Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Durga Puja....the mythology....the rituals !!!

It is said that many thousand years ago, Mahishasur, the king of Asuras, through years of austerities, was once granted a boon by Lord Bramha, that no man or deity would be able to kill him. This boon gave Mahishasur immense power & made him arrogant & greedy. He was filled with the urge to rule all the three worlds, Swarg Lok(the Heaven), Bhoo Lok(the Earth), & Pataal Lok(the world under the Earth bed). It was believed that while Gods & Godessess lived in Swarg Lok, mortal beings lived in Bhoo Lok & Demons & Asuras lived in Pataal Lok. Mahishasur started to terrorize heaven and the inhabitants. He pervaded the world with his battalion of Asuras and plundered & killed people ruthlessly. Chaos and anarchy reigned all over. Gods were driven from heaven and Mahishasur usurped the throne. Under the influence of the boon from Lord Bramha, Mahishasur was undefeatable & the Gods were unable to combat him. They were fighting a losing battle. So they all assembled & requested Lord Shiva, Lord Bramha and Lord Vishnu to stop Mahishasur's tyranny.

The Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu & Maheshwar, then decided to combine their divine energy & what emerged was a feminine form so brilliant & glaring that it immediately illuminated the whole Universe. This combined source of power was directed on the residence of a famous Sage, Kattayana on the Krishna Chaturdashi (fourteenth day of new moon), in the month of Ashwin(Sep-Oct). From this glow of energy emerged a beautiful woman with ten arms, riding a Lion. She went along to be called as Goddess Durga. Since she was born in the ashram of Sage Kattayana, she was named Kattayani. The sage worshipped her for three days; ShuklaSaptami; MahaAshtami & MahaNabami to invoke celestial strength & energy in her. Despite her grace & beauty, she started to bear a menacing expression, since her job was to kill Mahishasur & free the three worlds of evil. Her ten arms were laden with arms that were symbols of divine power. She had Vishnu’s discuss(Sudarshan Chakra), Shiva’s trident(Trishul), Varuna’s conchshell(Shankh), Agni's flaming dart, Vayu's bow, Surya's quiver and arrows, Yama's iron rod, Indra's thunderbolt(Vazra), Kubera's club and a garland of snakes from Shesha. She also had a lion as a charger & carrier from Himalayas to ride.

On the tenth day, now popularly known as the Vijaya Dashami, a fierce battle took place. Finally, when Mahishasur, in the guise of a buffalo, charged against Durga, the Devi beheaded the buffalo & from within emerged Mahishasur in his original form. He was facing Shakti, who was neither human nor a diety….she was an embodiment of energy created by the Trinity of Brahma – Vishnu – Maheshwar. Durga pierced his chest with the trident & relieved the three worlds of evil power. Mahishasur, it is said fell on her feet, & asked for being pardoned & cleared of all his Sins. With his death, evil was removed & peace was established. That is why she is called, ‘Durgatinashini Durga’…….our Mother Goddess, who destroys all evil & protects her devotees & establishes peace & prosperity.

Goddess Durga is known for two aspects : benevolence & fierceness. In benevolence, She is Uma(the Light), Gauri(Yellow or brilliant), Parvati(the mountaineer), Jagatmata( Mother of the World). In fierceness, She is Durga(the limitless Power), Kali(the Black), Chandi(the Fierce) & Bhairavi(the terrible).

to be continued.........

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Am back !!!!

Its been exactly two months, since I last posted a blog. The absence has been deliberate. A lot was happening in life & I needed time out to focus on various pressing issues. Issues ranged from a child in distress........going out of hands, to someone extremely close being unwell, to my newly wedded daughter going through her own emotional struggles to settle down with her inlaws, to hardships at work, to my best friend's struggles at starting on his own, to extreme emotional turmoil in personal relationships !!!!!........in all, I was more than occupied in addressing various challenges...........

I must admit, the experiences have given me a lot of learnings, has made me more silent & understanding & probably more capable at handling situations.

Meanwhile, there were some important events as well. Went to Blore Ashram after a very, very long time for the TRM (Teacher's Refresher Meet). The three day meet was a bundle of experiences which spread from bizzare to comical to highly spiritually endearing. However, i will not be able to pen in details for reasons of anonymity & confidentiality. However, a wonderful part of the meet, was the time spent with our beloved Guruji in person. As usual, I got my share of exclusive time with Him with so much Love & care that left me full & content. Really, He has always filled me up with so much love & attention, that the struggles & challenges of life just fade away.

My birthday was another important event in this period. On one hand, I was so overwhelmed with pleasant surprises from various friends visiting me at midnight with cakes & cookies, & on the other hand, I had to withstand emotional outbursts & estrangement with the person I love the most. We continue to fight & bicker & throw life out of gear for each other, without realising how much of pain we are creating & how much of life we are loosing. Intense love leading to intense struggle!!!!!

Meeting my daughter for the first time after her marriage was another emotional spinner....though a happy one. Wish I could have spent more time with her. I intend to visit her & spend some time at her new home in Sholapur shortly.

I also managed a very short break with my friend & his family at the jungles of Kumaun. The drive into the jungles late night in absolute darkness was an adventure in itself. It was pitch dark, where you cannot even see your own hands, the silence is broken by the only the creaking of night insects & the sound of the flowing river. Waiting for a tiger, or a leapord or elephants to show up was really exciting & adventurous. The sky glittered with stars, which looked like gems.....the air was fresh & the darkness reeked of danger. Imagine, how it would have been for people living in the villages, just fifty years ago, when there was no transportation or lights. These are experiences, which tell us, how lucky & fortunate we are.....living in cities, with all modern amenities, secure in the various comforts that are provided for. Guess, we tend to take things for granted at our end, not knowing, how difficult it is for so many people just a little distance away.

Anyways, apologies to all, who have visited my blog over the last two months, & have been disappointed with my absence. I promise to revert with some interesting stuff asap. Do keep supporting me with your viewing.