Monday, October 15, 2012

VenuG Presents Everything You Wanted to Know About Birendra Krishna Bhadra, Pitra Paksh, Mahalaya and Mahisasur Mardini. Happy Durga Puja and Vijayadashmi

Maa Aa Rahi Hai
Maa is Coming
Mahalaya is here



   I am in Kolkata since 9TH June 2009, and as soon as I landed here, I became a Bengali. I not only took to Kolkata, like Ilish Maach(Hilsa Fish) to River Padma(Ganges in Bangladesh, Hilsa of which is preferred over Sea Hilsa or Hoogly Hilsa) Water. I adopted the local customs, language, food, and in my language, it included Rabindra Sangeet too, in this I was ably guided by one of my friends from Kolkata, who I knew much before coming to Kolkata. My family has early traditions in Kolkata, My Fathers cousin, Padma Chechi married and came to Kolkata, her daughter speaks in Bangla, rather than Malayalam. My Late Dad's Maternal Uncle, Late Chandrammaman, who was one of the 1st National Body Building Champion from Bengal, before  1947, My dad has spent a few moments, with Bapu and Suhrawardy, on a terrace, in Kolkata, during Noakhali Riots. in 1948. His description of Chowringhee and Maidan, are still vivid in my memories. He told me, he used to live, near Shova Bazaar then, with his Ammaman(Maternal Uncle) So dear reader, not only had I idea of Bengal and Puja before I landed in Kolkata, I have experienced, Durga Puja 1st at a tender age of 4 in Jodhpur, with Dipti and Supti Didi at Sardarpura Jodhpur in 1964. Their father was an employee of Geological survey of India, I remember Mrs Roy with Alta in her legs, and shiddor(Sindoor or Vermillon) in her hair, and a large bindi on her forehead. Mr Roy was a quiet and reserved person. My memories of Deepti didi and Supti didi are of the sound which emanated from our first floor which was like "O Maa, dekko nna, ei Shoopti didi ki korchi, dekko nna, amar dress khorab korchi" :-) This happenned day after day after day, before they left to Sophia School, Jodhpur. Once they took me to Durga Bari in Jodhpur, where I ate, my first Bengali sweets, which were chum chum and rosogolla, saw a Jatra, heard some Bangla song, which I vaguely remember is, Bengali version of, Hai rey hai dil ghabraye bu Manna Da. 

                         The next Puja I saw was at Durgabari on Pareek College Road, Bani Park Jaipur, in the year 1973, I was 13 then, I had a friend, Sumit Bhattacharya, who was a classmate in St Xaviers, Jaipur of Rajat Mathur a junior at Nirmala School, Jaipur (Now in Wipro, Bangalore, and my Professor Late K S Mathurs son) . Once I had walked from Bani Park to Bapu Nagar(my earliest home in Jaipur), to play cricket with Rajat, Sumit and my ex-classmate, Srikant Bakore. They reciprocated by visiting me, during Puja Breaks and Sumit, took us to Durga Bari. I also had seen one Puja at Chitranjan Park, in 1984, there was a Didi, Saswati Bhattacharya Didi, they were tenants of Seema Maheshwari, my Senior in M.Com in Jaipur, she was a wonderful singer, On Seema's Birthday, I sang, O sajna barkha bahar ayi, and she sang, intsntly, Na Jiyo na, so everytime I went to Delhi, I would visit Didi, listen to her sing, and she'd feed me uff, she used to make me hog. When I came to Kolkata, in 2009, from 24TH to 29TH September 2009, during Durgotsava, I walked from Tollygunge to Rajarhaat and saw practically all the major Pandals, I was like a gypsy/lambadi, walking eating and watching pandal and idol after pandal and idol. It was one of my most entertaining travels ever. So The result was this my post on Puja. 

 But this is about Mahalyaya not Durga Puja. 

            The Sharadotsav starts, from Bhadrapada Purnima (full moon day of Bhadrapada the winter, which falls immediately after the end of Ganesh Festival, which is the beginning of a long festive season in India, ending with the New Years day, where Ganesh Puja, Pitri Paksha, Mahalaya, Durga Puja, Vijayadashami, Lakshmi Puja(Kojagori Lokkhi Puja)/Or Sharat Purnima(I Love this because, in North India, you eat Cold Kheer on kept on the terrace, under moonlight and eat it at midnight after a round of Hindi Kavita of Romance:-) ), Deepawali, Bhai Dooj and Christmas, finally New Years Eve and the Christian New Year Day) Well as I said this is about Mahalaya, but this is important. Mahalaya or Sarva Pitri Amavasya or Mahalaya Amavasya is the last day of Pitr Paksh or the Forefathers Fortnight, where, hindus, perform puja, and give food, purported to theire 3 past generations, so that, when they die, the topmost of the 3 goes to heaven, and is united with Om(Or God/Or the Universal centrifugal force of creation) As per the Advaita Philosophy of Body being a house, and soul, being a tenant, when one dies, the soul(tenant) leaves this house, and goes to heavenly abode, and finally, only if they had lived life as per their karma, would they unite, with Om, else, they will be re-incarnated in some other living form, and this would continue, thill they attain Moksha, or the final freedom, from this cycle of beiths and deaths. So during this 16 day Fortnight of Shraddha, which starts on Sharad Purnima and ends on Sarva Pitri(All forefathers)/Mahalaya Amavasya is the last day of Potra paksha, then the 10 days leading to Durga Puja, Lakshmy Puja or in Bangla(Kojagori Lokkhi Puja, or the Worship of Goddess of Wealth on the Full Moon of Kojagori) 

The Pitra Paksha has its relevance due to the ancient story from the Hindu Epic Mahabharata,
about Karna(Who was the illegitimate child of Sun God Surya, from Kunti, the mother of Pandavas) It is said, thay, when Karna died and he went to Heaven, for his good deeds of donating gold to everyone, he was served gold to eat. He asked the servants of Yama(The God of Death) to serve him food, for which he was refused. When he asked why? He was told, you have always donated gold to people, and not food, which kept them hungry, inspite of you donating Gold. And also that, he had not followed the hindu ritual of performing Shraddha of his forefathers. To which he replied, I did not know who my forefathers were. For this reason, he was permitted to return to earth for 15 days, and he performed his pitra dharma, by performing Shraddha of his forefathers, upon which he was allowed entry towards the Heaven, and given food. So the custom of performing Pitra Dharma. So Mahalaya is the day when Karna perfromed his Pitra Dharma of Shraddha and Pinda Dana to his forefathers. The rituals include a bath in some holy river, followed by performing of puja, and offerring, wheat flour balls, and payas(kheer, or a dessert made of rice milk and sugar) and lapsi(which is porridge made of broken wheat and jaggery) this is supposed to be the food meant for forefathers, in heaven, if you perform it, they say, as soon as you enter the doorway of heaven, your grandfather meeths Om or Supreme Power or God and attains Moksha.


   Now this is not even about Mahalaya my friends, This is about Mahisasur Mardini or the Slayer of The Bison Demon or Durga.  This is an article, for my those Bengali Friends, who are Bengali, are from Old Kolkata, and have grown, as per the upbringing of their traditional Bengali Parents, to get up on Mahalaya Day at Bramha Muhurat. That is 15 minutes to 3 AM , in the slightly chilly and cold weather of Kolkata, apply mustard oil, then take bath in "Gorom Pani" (Hot Water) to avoid "Khoob Tanda Na Lage Tai"(so that they do not feel cold) and "Baacha Sweater Poro Thanda Lagbe To?" "Kid wear the sweater, aren't you feeling cold, then sit in frotn of Pishi(Maternal Aunt, Daadu(elder brother) Baba(Dad) wearinf a dhuti and panjabi and a monkey cap(Dhoti and Kurta and Monkey Cap) Ma(Mother) wearing a Dhakai and Alta in feet, and with a conch shell in hand, to be blown after this Chandi paath is over, and the Philips(It HAS TO BE PHILIPS I PRESUME, BECAUSE PHILIPS IS A KOLKATA PRODUCE) Transistor sharp at 4 AM and then listen to Mahisasur Mardini performed on All India Radio(AIR) Kolkata, from 04:00 to 05:30 IST not to move a centimeter, till all the chandi paath katha, bhajan(not bhojon which is meal), discourse and music, excellently produced by AIR since 1932, scripted by Bani Kumar, music composed by Pankaj Mullick, and songs sung by among others eminent Bengali Singers like Hemant Kumar Mukhopadhyaya and Arati Mukhopadhyaya(also can be called Mukherjee). But it is NOTE EVEN ABOUT THEM, this is about an eminent playwright, theater artiste, and singer Birendra Krishna Bhadra

So committed and unstinting fan following and blind faith, that the Bengalis had on Late Shri Bhadro, that, once, in 1976, when Hemant Kumar Mukhopadhyaya, took over the production of the show, instead of Bhadro took Uttam Kumar, as the voice of Mahisasur(The Bison Demon) the Kolkata Bhadralok revolted with rage, and very next year, Shri Bhadra was back. You would notice the Blind faith and the continuous listening of Mahisasur Mardinin(Or the Annihilator of the Bison Demon) you can observe by reading the comments on the best Video on earth, of this 1 hour 25 minutes 40 seconds of video Recording, you will see with dismay, how happy, those Bengalis living in Dubai, US or Uk are. So my dear readers, for Kolkata, Mahalaya is the voice of Birendra Krishna Bhadra as Mahishashur and narrator of the Durga Saptashati ( sapta or 7 shati or 100 or 700 verses of Chandi Patha arranged in 13 chapters) show, the recording of which has stayed unchanged since 1962. So those who are not in Kolkata, watch and hear the video, with your children or grandchildren as the case may be, and explain to them, what yo9ur childhood was. I have done just one part, but the greatest work is done by the uploader of this video Sudipta, without whom, my this blog would be purely what is available on Wikipedia, of course, I have put all at one place, logically, I will thank, my good old friend in Kolkata, who pointed out this discourse to me, on my 1st Mahalaya, in 2009, I am a constant listener every year, on MY PHILIPS Transistor. I will not sleep ttonight, and at 4 be in front of the TV/Radio or both, listening to this once again.

                     Though my good friend and Spiritual Guru and colleague, who I always call on Guru Purnima Dinesh Chandra Sharma, who is from Jaipur, sleeps on floor every single day of Navratri, recites the whole chandi patha on Mahalaya. So here is the video Enjoy, May Goddess Durga Annihilate the evil around you, and spread the light of happiness

Shubho Sharadotsava
Shubho Durgotsava
Shubho Bijoya
from
@Venuspeak
&
His Family

Blogger is giving me trouble so make do with the YouTube link
I am sure the no of views now which is now 113692
shall be 200000 BY TOMORROW

Mahalaya - Birendra Krishna Bhadra(Full)

My Mahalaya Playlist of YouTube




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