Sunday, 21 October 2012

Meaning of Each Day of Durga Puja - Mahasaptami


For those of you who are not familiar with the meaning and rituals associated with each day of Durga Puja, thought I would also give you a short history of how Durga Puja started and explain what each day signifies. 

Story behind Durga Pooja:
This festival involves the worship of Shakti i.e Goddess Durga. The legend Shakti lays back to the story of Mahisasur, a powerful demon also known as the Buffalo Demon, Through years of intense praying and worship, he got a boon from Lord Brahma that no power could harm him making him invincible. But once the divine powers were bestowed upon him, he started ravaging the whole world and killing people and eventually wanted to uproot the Gods too. The Gods, in dismay, combined their powers to create a beautiful maiden, and each placed his or her most potent weapon in one of her ten hands riding a lion. Durga killed Mahisasur and won the heaven back for the Gods.

Rituals of Durga Puja 

The festival of Durga Puja starts with Mahalaya, the first phase of the waxing moon in Aswin. Thousands offer prayers to their ancestors at the city's river banks, a ritual called Tarpan. The inauguration of the Goddess idol starts on Mahashasthi. The main puja is for three days - Mahasaptami, Mahaastami, Mahanavami. 

Mahashashthi
On this day Goddess Durga arrives to the mortal world from her heavenly abode, accompanied by her children. She is welcomed with much fanfare amidst the beats of dhak. Unveiling the face of the idol is the main ritual on this day. Kalaparambho, the ritual performed before the commencement of the puja precedes Bodhon, Amontron and Adibas.
 

Mahasaptami

With the first rays of the sun on Maha Saptami (the seventh day), a tree is dressed as the Goddess Durga herself in yellow silk cloth with a red border. The tree deemed to be the Goddess then becomes the spotlight attraction for the rest of the festival. The priest carries the tree in a grand procession to the Durga Puja pandal (big tent) accompanied by the drummers to welcome the Goddess. A platform is set up with an idol of Lord Ganesha already seated there. 

The tree-goddess is then installed beside the God of good fortune and then worshipped. The Kola Bou or Nabapatrika receives a holy bath, which is performed well before the dawn, on saptami. In this ritual, nine types of plants are worshipped as a symbol of Goddess Durga. Kalparambho and Mahasnan are preceded by the mahasaptami puja.


Wish you all a blessed Mahasaptami...

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