Annual Festival Of Pomp And Grandeur Called Durga Puja
About puja

The festival called Durga Puja is held every year by Hindus all over the world with high degree of pomp and glory. People spend the main four days of celebrations in the month of October in utmost excitement. Every person looks forward to the time of the year when the rains are over and the skies are clear with the arrival of autumn. The main four days of festivities consist of Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Nabami and Bijoya Dashami. The four days are extended to six with Panchami and Shasti coming before Maha Saptami. Mahalaya heralds the approach of Panchami when the arrival of Devi Durga is welcomed by prayers at the break of dawn. The countdown of Devi Paksha starts with Mahalaya on the day of the new moon and ends with Lakshmi Puja on Kojagori Purnima or the day of the full moon.

The symbolism of Durga Puja

The festival is also known as “Akal Bodhon” which literally means “Untimely Worship”. Rama carried out this ceremony before leaving for Lanka to defeat Ravana and rescue Sita. To the Bengali community, the festival symbolizes the homecoming of Ma Durga, who spends the six days with her parents on the earth. The people felicitate her for her success in the battle against Mahishashura, who is the epitome of all that is evil. The two sons Kartikeya and Ganesha and two daughters Lakshmi and Saraswati accompany their mother, Devi Durga. Down on the earth it is also the time when married women travel to their parents homes in the company of their children. Ma Durga and her children have a good time during these six days as do all Hindus with their families and friends.

Popularity of the festival

The festival gained popularity during the British rule in India. Durga Puja was made into a community puja by the zamindars of West Bengal, who spent lavishly in celebrating the festival. It became a symbol of defiance to British Raj during the Freedom Movement as the festival stood for Hindu culture and traditions. The popularity rose with more and more people participating in the festivities which still being done presently. Only the zamindars have been replaced by local clubs and communities who collect subscription from everybody in their locality and use the money to hold the celebrations. The festival is held in different corners of the world wherever there is a sizeable Hindu population.

Items/samagri required

The prayers each day are significantly different from one another. Each prayer is performed for each the forms of Devi Durga which she had adopted in battle. The ingredients that are used for the separate prayers are given below:

 

  1. Five type of grains or “Pancha Shashya”, five things obtained from a cow or “Pancha Gobbo” are required for the “Kalparambho” ritual. The list also includes “Noibeddo”, “Madhupakka” and other items related to food. Five types of water, five types of powder or “Panchabaner Guri”, five types of leaves and various other items also make up the list of items required for this ritual.
  2. For the “Shasti Puja,” you need “Pancha Pallab”, “Pancha Ratna” “Pancha Shashya”, “Pancha Gobbo” and “Pancha Pradip”. “Madhupakka” sesame seeds, honey, sugar, butter curd, mustard seeds and other items are also required. Just like the earlier ritual, you need a “gamchha”, a “dhoti” and a “sari” for performing “Bodhon”.
  3. The typical characteristic of the “Saptami Puja” is that 108 lotuses are required for the ritual. It is the same number that Rama had offered the same number of flowers to Devi Durga when asking for her blessing for the battle against Ravana. Also, you need most of the things that were used in the earlier rituals like “Pancha Ratna”, “Pancha Pallab” “Pancha Shashya”, “Pancha Guri” and others.
  4. A sari for Durga and clothes for her children are a requirement for the “Maha Ashtami” ritual. Clothes are also required for Vishnu, Shiva, Chandi, Ram, Jaya and Bijoya. 108 earthen lamps, a gold ring, a small sari, a nose ring, a mat, a pillow, flowers are some of the things that are required to perform this puja.
  5. Clothes for Chandi, Vishnu, Shiva, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Bijoya, Ram and Jaya have to be offered during the “Nabami” rituals. Other items such as betel leaves, bel leaves, curd, sweets, ghee, “Madhupakka”, a gift for the purohit and so on are also required.
  6. The “Dashami Puja” is completed with flowers, grass, incense sticks, curd, sweets and others.

 

Mantra

Learning mantra to satisfy your heart and help God bestow his blessing on your life can easily provide you with an enchanting feel. You can feel the urge of ultimate satisfaction with every mantra you pronounce.

Mantra In Devanagari Script:

“Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Vishnu Maayethi Sabdita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha”
“Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Chetanetyaabhi Dheeyate Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha”
“Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Buddhi Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"
“Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Nidraa Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha”
“Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Kshudhaa Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha”
“Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Chaayaa Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha”
"Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Shakthi Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"
"Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Thrishnaa Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"
"Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Kshaanthi Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"
"Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Jaati Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"
"Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Lajja Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"
"Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Shaanthi Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"
"Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Shradha Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"
"Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Kaanthi Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"
"Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Lakshmi Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"
"Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Vritti Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"
"Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Smrithi Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"
"Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Dayaa Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"
"Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Tushti Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"
"Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Matru Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"
"Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Braanthi Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"
"Indriyaanaamadhistaatri Bhootaanaam Chaakileshu Yaa Bhooteshu Satatam Tasyai Vyaaptidevyai Namo Namaha"
"Chiti Roopena Yaa Kristnam Yetadhyaapya Sthithaa Jagat Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha"

Highlights

Each day of the festivities brings new excitement to the people who celebrate it for six days. The worship of Devi Durga during the four days involves her victory as she takes on different forms to repel the attacks of Mahishashura, who takes on the form of a buffalo and other animals. The salient points that make this festival very interesting are:

The festivities start with the arrival of the idols in the various pandals on Sree Panchami.

  • On Shasti, the weapons given by the gods to destroy the evil Mahishashura are placed into the ten hands of Devi Durga and a prayer is done to bring the idol to life. It starts with “Kalparambho” in the morning and ends with “Bodhon”, “Amantran” and “Adhibas” in the evening.
  • The real puja starts from Maha Saptami when Devi Durga is worshipped as the symbol of feminine power which has been able to destroy the evil designs of Mahishashura. The morning starts with “Nabo Patrika” and “Saptami Puja” and sometimes the prayers continues well past midnight.
  • The next day starts with the “Ashtami Puja” and the “Birat Ashtami Brata” and ends with the “Sandhi Puja” in the evening. “Sandhi Puja” is performed at the time when Maha Ashtami ends, and Nabami starts. This moment is very auspicious because Devi Durga is able to kill Mahishashura at this juncture. The moment is recalled with loud banging of Indian drums and gongs.
  • Nabami starts on a low key as Devi Durga rests her arms after defeating and killing Mahishashura. The day starts with the “Nabami puja” that goes on throughout the day. The intervals between the sessions are filled with the beat of drums and the banging of gongs.
  • The beginning of Dashami casts a shadow of sadness in all the people as this is the day when Ma Durga is leaving her parental home for her husband’s abode along with her children. The “Dashami puja” is held in the morning and in the evening the married women of the community bid Ma Durga and each other goodbye. They put sindoor or vermilion on the heads, cheeks and faces while performing the “Baran” ritual. The idols are then transported to the banks of a river or water body nearby and immersed to signify departure. People come back to the empty pandals before dispersing with heavy hearts.