The cult of Saivism has a deep hold on Bengal. Temples dedicated to
Lord Siva are very common. Almost every village in Bengal has Saivaities, Shaktas and
Vaishnavas but the number of Sivatemples is by far the largest. Even when Bengal was
caught and swept over by the very strong current of Vaishnavism, the worship of Siva and
Sakti had not disappeared.
The ancient Bengali literature has delinea- tion of Siva
and his consort Parvati in prose, poetry, ballads, stories and songs. A Bengali girl in
her teen fondly makes images of Lord Siva prompted by her mother. The idea is that
she will get a good husband.1
1 It is peculiar that while a Bengali devoutly
prays for a husband like Mahadeva (Siva), the Common concept of
Lord Siva is not very creditable for the Lord! He is taken as a ganja-smoker, a most
irresponsible and carefree wanderer and yet he combines sublimity and kindness.
Author - P. C. Roy Choudhury