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Durga Saptashati Path & Puja online

WHEN IS DURGA PUJA IN 2021?

October 11 – October 15, 2021

Durga Puja starts with the Shasthi, or on the sixth day of Navratri on October 11, and continues till the end of Navratri (Dashmi) on 15 October, 2021.

WHEN IS NAVRATRI IN 2021?

October 7 – October 15, 2021

WHEN IS DURGA PUJA IN 2022?

October 1 – October 5, 2022

WHAT IS DONE DURING THE DURGA PUJA?

Durga Puja is a religious occasion, that brings people together and connects them in the form of Maa Durga Devotees. A variety of customs, such as fasting, feasting, worship, etc., are performed during the festival of the entire ten days. Six days during the festival are of immense importance including Mahalaya, Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami, and Vijayadashami. While Idol immersion and Kanya worship are performed during the last four days of Saptami, Ashtami, Navi, and Dashami.

Durga Puja is an important religious festival during which the ceremony of worship of Goddess Durga is performed. It is also known as Durgotsav, Shashtotsav, or Navratri. To honour Goddess Durga, this festival is celebrated with excitement, thrill, & devotion throughout the world. Maa Durga is worshipped as an embodiment of feminine strength. She is the fierce form of Lord Shiva’s wife, Mata Parvati. Revered for both her gracious form and her terrifying form, Maa Shakti is the embodiment of divine energy.

DURGA PUJA: WHERE IS IT CELEBRATED?

People worship the ten-armed, lion-riding Goddess with full zeal, joy, and devotion. Durga Puja is an important religious festival for Hindus. Durga Puja is celebrated with much fanfare in Bengal. The celebration of Durga Puja is also widely prevalent in Assam, Orissa, Jharkhand, Manipur, and Tripura, India. 

Maa Durga Mandir

Durga Puja is also observed during the auspicious time of Navratri in most parts of India. Apart from Western India, the festival of Durga Puja is also celebrated in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala. Durga Puja festival is also celebrated as a big festival in Nepal and Bangladesh, with an 8% Hindu population. It is also organized in various countries, including the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Netherlands, Singapore, and Kuwait.

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STORY OF THE ORIGIN OF MAA DURGA

A long time ago, the Devas were extremely saddened by the atrocities of the Asuras (demons). To resolve this, they went to Brahma Ji, the creator of this universe. Brahma Ji told them that the slaying of the demon king will be done by the hand of a virgin girl. After this, all the Gods united their might (energy) in one place through which Maa Durga was born. Swasti Vaachan, Shanti Path, Sankalp, Gauri, Ganesh, and Ram Darbar Pujan, Kalash Sthapan, Agni Sthapan, Shri Ram Charit Manas Akhand Path without any break. To be followed by Ram Ashtottarshat Namavali and then Purnahuti, Aarti, Prasad to Brahmins.
Maa Durga symbol

DURGA MAA – THE POWER OF COMBINED ENERGIES OF GOD

The face of Mata was formed from the might of Mahadev Shiv Shankar, the arms from the energy of Shri Hari Vishnu, both feet of Mata from the energy of Brahma Ji. From the might of Yamraj, became the hairs of the head, breast from moon’s might, and waist from Indra’s might. Maa Durga’s thighs had the energy from Varuns Dev, buttocks were formed from Earth’s might, fingers of both the feet from Sun’s might, teeth from Prajapati’s might, eyebrows from Sandhya’s (evening) might, Ear from Air’s (Wind God) might and different parts of the Goddess from the energy of other Devas.
Durga Idol

WEAPONS OF MATA DURGA

After the birth of Maa Durga, she gained the trident from Lord Shiva; Lord Vishnu gave the Sudarshan chakra, Hanuman Ji gave mace, Shri Ram gave a bow, Agni arrows filled with power, Varuna gave the divine conch, Prajapati gave garland of the crystal beads, Lakshmi Ji gave the lotus flower, Indra dev gave Vajra (thunderbolt), Sheshnag gave snake embellished with gems, Varun Dev gave pash (loop) and arrow, Brahma Ji gave the four Vedas. Himalaya mountain gave lion to Mata for the ride.

Apart from these, Mother Durga received the everlasting divine clothes, chudamani (a type of clip for hairs), bright necklaces, bracelets of hands, two earrings, and rings from the sea. Mata Durga wore all these weapons and other items. This great and magnificent form of Maa Durga was enough to instill fear among the Asuras. Maa Durga possesses the powers of all the gods. There is no other powerful like Maa Durga; she has immense power, there is no end to those powers, so she is called Adishakti.

LEGENDS OF DURGA PUJA

Birth of Mahishasura

Goddess Durga killed the demon named Mahishasura on the day of Durga Puja. Mahishasura was an asura. Mahishasura’s father, Rambha, was the king of Asuras who once fell in love with a buffalo living in the water, which resulted in the birth of the demon Mahishasura. Due to this, Mahishasura could take the form of a buffalo whenever he wanted and a human form whenever he wanted. Mahisha means buffalo in Sanskrit.
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Vardana (Blessing) of Lord Brahma & Durga Puja

Mahishasura was a great devotee of Brahma Ji, the creator, and Brahma Ji, pleased by his penance, gave him a boon that no god or demon could conquer him. The demon king, Mahishasura, became very powerful after getting the blessing of Lord Brahma and started harassing the gods in heaven and terrorized the Earth as well. He suddenly attacked heaven, defeated Devraj Indra, took over heaven, and drove out all the gods. All gods distressed by it approached Trimurti -Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh for help. All the Gods reunited and fought to defeat the demon king and his army again, but they were defeated again.

Maa Durga – The Divine Solution

When no remedy was found, then the Gods created Maa Durga, also known as Shakti and Parvati, to destroy Mahishasura. Goddess Durga attacked Mahishasura, and there was a fierce battle between the two for nine days. On the tenth day, Maa Durga killed Mahishasura. On Commemoration this occasion, Hindu devotees celebrate the ten-day festival of Durga Puja, and the tenth day is known as Vijayadashami, which signifies the victory of good over evil.
Maa Durga Saptashati Online

Another Story behind Durga Puja

According to the second legend regarding Durga Puja, Shri Ram did Chandi Homam for the blessings from Goddess Durga to conquer Ravan. Shri Rama killed Ravan on the tenth day of Durga Puja since that time that day is called Vijayadashami. Durga Puja is also believed to celebrate Lord Rama’s victory.
Durga Puja Festival

THE CEREMONY FOR MAA DURGA PUJA

Durga Puja is done with pure mind and devotion. Durga Puja is done every time in the Shukla Paksha of the Ashvina (September–October) month of the Hindu calendar. This festival is celebrated along with the celebration of Dussehra. Therefore, schools and colleges remain closed for many days. Devotee women keep fast and worship Goddess Durga for these ten days. Every day the idol of Durga is worshiped with great pomp and show. For this, a big canopy and Pandals are put up. Many people participate in these events. The Pandal of worship is very well decorated. They are illuminated with different colours. They are decorated with great enthusiasm.

IMPORTANCE OF DURGA PUJA

Durga Puja is a very important festival of Hinduism which has religious, spiritual, cultural, and worldly importance. In the form of Durga Puja, female power is worshipped. Durga Puja is celebrated with the desire to gain power so that the evils can be eradicated. People believe that the blessings of Maa Durga will be attained by Durga Puja, and Durga Mata will keep all problems away from them and negative energy. Every festival of Hindus has a social and religious reason behind it. Durga Puja infuses enthusiasm and energy in the lives of the devotees. In many places, fairs and markets are organized in this festival.
Durga Puja in Temple

THE MESSAGE OF DURGA PUJA

Durga Puja is done with the desire to gain power so that the world’s evils can be eradicated. Just as Goddess Durga, by gathering the power of all the Gods and Goddesses, destroyed the evil demon Mahishasura and saved Dharma, similarly we can promote humanity by conquering our evils. This is the message of Durga Puja. Goddess Durga is considered to be the incarnation of Shakti (Power). Durga Puja instills courage in people, and they forget each other’s mutual differences and wish each other well.

THE EARLIEST PUJA

Though Durga Puja is considered an old tradition in the Hindu religion, its exact origins are unclear. The first ancient record of such a celebration of Durga Puja, which was done by royal and wealthy families, is available from the 1500s in West Bengal. It was mainly a family festival, which was observed with great pomp and show in earlier times. 

In October 1757, Durga Puja was held with unimaginable grandeur for the first time, by Raja Nabakrishna Deb Bahadur, in his newly built palace at Shova Bazar in present-day Kolkata. Before this, the old city of Kolkata had never experienced Durga Puja on such a scale. The Maharaja invited both common people and dignitaries to attend the Puja. However, Durga Puja is considered to have gained a lot of fame and importance as one of the country’s largest festivals during the country’s independence movement.

The face of Maa Durga

DURGA PUJA AND BENGAL

Bengali Hindus consider Durga Puja to be the biggest festival. The grand Pandals and hues of colors make the whole of West Bengal and Kolkata unique during Durga Puja. During this time, the entire atmosphere here is painted in the shades of the devotion of Maa Durga, the Goddess of power.

During nine days of Durga Puja or Navaratri, the amazing glow that is seen all over the country brings relief to the hearts of all. This festival is celebrated in almost every city of northern India, but the most attractive and beautiful tradition of Durga Puja is seen in West Bengal. Here, you get to see grand pandals, the sanctity of worship, shades of colors, goddesses with stunning faces, sindoor khela, dhunuchi dances.

These nine things make the Durga Puja of Bengal unique:

The Idol Of Goddess & Durga Puja

During Durga Puja, Mahishasura Mardini Swaroop (Form) of Maa Durga is worshiped. In Durga Puja Pandals, the idol of Maa Durga can be seen slaying Mahishasura. The Goddess is holding the trident and has an asura named Mahishasura at her feet. Her vehicle, a lion, is also behind the Goddess. To the left of the idol of Maa Durga stand statues of Saraswati and Karthikeya, and to her right side stand statues of Lakshmi and Ganesh along with Ganesha’s two wives in the form of two banana trunks. An image/ idol of Lord Shiva above Durga is also there. This entire presentation is called Chala.

The idols of Goddess Durga are made from the clay collected from the river Hoogly, which is considered sacred in West Bengal. Further, the clay is mixed along with soils from a prostitute’s house (Brothel). This tradition symbolizes that all are equal and loved in Goddess’s eyes. It is believed that the soil outside Brothel (a prostitute’s house) is considered ‘Punya Matti’ as people who visit brothels leave their purity and virtue outside the Brothel.

Chokhudaan

This tradition is the oldest of the Durga Puja traditions. Durga’s eyes are offered during ‘Chokhudaan.’ It takes 3 to 4 months to make idols of these deities, i.e. ‘Chala.’ In this, the eyes of Durga are made in the last. This ritual of Chokhudaan is supposed to be done in complete darkness and in the presence of only one sculptor and no one else.
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Ashtami Pushpanjali

The festival of Ashtami Pushpanjali is celebrated on the 8th day of Navratri. On this day, all people offer flowers to Maa Durga. This is called offering a Pushpanjali to Maa Durga. Bengalis may live in any corner, but they wake up early in the morning and offer flowers to Durga on the morning of Ashtami. Even strangers come together and offer flowers to Goddess Durga, whom they consider Maa.

Paara Aur Barir Puja

The unique thing about Durga Puja is that this festival is not limited to only pandals. One which is celebrated on a very large scale, called Paara (locality) puja, which includes lights, designs, themes, ideas, and crowd, while the other Barir (home) Puja which is celebrated in the house. Barir Puja brings people closer to their roots with a sense of homecoming. Paara is organized in pandals and large community centres.

Kumari Puja

Goddess Durga is worshiped in various forms during the entire Puja. The most popular of these forms is Kumari (Virgin Girls). In this, Kumari is worshiped in front of the Goddess. It is considered to be the pious form of worship of the Goddess. For the worship of this form of Goddess, girls from 1 to 10 years old are selected. They are worshiped, and their Aarti is done.
Durga Saptashati Online 2

Sandhya Aarti

Sandhya Aarti has special significance during this period. The beauty of Sandhya Aarti is so bright and beautiful that people reach from far away to see it. People dressed in traditional Bengali attire add to the grandeur and beauty of this Puja. The Sandhya Aarti is performed daily in the evening during the 9-day long festival. Sandhya Aarti is performed amid music, conch, drums, bells, and dancing singing.

Dhunuchi Nach (Dance) in Durga Puja

Dhunuchi Nach is actually a power dance. This dance, part of the Bengal tradition, is performed to increase the power and energy of Maa Bhavani. According to the Puranas, because Mahishasura was very powerful, no male deity could kill him. Maa Bhavani goes to kill him. Hence the devotees of the Maa Bhavani to increase her power and energy do Dhunuchi Nach, which involves dancing amid music, conch, drums, and bells holding a dhunuchi, an earthen lamp full of burning coconut coir, in both their hands and facing the Goddess. The coconuts coir and Havan ingredients (dhuno) are kept in Dhunuchi and burned, which produces smoke, creating a smoky effect. The Maa Durga’s Aarti is done by that. Dhunuchi Nach starts from Saptami and continues till Ashtami and Navami.
Unique image of Maa Durga

Sindoor Khela as a part of Maa Durga Puja

On the day of Dashami, the last day of Puja, women celebrate Sindoor Khela. They paint each other with Sindoor (vermilion), much like playing with colours in Holi. This ritual marks the farewell of Goddess Durga, and with this, the whole festival ends.

Vijay Dashami

Vijay Dashami is celebrated on the last day of Durga Puja, i.e., Dashami. On this day, only crowds are seen in the streets of Bengal. On this day, the idol of Maa Durga is immersed, marking the return of Maa Durga back to her family. A ritual of family reunion takes place following the immersion. Every Bengali household hosts gatherings and exchanges sweets and gifts with their loved ones. However, above all, Durga Puja is essentially the worship of womanhood and the celebration of the supreme source of power – Maa Durga.

Maa Durga Murti

BENEFITS OF DURGA PUJA

Maa Durga is a gracious and fierce Goddess who can free people from all negative forces, and hence, Durga Puja is a boon for people suffering from all sorts of negative impacts in their lives. Durga Puja can get for the devotees the grace of the Goddess, protect them from distress, sorrow and misery, and endow them with happiness and peace. Women can be blessed with marital harmony, the longevity of the spouse, and long and contented life.

In this modern world, people may end up committing many misdeeds and sins, knowingly and unknowingly. This may incur for them the displeasure or even the wrath of the Gods. Durga Puja can please the Maa Durga, and she gives her devotees divine protection and forgives the devotees. It is believed that Maa Durga will help mitigate the harm that may occur to them or their families.

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