Ma Durga::By:Arindam Nath
Our Binoy uncle is an interesting personality. Binoy Bhushan Samanta is a great scholar. He is a retired Life Science teacher and a bachelor. We love him very much and feel proud of his association. He has a wide range of interests, and it doesn’t confine within his books of Biology. Rather, these days he spends a major portion of his time reading literature, history, astronomy, economics, social science, apart from newspaper and journals. At times, he plunges into self-control research on various issues. His quests are very peculiar. Thus, some of his research topics include ‘the advantage of human beard’, ‘the advantage of dog’s tail’, ‘the advantage of bhajan-kirtan’, ‘why the migratory birds move in a queue’, etc. It’s needless to mention that he fails to arrive at a logical conclusion on these critical subjects. But, his opening moves are always excellent and encouraging.
I have the pleasure to see him from close proximity. Often, I try to find out the reason behind his bohemian character. However, I remain clueless. Once, I asked him the cause of his remaining unwed. Without uttering a single word, he pointed out a short-story of Munshi Prem Chand. It’s relating to human marriage. There is narration of about forty-five motivational grounds of marriage. Any single point out of these is sufficient for a person to prefer the nuptial bond. But, Binoy uncle doesn’t find a single spot applicable in his life. My hunch is that the story has caused a deep influence in his life, somewhat like Sufi-song. It paved the way for peculiar research extravaganza in him.
Let’s come to the recent story. Presently he is researching on, ‘Why do people observe Durga Puja?’
He carried out an extensive study of the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, related Upanishads to find out its root. His pursuit remained inconclusive. I had a long chat with him. It impressed me a lot. I am trying to call up my mind to narrate his findings. It may appear a little wayward and haphazard. Please re-arrange it suitably.
‘Adyashakti Mahamaya’ is treated as the source of all power of our universe. According to Binoy uncle her birth took place without the normal gestation phase. She can take whatever shape she likes. This transformation she has to carry out whenever there is rise of evils. Thus, she displayed her role as Devi Koushiki, Chamunda, Masishasurmordini Durga, and the like. It will be clear from the following family tree:
MAHA SARASWATI MAHA LAXMI MAHA KALI
Bishnu Uma or Gouri Brahma Laxmi Nilkantha or Mahadev Saraswati
1.Subsequently, Brahma, Bishnu and Mahadev married Saraswati, Laxmi and Gouri respectively.
2.Progenies of these three couples include Sthanu, Swayambhuba Manu, Dasha Prochet, Daksha, the seven sons of Daksha, Saptarshi or the seven great sages and the fourteen Manu. Human race had evolved from Manu through gestation.
3.Long back, Brahma begged the assistance of Adyashakti Mahamaya to get rid of the torture of demons Madhu and Kaitav. The story is very interesting. Once, Bhagwan Bishnu had a great nap. In fact, he was in meditation in the ocean treating a big snake, named as Ananta Nag as his bed. Even a lotus flower bloomed from the sediments which had gathered on the navel portion of his body. Brahma preferred this lotus flower, the best place for his meditation. This infinitely long siesta of Bishnu also gave rise to a serious problem. Two demons namely Madhu and Kaitov grew from the dirt of Bishnu’s ears. They earned the magical boon of meeting their ends of life at their will through great austerities and penance. The duo unleashed a reign of terror upon devas. Brahma also felt the heat. So, he prayed for the appearance of Adyashakti Mahamaya. She responded and advised him to break Bishnu’s sleep first. Devas raised Bishnu at her advice, Brahma again approached Mahamaya. She hypnotized Madhu and Kaitov. They became megalomaniac.
At this stage, Bishnu had some mock-fight with them. Madhu and Kaitov were enticed. They said to Bishnu: We are pleased with your bravery. Please beg something. Bishnu said: If you are really very pleased with my display, please give me the boon that your deaths will be at my hand. Madhu and Kaitov applied their brain and said: OK we agree, but you have to kill us at a place where there is no water. Bishnu gladly accepted the proposal. The very next moment he cut their heads with his sudarshan chakra by pulling them upon his lap. A major portion of the ocean was filled up with their med or fat. This is the reason for another name of earth as Medini.
4.The story of the rise of Mahishasur is just like a Hindi film. Mahishasur’s father Korombha and uncle Rambha were practising austerity and penance standing constantly in river water to earn immortality. Indra, the king of the devas got scared of losing his throne. He killed Korombha in the guise of a crocodile. Learning this story from her mother, Mahishasur took vow to kill the slayer of his father. He practised great austerity pleading presence of Brahma. Pleased with his devotion and penance Brahma appeared before him. The God wished to offer him a boon. Mahishasur prayed for immortality.
The God said: OK, I shall grant your prayer with the condition that no male from jaksha, or rakshas, or devata, or man can kill you.
Mahishasur gladly accepted the offer. Brahma also blessed him promptly and disappeared. Armed with the boon of immortality, Mahishasur and his supporters raided paradise and dethroned Indra. Devas became his subjects. They took shelter in the hermitage of sage Katyayan. Mahishasur ruled more than hundred years. He was a tyrant king. He faced great confrontation from devas. The battle continued for several years. Devas worshiped for Adyashakti Mahamaya. She responded in the form of Devi Durga. A fierce battle between Mahishasur and Devi Durga ensued. Demon Mahishasur knew mesmerism. It became difficult for the Goddess to identify the actual Mahishasur, as he sometimes vanished and sometimes resurfaced in multiple numbers in different forms. Finally, at the advice of Mahadev, Devi Durga attacked Mahishasur at the time of his transfer from buffalo to demon. She pressed the silted part of the buffalo with her foot and killed Mahishasur with a sul or javelin.
5.Devi Durga was first time worshiped in the hermitage of sage Katyayan. Mahishasur was killed on the day of Dashami. As such Devi Durga has another name Katyayani.
6.The better half of Mahadev, Uma alias Gouri had also been seen as Durga during slaying of Dhumralochan. He was the army commander of two demon kings Shumbha and Nishumbha. They were also blessed with boons similar to Mahishasur. Uma had black complexion. One day, Mahadev made a joke : I shall call you Kali (Blacky) from now onwards.
Uma took serious exception to this. Mahadev tried to appease her. But, she left her residence and took shelter in the ashram of sage Gautam. There, she was named as Kaushiki. She also changed her complexion and was no longer dark. Rather she had become fair. The inmates of Gautam’s hermitage were passing miserable times due to terror unleashed by demons Shumbha, Nishumbha and Dhumralochan. Subsequent story is the bravery of Devi Kaushiki. She killed the demon trio as Devi Chamunda. She also killed two more notorious demons Chanda and Munda on Dipabali day as Ma Kali.
7.In her battle with demons we have never found Kartik, Ganesh, Laxmi and Saraswati alongside Devi Durga. But, we always prefer to see her with her children. She is just like our next-door neighbour.
8.Idol worships are noticed in Indus civilization. It’s a non-Aryan indigenous civilization, dated back to more than 5000 years.
9.The confrontation between Aryans and non-Aryans started after the arrival of the Aryans in our country. Compared to indigenous people, the Aryans were nomads. They didn’t like the lifestyle of civilized indigenous people. They felt envious and termed the natives as ‘Asuras’, ‘dacoits’, ‘slaves’, etc. The Ramayana is the conflict story between Aryans and non-Aryans.
10.From his complexion, Lord Ram doesn’t look like an Aryan. He was the first to worship Devi Durga during his fight with Ravana. This was observed in the autumn, an untimely event. Perhaps, it was around 1900 B.C.
11.The confrontation between Aryans and non-Aryans resulted in the Hinduism. It promotes mixed culture.
12.Feudal system was prevalent in our country during the period of the epic Mahabharata. The Kurukshetra battle was over land possession.
13.Arjun worshiped Devi Durga on the eve of Kurukshetra war. It was around 1400 B.C.
14.Idol of Devi Durga with more than two hands was noticed from 50 B.C.
15.The spread of Durga Puja in Bengal took place, between 1500 to 1800 A.D.
16.The following reasons may be attributed to the popularity of Durga Puja:
(a)It’s due to our devotion to Goddess Durga.
(b)It’s for upholding Bengali culture.
(c)It’s simply for amusement.
(d)It’s for the re-union with family members.
(e)It’s for upholding our feudal mentality.
(f)It’s for ensuring publication of literary periodicals.
(g)It’s for release of music album.
(h)It’s for raising subscriptions for organizing cultural functions.
(i)It’s for getting clothing.
(j)It’s for earning profit through sale of clothing and fashionable articles.
(k)It’s for individual fashion parade.
(l)It’s for upholding national integration.
(m)It’s for display of decorated puja pandals.
(n)It’s for great feast.
(o)It’s for beating drums in puja pandals for enjoyment.
(p)It’s for donating alms to destitute, from the puja savings.
(q) It’s for enhancing public relation.
(r)It’s for arranging man-days.
(s)It’s for display Bengali cosmopolitan character.
(t)It’s for union of lovers.
Binoy uncle mentioned a few more reasons which I have forgotten. But, the reason for frequent visits of Goddess Durga was attributed to an insurance policy. Its reference is there in a story written by Balaichand Mukherjee, our beloved Banful. An insurance agent from Bengal had insured this annual trip by Devi Durga with her family long back against a handsome premium.
About the Author: Arindam Nath is one of the most popular writers of Tripura. He is an IPS Officer. He is presently serving in Tripura as Assistant Inspector General of Police. He wrote both in English and Bengali.His first book is Tarmuj Pagla O Anyanya Galpa (Bengali, published by BOOK WORLD). His second book is Bridging Souls A Journey From Mahabharata To Bharata, in English published by Peacock Books, New Delhi (Atlantic Publisher & Distributors). He regularly contributes short stories, plays and essays in newspapers and journals. 'I Adore' is his second English book. This is a collection of short-stories. You can write to Arindam Nath at firstname.lastname@example.org
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