THE DIVINE DURGA

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                     THE DIVINE DURGA

 

YaaDeviiSarva-Bhutessu Shakti-RuupennaSamsthitaa |

Namas-TasyaiNamas-TasyaiNamas-TasyaiNamoNamah ||

Salutations to that Devi, who in all beings is abiding in the form of Power, salutations to her, again and again………

The moment someone utters the name with devotion – Maa Durga, it’s obvious that an image of a powerful deity appears before us who shines bright, rides a lion and has eight arms and also has the most celebrated festival in her honour. The victory of Maa Durga over the demon is celebrated every year in the eastern region of India, however the nine forms of Maa Durga is worshipped in the entire nation especially west &central India.

 

From Day-1 of the festival to Day-9, various forms of Maa are worshipped and each form has a different perspective and a different meaning. Maa has been a source of empowerment not just for women but even men bow down their heads before this powerful deity. The feminine power had not only ruled the ordinary men living on this earth but also has influenced the God who resides in heaven.

The Indian mythology reveals that though Maa Durga came to earth just once, but, she has inspired and empowered many souls to be pure, kind, courageous, etc. The depiction of Maa’s courage and her features are seen in many ladies of India and their deeds on the earth partially represents one or the other forms of Maa, if not Maa Durga per se.

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                                         Women depicting various forms of Durga..

Manikarnika Tambe or popularly called as Rani Lakshmibai resembles Shailputri, the first Avatara of Durga and wife of Shiv and the daughter of the mountain king-Himalaya. All the Gods -Brahma, Vishnu and Shiv accepted that Maa Shailputri is the supreme power and they became capable by getting power from her. Rani Lakshmibai also showed courage to fight with the British army and is still considered as one of the leading figures of Indian Rebellion in 1857. She is still referred as the Jezebel of India as the huge British army had to surrender before her and she would always be remembered as she lived and died for her country.

 

Mata Brahmacharini – Mata Brahmacharini or Tapacharini is the second form of Maa Durga. Her urge to be the wife of lord Shiva made her observe penance and she also declared that she would not marry anyone except Shiva. Observing penance is nearly impossible today; but like Maa Brahmacharini Irom Chanu Sharmila who is also called the Iron Lady of Manipur has proved it right with her 14th successive year fasting; demanding Indian government to revoke AFSPA [Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act]. Irom is continuing her fast from November 2, 2000 and would continue till the government agrees to her demand. Irom has been offered seats from many political parties; however she has denied all the luxury and still continuing her fight.

 

Sarojini Naidu is a popular name in the Indian national movement. She joined Salt Satyagraha in 1930 with Mahatma Gandhi. During 1915–1918, she travelled to different regions in India delivering lectures on social welfare, women’s empowerment and nationalism. She was ready to fight all the difficulties and opponents and hence she is analogous to Mata Chandraghantawho is worshipped for peace, tranquility and prosperity in life. Mata Chandraghanta is an unprecedented image of bravery and her readiness to fight every difficulty is also seen in Sarojini Naidu.

Being considered as the creator of the Universe, Mata Kushmanda is worshipped on the fourth day of Navratri. She shines brightly with a laughing face in all ten directions as the Sun in the solar system. Unlike Mata Kushmanda, Kalpana Chawla is just a part of the universe instead of the creator of the universe, but Kalpana Chawla also loved staying near the sun and the planets rather than the earth. She was the first Indo-American astronautand first Indian woman in space. She had traveled 10.67 million km, as many as 252 times around the Earth.

The portrayal of Skanda Mata is defending and granting, she holds her son Skandaa Lord Kartikeya on her lap and is worshipped on the fifth Day of Navratri.  She has a bright complexion and often depicted as seated on a lotus. The founder of Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (in 1950) Mother Teresa, is not just alike with Skanda Mata in her white complexion but also because her advocacy and love for the poor, sick, orphaned. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna in 1980, for her humanitarian work. Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity is operating across 610 missions in 123 countries, including hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, children and family counseling programs, orphanages, and schools.

Worshipped on the sixth day of Navaratri; Maa Katyayani signifies the most violent form to destroy Mahishasur. She rides on the lion and is depicted with four hands of which the two right hands carry lotus, sword and both the left hands are in abhaya and varada mudras. UshaVishwakarma, who had been a rape victim at the age of 18, is the initiator of the Red Brigade in Lucknow, UttarPradesh. It is a self-defense academy that teaches the girls to defend or attack the ones who have mal-intention towards them.Usha remained mentally turmoiled for a year after she went through the brutal incident and then decided to take up violence to eradicate the violence itself and thus she aptly represents Maa Katyayani.

She is dark like night and rides on shava (dead body);Mata Kalaratri is worshipped on the Seventh Day of Navratri. Her raised right hand always seems to grant boons to all worshippers and all her right lower hand is in the pose of allaying fears. Like Ma Kalaratri, Phoolan Devi also holds weapons in her hand and used to roam fearlessly at night and was the leader of her dacoit gang. She was charged with 42 crimes out of which 22 were murder cases, and is popularly known as the “Bandit Queen”. Phoolan was raped from the age of 11 and rape became an unwanted festival in her life which occurred to her many times and this made her to take revenge and become a dacoit. Her fight against the evil made her popular not just in India but worldwide, even dolls of Phoolan Devi dressed as Goddess Durga were sold in market towns in Uttar Pradesh during those days.

Mata Maha Gauri is worshipped on the eight day of Navratri and her power is unfailing and instantly fruitful. Probably, the fearlessness and unfailing power of Maha Gauri has been blessed to MC Mary Kom, an Indian boxer, who has won the World Amateur Boxing championship for the fifth time and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships. Apart from being a fearless powerful lady, Mary also has started a female-only fight club at Imphal to teach girls to defend themselves against sexual violence in India.

The last but powerful form of Durga is Siddhiratri,worshipped on the last night of Navaratri.She sits on lotus and rides the lion. Also known as Adi-Parasakti and is resembled into day’s time by Jahnvi Goswami, represents Siddhiratri, was the first lady from the North-east to accept the fact that she was HIV positive. She had the courage to accept her illness, which is considered as a taboo in the society. Siddhiratri is the giver of siddhi to Lord Shiva and likewise Jahnvi is the touch bearer of courage, knowledge about life and the challenging attitude to face any test of time.

The forms of Godess Durga have time and again indicated that woman is the source of power and it is not just limited to Hindu mythology but the real time has the proof of this. Different real life women and their stories cited clearly speak out the power of woman as Goddess as well as common human being and hence there is no space for thinking that women are inferior to men in anyway.

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