In Hindu religion, Goddess Durga is the form of “Adi Shakti” or form of Goddess Parvathy. Being a consort of Lord Shiva, goddess Durga is associated with power and strength to ward of evils from the society. There are many stories in Hindu mythology, where Goddess Parvathy has taken various forms to destroy demons or known as Rakshas and bring peace and tranquillity in the Universe. In fact, the celebration of the festival of Durga Puja is a mark of reverence of goddess who defeated the demon, Mahishasura. Since, thereafter, it is believed, mainly in the eastern parts of India, that Goddess Durga would descend to the earth and bless her devotees.
Another aspect of the mythology says that Goddess Durga promised her devotees on the event of killing Mahishasura, that she would descend to the earth along with Goddess Laxmi, Saraswati, lord Ganesha & Karthikeya.
Read: Mythological forms of Devi Durga
What is assured is that Goddess Durga would certainly visit the earth and this marks her celebration from the Devi Paksha or the rituals for the Puja beginning from Mahalaya, which is 10 days before the Puja. The main puja starts on Maha Shashti which is the 6th day of the of Navratri.
Following are the durga puja rituals:
Bodhan: As per the Bengali Calendar, during the month of Ashwin, Goddess Durga's Bodhan occurs. Bodhan refers to awakening and as per the Puranas, Lord Sriram had first performed this ritual to defeat Ravana. This event is referred to as Akalbodhanand.
With prayers and pujas, devotes are entitled to awaken the super powers of the almighty Gods and Goddesses and thus to save the humans from the evil powers. This is commonly done by chanting Durga Sukta as the Mantra would ward of any obstacle during the puja. This is also considered as Durga Puja ritual mantra.
Ghatsthapan: Further to get more benefits, this ritual is considered to be very important! In this ritual, a copper or Brass vessel is filled with water and set in front of the idol of the goddess. Right over the vessel, 5, 7 or 9 leaves of mango tree along with a clean piece of cloth and a coconut is placed over the vessel. This is a way of purifying the ambience of the place where it is placed.
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Sometimes, after chanting the prerequisite mantras, (say durga Sukta), this water is sprinkled to ensure sanctity and purity of the ambience.
Pran-Prathustha: As one would know the idol that we worship and the place where the idol is placed over the Pandals are made from either clay or wood or any other lifeless material and they do not have life in it in actual sense. So, in order that, we could be put in the soul of the divine Durga by chanting various Mantras and Slokas. This process fills in the life of goddess in her idol. It is only our belief that keeps us motivated towards the pure way of life and makes us strong like the sword of goddess Durga.
Nava-Patraika: This one is a ritual that is observed on the morning of Saptami (the 7th day of Navratri). In this ritual 9 leaves, from different trees, are collected and are called as NavaPatraika. These leaves symbolise the 9 forms of goddess Durga and are worshipped from Saptami (the 7th day of Navratri). In colloquial language the NavaPatraika is referred to as KalaBou. This one is mace of nine distinct saplings and is bind together with the creeper of Shet Aparajita, Alta (liquid of red colour used for the decoration of feet) and red strings. Finally, a cover of white Sari with red border is placed over this and is placed near the idol of Goddess Durga. Here again, each of these saplings is symbolic of the nine forms of Goddess Durga.
Sandhi Puja: Sandhi Puja is done during the last 24 minutes of Ashtami and first 24 minutes of Navami and in this time Goddess Durga is worshipped in the form of Devi Chamunda. In fact, Sandhi means the time of dawn of evening. It has been observed by many learned people that this one is the highest form of the worship of Devi Durga. Here, 108 lamps are lit during this ritual and 108 lotus flowers are dedicated for the worshipping of Goddess Durga.
Sacrifice: During older times, it was a ritual to sacrifice animals in order to complete the Puja but these days it is considered unethical to take the life of living being for the completion of any type of Puja. Hence forbidden. However, some part of Eastern part of the country offer Non-Veg food as prasad to maintain the continuity in some form of the other.
Yagna: This one is one an integral part of the Durga Puja. In fact, in Hindu mythology, Yagna or Havan puja in the local lingual is considered auspicious. This is done as a mark of devotion and dedication of the worshipper towards the goddess. The process of performing this Yagna Puja is a long process.
In Puranas, fire is believed to be a form of God and mythology makes us to believe that hymns and mantras are the major parts of the Puja ritual of Durga Puja. The offerings of fruits and other materials is the part of purifying the human soul. Mythologies teaches us that it is Yagna that makes our souls pure enough to bring in that needed dedication for God.
The above is some of the rituals in Goddess Durga Puja Celebration in India. In fact, Durga Puja Date in the year 2018 starts from 15th and ends on 19th October. To know more, readers can write to us for more details. We at Future Point, a team of expert and learnt astrologer have been providing astro solutions for the past three decades. Visit our website www.futurepointindia.com Or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the details.
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