is an auspicious Indian occasion observed seven days before the
Durga Puja, and heralds the advent of Durga, the goddess of
supreme power. The dark fortnight of Aswayuja is known as the
Mahalaya Paksha or the fortnight specially sacred for offering
oblations to the departed ancestors. Durga - goddess of
deliverance - comes to earth on the seventh day after the autumn
new moon. She is depicted by
the 'kumors' or potters as a resplendent golden figure standing on
a lion's back, each of her ten arms bearing a particular weapon,
as she triumphs over the demon Mahisasura.
sarbabhuteshshu, sakti rupena sanksthita Namasteshwai
Namasteshwai Namasteshwai namo namaha."
|Seven days before the puja, from
the day of Mahalaya starts Devipaksha. People take a holy dip in
the river Ganga at dawn and pray for the departed souls - the act
is called 'Tarpan'. Since the early 1930s, Mahalaya has come to
associate itself with an early morning radio program called
Mahisasura Mardini or The Annihilation of the Demon. This All
India Radio (AIR) program is a beautiful audio montage of
recitation from the scriptural verses of Chandi Kabya, Bengali
devotional songs, classical music and a dash of acoustic
program has almost become synonymous with Mahalaya.
For nearly six decades now, the
whole of Bengal rises up in the chilly pre dawn hours, 4 am to be
precise, of the Mahalaya day to tune in to the Mahisasura Mardini
The occasion of Mahalaya, always
goes on reminding mankind of the divine scheme of things that the
Evil may have had its say, but it is ultimately the Good that has
the last laugh.
The day of Mahalaya
is also the day of remembrance. On this day, people offer 'tarpan'
in memory of their deceased forefathers. The banks of River Ganga
becomes a sea of humanity. Priests are seen busy performing 'Tarpan'
for devotees in groups. The rituals start from early down and end
during the midday. Devotees and worshipers buy clothes and sweets
to offer to their forefathers. 'Tarpan' is to be performed in
empty stomach. After offering 'tarpan', people eat at the same
Baishakh from Bishakha
Jiashthya from Jaishtha
Ashara from Shar
Shraban from Srabani
Bhadra from Bhadrapada
Ashwin from Aswaini
Kartik from Kartika
Agrahayon from Agraihon
Falgun from Falguni, and
Chaitra from Chitra stars.