All about Durga Puja: – In the month of September-October, when the “Sarad” season brings a lot of white clouds in the blue sky, all hindu celebrates “Durga puja”, the biggest festival of Hindus.
When the beautiful flowers paints the green earth with a white touch, the goddess Parbati visits her own house (that is, the earth) with her four children Ganesh, Kartik, Swaraswati, Laxmi for five days and her arrival Celebrate with great enthusiasm. .
The wave of enthusiasm flows throughout the country with a spirit of union. Stores are usually flooded with people looking for new dresses for themselves and their loved ones.
These four days of Durga puja, people used to wander from pandel to pandel to take a look at the devi durga. The food on the side of the road adds a little flavor to your joyful visit.
In addition to all these festive reverberations, Durga puja offers a lot of employment opportunities for many people. Some of them win only during this season, such as Clay artiest), drummer, Pandel maker, etc.
The place is called Kumortuli, where the group of potters works day and night to shape the idol. This procedure begins with the ritual called “Kahamopuja”, a prayer to God before making the straw structure. In order to make the idol, they put black sticky clay on the structure. After a bit of final finishing, the idol is dyed in color and adorned with jewelry.
Durga Puja is the most important festival of the Hindu. It comes during the month of Ashwin (September-October). Before Durga Puja, the Mahalaya arrives, which is a fortnight after the new moon (Amavasya).
During Pitripaksha (Pitri – ancestor, paksha – fortnight), we remember our family ancestors and offer them til (sesame seeds) and water in their name. This is called til tarpan. If one cannot perform til tarpan for fourteen days, he does in the day of Mahalaya, the last day of the fortnight of ancestors.
After Mahalaya, begins the Devi paksha (shukla paksha or crescent side of the moon). It is the fortnight of the celebration of worshiping Goddess Durga that culminates on the tenth day (dashami).
Five days later is Purnima. Durga puja is done for five days: Shashthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami. Sandhipuja is made between Ashtami and Navami.
The mythological story behind Durga Puja is that Durga, the goddess with ten hands, killed the demon Mahishashur. To become immortal, mahishashur did years of penance to Brahma.
Brahma granted him the blessing, with the exception that he can only be killed by one woman. Mahishashur felt that he was as good as immortal, since he could not think of a woman who could be more powerful than him.
Then Durga was born with the power of all the Gods and Goddesses and killed Mahihshashur. Five days of Durga Puja celebration mark the victory of justice over evil.
Traditionally, Durga Puja used to be celebrated during spring (basant), which still continues. But Rama prayed to Durga during this time (autumn) to get her blessing and the weapon to kill Ravana. Therefore, a new tradition began from the time of Rama and Durga Puja moved to this time of year. Therefore, it is often referred to as akal bodhan which means ultimately prayer.
Pandal on Durga Puja
The mandap puja or the main altar is a platform within a bamboo structure called pandal. . In the early days, the pandal was the temporary abode, they were made of simple bamboo scaffolds with meters of cloth wrapped around.
Today, pandals are built in every imaginable way and complex structures that replicate famous temples, houses of parliament, mansions, fortresses, etc. The materials used in the construction of these pandals are no longer simple and cost effective, but complicated and very expensive.
Pandals created with many materials, some are ecological and others are not. Some are waste materials and others are created specifically, some materials are fragile and elegant, while others are strong.
Some materials are found locally and in some pandals these materials are imported. Some of this material are plastic, papers, earth, plaster of paris. Designers decorate the pandals in the most amazing way possible, using different materials, e.g. Terracotta, old LP records, cookies, coca cola bottles, matchboxes, etc., to name a few.
The theme may be seashells, ancient temples, fortresses, ships, igloos and even the White House, and some themes may simply be motivation, thoughts or ideas that may arise from fantasies, political conflicts, a flaccid socio-economic condition and parenthood.
Pandal-making-is an extremely tactile construction method, it has a connection between the materials and the artisan’s construction method. The soil in this region is suitable for bamboo to grow in abundance and is also good for the construction of beards and mud.
For centuries, artisans are using these techniques while working with bamboo and mud to build houses in this region. Other materials of local origin are straw, jute, rice husk, paper and wood used in pandals.
These are the most natural and ecological materials that can be used in construction. The festival ensures that most of the materials used can be easily disassembled and reused. A bamboo frame achieves shape with handmade elements and finishes.
Steel is also used, although in moderation, in some large pandales to make a frame. In recent times, some pandals also use scrap or waste products for construction. In rooted tradition, artisans engage in innovative ways to combine regional crafts with technology and new tools.
Two months before Durga Puja, artisans begin to prepare to build the pandal. It began with energy reverberations, discussions and joyful anticipation of the invisible world in which it is about to transform.
Bamboo, clay, wooden posts, plaster and hay are collected in the corner of a street. A designer with his team of artisans assumes the responsibility of building a unique pandal to talk with people in the neighborhood and then establishes the design and builds the Pandal.
The streetscape is transformed into his studio. Tools mold materials; dreams come true; The Pandal gradually emerges.
Inside the pandal, the priests perform rituals in front of the deities. Offerings of fruits, flowers, sweets, incense and sandalwood are placed in front of the deities while the congregation in the pandal repeats the mantras.
The Durga idol-
The improvised structures of the goddess idols are adorned with particular works of art and stylistic themes made with local craft materials such as shola or pith, woven brocades, jute colors, clay and terracotta ornaments and imitation jewels.
The festival has become the livelihood of countless local artisans. For example, an entire neighborhood, the artisans of ‘Kumartuli’ are carriers of knowledge of the method of regional sculpture of straw-bamboo and clay armor, which is used characteristically to sculpt Durga idols.
The rituals of the deities in which the material is used as rice, dried flour, flower petals, turmeric (haldi), vermilion (Sindoor) and colored sand.
WORSHIP OF IDOLS
The worship of an idol is the bridge between a human being and his/her salvation. To reach the final concept of God without form, the current idol worship is the guide before the eyes of believers in the Hindu faith. Durga Puja comes from the sacred Hindu Scripture called Markendaya Puran.
According to mythology Devi Durga, the epitome of “Shakti”, divine power, as presented in his ten arms, kills Mahishasura, the king of all Asuras, who are evils. Goddess Durga emerges from the accumulated powers of the holy trinities: Lord Brahma, the creator; Lord Vishnu, the conservative; and Lord Shiva, the destroyer of the universe.
She personifies unity. She symbolizes the unity necessary for the elevation of the mind and soul. So, Durga Puja is the worship of Goddess Durga, Shakti and Power, which protects us from evil and brings peace, happiness and prosperity in our lives.
It is a great occasion for Hindu families to get together and share love in early fall every year.
Origin of Goddess Durga
According to mythology, Mahishasur was a powerful demon king who could change his form from human to buffalo. After many years of prayer, he received a blessing from Brahma that he could only be killed by any man. He ignored the strength of the woman who became the secret of his death. He soon became invincible and terrified heaven and earth.
The gods finally entered the conclave and created a nemesis in the form of a beautiful young woman. She was named Durga or the rescuer of the problems. After ten days of fighting, Durga killed Mahishasur on the tenth day of the crescent moon.
Thus, Durga was called Mahishasur Mardini (murderer of the buffalo demon). Later, Durga, with her divine powers, became Lord Shiva’s wife and was known as Parvati (daughter of the mountain – parvat, whose name was Himavat, another name of Himalayas).
They have four children: Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh. Each of them had different divine attributes that made them different Gods and Goddesses. The mother, Durga or Parvati, visits the land once a year with her children during the fall season, whose (deities) are shown in the mandap puja.
The traditional image of Durga shows an ensemble of the goddess and her two daughters, Lakshmi and Saraswati and two sons, Ganesh and Kartik, with the face of husband Shiva who looks at them from above on a single background scaffold.
Here, the great idol of Durga, killing the buffalo demon Mahiṣasura, sits on a lion with her 10 arms holding weapons respectively gifted to her by the god.
All these weapons have a symbolic meaning. But this single-calcitra or ekcala is replaced everywhere with one in which the idols are placed separately on the altar with the goddess Laxmi and Ganesh on the right and Saraswati and Kartik on the left.
Ganesh God with elephant head;
Ganesh (Ganesha, Ganapati, Vinayaka, Ganesa, Vighneshvara) is the youngest son of Shiva and Pravati; one of the best known and valued in the Hindu pantheon; revered as the obstacle eliminator and committed to an auspicious start. Shri Ganesh is the God of wisdom and worshiped at the beginning.
Kartik is the central deity of the Hindu tradition, god of war, elder brother of Ganesha and murderer of the demon Taraka. Peacock is his pet bird and transport vehicle.
Laxmi is beautiful and loving hindu goddess of good fortune, wealth and prosperity (both material and spiritual). She is one of Durga’s daughters and Saraswati’s sister. She brings eternal happiness, abundance and good fortune. Owl is her pet bird.
Saraswati (Sharda, Vani, Vaakdevi)
Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, science, music and arts. She is the consort of Brahma. She is widely revered by students dedicated to learning. The white swan is her pet bird and transport vehicle.
Mahishasur was a powerful demon king who had the ability to change from human to buffalo. He was invincible by the gods that resulted in the creation of Goddess Durga for his contributed powers.
After a fierce fight, Durga finally killed the demon and brought universal peace. Thus, Mahishasur is credited in the creation of Durga, the goddess who rescues humans from problems.
CHANDI (or Chandika) AND DURGA
Chandi is a form of Goddess Durga in her fierce mood to protect her children. She is the supreme Goddess of Devi Mahatmya, also known as Durga Sapthashati, who described the seven different moods of Durga.
Chandi is described as the supreme reality that is a combination of Mahakali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati. There are no references of Chandi in any Vedic literature.
This may be due to the fact that the Chandi deity (Kali, Durga, etc.) belonged to the non-Hindu or Sanskrit tradition of Hinduism. Worshiping the power of the Almighty in feminine form (devi Mahatmya), is the main seat of the Shakta or Goddess tradition and the tantric sadhana since ancient times. In Devi Mahatmya, Chandi, Chandika, Ambika and Durga have been used as synonyms.
The legend of the Goddess is described in Devi Mahatmya. The great Goddess was born from the energies of male divinities when the gods weakened in the prolonged battle with demons or asuras.
All the energies of the gods came together and became supernova, throwing flames in all directions. Then that unique light, which permeated the Three Worlds with its brightness, combined into one and became a feminine form that we adore as Durga, Kali, Chandi and such like. Chandi is one of the most spectacular personifications of cosmic energy.
In other scriptures, Chandi is portrayed as helping Kali in her battle with the demon Raktabija. Raktabija had the supernatural power to regenerate himself as his duplicates, for every drop of his blood that fell to the ground. Chandi and Kali worked together to kill the demon.
Chandi dedicated herself to destroying the armies of demons created from Raktabija’s blood and finally killed him while Kali was engaged in drinking the blood that came out of Raktabija before he fell to the ground.
Therefore, Her tongue is outside and she wears the heads of demons that came from Raktabija. Later they killed two other demons, Chanda and Munda who gave the name of Chamunda to the new form of Durga. This is described in Skanda Purana.
Worship OF FIVE BASIC GODS
All Hindu puja rituals involve the worship of other gods and goddesses before focusing on the main deity. These gods and goddesses regulate our lives in many ways.
These include the group of five gods or Panchadevata, the Guardians of the directions (Dashadikpal) and the nine planets (Navagraha) are worshipped and also the various incarnations of Vishnu (Dashavatar) that connect to our evolutionary biological process.
The group of five Gods (one is Goddess) are: Ganesh, Vishnu, Shiva, Surya and Jagadhatri (Parvati). They are worshiped in three steps: dhyan, offfering and pranam. You cannot repeat the worship of those Gods whom you have already worshiped.
For Ganesh, Vishnu, Sun and Durga.
Take a flower in your left palm. Hold it with the mudra for meditation (kurma). Imagine Ganesh, Vishnu, sun and durga on your mental screen, sing the mantra and place the place of the flower in the sacred pitcher, imagining that you are putting the flower on its feet. You must do the puja separately.
Offer water to wash the Lord’s feet on the offering plate.
With your hands together look for the blessings of god.
The idols are made of straw and clay. In the bamboo frame, an idol structure is made of straw on which layers of clay are plastered and smoothed to give the final shape.
The face, fingers and other parts of the body are made of mold. After painting and drawing the eyes, the idol is decorated with appropriate clothing and ornaments made of imitation jewelry.
It has been a great sight to see the creation of idols by expert potters (kumor) in their studios generally located in a fixed enclave called Kumorpara. Long before the puja, the preparations begin.
The organizers begin to enter into these studies and make an advance payment for their idols. Sometimes they ask for a stylistic change for their idol and instruct the potter to make an idol in a special way.
Now these innovative forms of idols have become a fashion of the day and many of the organizers are famous for new inventions every year. For all the puja that attract the crowd, the “theme” of the pandel remains the main attraction, which is more fashionable and adds prestige to the organizers.
Much before the real puja, pyandel makers begin their work. They create large buildings or temples or palaces mainly of perishable materials. These are not real but have the feeling of hyper real.
These structures often present us with a world that is not a real replica of something real, but the perfect representation of the order of reality. The Mahiṣasuramardini (goddess who kills the buffalo demon) is the pristine form.
HOW DURGA PUJA HAS BEEN SO IMPORTANT
The four most important functions of Durga puja are: (i) cosmic rejuvenation; (ii) Empowerment on a personal, sovereign, communal, political and economic level; (iii) fertility; and (iv) Religious functions.
The timing of worship compared to the agricultural calendar seems to be very adequate since there is little pressure from agricultural labor during this period. The weather is also very comfortable.
Another point that many older people often refer to is that the number of puja increases day by day, however, religious devotion is decreasing. They attribute this to the rising unemployment of young people, which they say has a substantial role in the growth of the puja.
Therefore, the economy seems to play an important role in this way in the recent rise of Durga worship.
Durga puja is organized at the community level. When carried out in the homes of the class of elite people, it also carries the collective spirit through the participation of the whole family or lineage. In worship, different castes and classes of people have respective roles.
Prostitutes who are generally considered marginal and undervalued in society are not totally as strangers; soil is required from the entrance of her house in Durga puja.
In traditional society, untouchable castes such as Dom, which are drummers, potters, weavers, barbers, have a considerable professional engagement. In contemporary society, this participation of the various cross sections of society as indicated above is also manifest. Political conventions also classify this space as a place of power.
Durga puja is the occasion that gives us the opportunity to know our potential as a collective force and gives us the feeling that, as a collective, we are enormously powerful.
It is both a pleasant and enjoyable feeling. Devisukta that reveals the goddess before us and is the enchantment prescribed ritually before the actual reading of Chandi at the time of Durgāpūjā sheds some light on this individual-collective relationship.
Daily Puja Arrangement
Raised platform: Deity, an elevated platform, book, inkpot, pen.
Pushpapatra (flower plate): flower, sandalwood paste, wet rice, haritaki, durba, tulsi, belpata, til, mashkalai, Supari, red thread.
Lamp plate: lamp holder and dhupbatti and dhup stand.
Puja accessories for priest: water conch (jalashankha), kosha-kushi (pot to hold water for the priest during the puja), bell, asan for priest.
Ghat and tekathi: pitcher full of water placed on some soil, five grains scattered on the ground (panchsashya) if not available, use rice, five-colored powder sprinkled on the earth (yantra or pattern is recommended), vermilion powder pasted in oil (put the mark on the pitcher).
The design can be the swastika or the Vastupurush (king of the earth). A small gamchha (piece of red cloth) is used to cover the pitcher.
Two small bowls: (a) Yogurt with some mashkali grains (called Mashabhaktabali). (b) Madhuparka: honey, ghee, sugar, milk and yogurt.
Tumblers: two glasses of water, sweets (misri), raisins, spring water, fruit in the pitcher (coconut is recommended), five leaves of fruit bearing trees (mango leaves are recommended).
Utensils to herald puja celebrations: Sankha (conch to blow), kansar and bell.
Naivedya: Four naivedyas are usually made: Naranaya (if shaligram is present), Pancha devata (Ganesh, Vishnu, Surya, Shiva and Jagadhari / Durga) and Navagraha (nine planets).
For Narayana, make a small mound of sugar and candy. Panchadevata naivedya has five moulds of rice associated with small fruits and small sugar cubes. Navagraha naivedya is made with good rice mounds (small mounds) with a sugar cube on the top and grapes (or any small fruit) on the top of the mound.
Arati: Panchapradeep, a small gamcha (piece of red cloth), incense, camphor, (chamar). Other things used are described below: water conch, bell, holder for burning camphor, flowers, etc.
Before starting the puja, place the puja materials in the place of the puja. The search for the materials you need, while the puja is in progress, disrupts the process of puja. In this distraction, the purpose of the puja is lost. Therefore, review the entire script and verify if all materials will be available when requested.
We have listed here the list of things we need and their location. According to your ability, the below list can be modified. Your thought is more important than your materials.
The deity and the displays (offerings).
Seat for Tantradharak (help of the priest).
Asan (seat) of the priest: a small patterned carpet.
Narayana sheela on pedestal.
Ghat: This is a pitcher full of water placed in a bit of soil that symbolizes elements of life. Five types of grains (rice, wheat, barley, mashkalai or black lentils, black sesame) are scattered on top of the earth (panchsashya). If there are not five grains available, use rice. Five colored powders are spread on the ground (yantra or pattern is recommended). Vermilion powder is mixed with a little oil to create a paste that is used to create the design in the pot: the swastika or Vastupurush. Five leaves of a fruit tree (mango recommended) are inserted around the neck of the pot, and a fruit (usually a coconut) is placed in the opening of the pot.
Put a garland on the pitcher. Use four sticks to mark the corners of a rectangle around the pitcher (you can use clay to keep the sticks upright). Wrap a red thread around the top of the sticks to create a rectangle.
Lamp, lamp holder, incense (dhupbati) and incense holder. In ancient times, the lamp was needed to see the diet. Literally, the incense provided a sweet-smelling fragrance.
Mashabhaktabali: Mashabhaktabali (yogurt) with some grains of mashkalai (black lentil) is offered as an offering to the spirits of all ancestors.
Water container of the priest (kosha-kushi): the water in this container is used to offer water.
Chediraj (King of the Earth).
Pushpapatra (flower plate): Pushpa patra – Plate to hold flowers. It also contains sandalwood paste for fragrance, durba which is a special herb with three leaves that represents nature, haritaki (seed) or supari (betel nut) (represents the growth of success), red thread (tied around the wrist after the puja for protection), mashkalai (black lentils, offerings to the spirits), wet rice and sesame(oilseeds) (food offerings).
Paper towel or gamcha for priest
Tamrapatra: a plate to hold the water offered
Pancha pradeep, water conch, gamcha, flower, mirror, incense, camphor and fan.
The worship of the goddess with lamp (arati) is a kind of dance that symbolizes in sequence: welcome to the goddess with lamp in the house (panchapradeep), wash the feet (water from water conch), wiping the feet with gamcha , decoration with flower, mirror to look at the face, purify the air (incense and camphor) and rest (fan).
Keep some bottles of drinking water in stock, a small bottle of oil to feed the lamp, some additional incense sticks and a matchbox.
ESTABLISHING THE HOLY Pitcher (Kalasha Sthapan)
The sacred pitcher and the five great elements of life
The pancha mahabhuta, or “five great elements” are: Tej (energy), Ap (water), kshiti (earth), Marut (air), Vyom (cosmos). It is believed by Hindus that all creation including the human body is composed of these five essential elements and that, upon death, the human body dissolves into these five elements of nature, thus balancing the cycle of nature.
Life depends on these five great elements and in the same way we trust in God and his blessing.
The Kalash (sacred pitcher) represents all the five elements mentioned above where the leaves are the energy captured from the sun, the water is filled inside the pitcher and the earth is kept under the pitcher. The air and the cosmos naturally surround the pitcher.
The hymn exemplifies the Hindu concept of creation. It is enchanted when the sacred pitcher is established. Hiranyagarbha literally means ‘golden womb’ or ‘golden egg’, poetically translated as ‘universal germ’. It is the source of the creation of the Universe or the manifested cosmos.
He declares that God manifested himself at the beginning as the Creator of the Universe, encompassing all things, including everything within himself.
Hold the pitcher’s neck with both hands and chant
Fold your hands and pray to the sacred pitcher:
Hold the jar with both hands and repeat the mantra
Pray for the sacred pitcher with your hands together
Cordoning the pitcher
The holy pitcher is cordoned by planting four arrowhead sticks (Kandatropan) in the four corners around the pitcher and surrounding a red thread around the sticks.
Planting arrowhead sticks
In the four corners of the sacred pitcher, place four sticks (3-5 mm in diameter, 2 feet high) with an arrowhead on top of each. This is commonly known as tirkAi (tirkathi). The arrowhead is made of dried palm leaves while they are inserted into the split top of the stick, making it look like the three-leaf (iconic) durba grass.
If palm leaves are not available, use thin pieces of wood or rough green leaves, inserted into the split top of the sticks, with the intent of making the stick. The tirkAi (tirkathi) imitates durba grass. The sticks are inserted into the clay balls at the base (imitating the earth). Foam cups filled with moist soil can be used.
The pitcher, symbolic of the basic elements of life, is surrounded by four sticks called tirkathi and a continuous red thread (five rounds). The tirkathi and the thread seem to mean the interwoven relationship of the family and the community with the creation of the basic elements of life.
Place four bamboo sticks on all four sides of the pitcher. Hold the sticks in four clay balls (traditional) or use four foam cups with moist soil. The sticks are divided at the top to hold the palm leaves (traditional, or use similar rigid leaves available locally). Make a three-pointed spearhead with the leaves cut into pieces. This is symbolic of durba grass, whose tip usually has three leaves.
The continuous red thread, in circles around the tirkathi (tir = arrowhead, kathi = stick), which surrounds the sanctified pitcher, is the icon of the interwoven relationship of the family and community with the essence of life.
Make a clockwise circle (tekathi, an slang expression of tirkathi), with a red thread, five or seven times. Pass the thread through each stick. Chant while tying the thread.
Elimination of obstacle
Several obstacles can disrupt Puja. Then the devotee prays to God for removing those obstacles that may come during the puja process. This is done through sound and action.
Throw a flower on the plate of offerings. Then, circle the palm of your right hand around the left palm three times and then strike the left palm with two fingers (middle and pointing fingers) of your right hand.
I am Jitendra Sahayogee, a writer of 12 Nepali literature books, film director of Maithili film & Nepali short movies, photographer, founder of the media house, designer of some websites and writer & editor of some blogs, has expert knowledge & experiences of Nepalese society, culture, tourist places, travels, business, literature, movies, festivals, celebrations.