Durga Puja myths –
With approaching October, knocking autumn and white ‘kaash’ flower dancing in the tune of the breeze the bugle of Durga Puja has already been announced.
End of pitripaksh with the day of Mahalaya, marks the beginning of devipaksh which ends with dussera. This devipaksh is celebrated as Navratri in major parts of India and in West Bengal the last four days- Saptami to Dussera is celebrated as Durga Puja with all devotion, pomp and show. Durga Puja is the festival of gathering, pandal hopping and lots of bhuri-bhojthat is what all Bengalis crave for. The ten-hand goddess piercing the trident in the chest of the buffalo demon Mahisashur makes us wonder, what can be the myth behind it?
Durga Puja myths –
In this article we would put forward the story of Goddess Durga and her victory over the devil Mahisashur. Before we dig into that, did you know that this Durga Puja in October is called akalbodhan. When Ravana kidnapped Sita, Ram waged a war against him to free His beloved wife. During this war, Rama invoked Goddess Durga to seek Her blessings, but while performing the havan, he needed 108 blue lotus. One lotus was missing& in order to compensate that, He was ready to complete the puja by placing His lotus shaped eye. On seeing the devotion and dedication, Maa Durga blessed her and He killed Ravana at the sandhikhan of Mahashtami and freed Sita from the evil clutches. On Dussera, Ravana was cremated. Thus, the story behind akalbodhan, the October Durga Puja.
Now the myth behind Devi Durga and her victory over Mahishasur. According to the scriptures, the buffalo demon Mahishashur was the king of the Ashur clan. He once meditated for years to be blessed by Lord Brahma and remain immortal in his rest of the life. His determined meditation satisfied Brahma Dev, and He blessed him with immortality. Mahishasur was blessed with the power of deception and was master in taking any form according to his wish and deceive people. On one occasion he took the form of a lady and went to an ashram, where the sages were performing yagya. Disguised as a lady, Mahishashur spoiled the puja annoying the sages. He was cursed to be killed by a lady, as he deceived them as a woman. His tortures and winning spree of hell, earth and heaven continued.
When he dethroned Gods from heaven, all the devtas went to Lord Shiva for help. From the energy of Tridev (Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar) Devi Durga was born to fight the buffalo demon. She got the face of Shiva, ten arms from Lord Vishnu and feet from Brahma. All other Gods gave her different weapons like trident, conch, sword, thunderbolt, spear and decorated Her with armor and jewels. The Lord of mountains gave Her the lion to ride. She killed Mahishashur and established victory of good over evil.
Durga Puja myths – This was the one of the myths, but did you know there are some other facts about Durga Puja, like: nine aspects of Maa Durga is worshipped in the nine days of Navratri or Durga Puja. Durga is often addressed as Durgatinashini which implies She is the slayer of all evils and sufferings in ones’ life. There are many other facts, but the most interesting one is that to make the idol of Mahishashur Mardini, soil from brothel is must. The reason is explained: it is considered that, before entering the brothel people leave all their purity at the threshold of the brothel making it highly pious and virtuous. So, the pure clay from the entrance of the brothel is begged and then applied on the straw framework of the idol of the goddess. Some others are: worshipping of ‘kola-bou’, kumari puja and lighting of 108lamps during Ashtami puja are also very interesting.
Devi Durga is worshipped in various forms, sometimes as vanquisher of evil and sometimes benevolent and nurturing like a mother. She is the epitome of a true woman or what we call Narishakti. The Durga Puja is not just a festival, it has a message for the mankind, no matter how much powerful evil is, ultimately it will be slayed by good and truth always triumphs.
These are Durga Puja myths –