Durga Puja (Vijaya Dashami)

"Ya Devi Sarva Vhuteshu Matru rupena Samshita.
Ya Devi Sarva Vhuteshu Shakti rupena Samshita.
Ya Devi Sarva Vhuteshu Shanti rupena Samshita.
Namastasyai NamastasyaiNamastasyai Namoh Namoh!

The Goddess who is omnipresent as the personification of Universal mother. The Goddess who is omnipresent as the embodiment of power. The Goddess who is omnipresent as the symbol of peace.

I bow to her, I bow to her, I bow to her.

Yes Goddess Durga is Durgati Nasini- the one who eliminates suffering is worshipped with great vigour and devotion in Orissa, West Bengal, Assam, Manipur, Bihar and Jharkhand. It is also celebrated with remarkable vibrancy in A.P, Telangana, U.P, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Kashmir, Nepal, Bangladesh, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, France, Netherland, Singapore and Kuwait.

Durga puja epitomises the victory of Good over evil. Victory of Goddess Durga over evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. Annual Durga Puja begins on the sixth day of Ashwina Shukla Pakshya and ends on tenth day of Ashwina Shukla Pakshya. The six days are observed as Mahalaya, Shashti, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maharnabami, and Vijayadashami. Goddess Durga often identified as an aspect of Goddess Parvathi, mother of Lord Kartikeya, Lord Ganesh, Goddess Lakshmi and Saraswati. Goddess Durga is worshipped in one frame along with idols of Kartikeya, Ganesh, Lakshmi and Saraswati during the six days of Durga Puja. Devi with three eyes stands in Abhaya Mudra on a lion with ten hands armed with weapons and divine energy.

The preparation of Durga idols generally starts with collection of mud from the bank of Holy River on Akshya Tritiya day and idol making generally starts from Ratha Yatra day. The annual ceremonial celebration of Durga Puja has its roots in Hindu mythology. As per the Devi Mahatmya of Markendeya Purana, Devi Durga emerged as collective cosmic and creative energy of all Gods- a famine force, a Goddess in the form of divine mother.

As per the legend- There lived a demon king Rambha who through his penance got a boon from Agni that he would get a son who would rule over three worlds of universe. Mahishasura was the son of Rambha. The Demon Mahishasura also obtained a boon from the Lord Brahma. Pleased with the devotion and penance, Lord Brahma asked for his wish. Demon Mahishasura asked to be blessed to be immortal. Lord Brahma replied that immortality cannot be given as a boon. He can ask for something else. Nurturing secret ambition of becoming immortal and remain invincible Mahishasura requested to be blessed that no Man or Deva should be able to kill him (and he if at all to die should die by a woman thinking no woman would ever be able to defeat or kill him.) Lord Brahma granted that boon to him. Armed with the boon Mahishasura wanted to rule the three worlds of the Universe.

After his conquest of earth, he wanted to rule the heaven and attacked Amaravati, the capital of Lord Indra. Lord Indra tried to defend the onslaught. Fierce battle took place but the Devas could not prevent Mahishasura from capturing the heaven. Devas after being defeated deserted the heaven. Then Lord Indra on advice of Brihaspati went first to Brahmalok and then to Kailash and to Vaikuntha and requested the trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswar to protect the Devas. The Trinity agreed to come to the rescue of the Devas and fought with the Demon King but could not defeat Mahishasura and retired from the battle field. Desperate and dejected the council of Gods met at Vaikuntha and prayed for a solution. Where upon Lord Vishnu suggested that a woman be created as none other than a woman could kill him in view of the boons. As Vishnu said this a dazzling pillar of blaze as bright as Sun (Pure energy) emerged from Lord Brahma. The matchless energy was strengthened by the contribution of Lord Shankara and Vishnu. Kubera, Yama, Agni and other Devas sent their powers to join the bundle of light and energy. So emerged the Devi of unsurpassed grace, beauty and energy- an eternal force beyond the sensory perception. She was bedecked and decorated by Viswakarma and Varuna and armed with Discuss (clone of Sudarshan Chakra) of Vishnu, Trident of Shankara, Vajra the thunderbolt of Indra, battle axe of Viswakarma, Kamandal of Brahma, quiver and bow of Vayu, sword & staff of Yama, Noose of Varuna holding a counch in one hand and a half bloom lotus in another riding the Lion, Durga emerged as the collective energy and power of Devas and assured Devas to annihilate the demon king.

The mysteriously beautiful Durga bejeweled and equipped with fearsome weaponry of Gods was ready to engage in battle with cruel demon Mahishasura. Thunderous roar of her lion and the dynamic energy shook the earth and heaven. Goddess Durga moved towards the heaven. The demons were awestruck. Mahishasura sent his generals to fight the Goddess. Seventeen of his generals were killed by the Goddess one after another. Mahishasura was the last to enter the battle field. Mahishasura fought changing into different form such as lion, elephant and warrior buffalo and ultimately killed by Goddess Durga. This day thereafter being heralded as Vijaya Dashami, the day of Victory of good over evils.

Durga Puja rituals are ten days of fast, feast and worship. Devi is symbol of Shakti, a famine force and creative energy. She protects mankind from evils and miseries by destroying the forces such as selfishness, jealousy, prejudice, hatred anger and ego, sensual pleasure, self-glorification, greed, lust. The Lion, the vehicle of Goddess symbolises power, determination and will. Her weapons symbolises firmness, knowledge, power& energy. Praying Goddess Durga thus removes physical, mental and spiritual miseries of mankind.

Armed with forces of righteousness, self-discipline, love, selfless service, courage, we can achieve victory over demonic forces inside us and reach spiritual heights to become one with God. In order to become divine one should keep animal instincts under control.

Goddess Durga as deity of Shakti is also worshipped in different forms as Kali, Bhagawati, Bhavani, Ambika, Lalitha, Gouri, Kandalini, Java and Rajeswari, Triyambake etc.

1st time Pushpanjali Om Jayanti, Mangala, Kali, Bhadrakali, Kapalini, Durga, Shiva, Kshama, Dhatri, Swaha, Swadha Namostu Te! Esha, Sachandana Gandha Pushpa Bilwa Patranjali. Om Hreem (Hring) Durgayai Namah!

(Oh Jayanti, Mangala, Kali, Bhadrakali, Kapalini, Durga, Shiva, Kshama, Dhatri, Swaha, Swadha) My earnest dedication to you all. Maa Durga, salutation to thee!

2nd time Pushpanjali Om Mahishaghni Mahamaye Chamunde Mundamalini Ayurarogya vijayam, DehiDehi Namostu Te! Esha, Sachandana Gandha Pushpa Bilwa Patranjali. Om Hreem Durgayai Namah!

(Oh Mahamaya, Chamunde Mundamalini, give me long life Victory and liberation. The flower of my Anjali, I am giving to you. Maa Durga salutation to thee!)

3rd time Pushpanjali Om Sarva Mangala Mangalye, Shive Sarvartha Sadhike, Sharanye Tryambake Gouri Narayani Namostu Te! Shrishti Sthili Vinashanam, Shaktibhute, Sanatani, Gunashreye, Gunamaye, Narayani, Namostu Te! Sharanagata Dinarta Paritrana Parayane Sarvasyatihare Devi Narayani Namostu Te!

Auspiciousness of all things auspicious o concert of Shiva, fulfiller of all our goals, our only refuge! O three eye Gouri! O Narayani! Our salutation to you.

The power beyond all creation, preservation and destruction! O eternal one! O ground of the Gunas and embodiment of Gunas! O Narayani, our Salutation to you.

Ever devoted to the salvation of the lowly and suffering who seek shelter with you! O destroyer of all misery! O divine Mother! O Narayani! Our salutation to you!

And obtain the blessings of Adisakti, Mahasakti, Paramsakti, Maa Durga to be bestowed with knowledge, prosperity, peace, tranquillity and the power of the divine! Chant with all devotion-

"Maa Durga Devi ki Jay"