The Rite of Durgā in Medieval Bengal:An Introductory Study of Raghunandana's Durgāpūjātattva with Text and Translation of the Principal Rites’

Sarkar, Bihani (2012) The Rite of Durgā in Medieval Bengal:An Introductory Study of Raghunandana's Durgāpūjātattva with Text and Translation of the Principal Rites’. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 22 (2). 325–390. ISSN 1356-1863

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Abstract

The autumnal Durgā Pūjā, the ten-lunar-day worship of the goddess Durgā, also known as Caṇḍī or Caṇḍīkā, is one of the most important festivals in East India and Nepal. Throughout villages and cities in Bengal, Orissa, Assam and the Kathmandu Valley the occasion is marked by pomp and circumstance. In Bengal especially, this worship is a reflection of a culture that has given goddesses a privileged position over male deities from at least the time of the Pālas.2 However, despite the availability of material from the eighteenth century to the present day, the worship of the goddess prior to the colonial presence still remains to a great extent terra incognita. Sanskrit paddhatis (ritual manuals) from the medieval era are among the few records available from Bengal that shed light on the pedagogical and performative context of the rite. The purpose of this article is to provide a synchronic sketch of the medieval ceremony based on the influential and widely cited medieval manual, the Durgāpūjātattva (“The truth concerning the rite of Durgā”, henceforth DPT) of Raghunandana Bhaṭṭācārya (1520–1575 CE)3 supported by parallel accounts of the rite contained in related literature. The sketch will be used as a broad framework to illustrate the manner in which the ceremony was performed or could have been performed in Bengal during the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries CE.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1200
Subjects:
ID Code:
177055
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
11 Oct 2022 13:55
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
27 Nov 2022 00:59