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What the epics say -

The worship of Devi Durga in the month of Ashwin is called 'Akalbodhan'- an uncustomary time for commencement of the worship. It is so called since the period of this worship differs from the conventional period (during the spring - 'Basanta'). Ramayana says that when Rama was engaged in the fierce battle with Ravana, he wanted to secure the blessings of victory from Devi Durga. He held the puja to evoke the goddess during autumn to his dire plight, thereby worshiping Durga untimely (in Akal). Hence this puja is called Akalbodhon.

It was customary to worship Durga with 108 Neel Kamals (blue lotuses). Rama could gather only 107 of them; he offered one of his eyes as a substitute of the 108th lotus. Pleased with his devotion Durga blessed him. The battle started on Shaptami and Ravana was killed at the Shandhikshan (in between) Ashtami and Navami; he was cremated on Dashami. Therefore the four days of the puja that we celebrate ends in the triumph of the good over evil.

We find the description of 'Akalbodon' in Kritivaas' writing. The story behind it is that, a great war was continuing between Rama and Ravana. Both were equally handled by each other. After sometimes, with all surprise Rama realized that Ravana is in prayer of Rama to get the victory of this battle. To protect, to save his disciple should be first and foremost duty for Rama. So from that time he had suffered from indecision. By seeing these, all the gods and goddesses became sorrowful and started planning to inspire Rama to kill Ravana. It was decided that Devi Swaraswati would be on the tongue of Ravana and made him to say some evil words to Rama. Being provoked by that, Rama would again start the battle. But Rama started it for a while and again frustrated. He suffered a lot for his Sita and all the gods felt the pain of him and decided to celebrate a Durga Puja for the intention to kill Ravana.

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