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.........