Is it a spiritual or a materialistic Durga Puja?

Tuesday, 31 March 2020



Is it a spiritual or a materialistic Durga Puja?

Bishaldeep Kakati | October 15, 2018 14:44 hrs

The soul-stirring smell of the shiuli flowers, the spiritual fragrance of the incense sticks, the rhythmic beats of the ‘Dhol’, ‘Taal’, ‘Dhaak’, the upcoming of the shorter days and the cold evenings, and with it when mother nature glorifies herself with the ardor to bring in the enigmatic changes, then we can clearly say that the spiritual and the festive season of autumn has once again made her presence felt in the mortal world. Not to forget the fact that when we talk about the autumn season, we directly or indirectly relate it to one of the most joyous festivals of the Hindus, i.e. the Durga Puja. 


Durga Puja which is typically celebrated for ten days starting from ‘Mahalaya’ to ‘Vijaya Dashami’ is the symbolic representation of victory of good over evil, establishment of peace and prosperity and celebration of women power. Further, Durga Puja also breaks the monopoly of our humdrum lives, as the burgess completely enjoys the festival by swaying in the musical and the spiritual beats of it.
Over the years, a lot has already been discussed how Durga Puja is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm keeping in terms with the spiritual and the mythological aspect. But the sad fact is that very less conversations or deliberations have taken place regarding the ways to maintain the essence of the festival since the quintessence of the festival has degraded strikingly over the years. And the noticeable fact is that a contrasting scenario can be drawn between Durga Puja celebration of the yesteryears and that of the present era, which directly or indirectly brings a picture in front of our eyes, where as children we were given certain tasks to find out differences between two exactly similar pictures. Hence the main motive of the scrupulous discussion done above is not to draw a word picture regarding the mythological aspects of celebrating the Durga Puja, rather to make the learned and the knowledgeable citizens once again realize the fact that it is high time that we move back to our roots, before the roots of essence are completely uprooted for no good.

It is a conspicuous fact that whenever we confabulate about Durga Puja, the first thing that comes to our minds is the expensive idols of goddess Durga, as well as those over lavishly decorated ‘Pandals’, that can simply be regarded as profligate consumers of energy. In fact, the astonishing thing that is known to one and all is that crores and crores of resources are spent in celebrating this festival, and it seems that there is a sense of competition among the organizers of Durga Puja to prove their capacity and worth. But the pivotal question that arises out of here is: Whether is it really necessary to make this sacred festival of significant importance an extravagant jamboree with or without the spiritual vibe and essence?


The answer to this question can be directly given by bringing into consideration a logical perspective that was given by Mahapurukh Sreemanta Sankardeva.


Mahapurukh Sankardeva was of the view that a devotee’s prayer to his or her lord should be an honest affair from the heart rather than some impractical show-off. And somewhere down the line, the philosopher’s view was quite relevant, since even in Hindu mythology, it is believed that honest prayer and offering to the lord is simply enough to satisfy him from every aspect. Added to this, when the festival gets over, these expensive idols are simply immersed in the water, the ‘Pandals’ are broken, and that directly or indirectly puts an adverse impact on the economic stability of the state.


So the matter of the fact is that rather than spending so much money in making the idols every year, permanent goddess Durga idols can be erected at all those places, where Durga Puja is organized or celebrated. Furthermore, the ‘Pandals’ constructed should also try to give a spiritual vibe rather than over usage of electricity and technology. Moreover, because of this reckless spending of money to over decorate the idols and the pandals, the spiritual dynamism of the festival is somewhere down the line lost, and hence some of the people visit the ‘Pandals’ only to create a nuisance. Therefore, some changes must be brought in at the earliest, so as to once again revamp the sacred vibe of the festival among the people.


In fact, some of the age-old traditions associated with Durga Puja still put a question mark on the ethical aspect of celebrating the sacred festival. In a few of the most famous Durga temples of the state, a heinous tradition is still being followed, that always shakes the psyche of all the concerned social beings. The tradition of sacrificing hundreds and hundreds of animals in the name of goddess Durga is a thing that always creates a great deal of hue and cry during the festival. Many a time, many experts, as well as animal enthusiasts, have also shown their dissatisfaction towards this religious heinous act, however, no changes could be descried regarding this atrocious act till date. So, when we speak of celebrating DurgaPuja in a righteous way, even the tradition of ‘BoliBidhan’ must be stopped for good, or else it would simply mean the destruction of the main attribute for celebrating this holy festival.
Not only this but also the substandard acts are done by a certain section of the society, who find themselves addicted to alcoholic stuff and drugs, have made the bevy blabber again and again the thing that: Whether have we converted the spiritual and the holy festival of Durga Puja into a materialistic celebration?


The modern era though has unfortunately seen the real essence of celebrating Durga Puja being degraded to quite an extent, however the optimistic still believes that if the people change their attributes and habits a little, think logically, act rationally, then the sacred festival of Durga Puja can be revived once again. And hence it remains the duty of the organizers as well as the people to keep the spiritual factor of the festival intact, especially while celebrating it in a grand way.

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