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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Mahalaya is October 10th (2007) and Navaratri starts October 12th, Dassara on October 21st

This is a great occasion to get the spiritual spurt.
The universe is ripe with this energy waiting for it's plucking.

What is Mahalaya?

This is a must watch video - has the traditional Mahalaya pooja recitation from Radio Calcutta. One man who’ll always be remembered for making Mahalaya memorable to one and all is Birendra Krishna Bhadra, the magical voice behind the “Mahisasura Mardini.” The legendary narrator recites the holy verses and tells the story of the goddess’s descent to earth, in his inimitable style. Bhadra has long passed away, but his recorded voice still forms the core of the Mahalaya programme.
In his deep, reverberating voice Birendra Bhadra renders the Mahalaya recital for two thrilling hours, mesmerising every household with the divine aura of his narration, as the Bengalis submerge their souls in quiet moments of prayer. This programme has now gained popularity worldwide.

The traditional six-day countdown to Mahasaptami starts from Mahalaya (10th October 2007). Goddess Durga visits her paternal house for only four days but seven days prior to the Pujas, is Mahalaya.

Once a year, in the autumnal month of Ashwin, Durga come s home to her parents, together with her four children, Ganesh, Laxmi, Karttik and Saraswati, and enjoys all the love and attention lavished on her. Durga - Goddess of deliverance - comes to earth on the seventh day after the autumn new moon. Seven days before Her arrival starts the Devipaksha. The day is being observed as ‘Mahalaya’, the day of invocation. In the dark night of amabasya (new moon), people pray to Goddess Durga to arrive in the earth to ward off all evils. On the dawn of ‘Mahalaya’, homes in Bengal resonate with the immortal verses of the ‘Chandipath'.

Here is where you can look for the current moon phase
Amavasya is October 10th 2007 - so that qualifies as Mahlaya for 2007

Mahalaya is an auspicious occasion observed seven days before the Durga Puja, and heralds the advent of Durga, the goddess of supreme power. It’s a kind of invocation or invitation to the mother goddess to descend on earth - “Jago Tumi Jago”. This is done through the chanting of mantras and singing devotional songs. From this day starts the Devipaksha and marks the end of Pitripaksha. It is the day when many throng to the banks of river Ganga, clad in dhotis to offer prayers to their dead relatives and forefathers. People pray for their demised relatives and take holy dips in the Ganges in the pre-dawn hours. This ritual is known as ‘Tarpan’.

According to the religious texts, Lord Rama hastily performed Durga Puja just before he set off for Lanka to rescue Sita from Ravana. According to the Puranas, King Suratha used to worship Goddess Durga in spring. Thus Durga Puja was also known as Basanti Puja. But Rama brought forward the Puja and worshiped Durga in autumn and that is why it is known as Akal Bodhon or untimely worship. It was considered untimely since the puja was performed when the Gods and Goddesses were awake i.e. “Uttarayan” and was not held when the Gods and Goddesses rested ie. “Dakshinayan”.

It was on the day of Mahalaya, the beginning of “devipaksha”, the Gods and Goddesses awoke to prepare themselves for Durga Puja. The story element is captivating. It speaks of the increasing cruelty of the demon king Mahisasura against the gods. Unable to tolerate his tyranny the gods plead with Vishnu to annihilate the demon. The Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara (Shiva) come together to create a powerful female form with 10 arms - Goddess 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 Mahisasura. After a fierce combat the Durgatinashini is able to slay the ‘Asura’ king with her trident. Heaven and earth rejoice at her victory. The mantra narration ends with the refrain of mankind’s supplication before this Supreme Power:

Ya Devi Sarbabhuteshshu, Shakti Rupena Sanksthita Namasteshwai Namasteshwai Namasteshwai Namo Namaha”.

Orginal article is here

Here is the link to listen to the original Mahalaya pooja recitation from Radio Calcutta (pretty good writeup here )

Links below don't seem to work now

All those who can't listen to it on radio can hear it online here. Mind yu this is a recording of AIR itself and not the usual CD one. This was recorded in 1987.


And here's the link to download the Audio file.



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Welcome to the spirituality blog

This blog is an offshoot of a website that I had conceived as a result of the spiritual grace and resultant inspiration during Shivaratri Y2K (http://www.jyotirlinga.com) on the joy of Shiva Bhakti and my quest for spiritual progress. Not finding the time (yep, bad excuse!), this blog suits me fine in quickly adding content... my spiritual forays and thoughts - helps log them too. My spiritual journey started with Hinduism and it's simple stories/ teachings as far back as when I was a 2nd grader, with Lord Shiva and has now found convergence with Advaitism / Duality. The Advaitism gurus like Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi, Nisargadatta Maharaj; they have provided that spiritual boost of energy in many lagging moments and have tremendously influenced me ... little baby steps at a time... that will hopefully all lead upto a final crescendo. The merits of satsangh are many!

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