Mahalaya is the auspicious day celebrated a week before Durga Puja that heralds the advent of Ma Durga, the goddess of supreme power. Through prayers and devotional songs, Devi Durga is invoked to begin her journey to earth and destroy the evil. The plea or prayer to Goddess begins with a fervent rendition of “Jago, Tumi Jago”. It is also a season of spring-cleaning – removing all that is unwanted and ushering in the new, the good into our homes and lives.
Nostalgia of Mahisasur Mardini
The day begins in the wee hours of the morning with broadcast of 'Mahisasur Mardini' from All India Radio, Kolkata, and relayed by almost every centre in the country. This has become synonymous with Mahalaya.
'Mahisasur Mardini' is a great unifying factor not only between those away from home but between generations. This timeless creation has narration by Birendra Krishna Bhadra and musical composition by Pankaj Kumar Mullick. It is perhaps the most successful audio-drama ever created.
The devotional songs, to which renowned playback singers like Hemant Kumar and Aarti Mukherjee lent their voices, are immortal and make the story element more captivating. The theme is mythical and narrates how the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara (Shiva) come together to create a powerful female form with ten arms - Goddess Durga or 'Mahamaya' - who embodies the primeval source of all power. Her victory over evil gives strength to the mortals on the earth to believe that good always triumphs.
Mahalaya is also a day of remembrance. On this day, people offer 'tarpan' in memory of their deceased forefathers. The banks of River Ganga become 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 place.
So the day is entwined in tradition, mythology and remembrance. Many head to visit their relatives carrying sweets and new clothes for them. It is officially when the countdown to Durga Puja begins. All preparations for the Puja are in their final stages be it buying accessories to go along with the new clothes or nailing in the finishing touches to the pandal.
Mahalaya is the beginning of Devi paksha. This year the weather has played spoilsport but has failed to dampen the spirit of Durga Puja. Kaash phul, small tufts of clouds on a blue sky have become synonymous with the season – Sarat Kaal. Grey clouds may be hovering above but the inner eye sees a blue sky above.
People do not miss this opportunity to greet friends and relatives ushering in a season of joy, peace and harmony.
A brief survey by Team M3.tv showed the following message as being very popular in the messaging circuit:
Sarat meghe vaslo vela,
Kash phoolete laglo dola,
Dhaker upor porlo kathi,
Mahalaya theke Dashami katuk fatafati.
Click here to listen to the entire original audio-drama Mahisasur Mardini, by Birendra Krishna Bhadra and his team on M3 FM.
Image courtesy: anirbansaha.com