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jyotirmoy

Subho Bijoya

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On the eve of Subho Bijoya Dashami I wish all my friends, brothers and sisters good luck & happy times, may Ma Durga bless you all... enjoy and excell that is all I pray....

Regards,

Jyoti.

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Suho Bijoya to you as well, Jyoti and to all our Bengali friends (and Bengali wannabe's ;) !)

Elo khushir sharat

Ektu himel hawa

Pujor bhore dhaker awaj

Maayer kache jawa

Onek Khushi onek alo

Pujo ebar katuk bhalo

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Thank you and the same greetings to all.

Dzibead, you have the Bengali-Tibetan connection strongly developed in your continuum! Not kidding here. As you know, all the Sarma-pa derived from Atisha, a li'l Bengali from Jessore district, from a part of it real close to my own Nadia. And the most wonderful of all Buddhists and bodhisattvas was his disciple, Drom-ton-pa, great in every possible respect, THE perfect exemplar of the Mind Training tradition to follow, carrying forward the example set by the great Serlingpa/Dharmakirti of Sumatra, Atisha's mentor in this. An amulya dzibead, Drom-ton-pa. So may be all the dzibeads that have come after.

Edited by gautam

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Today is Vijaya Dasami in the US. With all the reports we have been receiving about images, programs, food, drummers etc. thought to add one more that many of you may not have observed at close quarters, yet also is remarkable: the priest and his performance of the puja itself.

For starters, it is just one man assisted by a single person called the tantradharaka [holder of the text, in this case] who manage the entire and very complex, very physically demanding work involving waterless fasting for 24-36 hours at stretch on their part, for 5 days in a row. Plus, the puja sessions themselves are very difficult, requiring the officiant to remain seated upright for about 7-8 hours at a stretch in the same seat, in the same position. This is called EKASANA PUJA. Once the seat, asana, has been purified, a long process by itself, the priest's body purified, another process called the anganyasa, requiring total concentration and application of all his learning and mental powers, he is sealed to that seat and posture for the duration of that days puja until the concluding aarati or offering of lights etc.

No matter the heat, no matter what, the whole intricate ceremony goes forward exquisitely choreographed--it is a sight to behold, the flexibility of the upper body, the grace of hand and fingers. Large bell metal plates covered with sections of banana leaves hold series of cut fruit, different varieties of sweets etc. for the various offerings. Each of the 4 deities, plus 2 more plus 1, plus others, are bathed ritually, then given various offerings, before and after. The puja comprises 16-fold offering, meeting 16-fold needs of the deities, not just food. So, water for bathing, washing feet, breeze, fragrances, lights, a lot of strenuous details.

Additionally, major food offering, e.g. lunch, dinner, breakfast, tea, mid-morning snack, has to be offered, to each of the four, all by his one poor skinny fool, who receives scarce recognition for the ginormous labor and the ginormous learning, the strict Puranic and Shakta rites and purity needing to be maintained.

Nowadays, all the attention is on the entertainment and all sorts of nonsense, and I just feel like putting and end to one's existence, seeing the lack of even the simplest understanding let alone respect. There is no Puja, no worship, only idiocy run rampant, and that indeed is the Bengali heart's true callling: droha, mithya, and anartha. Ask a Bengali the meaning of the word anartha and he will not even be able to answer that simple question.

So let me be very clear without room for argument on this score. That word means, Evil. Another word the Bengali should know: druhvant, because that is inborn to him.

Anyway, returning to the purohit ["he who is placed in front"], it is a beautiful sight to see the ranked series of those naivedya plates surronding him, stretched out to a radius of almost 25 feet to his right. Formerly, the women members of the yajaman's family would be very skilled in making up these plates. They would be removed and the consecrated food distributed to all. Only the priests could not partake!

Beyond these, at the correct times, would be brought in plates, bowls and containers of the main meals: many, many courses, later shared by all [of the major actors] except the two priests!

You cannot imagine the physical exertion and the physical stamina required to be able to perform the Durga Puja. All the Shakti or worship of the Goddess are invested with their own peculiar DREAD, which is completely absent from the worship of any of the male deities who are limitlessly benign.

The slightest mistake is supposed to create the greatest of misfortunes. And there is just the two of them, the priest and his attendant to take care of a thoudsand detail, within very time-bound periods, defined by the planets and constellations remorselessly making their way across the skies, some years capriciously faster than others! This becomes very very problematical where blood sacrifices are offered. Nowadays, mostly pumpkins are used, thank goodness, because the real deal is infinitely complex.

Then there is the the tantrika homa, again very complicated because a lot of mental effort has to go on simultaneously with the physical. It would be wonderful if someone could film, before it is too late, a truly orthodox Durga Puja, from the priest's POV, just to let the people understand what a stupendous feat is being accomplished. With some explanations and commentary preceding the actual footage, explaining the rites of worship.

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