CELEBRATION OF 'DURGA PUJA' - THE GREATEST FESTIVAL OF BENGAL

Worship of 'Shakti'

'....Ya Devi sarbabhuteshu Shaktirupeno sanksthita

Namostasyi NamostasyiNamostasyi Namonamah.......'

-- Two lines from the sanskrit sloka,which is chanted during Durgapuja

( The Goddess who manifests Herself as the Entity of Power,

I salute Her again and again, I bow in front of Her...')

September,2008 !

The season of 'Sharat' (autumn) in Bengal..... time for the Autumn Festival. We call this festival 'Sharadiya Durga Puja' in Bengali.This celebration,with worship of 'Durga' at the core , has its roots in Hindu mythology like others with their origin in Hindu religion,

But, this festivity, which starts on the sixth day of the lunar cycle after new moon in the month of October and continues upto the tenth day of the same cycle, has now acquired many dimensions other than the religious one.It is the time when the Bengalis buy new clothes, travel out of their home to enjoy a week's break from routine, savour the literary publications and music which are published every year this time ,move around to enjoy the decorated 'pandals' which house the images of the Goddess and Her family as well as offer a oeuvre of wonders in folk arts, decoration and lighting or enjoy intimate time with friends and relatives .

The mythological story of Durga centres around the battle between good and evil.A demon king ,'Mahishasur',blessed with the power of changing his appearance was vanquished by the Goddess Durga,who came into Being with the Power of several gods .Her ten hands represent the combined strength of ten gods and Her third eye represents Her wisdom and insight.The lion she rides represents courage She pierces the heart of the demon .** This imagery has gradually evolved to represent the 'State'.... She represents the Head,accompanying gods Kartick,Ganesha and the goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati represent the Military,the Commerce,the Wealth and the Culture !

This event of celebration used to be patronised by landlords and wealthy persons earlier.Now-a-days, people of a locality pull to-gether resources through subscriptions and advertisements of 'sponsors'.The huge crowd of revelers is targeted by sponsors as well as media ......one can sit at home and enjoy a lot of the visual offerings of 'Durga puja' sitting at home in front of his/her TV screen.

Internet sites are also springing up. You may please visit :

1. http://www.flickr.com/groups/65574987@N00/

2. http://www.durga-puja.org/

3.http://festivals.iloveindia.com/durga-puja/index.html

** NOTE 1 : Literally translated, ''Mahishasur' means 'Buffalo Demon'.Think of this story.......there used to be a lot of fights and battles between the Aryans and non-Aryans when the former started to spread their kingdom in India,along the coast of rivers of the Sind area and later along the coast of the Ganges.A non-Aryan king from the southern states, whose totem was the Buffalo,put a lot of pressure on the gods ,i.e.,satraps of the Aryan race.He was dark,handsome and a great warrior.As his greed grew,he coveted a relationship with a queen of Aryans when these satraps united under the umbrella of this queen and a great fight ensued.The 'Asur'...the Demon king.....was defeated, critically wounded by a spear and eventually fed to a lion.

This Tale later on bloomed to that of 'Mahishasur' being killed by Goddess Durga in 'Puranas', the Hindu scriptures.

Please read : http://hubpages.com/hub/festival_2

NOTE 2:

This hub continues to draw viewers well after the autumn festival of 2009 ! Therefore, I thought of adding 3 photographs of from my collection of photos of Puja 2009.

NOTE 3:

Photos from my HDD/flickr.com site



Celebrating Durgapuja - Calcutta 2008 and 2009

Puja 2008. Goddess 'Durga' in her full glory.  The demon, dark and handsome,fell for the feminine charm of the Goddess and wanted to befriend Her. He now stands vanquished at Her feet ! View this demon's details in http://www.flickr.com/photos/cshyam
Puja 2008. Goddess 'Durga' in her full glory. The demon, dark and handsome,fell for the feminine charm of the Goddess and wanted to befriend Her. He now stands vanquished at Her feet ! View this demon's details in http://www.flickr.com/photos/cshyam
Puja 2008. Another image of Goddess 'Durga',in a kind of Egyptian headgear.
Puja 2008. Another image of Goddess 'Durga',in a kind of Egyptian headgear.
Puja 2008 'Terra cotta' pots used to create this decoration. In fact, the images and decoration of this 'Puja Pandal' have such a large number of pots and vessels used . My wife Ruby took this photograph while I stood alongside.
Puja 2008 'Terra cotta' pots used to create this decoration. In fact, the images and decoration of this 'Puja Pandal' have such a large number of pots and vessels used . My wife Ruby took this photograph while I stood alongside.
Puja 2009. Deity of a very well-known Puja 'pandal' of south Calcutta.
Puja 2009. Deity of a very well-known Puja 'pandal' of south Calcutta.
Puja 2009. Decoration of a Puja pandal in south Calcutta.
Puja 2009. Decoration of a Puja pandal in south Calcutta.
Puja 2009. His pain, our celebration.
Puja 2009. His pain, our celebration.

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Comments 12 comments

Manasidas profile image

Manasidas 6 years ago from Kolkata

HI such a nice hub you have written, thanks a lot, you would also this hub on durga puja also

http://hubpages.com/holidays/DurgaPujaBringsGoodFo...


sudeep13582 profile image

sudeep13582 6 years ago from Howrah

really great writing... thanks

here is another hub about durga puja..

here http://hubpages.com/art/Durga-Puja-As-An-Immersion...


shyamchat profile image

shyamchat 7 years ago from Calcutta Author

Thanks.

I have video of Durga/Kali Puja of Calcutta.Unedited.

Pl send yr e-mail ID through 'contact' route.


samironwebtrack profile image

samironwebtrack 7 years ago

i never seen kolkota, nbut i heard about durgapuja....send me video regarding this if any.....also check my blog http://maaumiya.blogspot.com


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

it was great celebration.


JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

JYOTI KOTHARI 8 years ago from Jaipur

Well depicted story of Bengali festival.

Jyoti Kothari


shyamchat profile image

shyamchat 8 years ago from Calcutta Author

Thanks Princessa for your comments.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 8 years ago from France

Very interesting. I was fascinated by the story of Durga, and how the sacred feminine is a constant in most cultures, despite the divinities taking different forms and origins. thumbs up!


shyamchat profile image

shyamchat 8 years ago from Calcutta Author

Dear Loken 'sir'

I really enjoyed the anecdote about the physique of Mahisasur.

My comments on other points now :

1. Assur-Banipal was a great warrior and king of Mesopotemia.He was engaged in recovery of the idol of famous Goddess Bibi Nani from Elamite empire. Kudur-Nankhundi, king of Elam (southwest Persia) took away the idol from Erech,Mesopotemian Empire in 2280 BCE . Such was the reverence of Bibi Nani or the cult Of goddess Nanaia that for 1000 years Mesopotemians tried to recover the idol and success came to them at the time of Assur-Banipal.

You can see photos of the current location of the temple of Bibi Nani or goddess Nania in flickr.com/photos/8393695@N08/2512983337 and the footnote attached to it.

Goddess Nania does have a lion associated with her.I have a book on Imageries of 'Shakti' in India and MEA , written by Bratindranath Mukhopadhyayand published by Ananda.BM traces origin of Durga in goddess Nania and Kushan goddess Ommo.

Google search will give you some more materials on these goddesses.You can also find a minor Roman goddess Nona who had lions with her.

2.But, Assur-Banipal , the famous king of the neo-Assyrian empire was perhaps not in the mind of the person/s who conceived the mythological character of Mahishasur. I believe Mahishasur was a non-aryan king of India, perhaps/even a contemporary of Assur-Banipal.Death of Assur-Banipal probably came as a result of an intense power struggle.

3.Please read about my Tale of Mahishasur @ http://cshyamal.sulekha.com/blog/post/2008/09/trag... or http://przmm.blogspot.com/


L N Roychoudhury 8 years ago

Have u ever wondered about the similarity of looks & hairdo of Mahishasur & the pic of Asur-Banipal, the Assyrian king in yr school history books? Have u ever wondered, if it could be that the militarily superior Assyrians (Asur) kicked out the Aryans (claiming decadence from the gods = Sur) from central Asia? Then these central Asians wandered around, until the entered the fertile land of India and started killing the local population, like the Europeans did to the Australian, North & South American native population. Contrary to present day custom, where the winner writes the history books (in all western books & films, the Japs & Germans are rascals, the US & UK citizens the epitome of humanity. The brown Indians were the Britishers "white man's burden"), it is the loser Aryans who wrote the Wedas, Ramanaya & Mahabhararta, where the Surs defeat the Asur in every case.Eventually, the Aryans became civilized from the Rakshas. Consider this - when Ram, Lakshman & Sita went to live in forests, they built their own huts every time they shifted homestead. Can u imagine a prince having the expertise of building huts from forest materials, unless the king himself lived in huts? Sita's foster father King Janak was a farmer, who ploughed his own land. Hanuman & the rest of Ram's army were stunned when they saw the architectural grandeur of Ravan's Lanka (not the present Ceylon / Shri Lanka) & thought it was made of gold. Being of inferior civilization, they became envious & thoroughly vandalized it. As it always happens in the history of mankind, any civilization that reaches its zenith of excellence degenerates, becomes complacent, acquires lumpens & are eventually overrun by ruthless invaders. See Rome, Greece, India. So, Ram killed Ravan & history made Ram a god. It is the highly educated King Ravan, who wrote the Shiva-stotra, that still survives today. Similar examples can be cited from the more modern Mahabharat.By all means let us celebrate the Durga Puja. Durga, the goddess of power, the daughter of the Himalayas & decidedly non-Aryan from her looks (the slanted eyes & golden skin of traditional images). After all, she represents our culture in many ways - see http://www.flickr.com/groups/festival/discuss/7215...

Once I saw 2 young teenagers doing pranams to the goddess, after she was taken down, preparatory to the immersion. One boy was respectfully doing pranam to the Mahishasur. When the surprised other boy asked what was going on, the 1st one said "The gods have done me no favour in years past, but if I can acquire a physique like the Asur ....!!!" So, that's another way of looking at things.


shyamchat profile image

shyamchat 8 years ago from Calcutta Author

Dear Rita,

This terra cotta piece you see here is not the Goddess.

But, I hasten to add that the Goddess in this 'pandal' was made of the same items.

:-))


Rita Banerji 8 years ago

Now with this egyptian and I'd say terra cotta japanese devi -- she must have more than a 1000 faces :))

thanks for the commentary.

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