Held every Tuesday between 3pm – 4.30pm, this puja is considered to be one of the most popular events in Devi temples all over Malaysia and Singapore.
It is believed that the school/college going students who perform this Puja will excel in their studies while the unmarried will be able to find a suitable life partner; married women will have a happy married life and their families will prosper and be happy eternally.
The puja is usually conducted in the Goddess Durga temples with deliverance differing from one temple to the other.
The basic offering of ghee lamps made from flour is paramount with the recitation of the Devi Mahatmyam or the singing of Maa Durga bhajans (hymns).
At the end of the puja, one is required to do “Sankalpa,” (intention), where lime is offered as a token in exchange of a remedy/healing that is prayed for.
In the Hindu ritual tradition, lime has always been used as medicine due to its ability to cure or ward off negativity or diseases. The lime is cut into half and then, inverted to bare its insides. This is no easy task as it is close to impossible to invert unripe green lime. Many devotees have expressed their inability to fulfil this task and give up half way while some others feel that it is Her way of testing how determined we are with our sankalpa.
The spiritual significance of this painful task is that, the lime is a represent of us with our need to bare our inner purity to God. All garments of illusion, greed, lust and anger have no significance when we stand before Her. The white dermis of the lime shows our pure consciousness and the darker part, (i.e. the green colour which is hidden inside ), is our Maya. By inverting the lime, we have now fashioned the lime into a small holder somewhat, where we place ghee and a wick and light our intentions.
The use of specific wicks for this puja is vital is even the wick that alights our intention is significant to ensuring our wishes come true.
Here is a list of wicks and what they are used for:
– Wick made of banana stem fibre removes offences before God and ancestral curse;
– Cotton wick- obtains all good fortune;
– Lotus stem fibre wick removes karma from pervious birth and establishes a happy and prosperous life;
– White madder plant or pulp of a tree bark aid with increase of wealth and dispels misfortunes;
– Yellow cotton cloth obtains the grace of Goddess Parasakti and frees one from entanglements and will not be affected by further misfortunes and,
– Red cotton cloth removes any marriage and child bearing obstacles, keeping us free from spells, mantras and tantras.
The wick is a symbol of our energy responsible for the brightness of our intention. This lime is then placed on a silver plate which is reflected as Brahma (the creator), with the offering of uncooked Turmeric rice, resembled as Maha Vishnu. The turmeric rice stabilises the lime as it acts as Lord Vishnu who is the Preserver of the Universe Who stabilises between birth (Brahma) and death (Rudra/Shiva).
The top of the half-cut inverted lime signifies Shiva, with the oil (ghee), contained, just like Lord’s Shiva contained Ganga (the river), in His hair. The ghee and the flame signifies Goddess Laxmi who blesses us with Her wealth whilst the brightness of the flame is the represent of Goddess Saraswathy who blesses us with education and knowledge and the heat from the flame signifies Maa Durga.
This ritual bears no weight in our lives, if we do not understance the significance of every aspect of our offerings.
The Navagrahas are the planet deities of which the first seven are Sun (Surya), Moon (Soma), Mars (Mangal), Mercury (Budha), Jupiter (Brishpati), Venus (Sukra) and Saturn (Shani) give names to the days of the week: this includes Saturday and Sunday respectively.
The other two Rahu (Ascending node) and Ketu (Descending node) are also fabled as planets; the former as a planet with a head and no body and the latter as a planet with a body and no head. In the Puranas, they are all represented as deities borne in cars. The planet Sun travels in some zodiac point each month. Similarly, the other planets have their times of travel through the zodiac assigned to them.
As the planets travel through a particular zodiac sign, their relative positions with respect to each other changes and is supposed to determine the fate of human affairs.
The planets are also believed to influence the outcomes of historical events of entire nations and the Earth. Each planet has its own mode of circumbulation – clockwise or anti-clockwise. Each planet faces a different direction. In religious rites, beetle nuts represent the planets and the priest invites each planet to be present there to witness and bless the puja.
The time between 3pm – 4.30pm on Tuesdays is known as Rahu Kaal which is regarded as an inauspicious time.
In Vedic astrology, the North Node of the Moon is called Rahu and the South Node is called Ketu. They are called dark or shadow planets, because of the Nodes’ association to the phenomena of eclipses.
Rahu, the North Node of the Moon in Sanskrit means to conceal, engulf or hide. This Graha (planet), is associated with the world of material manifestation and worldly desire. Rahu is associated with the spiritual process of involution, or the engrossing of spirit in materialization. Rahu is a karaka, or indicator, of worldly desire, fame, greed, high intelligence, manipulation, obsessive behaviour, mass disease, dementia and inertia. The nature of this Graha is Vata, or Airy. These qualities of Rahu are with us.
The Keno Upanishad, Yaksha Prashna says that, “The Supreme power of God is manifested as knowledge, activity and strength.” The Bhagavad-Gita describes the same in different words ( Ch 17, Verse 5- “Purity, passion and inertia – these qualities , born of nature bind fast in the body. Purity is known as Sattwa, passion is known as Rajas and inertia is known as Tamas. Each of these three gunas (quality or traits), are represented by specific colours, Sattwa is white (the colour of purity), represented by that aspect of Maa Durga whom we worship as Goddess Saraswati. The Rajas guna is red represented by that aspect of Maa Durga whom we worship as Goddess Lakshmi and Tamas is black, represented by the aspect of Maa Durga whom we worship as Goddess Kali. Rahu attributes to the Tamas in our life. Tamas is born of ignorance , deluding all embodied beings. Tamas binds fast in heedlessness , sleep, and indolence, laziness (Bhagavad-Gita , Ch 14 verse 8). Tamas is that binding force with a tendency to lethargy (lack of energy, vitality), sloth-like and foolish actions. It causes non-discrimination or delusion.
A Tasmasic person acts under the compulsion of the body. He has no power of judgement. His actions are not guided by reasons. His senses are dull. These are all baser animal qualities represented by Rahu –the serpent head (half human and half animal form), the lower diabolical nature in man. We pray to Maa Kali as Maa Durga as the supreme force and power to destroy all our impurities, our vices, and our defects.
By worshipping Maa Durga during Rahu Kaal, we are requesting Her to bestow upon us the ability to shed what serves us no more, while alleviating us to our Sattvic state – coming home to who we truly are.
“I pray to thee O Maa Durga, with my folded hands and head on Your lotus feet. You are , O Maa, known as Jaya (victorious), honoured and saluted by the Lord of heavens, Indra and served by the devotees, wishing their success. You beam like thick and black clouds. You could terrify enemies even with a flash of Your look. You are adorned with crown of the cresent moon on Your head. You hold the conch, the chakra (wheel), the sword and the spear. You have three eyes, O Maa with the whole world filled with Your great splendour. O’ Maa, Protector of the Universe, help me shed my illusion and teach me to let go my delusion. Salutationst O’ Maa!!
Namastayai, Namastayai, Namastayai Namo Namah!
SUJATA NANDY WORLD GURUKUL