GORAJARI

Once there lived a mother with her three married sons. While the two elder sons earned well, the youngest was not able to, as he was not bright as the others. Since in those days marriages were arranged in childhood itself, and as luck would have it, he got the most beautiful and talented wife! Her name was Gorajari. As they had little or no money, the couple had a difficult time in getting food and clothing. The couple was disturbed mentally because of this. This situation hurt Gorajari very much, but women in those days could not go out for work, so she had to be content with eating the leftovers of her sisters-in-law. Her husband tried to go out and earn something, but people just threw him out before he could do a day's work. Everyone but the old mother misbehaved with them. Now the old mother was under the watchful eyes of the two elder daughter-in-law and so she could not help them in any way. Sometimes,when she found something very tasty, served to her during a meal, would hide it and when no one was looking, she would slyly take it for her youngest son and his wife.

It was a very bad situation indeed. It worsened gradually and the young couple decided to live seperately in a hut outside the main house.

Soon Durga puja arrived, and everyone started preparing for the festivities.Everyone performed the puja with great pomp and show but Gorajari and her husband fid the 'puja' with whatever they could obtain by begging. This annoyed her so much that she decided to go and sit in the temple of the goddess. She went and lay down at the back of the temple, and did not eat or drink for the whole day. Durga Ma soon became aware of somebody's presence in the back, so she asked her 'langoora'(server of the Deity in her celestial abode) to find out. He came back and said that a poor woman with torn clothes, who looked thin and miserable, was lying there and she would not budge until Devi herself spoke to her. Durga Ma asked him to bring the lady to her. On being asked about the reason of her distress, Gorajari related all her woes to Durga Ma. Durga Ma offered to give her some leftovers of the food from the 'bhandaras'. This annoyed Gorajari and with tearful eyes she said that she got leftovers all through-both in home and now in Devi's temple. But Devi Durga asked her to calm down and said her to go and have the food with her husband and enjoy it to their heart's content.

Back home, both of them started to eat the food, none too happily. But lo behold! As they atethey noticed that the food turned delicious and fresh as if it had just arrived from the kitchen. Their ordinary utensils turned gold and silver and their clothes changed to fabulous rich garments. Both looked at each other and then at themselves, and stood up in amazement. As their gaze went totheir hut, it had become the most beautiful palace one could imagine. They were overcome and fell prostrate, and thanked Ma Durga repeatedly for the beautiful 'prasad' she had given them.

Unable to contain herself, Gorajari rushed over to her mother-in-law to tell her about her good fortune, but before she could do so, her sisters-in-law saw her in all her finery. They came out with stunned and angry looks and accused her of stealing someone's wealth. But she protested saying that, " It is Devi Durga who has showered all these good things upon me." They called her a liar telling that, "We pray with pomp and show, and spend so much for the Devi, but she has not shown such generosity to us. Then how could you, who has nothing but dust to eat and dust to offer, be the recipient of such generosity?" Gorajari challenged them and offered everyone to go with her to the temple of the goddess. There she fell prostrate before the Devi and asked her to tell them the truth and urged her to come to her rescue for everyone was mistaking her to be a thief.

Durga Ma spoke to all of them and said, "She speaks the truth. You have all ill-treated her but she is pure of heart and action, therefore I have given her this treasure. Whereas you all have done my puja with grandeur, but not sincerity, and you have not been kind to the poor and to your kith and kin. You have been nasty and cruel. How could I bestow my blessings upon such people? Be good and kind to all, and see my kindness then."

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