Mahalaya : Invocation of Maa Durga
Like every year, this year too Durga Puja is at our doorstep. All around atmoshphere in the nature and everywhere reminds us the festival. Today is Mahalaya. Seven days before Durga Puja, “Mahalaya”, an auspicious occasion, is observed. This auspicious occasion heralds the coming of Maa Durga and begins the festivity to welcome her on this earth. It’s a kind of invitation (or we should say invocation) to the mother goddess to descend on earth and thats why we chant saying – ‘Jago, Maa Jago’. Invocation of Mother Durga is done through the chanting of mantras, singing devotional songs and scriptural verses from “Chandi”. Since early 1930s, the early morning Radio program ”Mahishasura Mardini” of Akashbani Kolkata on the Mahalaya day became a part of Bengali culture and the tradition is still continuing and nothing could change its originality as well as its popularity.
The story line goes like this : due to increasing cruelty of the demon king Mahishasura against the gods, the Gods pleaded Vishnu to annihilate the demon. The Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara (Shiva) come together to create a powerful female form with 10 arms – Maa Durga or Mahamaya, the Mother of the Universe, who embodies the primeval source of all power. The Gods then bestow upon this supreme creation their individual blessings and weapons. Armed like a warrior, the goddess rides a lion to battle with the Mahishasura. After a fierce combat the Durga is able to slay the asura king with her trident. Heaven and earth rejoice at her victory.