Friday, February 17, 2012

Durga Puja

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Goddess Durga Mata Puja Photo 


Durga Puja

Durga Puja festival is the most significant Hindu festival which is celebrated for nine days dedicated to mother goddess Durga.

Durga Puja Celebrations are visible throughout the nation but especially in the state of West Bengal. The celebration in West Bengal takes the gigantic proportions. Many pandals-makeshift structures are beautifully decorated in honor of Maa Durga during the festival of Durga Puja.

During the festival of Durga Puja, some aspects like Fasting, devotional songs, festival dishes, and decorations are considered as the main aspects.

Durga Puja is a festival which symbolizes the triumph of “Good over Evil”. Today, the celebrations connected with Durga Puja can best be taken pleasure at the various Durga Puja pandals that come up across the countryside. The devotional songs with various music styles are played by the Pandals in honor of Goddess Durga and the prayers are also offered to Maa Durga.


Different Names of Durga Puja Festival

Durga Puja festival is famous by this name in West Bengal but this festival is known, famous and celebrated with different names in different parts of India.

In Himachal Pradesh and Kullu Valley Durga Puja is celebrated as “Kullu Dussehra”.

Durga Puja festival is famous as Navratri Puja in Gujarat, Delhi and Maharashtra.

In Bengal, Durga Pooja is also famous as Maayer Pujo-worship of the Mother, Akalbodhan-untimely awakening of Durga, Durgotsab-festival of Durga.


When is Durga Pooja

Durga Pooja is celebrated two times in a year,

1) Once in the month of Chaitra (April-May)
2) Second in Ashwin (September-October).

On both events nine different forms of Maa Durga are worshipped with faith therefore called Durga Navratri-nine nights. According to the Hindu Calendar, the festival of Durga Pooja starts on the first day and ends on tenth day of bright half-Shukla Paksha of month of Ashwin.


About Goddess Durga

In Sanskrit, Goddess Durga, means "She who is difficult or incomprehensible or to reach."

Goddess Durga is an entire form of Shakti who is worshiped equally both for her gracious and terrorizing expression. As Maa Durga has the infinite and divine power, she is said to be the Mother of the Universe and a sign of a female dynamism.

About the demonstration of Maa Durga, it is said that she has emerged from her formless essence and the two are inseparable.

Maa Durah has also other names which are very famous and well-known to everyone. She is known as Shakti, Devi, Parvati, MahaKali, Ambika etc. Goddess Parvati is the real form of the consort of Lord Shiva. She is also the mother of two son, God Ganesha, Kartikeya and a daughter Jyoti. She is also called as the great destroyer of demons and largely worshiped during the Durga puja festival, especially in West Bengal.


Her Appearance 

There are endless aspects of Durga described in the Puranas and Agamas and the iconography is consequently very varied. She is usually pictured as having ten arms holding Sword, Conch, Discus, Rosary, Bell, Winecup, Shielf, Bow, Arrow, and Spear. She is most often shown riding a lion from which comes Her august name, Simhavahini, "She who stands astride the king of beasts". She is gorgeously dressed in royal red cloth and has several ornaments decorating Her personage. Her hair is dressed up in a crown (karandamukuta) which then flows out in long luxuriant tresses that are darkly luminous and soothing to the eye. The various tools reflects the eminent supremacy that helps in controling the universe and obey Her will.


Weilding Energy 

Goddess Durga exists eternally, always abiding in her own sweet nature and inhabits the hearts and minds of her ecstatic devotees. As Shakti power, she shapes, nurtures, and dissolves names and forms, while as subtle spiritual energy called Kundalini, She lights the lotuses fo the seven centres of awareness in the sacred human body. Goddess Durga killed the powerful demon Mahish and all his great commanders. When demonic forces create imbalance all god unite becoming one divine force called Shakti or Durga.


Origin of Durga - The Mythology

Devi is the great goddess of the Hindus,the consort of Shiva and she is worshiped in various forms corresponding to her two aspects: benevolence and fierceness. She is Uma, "light"; Gauri, "yellow or brilliant"; Parvati, "the mountaineer"; and Jagatmata, "the-mother-of-the-world" in her milder guise. The terrible emanations are Durga "the inaccessible"; Kali, "the black"; Chandi, "the fierce"; and Bhairavi, "the terrible."


Descent of the Goddess

Durga, a beautiful warrior seated upon a tiger, was the first appearance of the great goddess. The circumstance of her miraculous arrival was the tyranny of the monster-demon Mahishasur, who through terrific austerities had acquired invincible strength. The gods were afraid of this water-buffalo bull because neither Vishnu nor Shiva could prevail against him. It seemed that the joint energy of Shakti was only capable of vanquishing Mahisha, and so it was the eighteen-armed Durga who went out to do battle.


Battlefield 

She went to battle on her ferocious mount lion, armed with the weapons given to her by the other Gods. Durga is one of the angry and aggressive aspects of the goddess Shakti, whose role in Hindu mythology was to fight and conquer demons and also personify the Sakti or female aspect of any male deity. In the battle, she fought and killed the evil Mahishasura and restored heaven to the Gods. Since then the goddess is invoked for protection from the powers of evil. Durga Puja is observed in her honor, to celebrate her victory over evil.


Revered Mother

She has been worshiped from about 400 AD, but probably earlier, to the present. Her literary references are chiefly the Ramayana and Mahabharata, epic and Puranic texts, and she is mentioned by name in Vedic literature. In general, Durga is regarded in northern India as the gentle bride epitomizing family unity while in southern India she is revered more in her warrior aspect.

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