Durga Pooja is the most awaited festival of the year in India. The whole country comes together to celebrate the various avatars of Goddess Durga, to please her and receive her blessings.
Fasts are observed among the ladies during all the days. The married daughters of the house come home to celebrate the festival with their families.
The main aim of Durga Pooja is to evoke the blessings of Maa Durga, who is the goddess of wealth, prosperity and knowledge. Everyone seeks the protection of the all-powerful from all the evil of the world.
There are certain rituals to be followed during Durga Pooja. Maa Durga has to be worshipped with the offering of 108 pink lotuses. The legend behind this goes like this...
Legend Behind Offering 108 Lotuses To The Goddess
When Lord Ram was engaged in a battle with Ravana, he wanted to evoke Goddess Durga's blessings to ensure his success. But it was not customary for Goddess Durga to appear in autumn. He performed a pooja known as Akaal Bodhan to evoke the goddess.
He came to know that it is customary to worship Goddess Durga with 108 pink lotuses. He collected 107 lotuses. When he could not find the last one, he offered his eye instead. Pleased with his sacrifice, Goddess Durga appeared to bless Ram with victory.
Ram went on to win the battle. Therefore, Dussehra signifies the victory of good over evil.
This was where the legend of offering 108 lotuses to worship Maa Durga started. The offering of these flowers also signifies the 108 names of Maa Durga. She represents power, strength and protection.
She has 108 names, all with different meanings to them. Maa Durga is a destroyer of sin. It is said that whoever chants all her 108 names with a pure heart is sure to be blessed by Maa Durga with victory and protection.
Significance Of Offering The Lotuses
Offering 108 lotuses to the goddess during the pooja is said to evoke the blessings from all the 108 forms of Maa Durga. The lotus flower is often heavily associated with Maa Durga.
The idol of the goddess is seen carrying a lotus bud in her hand. This is meant to signify the truth of life. It means that of all the dirt in the world (the bad or evil), the beautiful (the good and pure) will finally emerge, which is the truth of life.