Durga Puja

Discussion in 'Hindu Festivals' started by Hindu, Apr 5, 2015.

  1. Hindu

    Hindu Member Staff Member

    The fluorescent blue sky, wispy white clouds, snow white crown of Kash flowers, gem of dew on the top of the grass and the pleasant fragrance of Sheeuli flower - this is how nature during the Autumn grooms up herself to welcome Goddess Durga. Generally this is a four day Puja (Worship), starting from the day of Bodhan on MahaShasthi and ending up with the immersion of the clay made Idols in the sacred river Ganga (the Ganges) on the evening of Dashami.

    Indian History tells - long back, Mahishasura, the king of Demons, being indulged by certain boon from Lord Shiva, the supreme Hindu God, started his tyranny over Heaven. Scared and hopeless gods earnestly requested Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva to kill Mahishashura. Then from these three gods, a divine vigour came out and took the shape of a woman - she is goddess Durga. This vigorous goddess got married to Lord Shiva and prepared herself for the battle with Mahishashura. All the gods rendered their support by arming her with different weapons. After a great battle Durga killed Mahishashura, bringing back the heavenly peace.

    As Durga is the image of power and vigour, since ages worshipping her, has become tradition. Purana reveals king Suratha was one of the eminent worshippers of goddess Durga; he used to worship her image during spring and the act is known as Basanti puja. But Shree Rama, before rescuing Seeta from Ravana, in haste worshipped her in the Autumn and act is called Akal Bodhan (Untimely Worship). However over the years, this Akal Bodhan has become the major festival of Bengal.

    Though the sojourn of the goddesss on earth is only of four days, but seven days before the puja, from the day of Mahalaya starts Devipaksha; on this very day people prays for their 'passed away' relatives and take holy dip in the river Ganga - the act is called Tarpan.

    In Bengal, goddesss Durga is worshipped as a mother rather than the goddess of supreme power. Durga comes to the earth for four days -Shashthi , Saptami , Ashtami , Navami & Dashami along with her four children Ganesha, Laxmi, Kartik and Saraswati. This is the time when most of the married Bengali women come to their parents' home to spend a few days along with their children. It is this sentiment that has made Durga puja most popular festival throughout the year.

    Durga puja is not only a religious festival but transcending the religious limitations it has derived a new form - that is of greatest social festival. This is the time when people socialize in a great way. The gorgeous decoration of goddess idols and pandals, lighting of streets bring gala festive mood to Bengal, the kind of which is difficult to find anywhere in the world. People in thousands visit the famous puja throughout the night. This is also the time when people go crazy for puja shopping and gift garments to their near and dear ones. In fact long before the puja, Calcutta markets become overcrowded with the puja shoppers.

    The appeal of Durga puja is universal - it is not only a religious festival of a particular religion but the worship of archetypal Mother by all of her children.

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