Sharodiya Durgotsav 2019

College Notre-Dame Montreal

Thousands of years ago, in the early days of creation of this universe, the Gods and the Un-Gods (the ones which we classify as demons) used to fight for supremacy of heavens and earth.

Mahishasura, was one such demon who could take the form of a demon and a buffalo with ease. Even though he was demon, he managed to please Brahma, the creator of the universe and extracted a boon which said that no man or God could defeat him in war. Armed with this boon he began to vanquish the Gods from heaven. Completely defeated, the helpless Gods then assembled at the feet of Shiva and Vishnu (the protector of Universe) and narrates to them their plight. Hearing the ordeal, the Gods became so angry that divine energies started to emanate from them. The culmination of all energies from all the Gods fused together to form Durga. And all the Gods armed her with specific weapons to fight Mahishasur. That is why Durga is visualized with ten hands with several weapons.

She represents strength, morality, power and protection. She is the divine mother, who protects people from evil forces of selfishness, jealousy, hatred, anger and ego. Durga means something that is inaccessible, invincible or one who can redeem in situations of utmost distress. She is the supremely radiant goddess who has ten arms, rides on a lion, carries weapons and a lotus flower. She is an embodiment of feminine force (Shakti) and creative energy.

Mahishasur never took her seriously as she was a woman, However, at the end, Goddess Durga manages to kill him at the battle.

This form of Durga began to be worshipped during Spring till Lord Ram invoked her before his battle with Ravana, the King of Lanka, which was during the time of Autumn. The current form and timing of Durga Puja is primarily based on the worship of Lord Rama. This festival of Durga Puja which has now taken epic proportion in and around Kolkata, India was popularized by the rich landlords during the time of the colonial rule as a way to please the British masters. The social factor was always given predominance over the religious practices. That is perhaps why the festivities have lived on.