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October 21, 2012. Durga Puja

Durga Puja, the festival of Bengalis is the worship of 'Shakti' or the divine power. Most of the religious celebrations in the world have legends surrounding them.The fables are generally the fight between the evil and the good, the dark forces eventually succumbing to the divine.Worship of Goddess Durga is based on myths where Durga symbolizes the divine power.
 
ACCORDING TO THE INDIAN MYTHOLOGY Mahishasura, the king of Asuras, through years of austerities, was once granted a boon by Lord Bramha, that no man or deity would be able to kill him. The immense power filled in him the urge to rule over the world. He started to terrorize heaven and the inhabitants. He pervaded the world with his battalion of Asuras and plundered and ruthlessly killed the people. Chaos and anarchy reigned. Gods were driven from heaven and Mahishasura usurped the throne.The Gods scared and unable to combat him, requested Lord Shiva, Lord Bramha and Lord Vishnu to stop Mahishasura's tyranny. In answer, the three Gods combined their divine energy and summoned up a feminine form so brilliantly glaring that it illuminated the heavens. This combined power fell on the residence of Sage Kattyana in the krishna chaturdashi (fourteenth day of new moon) in the month of Ashwin (September-October). From the glow emerged Devi Durga, a beautiful yellow woman with ten arms riding a lion. Despite her grace she bore a menacing expression, for Durga was born to kill. Fully grown and armed by the gods, beautiful Durga was named "Kattyani" as she is born in the ashram of sage Kattyana. The sage worshipped her for suklasaptami, asthami and nabami tithi then on the tithi of Dashami she killed Masishasura. She was sent forth against Mahishasura armed by symbols of divine power; Vishnu's discus; Shiva's trident; Varuna's conchshell; Agni's flaming dart; Vayu's bow; Surya's quiver and arrow; Yama's iron rod; Indra's thunderbolt; Kubera's club and a garland of snakes from Shesha and a lion as a charger from Himalayas. 


El Durga Puja es el festival religioso más elaborado y popular que se celebra en Bengala. Los devotos de Durga emprenden un ayuno de nueve días. Se anima a los miembros de las familias a que vuelvan a sus hogares ancestrales. En el último día del festival se pasean enormes imágenes de Durga por las calles y se llevan a un río, donde se sumergen ceremoniosamente. Al final del Puja, las hijas casadas tienen que volver a la casa de sus maridos, evocando la leyenda de la benigna diosa Parvati que volvió al monte Kailasa, la residencia de Siva.
Durga cabalgando a un león y luchando con el búfalo-demonio Mahishasura es un tema recurrente en el arte indio. La diosa suele llevar las armas divinas de los dioses, y su compostura contrasta con la actitud violenta de Mahishasura.