Durga Puja Greetings
For Bengalis, this is the biggest festival of the year. Today, the last day of the five-day event, is called “Bijoya Dashimi.” Mother Durga, who had come with her children (Saraswati, Lakshmi, Ganesh, and Kartik) to visit her parents, departs today. For five days her idols had been worshiped and today the idols will be given back to the earth from which they were made.
The origins of this festival are varied. Here’s one. The story goes that there was this guy called Mahishashur who because of his great devotion to Shiva, was granted a boon by Shiva that he could never be killed by any man or god. Shiva does crazy stuff like that. So Mahishashur became a bit of a nuisance, tormenting the gods etc. So then the gods in desperation presented their case to the supreme three — Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Yes Shiva, the same guy who gave Mahishashur the power in the first place, is part of the trinity. The three agreed that something had to be done. So the invoked Shakti. Shakti is the ultimate power that underlies the whole of creation. It is also the female principle; Shiva is the male principle. Thus came Goddess Durga the fierce incarnation or avatar of Shakti and she confronted Mahishashur and defeated him. Durga is also referred to as “Mahishashur-mardini,” the slayer of Mahishashur. In Bengali iconography, Durga is depicted with ten arms, each holding a specialized instrument, riding a lion and piercing the heart of the demon Mahishashur with her lance. It is the same old story of good defeating evil.
Happy Bijoy Dashimi to all visitors of this blog.
[See last year’s entry: Puja.]