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Durga Puja: The Worship of the Devi

Image of the Devi from Durga Puja

In India, in the Fall of every year, usually October, much of the month is devoted to the worship of the Divine Feminine, Mahashakti, the Divine Creative Power. This worship is simply called Durga Puja, the Worship of the Goddess Durga, Mahamaya. “Mahamaya” means “the great illusion” because although creation is seen as perishable, ever-changing matter, in its essence it really is Thought-Projection in the eternal and unchanging Divine Mind or Consciousness that is Brahman Itself. It is Absolute Reality seen by us as a relative, momentary appearance. And consequently, since we see and experience mostly the ever-changing energy-form of the world around us and our bodies we live in that mirage as mirages ourself.

Obviously we need to awaken or dispel that “dream” which is really divine in essence. So we invoke the creative power, which is also the creation, as The Divine Mother with the prayerful intention that She no longer deceive us but reveal Her true Self as the Ultimate Reality that we mistakenly think is “behind” Her or “projecting” Her and separate from Her–just as we think we are separate from That Being as well. That is the purpose of our worship.

She brought us into relative existence and embodied us so we might evolve in consciousness until we realize the truth of our eternal and unchanging Self that is a part of Brahman Itself. And that evolution and awakening which is the ending of the dream of illusion and consequent delusion can only come about through her action within and upon us.

Mahamaya is the Divine Womb and we are the embryos within Her which in time will be born from Her into Infinity as we pass from the dream of separate existence into the truth of Divine Being that transcends the realm of constant birth, death and rebirth.

This is the message of the symbolism embodied in the Devi Mahatmyam, The Glorification of the Goddess. It is the depiction of the evolution and freeing of the individual spirit-soul or atman from the Cosmic Delusion by that very Cosmic Delusion Itself.

The accompanying recording of the drama commonly called The Chandi was made in the last century during the Durga Puja observances. The drama is in Bengali, with Sanskrit recitations from the Devi Mahatmyam.


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