After the intensity of the first day, the second turned out to be quite the opposite. Since each day focuses on a different aspect of Durga, some days will thankfully be more gentle than others. The text of Chandi Path is, for the most part, about the warrior side of Durga. But today was “Shanti Durga”; peaceful Durga.
The pujas in the morning were noticeably lighter and all the priests were in an increasingly good mood as the day progressed. Power of the mantras, I suppose.
Every day we do a special puja for a young girl (Kanya Puja) and her mother (Suvasini Puja). Today’s little girl was the essence of Shanti Durga; sweet and charming. The ritual involves washing her feet and then decorating them with red kumkum and then performing a traditional puja after which she is given gifts.
As we finished the puja, a delivery of sticks for the fire rituals arrived. There was something rather amusing watching two priests dragging this huge container over to the storage room. It take a lot of wood to conduct a 10 day ritual!
Great care is taken to arrange the final offering that goes into the fire. The red cloth is pure silk and there are small piles of sesame seed, mustard seed, saffron, lotus seeds, and a mixture of various kinds of seeds, leaves, and bark.
Even the edges of the homa kund (fireplace) are decorated with white rice flour, yellow turmeric, and red kumkum.
White sesame and yellow mustard are offered every day.
1008 repetitions of the Shanti Durga mantra were a real pleasure!