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Durga Puja: Are Prayers and Pollution going Hand in Hand?

Devotees must understand, immersing an Eco-friendly Goddess Durga’s idol in an artificial pond would make them no less devoted than the people immersing a 10 feet idol, made of Plaster of Paris

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Durga Idol Immersion, Flickr

October 4, 2016: Durga Puja is celebrated all across the country in its own unique ways. As the Puja comes to an end after five long days, people bid goodbye to the Goddess Durga by immersing the idols to the nearby rivers.

After the ritual, families return back to their homes happily. Sadly, what happens to the water in the river which is home to many living creatures is of no concern them whatsoever. The immersion of idols increases the content of oil, metal, and Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) in the river. The introduction of these new hazardous materials in the making of the idols has made the traditional way of making idols with hay and clay disappear.

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According to a report by CPCB, more than 15000 idols are immersed in the River Hooghly alone. Click To Tweet After the immersion, TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) is increased by 100%.

From the last decade, we have been observing a growing awareness among people regarding the river pollution. Our government has been issuing the advisory and implementing methods so that festivals like Durga Puja and Ganesh Chaturthi can be celebrated in an Eco-friendly way. Though these advisory mostly goes unheeded, a few years back, Gujarat government banned the use of Plaster of Paris (PoP) and other perilous materials in idols.

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The Karnataka government introduced mobile immersion units. The Indore municipal corporation has been setting up artificial ponds for the immersion. In Pune, the municipal corporation set up large bins shaped as Kalash for the disposal of nirmalaya(the flower, cloth, camphor, fruits, etc.)
Guidelines have been proposed by the Central Pollution Control Board for controlling the river pollution. Some of these are as follows:

  • Artificial ponds must be constructed. Appropriate locations for immersions should be identified.
  • Removable synthetic liners should be placed at the bottom of the pond before the immersion.
  • Prior to immersion, nirmalaya must be removed.
  • Regular checks must be carried out on makers of idols to ensure that they are following the specifications.
  • A fee will be charged for immersion in the public place.
  • Painted idols should use water soluble and organic dyes.
  • Water quality assessment should be carried out during three stages- before immersion, during immersion and after immersion.
  • The burning of solid waste near immersion sites should be prohibited.
  • Use of Eco-friendly idols should be encouraged.
  • All idols, not following the specifications must be seized.

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All these measures can work only if the devotees understand, immersing an Eco-friendly Goddess Durga’s idol in an artificial pond would make them no less devoted than the people immersing a 10 feet idol, made of Plaster of Paris, in the river. Therefore, Prayers without pollution likely to sound better. Isn’t it?

-by Diksha Arya of NewsGram

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Celebration of the Devi Shakti : Maha Navmi | Worship Goddess Siddhidhatri on the Ninth Day of Navratri

Navratri is celebrated to honor and glorify the spirit of Goddess Durga, also known as the Devi Shakti inside us

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Maha Navmi
During Navratri celebrations, devout Hindus honor the existence, presence and power of the Devi Shakti. Pixabay

New Delhi, September 29, 2017 : The last eight days have witnessed immense zeal and fervor among devotees who got together to celebrate Sharad Navratri and honor the nine auspicious nights of goddess Durga. According to the Hindu dharma, there are four Navratris in one year; however, only two of them are celebrated in a magnificent way, one of them being Sharad Navratri. This year, the festival was observed from September 21– 29. Throughout the nine day festival, devotees observe ritualistic fasts, perform several pujas and offer bhog (holy food) to Goddess Durga in an attempt to gratify her.

Why do we celebrate Navratri?

‘Nav’ means ‘nine’ and ‘ratri’ means ‘night’. Thus, ‘Navratri’ means the festival of the ‘nine nights’.

Navratri is celebrated to honor and glorify the spirit of Goddess Durga, also known as the Devi Shakti inside us. It is popularly believed that this spirit alone can help us destroy all negative traits like obsession, pride and aversions.

By turning to the Devi during Navratri, and getting in touch with her spirit in us, devotees attempt to overcome these negative qualities and invoke positive tendencies.

Celebration of the Devi Shakti

Shakti translates to energy and the Devi (goddess) of Shakti in the Hindu dharma is revered as the primitive source of energy that maintains and sustains all forms on creation of the earth.

The Devi Shakti, or the feminine spirit, manifests itself in multiple forms, nine of which are worshiped during the Navratri.

Each form of the goddess encompasses and supplements traits such as strength, beauty, compassion, , power, fear and transformation. Thus, during Navratri celebrations, devout Hindus honor the existence, presence and power of the Devi Shakti.

Maha Navmi
Nine firms of the Devi Shakti are worshiped during the Navratri. IANS

The Different Avatars of Durga

The nine nights of Navratri celebrate and honor the nine different aspects of Mother Divine on each day, known as Nava Durga. These are,

  1. Maa Shailaputri
  2. Maa Brahmacharini
  3. Maa Chandraghanta
  4. Maa Kushmanda
  5. Maa Skandamata
  6. Maa Kathyayini
  7. Maa Kaalaratri
  8. Maa Maha Gauri
  9. Maa Siddhidhatri

Day 9 of Navratri : Maha Navmi

The ninth and the final day of worship before Vijaya Dashami is known as Navmi, also known as Maha Navmi. This marks the end of the Sharad Navratri.

ALSO READ Get Your Home Festive Ready for Dussehra and Diwali!

Spiritual Significance of Maha Navmi

According to the Hindu mythology, goddess Durga fought the king of demons, Mahishasur for nine consecutive days. The ninth day is the absolute day when the goddess’ power, righteousness, and wisdom won over the evil forces.

On this day, the ninth avatar of goddess Durga is worshiped – Maa Siddhidhatri.

Ninth form of Durga – Maa Siddhidhatri

It is believed that goddess Durga’s manifestation in his form happened upon entering the body of Lord Shiva and assuming the left half of it.

Maa Siddhidhatri sits on a red lotus and is also seen riding a lion at times. The goddess has a mace, conch, and a lotus in her four hands.

Ruling over the planet Ketu, Maa Siddhidhatri governs the minds of people and motivates them towards a disciplined and spiritual life. Devotees believe worshiping this avatar of goddess Durga leads them on a path of self-exploration and higher spiritual knowledge.

Maha Navmi
9 Forms of Durga. Pixabay

Goddess Siddhidhatri is believed to bring fulfillment and totality in every sphere of life, which is why devout Hindus celebrate the last day of Navratri to please and pray to the goddess.

Rituals of Maha Navmi

  • In many parts of North and East India, Kanya Puja or Kanjak is observed on Maha Navmi. Following the rituals, nine young girls are worshiped as the nine avatars of goddess Durga. Following the puja which includes chanting various mantras and lighting incense sticks, the kanjaks are fed food specially prepared for them. They are also presented with gifts as tokens of respect and love.
  • In eastern India, Maha Navmi is synonymous with the third day of Durga Puja. The celebrations begin with a holy bath and are followed by the Shodhasopachar puja. On this day, the goddess is worshipped in the avatar of the goddess who killed Mahishasur, Mahishasuramardini.
  • In several parts of Southern India, many children begin preparing for their academic year from this day.

ALSO READ Significance of Kanjak Puja in Navratri, What Each Age Group of Young Girls Depicts?

Color for the day : Purple

Navratri Ninth Day Maa Siddhidhatri Mantras

“Om Devi Siddhidatryai Namah”

and

“Om Devi Siddhidatryayi Namah Siddha Gandharva Yakshdyairasurairamarairapi

Sevyamaanaa Sadabhuyaat Siddhida Siddhidayini”

 

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Significance of Kanjak Puja in Navratri, What Each Age Group of Young Girls Depicts?

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Kanjak Puja
9 Forms of Durga. Pixabay

Sep 25, 2017: Navratri has great significance in Hinduism and the nine days of Navratri is considered the most auspicious days of the year. The celebration of Navratri comes twice every year and in the two celebrations, young girls are worshiped in Kanjak Puja.

On the ninth day of Navratri, 9 girls are worshiped to please Goddess Durga. One thing to recall is that upon the arrival of Navratri, the young girls of various ages ought to be venerated.

 The reason behind worshipping girls of different ages in Kanjak Puja:

The young girl of a 2-year-old young lady is called Kanya and a three-year-old young girl is called Trimurti. By worshiping her, riches, bliss, success increment in the life and all worrisome issues in the family winds up.

The 4-year-old young girl is called Kalyani, by worshiping her, the home remains loaded with joy and thriving, overcoming obstacles.

Also Read: 8 Reasons why you Should be Fasting this Navratri 

On the fifth day of Navratri, the aficionado should worship the five-year-old girl, the little girl of this age is called Rohini, worshiping the Rohini girl is good for the devotee’s health.

The 7-year-old girl is called Chandika, by venerating her, the house is filled with prosperity, while an eight-year-old girl is called Shambhavi, by worshiping her, poverty stays away.

The 9-year-old girl is considered as the form of Goddess Durga. By worshipping her, all the hurdles from the life gets eliminated.

 

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Navratri 5th Day, The Tales That Speaks About Mother-Son Relationship

Goddess Skandamata, the 5th form of Goddess Durga and also the mother of the commander in chief of the devatas, Lord Kartikeya.

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Goddess Skandamata
Goddess Skandamata Source: Wikimedia Common

New Delhi, September 25, 2017: Goddess Skandamata shows up during the 5th day of the Hindu festival Navratri. The 5th form of Goddess Durga and also the mother of the commander in chief of the devatas, Lord Kartikeya.

Devi Skandamata is portrayed as a Goddess holding her infant, Lord Kartikeya, with her right arm and a lotus in her above two hands. The left arm of Devi is in a posture to grant blessings to her devotees. She has four hands, 3 eyes with a beautiful bright complexion. Skandamata is also called as Padamasani since she is portrayed in her idol being seated on a lotus flower. She is also seen with a lion as her vehicle. Goddess Skandamata is worshipped in the form of Parvati, Maheshwari and Mata Gauri.

It is strongly believed that Devi Skandamata is a Goddess of salvation, prosperity, power, and treasures.

The legend says that Tarkasur, a great demon who used to torture and massacre the people on earth wanted the immortality power. To please Lord Brahma with his devotion he went through extremely tough forfeitures. In return for his devotion, he asked Lord Brahma his blessings to make him immortal. However, Brahma denied his request, but Tarkasur acted smart and asked Brahma to give him boons which say that only the son of Lord Shiva can bring him to death since he thought that Shiva would never get married to have any children.

Nevertheless, Lord Shiva got married to Parvati and with her 5th form, Goddess Skandamata, Lord Kartikeya was born. As he grew, he came to know about the boon given by Lord Brahma to Tarkasur and that only he can kill him and bring peace to the earth.

The Gods gave Kartikeya their blessings with special powers and weapons, and he killed demon Tarkasur on the battlefield.

Devi Skandamata is the symbol of mother-son relationship.

People worship her to get immense love and affection from her as a blessing.

Here is the mantra to worship Goddess Skandamata

 

सिंघासनगता नित्यम पद्माश्रितकरद्वया |

शुभदास्तु सदा देवी स्कन्द माता यशश्विनी ||

Siṅghāsanagatā nityama padmāśritakaradvayā |

śubhadāstu sadā dēvī skanda mātā yaśaśvinī ||

 

ALSO READ: Navratri Day Four Is Dedicated to ‘Maa Kushmanda’, Goddess who Governs the Sun

Navratri is the Hindu festival that holds immense importance in Hinduism. It is believed from the tales that during the festival, Goddess Durga descends on earth. She blesses her devotees with happiness and prosperity and brings an end to the evil.

Devotees believe in worshipping and fasting for all nine days which can bring a change to their lives and make their wishes come true.

– Prepared by Abhishek Biswas of NewsGram Twitter: @Writing_desire