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Durga,The Goddess -A Unified Force Against Evils
Durga Puja Celecbration
In epic like Mahabharata we find her .Ramayan tells the ‘Akalbodhon’ of Devi durga by Ram.The ‘Purana’ traces the encounter of Durga during 3rd to 5th century. the Devibhagavatam, is dedicated to Durga.
A part within the Markandeya Purana is called the Devimahatmya or the Durgasaptasati or Candimahatmya which relates the event of Durga and her performance in details .This writing dates back to most probably 7th century.
Durga is believed to be originated from non-Aryan peoples of India as she is having a habits of drinking alcohol, blood and eating meat.She has also a connection with agriculture. She is from the Vindhya Mountains and the Sabaras and Pulindas tribes of that region.
Several Names For Duga Puja:-
There are so many forms of celebrating the Puja.The puja is one but has several names.Bangladesh celebrates this puja as Bhagabati Puja.
- In India the states like
Madhya Pradesh. celebrate Durga Puja with hilarious fun and laughter.
- States like
Punjab, Kerala and
Observe Nabaratri in same manner in the same time.
- It is Kullu Dussehra in
- It is Dussehra in
- It is Bommai Golu in
Tamil Nadu and
- Bommala koluvu in
The Meaning of "Durga"
The word "Durga" which pronounces Durgaa comes from durg or durgo which means a fort. It is also believed that the word Durga comes from ‘durgam’ which means difficult to go. It means ‘beyond reach’ .Some says ‘durga’ has been shortened from the word ‘durgatinasini’ which in turn translates ‘ one who destroyes all sufferings ,miseries and evils.
She has three eyes , four or eight or ten or eighteen or twenty arms, crown-styled hair (karandamukuta ) . In the hands of her ,there are conch, discus, trident, bow, arrow, sword, dagger, shield, rosary, wine cup, and bell. She stands on a lotus or on the head of a buffalo or on a lion wearing bright red cloth and ornaments.
The War Between Mahisasura and The Durga :-
The Devimahatmya tells of Durga's battle and defeat of the buffalo-demon Mahisa. A long war was going on between the gods led by Indra and the anti-gods. The genie Mahisa was king of the anti-gods. He won the battle and captured heaven, while the gods became homeless on earth. Shiva and Vishnu then suggested the gods to to have utiluized their power and energy into one unified female force.
Birth of Durga :-
Brahma pleased by the meditation of Mahisasura ,the buffalo demon ,gave a boon by which he empowered the demon not to be killed by any man and deity or god.The demon started atrocities all around the universe. He butchered human race mercilessly.Then he proceeded to the heaven and attacked the gods there .Gods led by Indra were become homeless .No place was found for them.Thus they went to trinity –Brahma,Bishnu and Mahadeb.They told the torture of buffalo demon. Tridev was burst in anger with the news of Demon’s atrocity and torture over earth and heaven.Their face were flushed with these information of invasion of Mahisasura into heaven and the abode of the gods and the ruthless torture he had been inflicting in world . Their furious anger caused the production of a divine energy out of their mouths. Out of their anger a blazing luminescence dazzled in the form of a sphere which in turn formed the incarnation of a Goddess with supreme power and beauty. She dazzled as if thousand suns shined.
Formation Of Her Body :-
The face and the head were formed from Shiva’s power.The feet were given to her by the Brahma. Arms were given by Bishnu. Waist was shaped by Indra.Breasts were formed by the Moon.Yama(Death god) gave her the hair.
She received spear-edged trident from Lord Shiba,
Sudarshan chakra or the discuss from Lord Krishna,
A conch from Baruna,the god of water,
A missile from Agni,the god of fire,
Arrows from Bayu,the god of air,
The thunderbolt from Indra, the king of gods,
A rod from the Yama, the death god,
A noose from the ruller of water.
A bright axe an armor from Biswakarma,the heaven’s architect,
A lion and jewels from Himabata(lord of Himalaya).
Mahisasura took many forms and tried to deceive Durga. Finally he took the form of a buffalo and this time she pierced him with her trident given to her by Lord Shiba. Till the demon tried to escape and hide himself but Durga found out him and finally cut his head. Thus he was beheaded.Peace came and gods were thus restored.
The Boon Given to Mahisha By Brahma:-
Mahisha, the giant buffalo demon pleased Brahma by meditation to be granted a boon of immortality by Brahma.He wanted from Brahma the boon of immortality . Brahma did not agree.He said , ‘ Man is bor to die’. So Mahisha lessened the boon by wanting ‘ none but a woman alone can kill ‘ . Brahma empowered him with this boon.
Besides the battle with Madhu and Kaitabha and the battle with Sumbha and Nisumbha are worth mentioning.
Arms of Durga
Durga Puja in Autumn and Symbolisms
Symbolism of Worshipping :
- She is worshipped in the form of a sword which is symbolic of her association with war.
- She is worshipped in the form of a ‘Ghata’(The clay pot) and it contains navapatrika with holy water of Ganges river.This pot is set on clay or dough where seeds of five grains are scattered.
- The priest recites mantra to identify it as amar or immortal.
- So growth of grains,source of life are symbolized.
- She is the maya. She is the deception.She is Mahamay.There is a story behind this quality. Madhu and Kaitaba were born out of wax of Bishnu’s ears.They started hurly burly , chaos when Bishnu was in Jogmudra(deep sleep). Mahamaya gave them boon of not getting killed by Bishnu.As they are anointing , Bishnu enraged.He tried to kill them but cannot.Now they were eluded by Mahamay and made to kill them by Bishnu.Thus Bishnu killed them.
- She is the Shakti .She is the power.She is the accumulated force of gods power and energy to remove evils from the world.
- She is the prakriti.She is the nature.Everywhere she is found.She lives in nature.Nature reflects her. Crops,grains are being increased due to her blessings.
Durga’s Ornamentation And Symbolisms:-
Standing Fashion :-
Durga stands in a special pose which is called ‘ abhay mudra’ which means a fearless pose. This standing pose symbolizes her freedom from any kind of fear.
Durga's Many Arms
Durga is seen having eight or ten arms with various arms.These ten arms symbolizes ten directions .It represents that she protects her devotees from all sides.
Durga's Three Eyes
Shiva’s counterpart Durga is a three-eyes super goddess.Her left eye is of moon representing desire, her right eye is of sun representing action and the central eye is of fire representing knowledge.
Durga's Vehicle - the Lion
Power, will and determination are considered to be lion’s symbol. Durga on lion is a symbolic of her control over all these qualities.
- The mystic and peaceful word ‘Om’ is represented by the conch.
- The combination of bow and arrows is symbolic of energy.
- The thunderbolt signifies that a devotee of Durga must be firm like thunderbolt .
- The "Sudarshan-Chakra" or beautiful discus spinning around the index finger symbolizes the authority of her over the univers.It represents the power of her to cut down evil and remove all kind of wrongness at her will.
- Her sword and its brightness symbolizes knowledge free from all suspect.
- Durga's trident or "trishul" symbolizes three qualities - Satwa or inactivity, Rajas or activity and Tamas or non-activity.It has three edges which remove physical,mental and spiritual sufferings.
Why in Autumn :-
Suratha worshiped Durga in Spring.This is why Durga is called ‘Basanti(in Sanskrit Spring is called basanta ,a and the feminine form of basanta is basanti).This is a traditional worship of Durga. But Ram,the great human being , started to worship Durga in an Autumn to get her bliss before he was going to fight against Ravana, a demon who had captured his wife sita whom Ram had to rescue.Ram came to know that 100 blue lotuses required to please Durga.Ram traveled around the world and hardly succeeded to collect 99 blue lotuses.So he gave one of his blue eye and filled the 100. Being pleased Durga , appeared before him and blessed him.The battle started between Ram and the Raban in Saptami(the seventh day) and finally Raban ,the demon was killed in sandhikkhan( a time between astami(eighth day) and Nabami(ninth day) ).Rabana was burnt on dashami(tenth day).Now –a-days when we see effigies of Rabana are burnt in dashera, it reminds us of that great incident .