30 Sep 2014

#75 Navratri

The nine auspicious nights: Navratri

Festivals are parts and parcels of life. With the commencement of the festivals, an aura full of energy and creativity spreads all over. Like every year, this year people will experience happiness in this Navratri. 

“Navratri” has been derived from two Sanskrit words, Nav means  nine and Ratri means nights. Navratri is observed twice in a year. It is a festival which is being celebrated throughout India to worship nine forms of Goddess  Durga.  According to Hindu calendar, this festival begins on the very first day of month Ashwin. This festival comes to an end with the tenth day of celebration that is called Dusshera.  

Avatars of Maa Durga
1.      Shailputri
Goddess Shailputri is the first among the nine forms and is worshipped in the first day of Navratri. Shailputri is also regarded as the daughter of king of mountain Himalaya. She holds Trishul as weapon in her hand and rides on a bull. She holds lotus in her left hand.

2.     Brahmacharini
She is the second among the nine forms and is worshipped in the second day of festival. She is the goddess who  performs Tapa. She is a symbol of love, loyalty and knowledge. She holds japa mala in her right hand and kamandal in her  left hand.

3.     Chandraghanta
She is the third form of Godess Durga and is worshipped in the third day of this festival. She is the goddess of knowledge, bliss, energy and serenity. She posses ten hands and three eyes. She rides on a tiger.

4.     Kushmanda
She is worshipped on the fourth day of Navratri. She is the controller of the entire solar system. She holds different weapons in her six hands and rose and lotus in her remaining two hands. She irradiates energy in all direction as that of Sun. She rides on a lion.

5.     Skand Mata
She is fifth among the nine forms and is worshipped in the fifth day of the festival. She holds her son named Skanda on her lap that’s why she has got such a name. It is believed that she has got such a power to transform an individual into a great source of knowledge. She is regarded as a goddess of power. She rides on a lion. She holds two lotus flowers in her two hands.

6.     Katyani
She is the sixth form of Goddess Durga who is worshipped in the sixth day of this festival. Sage Katyayan observed a penace to get Jaganmata as his daughter, so Mata blessed him and took birth as a daughter on the river bank of Yamuna.She has three eyes and four hands. She rides on a lion.

7.     Kalratri
She is the seventh form of Godess Durga and is worshipped in the seventh day of Navratri. She is dark as that of night, hence she is named as “Kalratri”. She is considered as a destroyer of darkness, ignorance and enemies. She holds a sharp wood in her right hand and rides on a donkey.

8.     Maha Gauri
She is worshipped in the eight day of the festival. She holds drums, trident and Trishul in her hands. She is more often dressed in a white sari. She rides on a bull. She is as white as moon. She is a symbol of peace and compassion.

9.     Maha Siddhidatri
She is the ninth form of Godess Durga and is worshipped in the ninth day of the festival. It is believed that she provides eight Siddhis-Anima, Ahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti,Prakamya, lishitva and Vashitva. She is depicted with four arms. She is seated on a lotus. She is worshipped by all the sages and devotees who want to obtain religious asset.

There are lots of memories associated with this festival. In my childhood days, during Kanya Pujan, I along with my friends would go to the house of people for Kanya Pujan. We would be given lots of dishes to eat. While returning back to home, we used to get return gifts.
May goddess durga shower all her mercy upon her devotees and fill within all, a positive energy to drive away all the odds. May Goddess empower us and uplift us.

With this note, I wish everyone a HAPPY DURGA PUJA.

Sweta Sarangi

29 Sep 2014

#74 Diaspora


This poem is very personal to me. It is about my emotions getting stirred up during a journey from my home to hostel.[ Like bodies, thoughts do travel far connecting souls and creating desired environment. Thus putting us in a state of hallucination in the way that we face a dilemma to distinguish between the dream and reality. ] I had a dream a night before seeing my mom and father on the platform waiting for me, my mom in a dark Maroon suit which she actually possessed then, that dream faded away with the ringing of the alarm clock. And to my surprise, I found a lady with the same Maroon suit boarding the compartment in which I sat few seats away from my sister as per my seat number. I was listening to music to shoo away my boredom, simultaneously praying God not to make that lady to face me, this did not happen actually. I was surprised at the striking similarity between that lady and my mom, same Salwar Suit, a pair of glasses, same complexion, similar hairstyle and the most surprising being similarity in  face!! I could not make out what was going around. Was I still in dream? I was so emotionally moved that I felt like running towards her to give her a tight hug. I would have done that had she stayed few minutes more in the same compartment.

With luggages at hand
And determined stand
I waited on the platform
To watch the train come.

The train approached with
A hissing sound
And the smoke ejected
Dusted the shining cloud.

Boarded the train
With a heave of sigh
Cause the crowd was tight
Blurring the present sight.

A loving mother with the
Apple of her eye
The maternity which tied
That lovely Sapphire.

I imagined as if
That child was I
Resting over my mom’s lap
Unaware of the world’s crass.

The diaspora of thoughts and bodies
Created an abyss
Making the appearance
Of a utopian reality.

Swati Sarangi