Sai Leela and Durga Maa temple
This is the story of Maa Durga’s temple and the beautiful Durga statues made by Vishwaguru Sai Shivananda for Navarathri, every year.
Sai Shivananda has been an ardent devotee of Mother Durga since childhood. One has to only remember that this young boy is no ordinary boy, he is one who attained self-realization at the tender age of 17. When we understand this, we begin to slowly fathom the magnanimity of his pure, innate love for Mother Durga and the many miracles that found expression then and continue to this day.
The very thought of creating Maa’s statue all by himself came into existence during his regular annual visits to Durga Pooja celebrations in the traditional Kolkata style at the Tara Maa Devi temple in Kangra. As a young boy, Shiv Sagar, (as he was then known) and his brother would attend this auspicious pooja every year. Year after year, the young boy was held in trance by Durga Maa and his yearning to conduct a Pooja similar to this at his home increased manifold. When he was only 15, he prayed earnestly to the Goddess to fulfill his wish to conduct a Durga Pooja in his home. So heart-felt were his prayers that they soon came true.
By 2005, their home in Kangra was a regular witness to many miracles that proved Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba’s strong presence and grace. The then 17 year old Shiv Sagar was getting deeper and deeper into meditation and was on the threshold of self-realization. The young boy had not contacted Bhagawan or met Him in person. But all that changed on 7th September, 2006, when he received a message in a paper along with some mud. Perplexed, Sai Shivananda asked Bhagawan the significance of the mud given. Bhagawan asked him to take up the job of crafting Maa’s statues for the forthcoming Durga Pooja. This had come as a reminder from Bhagwan to the young boy for his earnest prayer a few years ago. Though he did not know how to, he kept Bhagawan’s mud in his pocket and began this seemingly impossible task.
The year 2006, thus became a significant milestone in the life of this young saint. He crafted Durga Maa statues from mud, the way he envisioned Her. He added the typical white shola ka shringar decoration. The statues turned out to be very beautiful and authentic as those found in Kolkata during Durga Pooja. He found a Bengali Pundit in his neighbourhood and the rituals were conducted according to Bengal tradition, in his own house. The Durga Pooja unfolded exactly how he wanted it to!
As a next step, he also built a temple for Maa Durga within his home premises.
Sai Shivananda has single handedly crafted Maa Durga statues, for every Durga Pooja since then. He painstakingly carves, colors and decorates the statues himself with an attention to detail that is difficult to imagine – A true labour of unfathomable love and devotion.
The decorations and pooja are becoming elaborate, every year, with new things being added like the Dhaak, Dhunuchi etc.