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Durga Puja Vidhi and Durga Puja Vrat Katha - Know Story Behind Durga Puja Celebration

DURGA PUJA FESTIVAL: WELCOMING THE GODDESS OF SHAKTI

Durga Puja Vidhi and Durga Puja Vrat Katha

A Festive Introduction
The Bengali community is known for its rich culture and literature. That's why when they celebrate their most awaited festival—Durga Puja, they celebrate with so much zeal and enthusiasm. Through this festival, they try to unite the community members from all walks of life for sharing their love and affection through their dance, music, and cuisine.

Durga Puja is a community festival where communities come in groups and pray together in beautifully decorated puja pandals. In Kolkata, preparations go in full swing at least three months in advance. The traditional craftsmen, passed from generation to generation sculpt the idols of Goddess Durga out of clay in a small town called Kumartali.

Meaning of Durga Pooja
Durga Puja is rejoiced to hail the annual homecoming of Goddess Durga along with her four children—Ganesha, Lakshmi, Kartik, and Saraswati. She arrives during the autumnal month of Ashwin (September-October) for only four days. Thereafter, she starts her journey back to her mountainous kingdom-Kailash.

Durga Puja Rituals and Celebrations
The Bengalis begins their preparations seven days earlier to usher in the aura of Durga Puja. This auspicious occasion is called as Mahalaya, where the artisans give the final touches to the idol by drawing the eyes.

Debipaksha
Debipaksha is an auspicious occasion for the Bengalis. They depict the image of Devi Durga as "Dashapraharana-dharini", meaning that each of her hands carrying ten different weapons gifted by other gods to kill the demon--Mahishasura.

Maha-Shashthi
On this day Goddess Durga arrives, accompanied by her children. She is welcomed with much joy amidst the beats of dhak—a traditional beating of the Indian drums. On this day, the face of the idol is unveiled during a puja called 'bodhan'. On this day, women observe the Durga Puja fast for the whole day for the prosperity of the family. The fast is broken in the evening with fruits and luchis (a kind of bread made of flour), usually eaten with sabzi (vegetables).

Maha Saptami
It is the first day of Durga puja. 'Kola Bow' or 'Nabapatrika' is given an early dawn bath. This is an ancient ritual of worshiping nine kinds of plants. They are together worshiped as a symbol of the goddess.

Maha Ashtami
The day begins with a recital of Sanskrit hymns in community puja pandals. The priest breathes life into the idol of Durga as he performs the sandhi puja to the chanting of shlokas. All these special ceremonies are interspersed with the usual rounds of Anjali, prasad, and bhog.
Here, Durga is worshipped in her Chamunda form, where they killed Chando and Mundo the two generals of Mahaisasura. This day is important as it celebrates the victory over demon Mahishasur. Here the devotees recite the mantras and offer flowers to Devi Durga (pushpanjali) and pray for her blessings.

Maha Navami
On this day, the Navami bhog—a typical Bengali vegetarian meal, is offered to Goddess Durga. Thereafter, it is feast time where devotees sit together and relish all kinds of vegetarian Bengali dishes and sweets.

Dashami
Dashami is the day when Goddess Durga departs her journey back to Kailash, her husband's abode. With a heavy heart, the Bengalis immerse the clay idol of Durga in the sacred waters and bid her goodbye earnestly waiting to see her again the next year.


Durga Puja Vidhi: Method of Worship

1. On first day do Ghat Sthapana
2. After that light an earthen lamp
3. First day recite the mantra of "Maa Shailputri 108 times".
"Shailputri Mantra: Om Shaam Sheem Shoom Shailputryai Swaha"
4. Say, "O Mother! I offer this recitation in your lotus feet."
5. In the evening do a small fire sacrifice with that same mantra.
6. Things required for fire sacrifice: A small piece of cow dung cake, Ghee and a spoon, Camphor, Water of Ganga river in a bowl, An earthen lamp, Raw rice, A small stone
7. Now place the stone on the place of fire sacrifice
8. Gather all required things at this place
9. At first heat the cow dunk cake
10. When it becomes smokeless then remove it from flame.
11. Place the cow dung cake on the stone seat
12. Light the earthen lamp
13. Pray to the mother Shail Putri
14. Say "O Mother!  Come and receive offerings"
15. Now put some ghee on cow dung cake
16. Now burn a camphor piece on a spoon
17. Now place it on hot cow dung cake
18. Now give 11 sacrifices by mantra of Shailputri
19. Chant this mantra " Om Shaam Sheem Shoom Shailputri swaha"
20. Touch water bowl after every 11 offerings.
21. Pray "kindly receive these offerings"
22. Now put some water on both of place of sacrifice.

How to do Dispersal?
1. Take some raw rice in the right hand
2. Offer rice and pray
3. " O' Mother! Receive these offering and stay in our house till Navami"

Durga Puja Katha: Story of Durga Puja

It is a matter of time that Brihaspati says to Brahma that Brahma!  You are extremely intelligent, omnipotent and the best among the four Vedas.  Please listen to my statement too, Lord!  Why is the fast and celebration of Navratri on the bright half of Chaitra and Ashwin month?  What is the result of this fast?  Who did this fast earlier?  On hearing the statement of Brihaspati Ji, Brahma said - Brihaspati!  You have asked a very good question.  Blessed are the people who meditate on Durga, Mahadevi, Surya, and Narayana who fulfill their desire.  This festival of Navratri is going to fulfill all the wishes.

Brahmaji further says that - Brihaspati!  I first tell you the sacred history of this Navratri Mahavrat, you listen to it carefully.  Brahmaji says - There was a city named Peethat, in which a Brahmin named Anatha resided.  He was an exclusive devotee of Bhagwati Durga.  A girl with full virtues was born here.  As if Brahma was the first creation, he was named Sumati.  Sumati began to grow up with her friends as if the arts of the moon were increasing in the Shukla Paksha.

Sumati's father used to worship Durga and do havan daily by the rule and at that time Sumati was also present there.  One day Sumati became engrossed in the game with her friends and did not participate in the worship of Bhagwati.  Her father was very angry at Sumati and in anger started saying, O evil daughter!  Today, you have not participated in the worship of Bhagwati, so I will marry you to a leper and poor man.  The father got upset with the father's words and started saying, "O father!"  I am your daughter and so you can get me married to anyone because I am under you, because it is what is written in my destiny.  I have full faith in fate.

Sumati says that man wants to fulfill many desires but if he does, then he is the one who gives the fate by writing in destiny.  Whatever you do, you get the fruits according to those actions.  Only karma is written in the hands of human beings and giving its fruits is in the hands of God.  On hearing these fearless things from the face of his daughter, the anger of the Brahmin increases and marries his daughter to a leprosy patient and says that now go and enjoy the fruits of your karma.  I also see how you live by living in luck.

Listening to the words of the father, Sumati started meditating that I was unfortunate that I found such a husband, and considering her sorrows, Sumati walked towards the forest.  Spent the night on Kusha in that terrible forest.  Seeing the condition of poor Sumati, Goddess Bhagwati appears in front of her looking at her former virtues and says - O Deen Brahmini!  I am happy with you, you can ask for whatever you want, I will give you everything.  Hearing the words of Bhagwati Durga, Sumati started saying - Who are you?  Who delight in me.  Please thank me with your humble eyesight.  Hearing the talk of Brahmani, Devi started saying that I am Adi Shakti, I am Brahma, Vidya and Saraswati.  When happy, I remove the suffering of beings and provide them happiness.  I am pleased with you because of your former virtues.

Devi says that you were Nishad's wife in her previous life and was very devoted.  One day your husband Nishad committed theft and along with Nishad, the soldiers also caught you in this theft.  Jailed you both and did not even give food.  In those days you neither ate or drank anything.  Thus, the nine-day fast was observed for nine days.  Bhagwati said, O Goddess!  I am happy with the effect of those nine days' fast and am giving you the desired thing.  You can ask for whatever you want.  After listening to Bhagwati, the brahmin said - I salute you wholeheartedly.  You please my husband and remove his leprosy.  On this, Devi says that one of the fasts you did on those days, offer the virtue of a day's fast to cure your husband's disease.  With my influence, your husband will become a sleeping body.

Brahmaji said - Thus the Brahmini was very happy to hear the word of the Goddess and was right with the desire to see her husband as healthy.  The body of her husband became like a gold ring, cured by the grace of Bhagwati Devi, as if the moon had faded in front of her ear.  Seeing the beautiful body of her husband, Brahmin considered Goddess as very powerful and started praising that O Durga!  You are the one who removes sorrows, who is suffering from all the three worlds, is the one to remove the sorrows, the patient is healthy, the one who is happy will give the desired fruit and will destroy the evil people.  You are the mother and father of the whole world.  Hey Ambe!  My father in anger has married me out of the house with a leper.  You have given support to the fired daughter of the father.

The Brahmini says that O Goddess!  You have driven me out of this ocean of sorrows.  Hey Goddess, I salute you again and again.  Brahmaji said - O Brihaspati!  That Sumati praised Goddess very much from her heart and Goddess was very satisfied with her praise.  Devi told Brahmani that a very intelligent, wealthy, famous, and Jitendra son will be born in your house, whose name will be Uddalak.  The goddess began to say to the Brahmin - O Brahmin, if you have any other wish, she can ask for it.  The Brahmini says that O mother!  If you are happy with me, then tell me the method of Navratri in detail.  On hearing the words of Brahmani, Devi says that I will tell you the method of fasting for the complete destruction of Navaratri.

Devi says to listen to it carefully - from Pratipada of Shukla Paksha of Ashwin month to fast for nine days.  If you cannot fast for the day, then take one meal at a time.  Ask the Brahmins to do Ghatasthan and draw a garden and water it daily.  Make idols of Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati and offer prayers to them on a regular basis.  Ardhi is given by flowers and by offering bijoura flowers, the form is attained.  Kirti with nutmeg, accomplishment of work from the vine.  Amla brings happiness and banana gives Bhushan.  Offer prayers to fruits and perform Havan by method.  Perform Havan with ingredients like Khand, Ghee, Wheat, Honey, Barley, Sesame, Coconut, Bimb, Vine, and Kadamb.

Havan of wheat provides fast and happiness with the attainment of Lakshmi, wealth, and leaves from Kheer and Champa flowers.  Karti is obtained from Amla and son is obtained from Banana.  Lotus gives you royalty and happiness from the vine.  Home to Khand, Ghee, Coconut, Honey, Barley, and Sesame and fruits gives you the desired item.  The fast should be gentle in nature.  Finally, after saluting Acharya, he should give him Dakshina as soon as possible.  According to the method told to this Mahavrat, all his wishes are fulfilled.

Brahmaji says - O Brihaspati!  In this way, the Goddess became enlightened by telling Brahmani the method and fruits of this fast. A person who performs this fast gets happiness in this world and attains salvation in the end.  Brahmaji again says, O Brihaspati!  I have told you the significance of this fast!  Hearing the statement of Brahmaji, Brihaspati became very excited and said to Brahma ji - O Brahmaji!  You have given me great blessings which you have told me the significance of this Navratri fast, like Amrit.

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