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Essay on Durga Puja for Children
Durga Puja is one of the most important reli- gious festivals of Hindus. Dussera is the culmi nation of Durga Puja festival. As a matter of fact, Dussera and Durga Puja are two different cel ebrations with some similarities and some dis similarities. Durga Puja is essentially the worship of mother goddess Durga, the mythical daughter of Himalaya and Menaka and the wife of Lord Shiva.
Durga is a transition of sati, i.e., change of form from one state to another. In Bengal, the celebration goes on for nine daysOn the tenth day the idol is immersed in water and with that the festivities come to an end. It begins with the hymn of mother goddess. The hymn is called Mahisasurmardini. This is sung in the early hours of the morning.
Dussera, on the other handis celebrated as a mark of victory of Rama over Ravana who had kidnapped the wife of Rama. It is said that Rama invoked mother Durga byworshipping her to se cure power to kill the demon across the sea. Thus empowered, he attacked the demon in Lanka and secured release of h1S wife. It is this victory of Rama over Ravana that is celebrated as victory of good over evil.
This is Dussera. This is gener- all y celebrated in northern parts of India. The word Durga’ in Sanskrit means fort, or a place which is difficult to break into. An other meaning ascribed to the word is that it is durgatinasinik meaning ‘destroyer of miseries or suferings.
Thus Hindus believe that Durga protects her devotees from the forces of misery and sufferingsThere are many incar- nations of Durga according to religious beliefs, She is Kalik she is Bhagwati, Bhavani, Ambika, Lalita, Gouri, Kandalini, Java, etc. She has one hundred and eight names She is believed to have incarnated with the divine powers of all divine beings. These divine beings offered her the required physical prowess and weapons to slay the demon mahisasur.
Her nine appellations are Skondomata Kusumonda, Shalloputri, Kaartrati, Brahmacharini, Maha Gouri, Katyani, Chandrashanta and Siddharthi. Durga is de picted as having got eight or ten armsThese arms represent eight quadrants or ten directions of Hinduism .
This is suggestive of the beliefthat she protects her devotees from evils emanating from all directionsLike Lord Shiva, Goddess Durga is also referred to as Triambake, meaning three-eyed Goddess.
While the left eye repre sents desire (the moon), the right eye represents action (the sun) and the central eye is represen tative of knowledge (fire. Lion which she rides on represents power, will and determination. Durga riding the lion becomes the symbol of her mastery over all of the above qualities. The sword held aloft by her in one hand symbolises knowledge.
Knowledge must be as sharp as sword. Her trident symbol ises three traits: Sotwa (inactivity, Raja (activ ity) and Tams (non-activity). She is destroyer of all three types of miseryphysical, mental and spiritual, Durga stands on the lion in a fearless pose of ‘abhay mudra’ which signifies freedom from fear. In the idol that we see during puja, Durga is shown escorted by her two daughters Lakshmi and Saraswati and two sons Kartik and Ganesh. In the idol, we also see Lord Shiva be sides Mahish and Asur.
Durga Puja is the favourite festival of eastern India, especially that of Bengal. It is said that Durga Puja was first celebrated by those on the banks of the river Rarhi in Bengal. They were very progressive and richly endowed people of Bengal. They were the ones who took the tra dition of celebrating Durga Puja to other places outside Bengal.
They not only carried traditions with thembut also brought the idol makers and drum beaters from Bengal. DhakDhol and Dhunuchidance are their gift that whole of India relishes today.
Goddess Durga is worshipped in almost very Hindu household with great enthusiasm and with religious fervour. The belief is that it not only alleviates the devotees of their misery but also dispels darkness from their life and brings all-round happiness and good fortuneMajor ity of the officesinstitutions and workplaces remain shut for days during the festivities.
This period is used for common rejoicing. Religious rites are performed by almost all Hindus ir respective of their social standing People visit places of worship and pandals. In cities, the re joicing is more pronounced as people move in drove at night and enjoy decorations and cul tural programmesBoth married and unmarried girls undertake fast and ofer special prayers called Anjali. They appear in their best possible attire People wear new dress and every house hold relishes sweet.
The puja usually lasts for three daysThe ritual of sacrificing goatsbufaloes and rams are still carried out at certain places. Earlier, it was a reg ular ritual performed almost at all puja venues But these days, these sacrifices are few and far between.
The progressives amongst the Hindus felt these sacrifices were uncalled for. Hence, this practice has nearly come to an end except for some places that still follow the age old tradition of sacrifices.
The tenth day is celebrated as Bijoya Dashami when people greet and meet each other. This is done after the idol is immersed with fanfareThe scene brings tears to the eyes of the grieving devotees.
People visit one another’s house and partake of sweet. At most of the places, a formal Bijoya Sammelini is held at the puja pandals.
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