Mahalaya Puja is a Hindu festival that marks the beginning of the Durga Puja festivities. It is celebrated on the last day of Pitru Paksha, which is a 16-day period dedicated to paying homage to deceased ancestors. Mahalaya Puja is believed to mark the arrival of Goddess Durga on Earth to defeat the demon king Mahishasura.
Mahalaya Puja- History, Story
- The history of Mahalaya can be traced back to the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. It is believed that the tradition of offering prayers and invoking the goddess Durga during this time was first narrated in the “Chandi Path,” a scripture from the Mahabharata.
- The specific practice of Mahalaya as we know it today was popularized by the Bengali community, especially in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
- In 1932, a renowned Bengali musician and composer named Pankaj Kumar Mullick collaborated with poet Birendra Krishna Bhadra to create the famous radio program “Mahishasura Mardini,” which is broadcasted on All India Radio (AIR) on the day of Mahalaya. This program became immensely popular and continues to be an integral part of Mahalaya celebrations.
There are many different stories and legends associated with Mahalaya Puja. One of the most popular stories is as follows:
Once upon a time, there was a demon king named Mahishasura who was granted a boon that no god or human could kill him. This made Mahishasura very arrogant and he began to terrorize the gods and humans alike. The gods were unable to defeat Mahishasura on their own, so they turned to the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva for help.
The Trinity combined their powers to create a powerful goddess named Durga. Durga was armed with the weapons of all the gods and she was determined to defeat Mahishasura. A fierce battle ensued between Durga and Mahishasura, which lasted for nine days and nine nights. In the end, Durga emerged victorious and slew Mahishasura.
Mahalaya Puja is celebrated to commemorate Durga’s victory over Mahishasura. It is a day of great joy and celebration for Hindus all over the world.
Significance of Mahalaya Puja
Mahalaya Puja is a significant day for Hindus for a number of reasons. First, it marks the beginning of the Durga Puja festivities. Durga Puja is one of the most important festivals in the Hindu calendar, and it is a time for families and friends to come together to celebrate the victory of good over evil.
Second, Mahalaya Puja is a day to remember and pay homage to deceased ancestors. During Pitru Paksha, Hindus perform various rituals to appease their ancestors and help them achieve moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death). Mahalaya Puja is the last day of Pitru Paksha, and it is a time to bid farewell to one’s ancestors.
Finally, Mahalaya Puja is a day to celebrate the power and divinity of Goddess Durga. Durga is a symbol of strength, courage, and victory over evil. Her victory over Mahishasura is a reminder that good always triumphs over evil in the end.
How Mahalaya Puja is Celebrated
Mahalaya Puja is celebrated in different ways in different parts of India. However, there are some common rituals that are performed by Hindus on this day.
One of the most important rituals of Mahalaya Puja is the recitation of the Chandi Path. The Chandi Path is a hymn that praises the goddess Durga and describes her battle with Mahishasura. It is recited by priests and lay people alike on Mahalaya Puja.
Another important ritual of Mahalaya Puja is the offering of food and water to deceased ancestors. Hindus believe that their ancestors are watching over them and that they can be appeased by offerings of food and water. On Mahalaya Puja, Hindus make special offerings to their ancestors and pray for their blessings.
Mahalaya Puja is a day of great joy and celebration for Hindus all over the world. It is a time to remember and pay homage to deceased ancestors, to celebrate the victory of good over evil, and to honor the power and divinity of Goddess Durga.