Friday, October 4, 2013


TODAY IS SUBHO MAHALAYA Today is Shubho Mahalaya, the first day of the biggest celebration of Bengalis - Durgapuja. The mythological story in which Mother Goddess Durga have slain Mahishasura  who conquered three worlds- heaven, hell, earth after defeating everyone. 
That war was fought in Spring, that is, in April (mostly), but when Ramchandra declared war against Ravana - in another mythological story Ramayana - he worshipped the Goddess during autumn, to have her blessings in his war and he received so, he defeated Ravana. That is why this puja is called Akalbodhan, and the actual war was fought during the ten days of Basantipuja, that is performed in very few families. Mahalaya marks the beginning of Durga Puja and Navratri.

The festival of Navratri celebrates the victory of Good over Evil. Unable to bear the persecution by the demon Mahishasura  the Gods had approached Lord Vishnu to help them out of the predicament. Following this plea the powers of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva were combined to create a powerful Goddess with ten arms - Goddess Durga, the unapproachable. Riding on a lion, this fearsome Goddess engaged Mahisasura in a fierce battle which culminated in the felling of the demon at the hands of the Goddess. 
Even today, the idols of the Goddess depict her killing the fearsome demon with her trident. Durga Puja in Bengal is also considered as the homecoming of the Mother. For Bengalis this is one of the most important festivals and preparations start for it months back. One of the time-honored customs is to gift new clothes to near and dear ones.

Mahalaya is the day to invoke and invite the Goddess Durga to earth. Mahalaya marks the beginning of Navratri and Durga Puja. Goddess Durga came to earth to destroy the demon Mahishasura. Since only a woman was capable of killing the demon king, Shakti or female power took the form of Goddess Durga to kill him. The Goddess was empowered with different weapons of the Gods and after a fierce battle, the Goddess killed the demon. Thus, She came to be known as “Mahishasuramardini” or the slayer of Mahishasura. Bengali people traditionally wake up early in the morning on Mahalaya to recite this history. Through the recitation of the verses and mantras, the Goddess is invoked and it is believed that She comes to the earth to destroy all evil. She comes down from her abode along with her family to bless humans and other creatures on earth with her divine blessings. Our spiritual masters have taught us that Goddess Durga is one of the many manifestations of the Great Goddess Mother of the whole universe. When there is a great danger in the universe, the mother Goddess Durga becomes good and right states, destroying evil. She always takes refuge in the Lord's service and protects devotees. Mother Durga is the wife of Lord Siva and is responsible for the material world. She is a faithful and devoted wife of Lord Shiva, who is considered the best of devotees. Being a devotee of a devotee is the highest position and is what most pleases the Supreme Lord. (Editor's note).

Durga Puja is the biggest Hindu festival in Bengal. Goddess Durga is worshipped with pomp and dedication through out this celebration. Navaratri is a nine-day festival, followed by the tenth day of victory, vijayadasmi. This festival is celebrated in honor of three most important Hindu goddesses. Only the combined force of all three divine deities, manifested as the female form Mahishasura Mardini, was able to destroy the powerful demon Mahishasura. ... The philosophical and symbolic concept of Navaratri points out that the demon Mahishasura is our own ego within, and the goddess to destroy is the all-powerful Shakti of spiritual internal meditation, through which the energy is moved from the lower chakras of violence, lust, and greed to the higher chakras of goodness, knowledge, and charity. In this festival of Navratri, devotees dance and pray to the goddess to triumph over the demon of ego. In the defeat of their own ego, they finally emerge victorious!

Dr. Hiro Badlani:
“Hinduism - Path of the Ancient Wisdom”
Chapter 54: “Hindu Festivals”

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

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