The beats have started to fall on the traditional dhak (dhak) and the marquees and installations across Kolkata are nearing completion as well. While there are questions being raised regarding the need to hold the autumnal festivities heralding the 10-armed-goddess in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, scriptures say that indications were already given for a catastrophe to befall this year.
The mode or vahaana that Goddess Durga uses for her arrival and departure often is indicative of how the year, or the one next, will unfold. For example, if the Goddess arrives to the mortal realm on an elephant (gaja), it means that there will be a period of peace and prosperity to follow.
However, if she chooses the horse as her steed, it means a period of dispersal and destruction will soon wreak havoc. This year Mahisasurmardini arrives on a palanquin and departs on a boat.
As per the scriptures, her arrival on the palanquin indicates plague. The boat heralds flood, but leaves fertility and a high yield of crops at its wake as well. So it is being believed that even if the arrival of the Goddess means a plague will haunt Earth, she will continue to provide food security to her devotees.
In 2019, as per scriptures, Goddess Durga had arrived and departed on the horse. According to scholars, the arrival and departure on the same vahana is an ill omen. The Corona epidemic started a few months after Pujo last year.