100000 faces of Durga

Shubho Durgo Utsav( Auspicious Durga Festival)

Joy & Bijoy, the gatekeepers got bored between the NavRatri Festival.Every god has descended on the Earth in the humans abode.The monsoon has ended & winter is coming, they have to visit everyplace they are revered. So Joy & Bijoy, locked the doors and decided to join the festivites.

Joy asked Bijoy, “Which place should we go,we have only 1day before anyone comes knocking at the doors”.

Bijoy said,”I want to see 1,00,000 Durga Maa. Kolkata, the city of Joy, will be the perfect place for that”.

It was decided then-Kolkata will be there get away for a day.They started visiting each and every ‘Pandal’ or seat or home of Maa Durga, from North Kolkata to the South Extension, from Kaali Baari to small hut temples. Joy was amazed to see so many people celebrating the festival,moving from one place to another, enthusiastic children , devoted aged, men & women revering Maa Durga. He has never seen so many people together even in Heaven. Creativity and genius of the humans has engrossed him so much that he sometime forgot that it was not some artists home but the Deity’s temporary seat. He was amused how humans used so many different and odd articles & objects to build the ‘pandals’. One place had everything built from bamboo, one used the scrap metals, another utensils of prayer. The electric lighting & visual prowess seemed unmatched, each had a different form.That was not all – Durga Maa sculptures and decoration were equally rich & varied. Big & mesmerizing eyes of deity creating both the feeling of awe & fear together. One place had whole scheme of ‘Brahmaand’ painted on the deity’s body, one had 30ft sculpture of Durga Maa and another was so grand that it took his breath away.Mesmerized by the devotional crowd around him and several  style of celebrating the festivities, Joy forgot about Bijoy.

Bijoy was irritated and sad with everything going on there. He called Joy,” Joy! lets leave now, i don’t feel like staying here any longer”

Joy taking note of it inquired,” What happened Bijoy? You only chose this place? Didn’t you enjoyed the celebrations?”

Bijoy said,”No, i am rather disappointed at what has happened to the celebration of the divine mother. Humans have turned so materialistic and ego- centric. See all these advertisements placed all around the ‘pandal’, trying to sell something to the devotees. People are distracted by them.Their devotion vacillates with each movement of their eyes. Even before praying to the goddess, they are thinking of buying something, consuming something.I even saw ads of  alcohol portrayed using conch & lotus.At one place the first shop after the exit from ‘pandal’ was that of cigarettes. Where’s  the devotion!! tell me”.

Joy replied,” Time has changed and pacing faster in the contemporary era. Traditions of humans have changed. Any object can get only a fleeting period of attention, even the Gods.Earlier priests & kings organized these festivals.Now the free market does – it has to take something back to give first.Economy runs the festivals now as it did in earlier eras. But you can’t ignore the crowd revering the Goddess inside the ‘pandal’…”.

Bijoy interrupted,”Revering the Goddess! what are you saying Joy. Didn’t you saw the magical machines in their hands. No one was even looking at the deity. Everyone was busy in clicking a picture, not even enjoying the moment. The small innocent ones were also cribbing for clicking the images. I even saw a family with each member with similar but different machines like this. I thought it was some ritual but they just wanted to ‘Click’.The incantations & the claps of hand has been replaced by the soundless shutters. The value of rituals have degraded to this level.No respect i tell you. Humans have snapped the divine connections themselves.God grace them! Hari Om!”.

Joy’s beautiful picture of the festivities also disappeared. He realized that Bijoy’s observation is the reality and he was engrossed by the place because of his devotion. The magic has disappeared, the crowd looked self-engaged now, all the ostensiveness was feign. He agreed with Bijoy now  and decided to leave for the heaven.

While returning they saw the destruction of the mother earth.Statues drowned in rivers, large mass of waste creeping near the banks and huge pile of junk generated in the 9 day festivities. Baffled they returned to the gates, unlocked it and were back on their duty as gatekeepers.Just then, Narada Muni came there and inquired about the aggrieved faces of Joy & Bijoy. They recounted their recent experience to him.

“Narayana! Narayana! Such are the ways of the divine. It is what it is. It was what it was.So will it be as it shall be. Maa Durga loved her creations earlier and still loves them,howsoever be the imperfections they have. The Goddess is still revered respectfully though in another form. A form which always keeps changing.”,clarified Narada. He asked Bijoy,” Tell me Bijoy, did you saw the 1,00,00 faces of Maa Durga?”

Bijoy replied,” No ! holy saint, we returned in mid-way.But i think we visited more than 1000 places”

Narada smiled and said,” Narayana! Narayana! You visited the places but you didn’t observed the million faces of the deity which walked beside you, visiting those places.”Saying that he entered through the gates, leaving the keepers with some satisfaction and peace.

!Happy Durga Pooja!

Aarigato.

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