Maha Shashti - waking up the Mother
|Maha Saptami||Maha Astami||Maha Nabami||Maha Dashami|
Maha Shashti Programme
In Treta Yug, before beginning of his onslaught on Lanka, Rama prformed Durga Puja in Autumn. This is the time of Dakhshinayana- Sun’s Southward journeys and according to Puranas Gods sleep duering this time. So Rama had to first wake up the Goddess Durga. On this day he began his premature awakening or Akal Bodhan of Maa Durga.
Sasthi is the sixth day of Devi Pakhsha and marked the formal biginning of Durga Puja in Bengal. In West Bengal and other Eastern part of India four rituals- Kalparamvo (the beginning of the Pujas), Bodhan (the consecration of Ma Durga’s idol), Amantran (inviting the Goddess) and Adhivas (sanctifying the stay of the Goddess in the puja area of the pandals) - are performed on Sasthi. The 'Bodhon' rituals include the unveiling of the face of the idol. Bodhon, Amontron and Adibas are the important rituals of Sasthi apart from Kalparambho.
But Bengalis believe that on the day of Sasthi Uma(Goddess Durga), who is identified with Parvati the divine consort of Shiva comes to home of her father from her husband place with her four Children- Ganesha, Kartika, Laxmi and Saraswati. This is why all the ladies participate in the setting up of the Durga Ghat before the idol on Sasthi. They are formally welcoming Uma as a daughter on her arrival for three day trip to his father’s house.
In other parts of India the sixth day of Navaratri is celebrated as Durga Sasthi or Maha Sasthi. On Sasthi Katyani Puja is observed as part of NavaDurga Puja in Shaktheya Samprdaya.