Wednesday, August 30, 2006


The faint hint of winter; dew on the leaves and grass and the smell of Pujas in the air. Tis the season...for me anyway! For the most part it is dry and hot but the mornings and evenings remind you that winter is not far from this "Sharad" month. The air is crisp at times and heavy other times; the smells are very haunting and addictive with the mild fragrance of "shiuli" flowers thriving during the season. Also ring in the ears are the rhythms of the drums or "dhaak" that announce the arrival of Durga Pujas or the worshipping of Goddess Durga.

As I know it Goddess Durga arrives on earth - her natal home and we who belong here rejoice to have a married daughter who represents power, goodness, and slayer of evil and harmonious conjugality! Married to Shiva and blessed by the trinity of Hindu mythology – Bramha the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. With her infinite power that finds manifestation in her ten hands, a third eye and lion as her consort, she is quite the presence that human kind bows down to. She wields energy or Shakti that is par none. She also represents the divine Mother or "Ma Durga" and brings with her children - Lakshmi the Goddess of wealth, Saraswati, the Goddess of learning, and her sons Ganesh the God of Success and Kartik the god of beauty.
Offerings of flowers, sweets, chantings of "mantras" and food are made. Five days of sheer excitement, celebration and worship in the communities bring together people from all walks of life culminating in Vijaya Dashami or the day of victory of the good over evil. Subsequently "Ma Durga" is sent back to her abode and symbolically idols are immersed in the rivers and waterways that flow and safely take her back to Mt. Kailash in the Himalayas where she resides with her husband.
So many times myths, religion and real life merge into one another. In our homes vistors as they leave are told "Dugga, Dugga" in colloquial terms to mean "may Goddess Durga see you through a safe journey back!" She never really leaves and is ever present in some capacity in each one of us.

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