Updated: Oct 6, 2019
Every nation has philosophical and historical roots in its cultural background.
Culture is the vital tool of development, prosperity, lifestyle and overall the civilization of that nation.
India is one of the oldest nations and the only unbroken alive civilization among the 46 oldest civilizations in the world according to UNESCO.
Indian civilization or the Hindu Civilization is the successor of the great Indus Valley Civilization which is called the Sindhu-Saraswati Civilization in today's age.
India has a glorious history of women worshiping as a form of Goddess or Devi since long long ago at the very beginning of Indian civilization.
The people of the Indus Valley Civilization used to worship the mother goddess. The society was matriarch. Womanhood was being worshipped as a form of Energy. Since then, Devi Durga comes to our land in an evolutionary way.
Markandeya Purana is the oldest scripture where Durga puja procedure is described. Day by day the procedure got evoluted and got a modern shape in various places. Durgapuja marks the Victory of goddess Durga in the battle against the devils who are called Asura.
According to mythology, for the first time on the earth Durgapuja was initiated by the king Surath and the merchant Samadhi in the Ashrama of Medhas Muni (a monk, described in the Markandeya Purana and in the Shri Shri Chandi or the Devimahatmam or the Devi Bhagavata Purana). Currently the Ashrama (the holy land of worshiping deity) is situated in Chittagong, the district of the undivided Bengal (now in Bangladesh). It is said that from this particular place Durgapuja got popularized among the Bengalis of undivided Bengal and later on among the other nations in the whole Indian subcontinent.
In the Bengali version of the greatest Indian epic Ramayana authored by Krittivasa Ozha it’s mentioned that, the incarnation of Hindu God Rama performed Durgapuja to kill the demons’ king Ravana. Earlier days, Maa Durga used to get worshiped in the season of Spring (also called Basant in Indian Language). That's why another name of goddess Durga is Vasanti. But Lord Rama worshiped her in the season of autumn(also called Sharat in Indian Language) in Ashwin month (equivalent to September-October months of the Gregorian era). As he worshiped Durga Devi in the premature time, this is also called Akal Bodhan (অকালবোধন) and Sharadiya Durgotsav (শারদীয়দুর্গোৎসব)both. However, Lord Ramas’ Akal Bodhon or the Sharadiya Durgotsav which is held in the Autumn season got popularized in the massive level among the people.
Durgapuja is celebrated ten days, and somewhere in fifteen days (according to Kalparambha i.e. the holy initiation of imagination) while the last five days is significant. In north India, it’s called Navaratri because of Nine nights celebration of worshiping. The 10th day of Durgapuja is called Vijaya Dashami in Bengal, Assam and Odiiya signifies the victory of Devi Durga against Mahisasura, the king of devil Asura races. It’s also called Dussehra because Lord Rama killed the demon king Ravana on the tenth day. On the last day the Durga idol is immersed into the river or water reservoirs like big pond or lake etc.
Devi Durga is the symbol of unity among the deities. Maa Durga is worshiped in the Durga Puja with all the members of her family.
The exact origin of Durgapuja is unknown. Historical records suggest that the Durgapuja was celebrated and sponsored by the wealthy Zamindar (the landlords) families since at least the 16th century. That time Durgapuja was not in touch with the common people everywhere in a massive level.
In 1510, Maharaja Bishwa Singha of the Kuch dynasty arranged Durgapuja.
It is said that, in the year of 1610, the Sabarna Roy Chowdhury Family of Barisha, Kolkata arranged Durgapuja for the first time in Bengal. Maharaja Kangsa Narayana of Tahirpur, Rajshahi arranges Durgapuja spending 8 lacs rupees during his rule. There are many Zamindars (landlords) and wealthy family arranged Durgapuja like this way. But those were not open to all.
In 1790, the 12 friends in Hoogly district of Bengal organized Durgapuja by donating together and made thiis publicly open for all. This is the first universal Durgapuja. The role of this public Durgapuja was great in the Indian Independence Movement.
Rishi(sage) Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, the “Emperor Of Literature” mentions Durga Puja as the root of Bengali culture (and so on all kinds of Devi Puja such as Kalipuja and Saraswatipuja etc.) for the first time in his articles. He says, the famous philosophy “Sankhya (সাংখ্যদর্শন)” is the root of Bengali culture. He also added that the sound of the drums of Durga, Kali and Jagaddhatri puja (Hindu Goddess) remind him the philosophy of Sankhya. (Referrance: “যখন গ্রামে গ্রামে, নগরে মাঠে জঙ্গলে শিবালয়, কালীর মন্দির দেখি, আমাদের সাংখ্য মনে পড়ে; যখন দুর্গা কালী জগদ্ধাত্রী পূজার বাদ্য শুনি, আমাদের সাংখ্যদর্শন মনে পড়ে।” ; Sankhya Darshan, 1st Chapter by Bankim Chandra Chattejee. Link: https://www.ebanglalibrary.com/bankim/সাংখ্যদর্শন/ )
Bankim Chandra also wrote the mightiest song named “Vande Mataram (বন্দে মাতরম)” inspired from the imagination of goddess Durga. This is the only song in the world that has sung in more than a hundred distinct melodies within a hundred years of time. And this number is increasing day by day. The song created a supernatural impact into the mind of the millions on the revolutionaries of Indian Independence Movement. Their popular war cry becomes “Vande Mataram”, which was later acquired by Indian Government and the song becomes the National Song of India (equivalent to the National Anthem) after independence.
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was always involved with the Sarbojanin (universal) Durgapuja. When he was the CEO of Kolkata Municipal Corporation,he allowed the land to enlarge and donated 500 Rupees to the Bagbazar Sarbojonin Durgotsav while his monthly salary was 3000 Rs (but he used to take only half of the salary). Later he becomes the President of the same Durgapuja Committee. Subhash Chandra transformed Durgapuja as a political campaign while he was inside the jail during British colony. He is the only man who forced British Government to sponsor for Durgapuja even inside the jail with the revolutionaries of Indian Independence Movement.
Durgapuja becomes the great unifying force among the people of India since its’ birth. Even Maa Durga herself comes with her family together in the earth (according to folklore philosophy) which is a symbol of unity. From the mythological age to today- Maa Durga is always with us and will be. She remains the glorious icon of Integral India.
We never knew how prestigious past we have. The whole Indian philosophy has an impact from the Sankhya philosophy, authored by Rishi Kapil Dev. He is the father of the philosophy and culture of Bengali. Not only Bengali but also the whole Indian owes to him for his wisdom and intellect. Lord Krishna says in the Geeta that He is Kapil among all monks or Rishis. Sri Krishna himself declares himself as the great Kapil Dev to Arjuna in Mahabharata.
Kapil Dev has not only impact on India or Hinduism, but also has a great impact on Nepal and Buddhism too. The birthplace of Gautam Buddha in Nepal is called Kapilavastu, which is named after Kapil Dev, the greatest philosopher of the world born in Bengal.
One thing to mention, which is a great news about our Indus Valley Civilization. That is, Indian civilization becomes the oldest civilization after new research found. The international journal on science which has the highest impact factor named “Nature” has published an article on the 25th of May, 2016 that Indus Valley Civilization sets a record to be the grandfather of all civilizations in the world after researching on Oxygen isotope from the bio-apatites. (Referrance: Oxygen isotope in archaeological bio-apatites from India: Implications to climate change and decline of Bronze Age Harappan civilization. Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep26555 )
Sad but true is- we didn't realize our glorious past what our predecessors had contributed in this great land of Indian subcontinent. Only our history can be revived from our culture and festivals. These festivals remind us who we are.
The nation moves towards the eternal identity of it’s soul. It's our time to reclaim our identity to know ourselves. It's our time to regain our lost pride to realise our ancestors’ minds.
And here comes Ma Durga to reclaim your heart, to search your soul inside.
Durga Puja. Bengal’s pride. Our culture. Our Identity. Together we build up our culture, protect it with celebrations and festivals and enrich with rituals. The whole nation celebrates with joy uttering the peals of victory- “Bolo Durga Mai Ki- Joy(Hail of Mother Durga)”.
Greetings of Sharodiyo Durgotsob from Luxurious Interior Decoration (LiD).
May this Moha Pujo feels your heart with joy, prosperity and eternal blessings.
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May Maa Durga bless you all.