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Orla Hazra

Oh…….our ritual library is going to be better than Trinity Library any day! You are so right about the arts taking us to the place of the ‘more than rational’. There is a ritual called Sondi Puja which is the last ritual finishing the four day Durga Puja celebrated in kolkata India. It is my favourite puja within Durga puja. The priest is feeding Durga 108 lotus’s, a crowd has gathered at whatever time the moon demands…it could be 3:21 am or 4:26pm…these are determined by the cosmos. Everyone is squished into a small space, lit oil lamps are being passed around over the heads of the group (it could be 200 within a small space), flowers are the passed back and forth from pandal to group and back and then to durga, water is given to the group, then, the drum starts (bengali drums are different to drums in goa, or karnataka etc etc. the drum has a huge plume on it. It starts slowly, floor fans are also on full blast to cool us all down. the drum gets stronger and faster and the priest is crying prayers and feeding the lotus blossoms more quickly, incense is thickening the air, the oil lamp tilts dangerously as it is passed around…..it gets louder and louder and then suddenly, it stops…all activity just stops, it is quiet, and the iconography of Durga (the ten armed goddess killing ‘evil’) has triumped again. The first time i experienced it, it felt like the bio/psycho/social/spiritual experience of the cosmic liturgy….then new form of life begins. Someone wrote a nice piece on the ecological capsule of Durga puja in METuckers edited series of each faith tradition and ecology….Hinduism and Ecology. They were not speaking of this ritual per se….just how durga puja re-presents the cosmos. Sondi puja sure represents it somatically! I look forward to hearing all the uploads of yours on the site and will explore some in advance.