God, as the Hindu religion says, being almighty can simultaneously stay manifested concretely in different images and remain abstractly diffused without having any particular form. As far as ability is concerned, the word 'inability' can never go with God Who controlling everything, at His sweet will pervades everywhere to prove the fact that He is indefinable, immeasurable and omnipresent. Devi Durga (goddess of power) is the form of God bloomed in the appearance of almighty Mother who as the representative of all good has victory over Mahishasura representing all evil.
Durga Puja is the greatest religious festival in which chiefly the Bangali Hindus worship their God as Mother with the idea that one's relationship with one's mother is the dearest and the sweetest of all human relations and this relationship should be there between God and human beings. It is, in fact, a blanket festival in which anybody, irrespective of his caste, creed and religion, can participate for its festivities. This is consciously done to instill a feeling that if we honestly practice good qualities through unity, we can subdue all the evil on earth.
The worship of Devi Durga in the Bengali season Sarat (autumn) is called 'Akalbodhan', an uncustomary time for commencement of the worship. It is called so since the period of this worship differs from the conventional period that is Bengali season Basanta (spring). One of the great epics of the world Ramayana narrates when Rama, the representative of good, was engaged in the fierce battle with Ravana, the representative of evil, Rama wanted to secure the blessings from Devi Durga for his victory. He held Durga Puja in his dire plight undergoing a lot of austerity to evoke the goddess during Sarat.
It was customary to worship Devi Durga with one hundred Neel Kamals (blue lotuses). Rama through unspeakable suffering gathered the Neel Kamals but the goddess to test the devotion of Rama tactfully hid one Neel Kamal so that he might fall in heart rendering trouble at time of the puja. Who could change the intention of Devi? At the time of offering Rama fell short of one Neel Kamal which was quite impossible to collect by the fixed period of sacred time of puja.
Finding no other alternative, Rama on the logic that he was called 'Padmalochona' (whose eyes could be compared to lotuses) told the priest that he wished to offer one of his eyes- one of his important possessions- as a substitute for the lost flower for the gratification of the goddess. However, when Rama was about to uproot his eye, pleased with his devotion, Durga stopped him and granted him benison by virtue of which he became able to kill Ravana thereby on the day of 'Ashvin Shukla Dashami' that is celebrated as 'Dussehra'.
Devi Durga stands by anybody who approaches her with a pure mind laying bare his heart to her with frankness and humility. This purity is possible for a man only when he can control his 'Shororipu' meaning six powerful human emotions: uncontrolled expectation, anger, greed, vanity, illusion and jealousy. If anybody can make a total, unreserved, and ungrudging self-surrender to her and worships her with faith and unflinching devotion, he must be successful by the grace of the goddess.
The significance of Durga Puja alludes to the fact that until we remain impeccable with honest intention, Devi providing necessary 'shakti' (power) must help us in season and out of season to defeat the evil force as it happened in the case of 'Akalbodhan'. Moreover, ten hands of Durga represent ten different manifestations of auspicious power and by the befitting and collective use of those powerful hands she vanquished Mahishasura. Similarly if the honest of the society join their hands together, it is, without doubt, possible to combat any kind of social evil like oppression, corruption, tyranny and injustice. However, the mode of crushing the evil is a kind of worshiping that entails sacrifice as Rama was ready to make.
Lord Krishna, as the Hindu scriptures avow, is one and only radix of all power and since His power is revealed to a great extent through the goddess Durga, She has authority not only to empower the powerless but also to take back all the power from anybody going against her will that is always for the good of human being. I cannot help feeling contrite for the people who because of their fathomless ignorance cannot see through this universal truth. It is a matter of great regret that some people forget the philosophical lines of 'To Daffodils' by Robert Herrick who saying 'We die / As your hours do, and dry / Away, / Like the summer's rain;', tries to make us aware of the transience of life.
This world, as a matter of fact, has experienced so many mighty malefactors who at the zenith of their iniquities thought they were born not to be outfought but, truly speaking, in course of time losing their power every one of them had to accept ignominious defeat. Now the question- where did their power come from and why did that power evanesce in the twinkling of an eye? If we ponder over our society, we find some corrupt people who are, taking to evil courses, making money and exercising their devilish power in the society as Mahishasura, the buffalo headed demon did.
However, it would be uncanny of us to forget that goddess Durga who never pampers malfeasance and evil power killed the demon. It categorically prognosticates that not even a single one of the delinquents will be spared and only the honest will be conserved respectively from the rage and by the grace of Devi Durga. That is why, Duga Puja is celebrated with an eye to invoking the godly power and significant celebration of this puja is an inspiration for triumph of good over evil.
The writer is Chairman, Department of English, Ranada Prasad Shaha University, Narayangonj. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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