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1/15/2023, 5:30:00 AM
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Mahalaya is recognised as an important Hindu festival held throughout the Indian subcontinent, but mainly in the state of West Bengal. This auspicious day marks the start of the ten-day Durga Puja celebration, which commemorates the goddess Durga and celebrates her victory over the evil Mahishasura.
In addition to its cultural and religious value, Mahalaya also has some astrological significance in Hindu mythology. In the following article, we will look at the customs, celestial connections, mythological beliefs and astrological characteristics of Mahalaya.
There is no doubt in the fact that Durga Puja is every Bengali's favorite festival. Durga Bhakts wait for this auspicious festival throughout the year and make sure that the celebrations are grand! It can now be said that this holiday is not only celebrated by just a few but by individuals of all cultures, religions, and traditions all over India.
Though it began with Bengalis in India, nowadays people in the United States, France, Germany, Canada, and London also celebrate and enjoy this grand and beautiful festival. But, the welcoming tone of this primary celebration starts from 'Mahalaya'. It is only 7 days till the actual Durga Puja. It is rather, a thoughtful invitation to the Mother Goddess.
Mahalaya is closely connected with Durga Puja, a rather significant Hindu holiday celebrated in many areas of India, particularly Bengal, and by the Bengali population across the globe. It is observed on the Amavasya (new moon) day of the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin, which usually occurs in the month of September or October.
Mahalaya is Goddess Durga's invocation or invitation to come to Earth and bless her worshippers during the approaching days of Durga Puja. Traditionally, the day is marked with a unique audio program known as "Mahishasura Mardini" or "Chandi Path," which is followed on the radio and television and played in homes and public places. The worshippers start their ten day grand celebrations of the Durga Puja by the Mahalaya Amavasya.
It is very obvious that the generations before us will always have an impact on our lives. Everything we have now - our beliefs, customs, structures, food crops, technology, material comforts, languages, and knowledge - has been a gift by our forefathers that has made our lives simpler. And this is also why we celebrate the Mahalaya Amavasya, to express our thanks. This also assures that we will always have our ancestors' blessings for a happy and productive life. Here are a few astrological significance of the day:
The reciting of "Mahishasura Mardini," by Sri Chandi, is one of the most important components of Mahalaya. As an appeal to Goddess Durga and to make her happy, this song is performed early in the morning, before daybreak. The timing is essential because it is thought that cosmic energies are at their peak during this pre-dawn hour, allowing for a closer connection of the Bhakts with the divine.
There is a special celestial alignment that has astrological significance during Mahalaya. What is famously known as the "Tula Sankranti" or the arrival of the Sun into Libra, the Sun is reported to transit from the zodiac sign of Virgo (Kanya Rashi) to Libra (Tula Rashi) during this time. The energy transfers from Virgo to Libra is considered auspicious since it represents the end of all negativity and beginning of a new era.
Mahalaya also commemorates the end of the Pitru Paksha period, a fortnight dedicated to remember our ancestors and other departed family members. According to the Hindu traditions, the souls of our ancestors visit the Earth around this time, and their blessings are sought in one's life.
Apart from the astronomical significance of the Sun's entry into Libra, Mahalaya is also known as "Maha Vishuba Sankranti" in the Odisha area. This is famously also known as the Odia New Year, and it marks the beginning of the month of Ashwina. This period of the Odia new year is viewed as a chance for new beginnings, like every other New Year, along with wealth, prosperity and spiritual growth.
The Mahalaya Amavasya 2023 is said to begin on the 14th of October, this year (14/10/2023). The Mahurat to begin with the Mahalaya celebrations is said to begin from 9:29 PM onwards, on Saturday, 14th October, 2023.
Mahalaya 2023 will be a festival where the devotees pay tribute to their ancestors and seek the heavenly goddess' blessings for a happy Durga Puja. Here are a few steps involved in the Mahalaya 2023 Rituals and Traditions:
According to Mythology, Mahalaya Amavasya marks the beginning of Devi Paksha, a 15-day period dedicated to Goddess Durga. The story behind this is related with the epic script of Ramayana. It is said that Lord Rama conducted a specific ceremony to seek the blessings of Goddess Durga before going on his journey to Lanka to rescue his beloved Sita from Ravana. This practice became known as "Akal Bodhon," which translates as "invoking the goddess out of season". The specific day on which Lord Rama conducted this ceremony is known as Mahalaya Amavasya.
Another prominent mythological idea linked with Mahalaya Amavasya is the famous story of Mahishasura, a formidable demon who was destroyed by Goddess Durga. It is said that on this day, Goddess Durga rides her celestial vehicle, (Dawon) the lion, from the heavens to Earth to confront Mahishasura, the evil. During this period, devotees offer prayers and beg the goddess's blessings for prosperity and abundance.
In Hindu tradition, the auspicious occasion Mahalaya marks the beginning of the Durga Puja season. It is widely celebrated throughout the different regions of India:
To summarize, Mahalaya is a beautiful, yet significant festival in the Hindu mythology because it has both cultural and astrological importance. It marks the beginning of the ten-day Durga Puja celebration, as well as the transformation of one's soul from negativity to positivity. The celestial alignment, as well as the rituals and songs conducted at this time, provide a calm and soothing environment for seeking favours, honouring ancestors, and invoking Goddess Durga's divine powers. Mahalaya serves as a symbol for the connections of myth, astrology, and culture, making it an important aspect of the Indian subcontinent's religious fabric and cultural differences.