Arrival of the Goddess
Today is the holy 'Mahalaya' and to me it’s very reminiscent. I summoned up all the memories of my childhood related to this Day. Now, you may ask what Mahalaya is, so, the following article is for you.
‘Mahalaya’ is the most auspicious date in the Bengali calendar. It represents the advent of the holy deity- Durgaa. Traditionally the day is observed seven days before the beginning of the four-day-long holy celebration Durgaa Puja. ‘Mahalaya’ is significant to every single Bengali as it heralds the forthcoming festivity. It is a sort of invocation to goddess Durgaa to arrive to this mortal world for a few days and take away all the darkness and grief from the lives of Her disciples.
|Source: The Tarpan|
The very Day basically starts with the worshiping of Surya Dev, that is, the Sun-God or the God of powers and energy. With the reverberation of sacred hymns and mantras, people (only males) goes to any kind of streams or river, preferably the Ganges, to perform a ritual called ‘Tarpan’, which is actually a ritual of offering drinking water to the souls of their ancestors.
Since the early 1930s the celebration of 'Mahalaya' has got a new flavor A radio program named ‘Mahisasur- Mardini’ or The Annihilation of the Demon started to be aired, containing the dramatic recitation of the holy verses from the Chandi Kavya and some Bengali devotional songs and other classical melodies and some acoustic melodrama. Since then ‘Mahisasur-Mardini’, the audio montage on All India Radio (AIR) has become the inseparable part of Bengali people as it has become almost the other name for ‘Mahalaya’. From the last 8 decades, the whole Bengali nation rises up 4 am in the dawn, even before the Sun, on this Day to tune in to the ‘Mahisasur- Mardini’ broadcast.
The story of Mahisasur-Mardini is very charismatic. It’s signifies the triumph of good over evil. It’s also significant because it’s about a woman who exterminates a man who is, pertinently, an image of Evil. The story narrates the eradication of the increasing terror of mortals as well as the Gods, caused by the Mahisasur, who has got the prowess of immortality. Unable to tolerate this tyranny all the Gods plead to Vishnu to annihilate the demon. Then the Trinity of Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara created a mighty woman with ten arms with all their powers summoned up. The woman was the holy deity, Durgaa or the Mahisasur Mardini (annihilator of the demon). The gods then bestowed upon this Supreme creation their individual blessings and weapons. Armed like a warrior, the goddess rode a lion to battle with the Mahisasur. After a turbulent combat the Mahisasur-Mardini was coped with the demon and made him to reach his end. Since then the Goddess is been worshiped as a Mother to the whole universe.
I have a very fond memory of the ‘Mahalaya’s from my childhood days. When I was small, I used to sleep with my grandparents. My grandpa had a transistor radio. They used to wake up at 4 am on the day of Mahalaya and started the radio and a melodious aura used to be created in my ear-lobes. I readily acquired that practice. My grandma passed away 10 months back but the moment I switched on the radio and the program begin, the whole atmosphere of my childhood days created in front of me instantaneously. I had tears in my eyes. Now I know why people want to relive their childhood.