Sunday, February 24, 2013

Joyo Joyo Devi – A prayer from a distant soul

With Saraswati Pujo today, flows incessant memories of my childhood and mama r baari (maternal home) and sets the festive mood for this chotto (small) Bengali Family in Australia.
Saraswati Pujo or Basant Panchami (in Bengal) marks the beginning of all Hindu festivals for the year. The goddess of knowledge, art, wisdom and culture – “Saraswati” is worshipped on this day by students & parents across West Bengal, Assam and beyond.

The goddess is worshipped as much in homes as in schools – particularly since the Board exams are only a month away from now! And this stays favourite of all festivals to be able to relish the kuler chaatni (plum delicacy offered to God), gacher notun aam (onset of new mango season), maa –er bhoger khichuri (God’s Prasad Khichdi); to be able to put your books down for a day (as no reading is allowed on THIS puja day) and have fun with friends; to be able to wear notun basanti bastra (Musturd yellow coloured new dress) and to be able to spend time with family. Honestly, festivals in India have their own unique flavor.
I celebrated most of my childhood Saraswati Pujos with Dida (Grandmom), Mama (Maternal Uncle), Mashi (Mom’s sister) & Maa (Mother) and have borne the tradition deep in heart from mama r baari. Traditionally, members, specially students and youngsters, of the family wear mustard yellow ('Baasanti') coloured saree/kurta as a custom. An essential requirement for the Saraswati puja are the 'palaash' flowers and phaag (coloured herbal powders) without which the puja is considered to be incomplete. Marigold, chrysanthemum and dahlia are also an integral part of the puja and decorations. The Goddess, on this day, is worshipped with bel leaves, fresh white/yellow spring flowers (mainly marigolds, chrysanthemums, palash), grains of spring (specially, malt), phaag and abhro (herbal powdered colours) and white sandal wood paste. 
I had to settle with dahlia, herbal colors, tulsi, dhaan (rice grain instead of malt), fresh haldi (turmeric) and sandal wood for my puja this year.

The students are the most ardent worshippers of Maa Saraswati as She is the goddess of learning. On this day, books, articles, instruments of music and arts, earthen inkpots and bamboo quills - everything pertaining to art and literature are placed on Goddess' feet to seek her blessing. It is a complete NO STUDY day on every Saraswati Pujo when nobody writes or reads any book, or plays any musical instrument. This signifies that the goddess is blessing the books / arts placed in front of her that day.

Another tradition on the day of Saraswati puja is "Hathey-Khori", where young children starts writing their first alphabet on a slate with chalk. This is a ceremony which marks the beginning of writing for young children. People think that one become a learned person if he starts his introduction with letters from this auspicious day.

After the puja, prasad (holy-food), including fruits and traditional sweets, is given to everyone who comes to the Goddess to seek her divine blessings. In the evening, the idol is immersed in the nearby sea, river or pond. At some places, the deity is permanently installed in the family's pooja room and worshipped with great pomp and show next year. The books, ink-pots, other stationary items and musical instruments placed near the Goddess are kept at their respective places after the puja and brought to use again.
All children dip their bamboo quills into the earthen inkpots and write "Aum Sarswatyai Namah" on the bel leaves or their books the following day, and rebegin their studies. This deity's pujo reflects the Bengali culture of respect towards wisdom, arts and crafts. 

As widely celebrated in India and Bangladesh, Maa is prayed on the day to invoke wisdom and consciousness in human being. Apart from wisdom, Saraswati is also the deity for fine and performing arts. Goddess Saraswati is represented as a refined woman with white skin, who wears a crescent moon (chandrakala) on her brow, and rides a swan. She is also depicted as a deity seated on a white lotus flower. So, let us all join our hands today and say -

"Joyo joyo devi, charachoro share, kuchojugo shoubhito muktahare
Bina ronjito, pustoko hosthey, bhagabati varati devi namosthute"

Picture Courtesy - Chondryma
(Attached are all pics from this year Saraswati Pujo celebrated at our place)

[Note: Please do not copy or publish the content and photos without my permission]
Copyright © Chondryma Chakrobortti 2013. All Rights Reserved.


Indrani said...

Hi Chondryma,
Nice write-up, keep up the good work, got to know about your blog from Preeoccupied..nice clicks, too

If you get time, visit mine too..
Recipe Junction(

Chandrani said...

Lovely informative post.. Chondryma..Beautiful click..

Chondryma said...

Thanks Indrani for your feedback.... Tomaar recipe junction ey hana dilaam aami eibaar :)

Chondryma said...

Thanks Chandrani....

Deepa Gopal Sunil said...

Nice read Chondryma and beautiful clicks to go along :)
Thanks for your visit and comment :)
Hues n Shades

Chondryma said...

Thanks Deepa :)