Durga Puja prevails in Emperor Akbar reign

Dhaka, Friday   03 April 2020


Durga Puja prevails in Emperor Akbar reign

 Feature Desk daily-bangladesh.com

 Published: 11:09 PM, 8 October 2019  

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

Durga Puja or Durga festival is a festival celebrating the worship of the Hindu goddess Durga. Durga puja is prevalent throughout the Hindu society. However, it is one of the most important religious and social festivals in Bengali Hindu society.

Durga puja is performed on the dry day of Ashwin or Chaitra month. The Durga Puja of the Ashwin month is known as the Shardiya Durgapuja and the Basanta Durgapuja of the Chaitra month. Shardia Durga Puja is popular. Basanti Durga Puja is largely confined to a few families.

Now let us know how Durga Puja started.

There are many disagreements as to when and where Durga Puja started. In the Dravidian civilization of India, the worship of Mother Goddess was practiced among the matriarchal Dravidians. Besides, the gods were predominant in Aryan civilization. On the other hand, the goddesses were predominant in a Non-Aryan civilization. They were worshiped as a symbol of ‘Adyashakti’.

Evidence from history suggests that goddess worship was practiced from Paleolithic populations in India some 22000 years ago. When Indus came to civilization, it became more modern and widespread. Besides looking at ancient literature, we can see that Durga Puja does not exist in the main Balmiki Ramayan, but it does exist in the Krittivasi Ramayan.

One of the most powerful poets of Bengali literature of the Middle Ages, Krittivas Ojha, tried to enrich the Bangla Ramayana more by entering the social customs and traditions of Bengal in the then Bengali society outside the original Ramayana while translating it into Sanskrit Ramayana.

He mentions the Durga Puja of Ramayan in the advice of Brahma following the events of Kalika Purana. In order to ensure victory in the battle against the powerful Raban, Krittivas Ojha states that in the autumn, Sri Ramachandra Kalidah collected the 101 Nilpadma(Blue lotus) from the sea and took pre-preparations and devised the goddess Durga.

The most detailed account of Durga Puja is found in the Markandeya Purana. In this myth, there are six chapters known as Devi Mahatmayam. In Bengal, there is a magnificent text of seven hundred verses, called Sri Sri Chandi, which is the main and integral part of Durga Puja. According to Sri Chandi, this goddess is the combined force of all the gods.

Usually, the Durga festival is started from the sixth day of the Ashwin Shukla, ie from the sixth to the tenth day, the festival is held for five days. These five days are known as Durgashasthi, Mahasaptamai, Mahastami, Mahanabami and Vijaya Dashami respectively. The whole lunar side is called Devipaksha. Although Durga Puja was originally a five-day event, the actual festival started from Mahalaya and ended with Kojagari Lakshi Puja.

The first stage of modern Durga Puja was privileged among the social rich class, especially Zamindars, big traders, and royal staff in the royal court in the 18th century. The Durga puja is heard in the Navratna temple (1767) of the 18th century at Mathbari in Kolaroa of Satkhira, Bangladesh.

In addition, a document of the watercolor photo of Durga Puja was found in Patna, India. Durga puja has been coming from the reign of Emperor Akbar for over a hundred years at the same place in Rameswarpur, Orissa. At present, Durga puja is mainly done in two ways - personal, family and collective - personal worship is more inclined to follow the religious rules.

Such worship takes place in wealthy Bengali families whereas, on the one hand, the residents of a particular area come together in a joint venture, which is mainly known as universal or Barwari puja. After the end of British rule, this puja became more popular in Bengal and became one of the major festivals of Bengali Hindus.

This worship (Durga Puja) is held among Hindus in many other countries across the world. This universal Durga Puja is held in large numbers in Bangladesh.