With her divine presence spread throughout, she fades away to nothingness… Only to return once again
Days of celebrations are over as the days of wait begin. A-midst the rhythmic beats of the drum we bid adieu to mother with her promise to return again next year.
And in these moments where tears awkwardly merge into joy, the mind switches to the thinking mode and tries to look beyond the stories… and asks, “What is the essence of the celebration?”. For those who are unaware of the story, here is what the Hindu mythology has to say about the festival (in brief)…
Once upon a time, there was a demon or ‘asura’ named Mahishasura (The demon who could change into buffalo) who aspired to capture the all the worlds and rule them via unjust means. To accomplish his task, Mahishasura meditated and pleased Lord Brahma (the creator). As a boon he got the assurance that he won’t be killed by a man. Overjoyed with the boon, he fights and conquers the heavens and the earth. Commotion is created across the universe. On seeing this dangerous situation, the supreme gods: Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer combine all their powers to give rise to Durga, a female warrior. She is depicted with 10 arms, adorned with numerous weapons gifted by various gods. The creation of Durga is marked by Mahalaya (the first day of the 10 day festival). Subsequently after 10 days of fierce battle, Durga kills Mahishasura and perishes his army. The 10th day is celebrated as the day of victory called Vijayadashami.
Overall, it is the same old story of victory of good over evil, but the subtleties are worth pondering upon. One of the highlighting features of the story is the depiction of woman in her powerful, ruthless form. The same woman who is seen as peaceful, loving and caring in motherly forms like Parvati, Saraswati or Ganga is depicted in a devastating form here. So if time arises, women can perform acts of courage and bravery which are even beyond the reach of men.
Some other points that catch my attention include the meditation and boon of Mahishasura. The creator gave the boon to Mahishasur knowing its potential misuse in future. This in my viewpoint shows the concept that regardless of who you are, efforts always yield the fruits. Anyone who is dedicated to his work, gets his reward – be it a saint or a demon.
There is also a point of unification of powers. Durga was created by the combined powers of the trinity. To me it signifies the importance and necessity of unity of good to combat evil.
It may be very well possible that there was never any Mahishasur or Durga in the real world. But this story would always be a source of motivation and inspiration to millions. The story, which may seem rudimentary at first glance has simple yet deep interpretations hidden within…
Anyways, this festival has much more to do with culture than religion. This is an excuse for thorough cleaning of the household; new clothes; fabulous food; creativity in designing of idol, pandals, rhythms and… overall the environment. There has to be a something in this grand festival that so many eyes await her arrival, so many hearts celebrate her stay, and so many eyes moisten as she departs… There has be a reason so many poets write in her praise and so many musicians sing in her awe.
Shubho Bijaya to all… Celebrate the victory… Spread the joy 🙂
October 17, 2013 at 3:23 am
Great culture . It’s good that you have kept it. Some have lost theirs.
October 17, 2013 at 7:08 am
Thanks! Culture is identity… Specially for India 🙂
October 17, 2013 at 11:04 am
Very well written Arindam and It was amazing reading all about this festival ! Informative for people like me whose general knowledge is zero 😉
She has 10 arms ? Amazing.
Festivals are always an excuse for overall cleaning and shining the homes I guess…. And I loved the fact that how deeply have you felt this festival.
Thanks for providing us the insight 🙂 Shubho Bijaya to you too ! (I still haven’t learnt the spellings , I just copy pasted it 😛 )
October 17, 2013 at 2:22 pm
Ah! 10 arms! yes… actually since she is an agglomeration (collection) of powers of all gods, she holds various weapons in various arms. So 10 arms, all with weapons denotes the magnitude of power she has 🙂
And by the way, wait for a fortnight and we would have ‘Kali Puja’. Kali is an even fiercer form of Durga… And its story is even more interesting… involves a lot of blood (your favorite topic :P)
Tu ek bar Bengal aaja… fir pata chalega log kitne attached hain is festival se 🙂
Shubho Bijaya! Spelling may be difficult but meaning is simple… “Happy Victory” 🙂
October 18, 2013 at 10:19 pm
wow so intriguing 😉
Haan in kaali puja k baray me kuch kuch suna hua hai mene …Chal baaki tu bata den 🙂
Oh chal aenda se her mushkil festival ko english me translate ker dia ker 😛 Happy Victoryyyy 😉
October 19, 2013 at 6:37 am
🙂 Bata doonga 🙂
October 17, 2013 at 5:04 pm
Informative !!! Thanks for providing such valuable insights Arindam..
Keep up the good work.
October 17, 2013 at 5:10 pm
Thanks! Keep visiting 🙂
October 17, 2013 at 5:11 pm
Sure:) Will always love too
October 18, 2013 at 9:44 am
I agree, our durgapuja is more connected with culture than religion and I am glad for that, there are two distinct types of durgapuja in Bengal- one who follow the religious style- like in my ancestral home and lot other homes I believe and the other is the fun loving durgapuja with a little mingling of religion- like the pandal pujas 🙂
October 18, 2013 at 10:36 am
Very aptly said… And each of them has a charm of their own…
October 18, 2013 at 10:35 am
Knowledge provider plus thanks for reminding me that Diwali is too near and cleaning regime should be started 🙂
October 18, 2013 at 10:41 am
Haha… I am glad no such regime is observed in the boys hostel 😉
Shubho Bijoya 🙂
October 18, 2013 at 10:45 am
lucky you are… 😛 by the way… which year of college are you in??
October 18, 2013 at 10:48 am
4th year of a 5 yr course…
October 18, 2013 at 10:49 am
What about you?
October 18, 2013 at 11:02 am
are you doing law?? I am also in the 4th year of a five- year law course…
October 18, 2013 at 11:09 am
Physics… with a bit of maths and computers… 🙂 in IISER Kolkata… heard about it? 😛
October 18, 2013 at 11:21 am
ya heard from you… 😛 but wow… science is cool … 🙂
October 18, 2013 at 11:22 am
And law is scary… with all its long arms… 🙂
October 18, 2013 at 11:25 am
Haha… its not scary… its fun and about the long arms… now that’s a Bollywood slang and i completely disagree with that…
October 18, 2013 at 11:29 am
Bahut ratna padta hai, suna hai…
Hmm… probably right… shayad utne bhi lambe nahin hote… warna kasab ki faansi jaldi ho jaati 😛
October 18, 2013 at 11:30 am
Ho gayi wo kya kam baat hai…
October 18, 2013 at 11:39 am
But yaar ek case ke decision ne sahi mein disappoint kiya… Bhopal Gas Tragedy… Culprit ke saath kuchh bhi nahin kiya… 😦
October 18, 2013 at 11:44 am
ya.. that is one of the cases where judiciary was not able to provide justice… but you can’t entirely blame the courts… there were political considerations involved and even what the courts suggested was not kept up by the legislature… the compensation that was provided has not been actually given till this date, which is a fault on the part of executive… plus at that time… our Indian law was not so enlightened about such issues… but in the end ya… i agree that we failed here in this case
October 18, 2013 at 10:23 pm
True… Just one ‘correction’… Having lived in Bhopal since childhood, I can say one thing for sure… compensation has been given to a large extent… but to the people who were not at all affected (or not even present in Bhopal in 1984).
October 19, 2013 at 8:46 am
OH… see this is how execution takes place… how far can judiciary take care of the matter?? It is not the judiciary only which is supposed to run the country…