A divine journey from Navratri to Durga Puja, ending with Dusshera.
The month of September this year is a divine celebration. Starting from Navratri, the journey continues till Durga Puja. It finally ends with Dusshera. First of all, the three events are a culmination of feminine power and the defeat of the evil force.
Power of femininity- Shakti.
All the festivals marks the celebration of feminine power. She is the female energy or Shakti, who has taken a human shape of a woman. She is born out of the combination of all the divine powers. According to legends, she was created to stop the endless destruction on Earth.
Navratri- the 9- days festival.
This festival honors the female power. This is a festival that celebrates the creation of Shakti in her various forms. All the forms are actually her different personalities and roles. While some forms are also about her mood. If she is extremely angry, she takes a different form. That form is called “Kali”. But she also has kind and benevolent forms.
The festival has 9 days of celebration. Each day has its own significance. They are as follows:
- Shailaputri- She is the first form of Shakti. On the first day, people worship her as she represents purity and nature.
- Brahmacharini- She is the second form of Shakti. This is her virgin form that people worship.
- Gayatri- She is the third form of Shakti. People worship her because she represents bravery and courage. In this form, she sits on the top of a tigress.
- Annapurna- She is the fourth form. In this form, she is the goddess of nourishment to the poor. She is the benevolent form here.
- Lalitha- She is the fifth form of Shakti. Here she is in her blissful form. This is the form associated with love and marriage.
- Katyayani- She is the sixth form of Shakti. This is her warrior form. Here people worship because she conquered good over evil.
- Kaalratri- She is the seventh form. This is her most fiercest form as she became angry with the existence of evil.
- Gauri- She is the eight form. She is also known as Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva.
- Siddhidatri- She is the ninth form. In this form, she is the most gentle in a meditative pose.
Hence each of the days changes according to the different forms of Shakti.
The relation between Navratri and Durga Puja.
Both Navratri and Durga Puja are similar in terms of celebrating Shakti’s glory. But Durga Puja actually starts from the sixth day of Navratri.
It is the cultural differences that separates the two festivals.
While Navratri is celebrated in North India, West India and South India, Durga Puja is celebrated in Eastern part of West Bengal and Northeastern part of Assam. In Durga Puja, people celebrates the glory of Goddess Durga or Katyayani. First of all, she takes a warrior form to destroy the evil Asura (devil), Mahishasur. He is the king of the “Asura” (devil) clan. Mahishasur was extremely powerful. In addition, Lord Shiva blessed him with powers. Because he was pleased with the Asura’s devotion for him. Due to this, no other power can destroy him. This made him arrogant and he misused his power. As a result, Shakti was created to destroy his arrogance and end his evil rule. Therefore Durga Puja is a way of celebrating her courage and bravery to defeat evil.
The final tenth day- Vijaya Dashami and Dusshera.
Both the events are similar in terms of destroying evil. While Vijaya Dashami is the final day of celebrating Shakti’s glory. In this day, people celebrates her departure from Earth. She came to Earth to defeat evil and on this day she is returning back to her heavenly abode.
On the other hand, Dusshera is an event that is about celebrating male power. Here Dusshera celebrates the destruction of Ravana, an evil Asura king of Lanka (Sri Lanka). He is commonly known as having ten heads with all different powers. According to myths, Ravana kidnapped a woman named Sita. She was the wife of Rama, a prince of a place called Ayodhya. Rama is another form of Lord Krishna.Due to the kidnapping, Rama vows to destroy Ravana. Therefore Ravana’s death marks the celebration of Dusshera and the glory of Rama.
Reasons behind Dusshera and Vijaya Dashami being celebrated together.
According to myths when Sita was kidnapped, Rama prayed to Goddess Durga to defeat the evil king. Hence he started worshiping her by conducting a long “puja”. Based on beliefs, he started the “puja” on the sixth day of Navratri. It is also on the tenth day, that the Goddess offers him the power to defeat Ravana and Rama kills him.
Navratri is about going for fasts and worshiping on all the nine days. Durga Puja is celebrated by creating a life size female shaped idol of Goddess Durga. Finally, Dusshera is about making an effigy of the 10 headed Ravana. After that the effigy is burnt, that marks the celebration.