Durga’s Three Eyes

Today is Mahalaya, the day when chants of Jaago, tumi jaago usher in the aura of Durga Puja, a 5 day festival of Hindus. Mantras (hymns) chanted midnight onwards is a kind of invitation to Goddess Durga to descend on Earth.Goddess Durga is a creation of the Holy trinity of Gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The story goes like this: Mahisasur, a demon and cousin of Gods, after long penance got a boon that no male form can kill him. Swelling up with arrogance, he unleashed terror on all. Goddess Durga therefore descends from Heaven to rid Earth of this notorious demon. There ensues a long fight between Goddess Durga seated on lion and the demon in the form of buffalo. Goddess Durga emerges victorious! Idols depicting this scene are worshipped during Durga Puja.

Preparations for this festival had begun a month back. Idol makers from Kumortuli, Kolkata are at their work in Bangalore and I had the opportunity to see them work on the idols. The systematic way the work goes on is so interesting to watch. Each artisan knows his job and they are engrossed in it. The painting of eyes fascinated me the most.

The eyes of the idols are painted on Mahalaya after observing a day of fast by the painter. They are on a strictly vegetarian diet during this. Durga’s three eyes have a special meaning. Like Shiva, Mother Durga is also referred to as “Triyambake” meaning the three eyed Goddess. The left eye represents desire (the moon), the right eye represents action (the sun), and the central eye knowledge (fire).

You can see my posts on Durga Puja here

Bathing In Tungabhadra River, Hampi
Bathing With An Elephant

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