GAZIPUR, DHAKA, BANGLADESH - 2016/04/13: A group of Hindu devotees perform the rituals of Charak Puja, a very enchanting folk festival of Southern Belt of Bangladesh and West Bengal. Also known as Nil Puja, Hindus believe that the festival will carry prosperity by eliminating the sorrow and sufferings of the previous year. The festival is actually a festival to satisfy Lord Shiva. (Photo by Probal Rashid/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Among the trinity, Lord Shiva is known as the destroyer. He is always responsible for the dissolution. But at the same hour, he is benevolent enough to leave the seeds of creation to keep the whole cycle unperturbed throughout! But Shiva is incomplete without his divine consort Parvati, fondly known as Adi Shakti. The ‘Ardha Narishwar rup’ of Shiva and Parvati manages to sustain this cycle of eternity!
Neel Shasti actually symbolises the wedding ceremony of Shiva and Parvati. ‘Neel’, the expression revolves around the worship of the Lord too. After Sati sacrificed herself in the palace of Lord Daksha, she was born again as a beautiful maiden to the king Bilwa. But in the wedding night, Parvati incarnated herself as a honey bee. She mingled herself with the pious water and sacrificed herself. Listening to this, the king and the queen left for the final abode. This is just the kernel of the whole story!
  On the other hand, the married women fast throughout the day. This is basically a ritual conducted for the welfare of their husbands and children. The day is observed just before the auspicious hour of Charak Puja. The Neel Sanyasis  disguise themselves as the staunch devotees of Lord Shiva and beg from door to door. A ritual observed after the blue wooden statue of Shiva is given a holy bath and his followers comprising ghosts and ghouls are offered with meals. The candles burn and the fine aroma of incense sticks breed a divine ambience! As the sun god manages to set behind the snow clad hills, the household women light candles and break their fast! The whole day seems to be replete with the rare blessings and divine resplendence of the Lord!
 Year after year we have to endure the same encore, irrespective of caste and creed. A sense of profound faith works undoubtedly. But following the rituals is not just enough. The reason is obvious. The Lord tests our heart and deeds before He decides the destiny. Let us all keep our daily irritations at bay and plunge into the pool of celestial happiness which never pales into insignificance! After all we are the poor mortals and He is the embodiment of immortality, showering grace upon us without flaunting any signature of parsimony!!

Kunal Roy