calcutta began their own Durga Puja celebrations. For instance, the Bhattacharyas of Baisnavghata, the Ghosh family of Pathuriaghata and yet another family of Ghoshes of Thanthaniya have been celebrating Durga Puja for over 300 years. In 1757 Raja Nabakrishna Deb started the Pujas as a victory celebration. He had helped Robert Clive in the battle of Plassey. This puja is held even today and is the famous Sovabazar Rajbarir Pujo. Soon the Mitras of Darjeepara and the Duttas of Hatkhola and others nicknamed, ChatuBabu-LatuBabu, joined the bandwagon. In short, Durga Puja flourished among the aristocratic families of north and south Calcutta.

This trend continued till the end of the 19 th century. Durga Puja was essentially a family affair. Each family organising, conducting and financing the puja in which everybody from the locality and outside participated. The only exception was the puja of Gourimata Udyan. It was started by Gourimata, a disciple of Ramakrishna and a devoted companion of Sarada Devi. Gourimata established the Saradeswari Ashram in Baghbazar in 1895 and started the Durga Puja. This puja is performed even today. It does not have an idol, instead a Pata painting serves as the deity.

The Sovabazar Rajbarir pujo started in 1757 to celebrate Rober Clive's victory in the Battle of Plasey. This puja is held even today

Barawari Pujo
The turn of the century saw a break from the tradition of family puja or Barir Pujo. Bengal was now in the grip of a movement known as the Bengal Renaissance. The rigidity of orthodox religious and familial norms was weakening. Aristocracy was gradually ceasing to be a holy word. Soon the most popular Bengali festival succeeded in breaking the fetters of the elite and became a festival organised, conducted and financed by all and sundry. In short Barir Pujo gave way to Barawari Pujo. Although a Barawari puja was held for the first time 120 years ago, this was not a Durga puja, but Jagaddhatri Puja. (As the story goes, a barir pujo in Guptipara, Hooghly, could not continue due to a shortage of funds; that was when 12 friends got together, pooled their resources and thus began the first Baro Yaari pujo, or the pujo of twelve yaars or friends.) The earliest Barawari Durga Pujas to be held in Calcutta were in Bhowanipore in the south, Simla Byam Samiti and Baghbazar in the north. All these pujas are held till date.

The 1610 puja of Sabarna Roy Choudhuri is considered to be among the oldest in Calcutta
Today not all the pujas of Calcutta are Barawari nor are they all Barir Pujo. Today, we still have a few Barir Pujo and a large number of Barawari Pujo. The Barir Pujo are a close second to the Barawari in pomp and popularity.

The Barawari Pujos are irresistible with their gorgeous idols, huge pandals glittering with a million chandeliers and scintillating display of lights.

The Barir Pujo may seem like a poor cousin next to the Barawari, but its riches are immense even though they may not be as glaringly obvious. On one hand, there is the chness of history and on the other the charm of the old world. Both these combine to make the Barir Pujo equally if not more attractive than the Barawari

Posted by nb/lalim at 3:10 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, 13 April 2005
Ma Durga
Mood:  vegas lucky
Topic: Hindu God
The history of this Puja started long back in 1770. The story behind starting the Durga Puja was that the daughter of Jagathram Mukhapadhyay was very much interested in celebrating the Puja. To keep up the daughters wish the Puja was started but with simple "Ghat Puja". This was later transformed to "Matir Thakur". Now, to keep the goddess permanently in the family, an icon of gold was made with eight hands i.e. "Astabhuja" and placed two feet above the ground on "Akchalay" and Lakshmi, Kartik, Ganesh and Saraswati were carved on the "Chala". The Puja starts with "Bodhon" just after the day of "Mahalaya" on "Pratipad Tithi". The significance of this puja is that traditional Sandhi Puja is not conducted in this family because there is a story behind this. Sometimes back on the day of "Sandhi Puja" a small girl was found roaming around the Puja premises" and after the completion of the puja the little girl was no where to be found. From that year the "Sandhi Puja" was completely stopped. The other rituals of the puja are followed along with "Panta Bhat, Kachur Shak and Mach pora as "bhog" on the day of "Dashami" to the goddess.


Godess Parvati is the appearance of Prakriti (Nature) also besides being shakti and the mother of the universe. All the organisms have arisen out of the Nature, hence She is called as Jagadamba. Mother Parvati s also known by other names viz : Durga, Kaali etc. But despite having so many names she is one in appearance.



Meaning : I pray to Goddess Durga, who has a shinning like a moon; who rides the lion,who holds many types of weapons; who has a fire like flare, who bears the moon, I pray to such Goddess Durga.


Lion is also known as Mrigaraj. The greatest merit of the lion is that it mates only once in a year. Hence it is not a sexy animal. Thus riding the lion, Bhagawati preaches the people that if they suppress their sensual desires, they will soon find an abode in Shiva Loka near Lord Shiva. Otherwise, they will remain wandering in the never-ending search of their sensual desires only.


With those weapons, Goddess had exterminated many formidable demons like Mahishasura that symbolized darkness. Thus she hints that no one must take women for granted, and never take them as powerless, dependent,and meant for fulfillment of their lust. They are second to none in bravery and are a meant to assure a place in the second world (Paraloka).Hence, the weapons in the hands of Bhagawati hint to honor the women or they may break upon you as calamities. Hence it is better to see them as mother, sister and daughter. Policy also says:


Meaning : One who sees the other women as his mother, the others wealth as a lump of earth, is definitely the most virtues (Mahapandita)

The beautiful Goddess Mother Bhagawati or Durga, who represents the combined powers of all the gods, holds divine weapons in all of her eight arms that guard the eight directions. This is the main appearance of Shakti.

Posted by nb/lalim at 7:35 AM EDT
Post Comment | View Comments (6) | Permalink | Share This Post

Newer | Latest | Older