Hi family & friends,
Happy Durga Puja! The month of October is a very festive time in India and there’s lots of rejoice and unity in the air. The past 10 days have been a particularly important holiday for many, so I figured I would share the story and mythology to you all.
Mother Goddess Durga
Durga Puja is an annual Hindu festival that celebrates the worship of goddess Durga. The dates of Durga Puja are set according to the traditional Hindu calendar and is largely celebrated mainly in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Jharkand, Orisa, and Tripura, which consist predominately of Bengali Hindus and is considered the biggest festival of the year. Goddess Durga is considered the deity of power. She was placed on the earth in aims to kill the demon Mahishasura, who was set to conquer the world with his tyranny and invisible power. Significant Lords known as, Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma, and Lord Shiva (her husband), summoned her as an avatar to save the earth and living beings from the monster-demon Mahishasura. Ultimately, with the weapons provided to her by the Gods, she was able to push forth and conquer his invisible strength as a beautiful warrior, sitting on her lion. She is seen as the mother goddess, with her ten arms, and her name in Sanskrit means invincible.
The last day is today, and common rituals that occur during this time are fasting, feasting, prayers, and offering of various items such as food, water, various powders, clothes, plants, and more. On the last day, known as Dashami, she is placed in the river or lake for a farewell. For 10 days, she leaves her husband Shiva to visit her parents on earth, and then returns to her heavenly abode.
I visited several different sites today in Durga’s honor, and felt at ease knowing everyone was there to celebrate the victory of good over evil in unison. I offered some sweets to the Gods and had kumkum spread on my forehead for the first time.
I’ll share a story I read about the Divine Mother, Durga Puja:
Goddess Durga and Lord Shiva’s son, Lord Ganesha, came across a stray cat while playing. Little Lord Ganesha was thrilled about the animal and began to manhandle it. He even resorted to pulling its hair, scratching it and beating it up with a stick. The frightened cat ran for its life.
After his play, little Ganesha went home. He was shocked to find his mother, the Divine’s hair disheveled with scratches on her face. He was horrified to see her limp as she moved about.
He burst into tears, “Oh Mother! What has happened to you? Who beat you up?”
The Divine Mother Durga replied, “It was you who beat me up, a little while ago”
Little Ganesha was perplexed. He claimed to be playing out and hence was not responsible for his mother’s affliction.
Divine mother Durga replied, “Do you recall the way you ill-treated the little cat? You thought you were hurting it, but you were actually hurting me!”
The truth immediately dawned on little Ganesha that the Divine Mother Durga is the inherent being in all beings of the manifested world. The manifestation of the world is nothing but the manifestation of Durga.
When I read this story, it really hit me that the actions you place on others do end up either hurting or helping the collective whole. There is a universal oneness we all share, but often forget. What you place on others, in one way or another gets returned to you or someone close, coming into a full circle.
Well, tonight, I’ve been missing lots of you and the states, but am really thrilled to be here for the wonderful season.
I’ll be posting again shortly with some updates!
Here are some pictures from the day –
Bengali sweets!! (YUM)
MUCH MUCH LOVE,