Durga Pooja and Dusshera herald a new era of prosperity

Nandan Ladies with Pandit Atindra Babu (Photo Supplied)

Swastika Ganguly
Auckland, October 11, 2022

Members of Nandan New Zealand observed the Lakshmi Pooja in a mood of festivity and piety with their families and friends, joined by other ethnic communities last weekend.

The event, held on October 8, 2022, at Wesley Community Centre, Sandringham, Auckland was the culmination of the Navratri celebrations, which glorify the woman, paying obeisance to Goddess Durga, revered as the Goddess of Power.

Navaratri (Festival of Nine Nights) is a manifestation of the Goddess as the Conqueror of Evil (in Hindu mythology, the slaying of Mahishasura, a demon with enormous power, who terrorised people, especially the sages).

Durga Pooja Festival this year was attended by a large number of devotees – more than 500 people every day – partly because of the increasing popularity of the event and partly because it was held after two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Debashree Nath Bansal, Ria Ghosh, Sunita Bajaj, Sangita Ukil, Taposh Saha, Swastika Ganguly, Sangita Chakraborty, Sudipta Saha, Sohini Chaudhury, Sohini Bhattacharya (Photo Supplied)

Festivities in the East

As well as Special Prayers, each evening witnessed cultural programmes, sumptuous vegetarian food and an exchange of pleasantries.

In West Bengal, Odisha and Assam, Lakshmi Pooja is marked on the Full Moon Day of the Lunar Month Ashwin (usually in the September equinox).

The ‘Purnima Tithi or ‘Sharad Purnima’ (the time taken by the Moon in increasing its distance from the Sun by 12 degrees) is observed as ‘Kojagara Pooja,’ invoking the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth.’

Hindus believe that on this day, Goddess Lakshmi revolves around the Earth’s orbit and removes the sorrows and pains of Her devotees. It is common for people to remain awake throughout the night, waiting for the arrival of the Goddess.

Boon to Humanity

In Mathura and its adjoining regions of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, popularly known as the Brij region, the Lakshmi Pooja festival is celebrated as Raas Purnima. It is believed that Lord Krishna performed the Maha-Raas or the Divine Dance of Love with His Gopikas (milkmaids) of the region.

Devotees in West Bengal prepare a wide range of savoury and sweet dishes, primarily offered to Goddess Lakshmi and later shared with members of the family, visitors and others in the community. The poor are fed on this day, pleasing the Goddess.

Nandan Women praying to Goddess Lakshmi (Photo Supplied)

Mother Durga returned to Her abode in Kailash, giving fresh hopes and boon to humanity, promising to return next year.

Nandan New Zealand extends its best wishes to everyone who marked the Festival, ‘Shubho Bijoya’ (Auspicious Victory) and hopes that ‘Bijoya Dashami’ (Tenth Day of Navaratri or Dusshera which marks the Triumph of Good over Evil) will herald a new era of peace, good health, happiness and prosperity to all of you.

May Mother Durga’s blessings help you succeed in your endeavours.

Swastika Ganguly is a General Secretary of Nandan New Zealand.

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