DURGA PUJA: Epic Battle

This month in the cities of Calcutta and Delhi and in other parts of India, the festival of Durga Puja is celebrated. In Hindu mythology, Durga is the goddess of fertility, who also turned out to be a remarkable warrior. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

“Durga is the goddess created from three parts of our three gods in heaven: Shiva who is god of destruction, Vishnu is the preserver, and Brahma is the creator .”

Shivanni Khullar is a television producer from New Delhi.

“And why she was created from these three gods was to kill the Demon King who usurped the King of Gods from heaven.”

The demon king, Mahishasura, was a formidable opponent. He could assume different forms, changing from a buffalo, to a lion, to a man, and he fought with an army of demons. But Durga was up to the challenge.

“She had ten pairs of arms, each arm having a magical weapon. For example, when she breathed, her entire army would come back to life — she’d have a new set of warriors. And she had magical missiles, she had a trident, she had a conch, she had a bell with which she could confuse the demons and she had a rod from the King of Death.”

Many of the images of Durga show her riding into battle on the back of a lion.

“And this lion was like her chariot. And he was attacked by Mahishasura, and that’s when she drinks the Divine Nectar. And she jumps on Mahishasura with her left leg, pins him down. In the meanwhile, with one of her arms, she holds his head. With another arm, she wields a spear right through him. And with her third arm, she beheads him and finally kills him.”

We’ll hear how the holiday of Durga Puja is celebrated in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I’m Jim Metzner.

DURGA PUJA: Epic Battle

The Hindu festival of Durga Puja commemorates an epic battle between Durga and the demon king, Mahishasura.
Air Date:10/20/1997
Scientist:
Transcript:

This month in the cities of Calcutta and Delhi and in other parts of India, the festival of Durga Puja is celebrated. In Hindu mythology, Durga is the goddess of fertility, who also turned out to be a remarkable warrior. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

"Durga is the goddess created from three parts of our three gods in heaven: Shiva who is god of destruction, Vishnu is the preserver, and Brahma is the creator ."

Shivanni Khullar is a television producer from New Delhi.

"And why she was created from these three gods was to kill the Demon King who usurped the King of Gods from heaven."

The demon king, Mahishasura, was a formidable opponent. He could assume different forms, changing from a buffalo, to a lion, to a man, and he fought with an army of demons. But Durga was up to the challenge.

"She had ten pairs of arms, each arm having a magical weapon. For example, when she breathed, her entire army would come back to life -- she'd have a new set of warriors. And she had magical missiles, she had a trident, she had a conch, she had a bell with which she could confuse the demons and she had a rod from the King of Death."

Many of the images of Durga show her riding into battle on the back of a lion.

"And this lion was like her chariot. And he was attacked by Mahishasura, and that's when she drinks the Divine Nectar. And she jumps on Mahishasura with her left leg, pins him down. In the meanwhile, with one of her arms, she holds his head. With another arm, she wields a spear right through him. And with her third arm, she beheads him and finally kills him."

We'll hear how the holiday of Durga Puja is celebrated in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I'm Jim Metzner.