Mahalaya – An invitation to goddess Durga to come to her paternal home on Earth.

Welcome Goddess Durga,
To your homeland the Earth.
We send you invitations Ma,
To visit Earth once again.

It’s autumn again,
The white fluffy clouds say so.
And the gathering of shiuli flowers;
Beneath the shiuli tree.

They too are waiting for you;
To come and make them happy.
Our hearts are gathering joy,
In anticipation of your arrival .

Come soon Ma, we’re waiting for you,
With prayers, joy and new dresses.
What happiness you spread Ma,
When you come to the Earth.

For those four blessed days,
We wait throughout the year .
The four days of pure bliss,
When you are here with us.

You are strength, you are power,
You are the soft love of Mother.
You are happiness, you are joy,
You are the source of our existence.

Your ten hands symbolise
The multitasking power of woman
When every God failed to destroy Evil
You did so with elan and ease.

Come to the Earth once more Ma,
We are eagerly waiting for you .
Come to the Earth once more, and
Bless us with happiness and health.

The story of goddess Durga.

According to Indian mythology-Parvati is the wife of Lord Shiva who resides in the Himalayas. They have two sons Kartik, Ganesh and two daughters Lakshmi and Saraswati. Kartik is a soldier, Ganesh a scholar, Lakshmi the creator of wealth and Saraswati the goddess of learning and music.

Mahisasur was a demon who penanced for a long time to gain a boon of immortality from Brahma, the creator. Brahma was forced to grant him the boon, and he said that no male could ever kill Mahisasur. Mahisasur became all powerful and created a havoc in the three worlds, the heaven, the Earth, and the hell.

Protected by the boon he defeated all humans and Gods. He banished the King of Gods, the thunder god Indra, from heaven. Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer, found a loop hole in the boon given to Mahisasur. The consort of Shiva- Parvati; Lakshmi and Saraswati were recreated as Durga for slaying the demon Mahisasur. She was made as a goddess with ten hands which carried ten weapons given by the gods. She was startingly beautiful and rode a lion being the abode of strength.

When Mahisasur came to know of the beautiful lady, he gave orders to bring her to his palace. All his warriors who attempted to do so were killed by Durga. Ultimately Mahisasur was forced to fight with Durga. As the fight advanced Mashisasur realised that Durga was no ordinary mortal. He was able to change forms and therefore went on changing forms to hide from Durga. Finally he was slain by Durga, as he took the form of Mahis or buffalo. Thus, Durga came to be known as Mahisasurmardini or the destroyer of the demon Mahisasur.

As the monsoon ends and the beautiful season of autumn advances. The state of Bengal celebrates Durga Puja. People believe that the goddess comes to her paternal home on Earth for four days, along with her four kids. People of Bengal celebrate the coming home of Parvati by worshipping her in the image of Durga. Mahalaya is the invitation (in the form of mantras) sent to goddess Durga seven days prior to Durga Puja.

Click on the link to see the artistic culture of Bengal displayed during Durga Puja.


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