Durga Puja finds its origin in the Hindu mythology. Goddess Durga is regarded as the deity of power. She entered the earth with the aim to kill the demon Mahishasura, who set out to conquer the world with his tyranny and invincible power. Due to her victory over him, Goddess Durga is sometimes referred to as MahishasuraMardini (the Goddess who killed Mahishasura). Durga Pooja, or Durga Puja, is celebrated to commemorate the victory of good over the evil. The festival attracts many visitors all over India and foreign tourists to West Bengal, where it is celebrated with much fanfare and fervor. All through the ten days, the streets in West Bengal are busy in the celebrations of the pooja. Read on to know about the story of Goddess Durga.
Emergence of Godess Durga
According to Hindu tradition, Goddess Durga is a beautiful warrior deity with a lion as a steed. Hindu lore states that a monstrous demon named Mahishasura once ravaged Earth and the three principle deities, Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva could do nothing to defeat the creature. So it came to pass that they called forth the Goddess Durga, an exemplar of Ma Shakti, to deliver the Devalok from the hands of Mahisashura. The Gods of the Devalok then fashioned weapons for the Goddess and she proceeded to challenge the indomitable demon Mahishasura.
The Goddess Durga was summoned to Earth for the sole purpose of killing the monstrous Mahisashura, who by then had driven the Gods from the heavens. After a colossal battle with the demon, the warrior Goddess slew the beast and restored the Gods to their proper place in the heavens. For this reason Hindus call to the Goddess’s for protection against the forces of evil. Mahisashura’s defeat by the Goddess Durga is recognized by the Hindus as the ultimate triumph of good over evil hence Durga Puja is a festival in honor of her victory. The worship of Ma Durga as the deity of power has been traced to as early as 400 AC and persists even today.
One of the most notable accounts of Ma Durga is drawn from the Ramayana, the Hindu epic of Lord Rama. It came to pass that Lord Rama sought the blessings of the Goddess Durga to defeat his enemy Ravana and rescue his wife from his clutches. To gain the Goddess’ favor he had to perform Chandipooja which required 108 blue lotus flowers, however he was one flower short. In a great show of devotion he decided to offer one of his blue lotus-shaped eyes. It was then that the Goddess, pleased with his sacrifice, presented herself and blessed him. With the warrior Goddess’ blessing, Lord Rama assailed Ravana and stood triumphant. He then rescued his wife and returned to Ayodhya.