In Purana and Tantra, Goddess Jagaddhatri is shown as being the light and colour of morning sun, four armed and three-eyed, holding conch, chakras, bow and arrow, clothed in deep red, bright jewellery and nagajangopaveeta, a symbol of Brahman and Yoga. She rides a lion standing on the dead Karindrasura, the Elephant Demon. "Jagaddhatri arises in the heart of a person," said Sri Ramakrishna, "who can control the frantic elephant called mind."
Goddess Jagaddhatri is worshipped with pomp and glory in the state of West Bengal. But the puja in Chandannagar, Hoogly, Rishra, Tehatta and Krishnanagar, Nadia is a special socio-cultural celebration. It is celebrated in a major way in Kolkata as well, and is a big festival after Durga Puja and Kali Puja.
Etymology, Legends and Folklore of Jagaddhatri Puja
Mainly Jagaddhatri is referred as being another name of goddess Durga. In Bengali and Sanskrit language the word 'Jagaddhatri' means 'Holder (dhatri) of the World (Jagat). Like most of Hindu gods and goddess, Jagaddhatri is also known as other names like Karindrasuranisudini (Slayer of the Elephant Demon), Maheswari (the Great Goddess), Shaktacharpriya (the Goddess who loves to be worshiped as according to the practices of the Sakta sect of Hinduism, or Shaktism), Adharabhuta (the Bearer of the World) etc.
As per legends are concerned, soon after the triumphs of Mahishasur the Devatas became highly self centric and egoistic. They thought because of lending their instruments to Durga, the mighty asuras were beaten. To make them realize that the primordial power is alone behind every action, the Brahman appeared before the Devatas in the form of effulgent Yaksha.
Surprised by its presence, one after another the Devatas approached Yaksha. First was the god of wind (Vayu). Yaksha asked how he can help. Vayu replied that he could throw away huge trees, tumble high mountains. Listening to it, Yaksha then placed a small grass and asked him to move it. To which Lord Vayu utilised all his powers but he could not even displace it. The god of fire, Lord Agni, also could not burn it. Likewise one by one, all the Gods failed.
And it was then that the Gods realized that, their powers are in reality not their own, but taken from supreme powers who as protecting mother holds the entire creation and therefore called Jagaddhatri. Anybody who worships Jagaddhatri becomes absolutely egoless and a true servant of the world which is nothing but a manifestation of the Brahman.
History of Jagaddhatri Puja
History of Jagaddhatri Puja goes back a long way when Maharaja Krishna Chandra of Nadia District started worshipping this puja. But this data cannot be verified as Indranarayan Roy Choudhury's Jagadhatri Puja at Chandannagar proceeds the date when it was started by Maharaja Krishna Chandra in Krishnanagar. This puja festival is famous in Rishra, Chandannagar and Hooghly. In Howrah this puja has been celebrated since 1713. Goddess Jagaddhatri is worshipped in Moktar Bari, Shibpur village under Udaynarayanpur PS. During the time of Tarakdas Banerjea (Bandyopadhyay) the puja was held in a rich and wealthy manner. According to legends, the family, previously used to worship Durga Puja, which later changed to Jagaddhatri puja after they had a holy dream. Current structure was made in 1934. After the Puja, Raas Utsav is also arranged in the house.
Goddess Jagaddhatri actually features in semi-historical fictional work by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee named Anandamath, from where the national song of India "Vande Mataram" is taken. In the novel, Kali, Durga and Jagaddhatri are depicted as three aspects of 'Bharat Mata' (Mother India) - Jagaddhatri as the mother used to be, Kali as the mother now is, Durga as the mother will be in future.
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