Durga or Lakshmi?
A Goddess is a quintessential part of our culture. Recently, Navratri (the festival of nine nights) was celebrated pompously in many parts of the country. It is one of the longest festival which marks the worship of different goddesses. NAVRATRI is a spiritual journey to realize and purify one’s self by the stages personified by SHAKTI (our divine mother).DEVI, PRAKRITI, DURGA, LAKSHMI, SARASWATI are just different manifestations of Shakti. According to Hindu mythology, Mahishasura obtained the boon of eternity from Lord Shiva. He rose to power and started harassing the innocent people. To protect the world from his deadly clutches, the TRINITY created MAA DURGA. After a long battle of nine days, she beheaded Mahishasura on the tenth day claiming it as the final victory which is also known as –Vijaydashmi. Navratri symbolizes the aspects of womanhood and Shakti is the female embodiment of creation and fertility. Shakti is the symbol of:
- Creation of life
- Agent of all change
- Interdependence with the entire universe
- Creative aspect of the absolute
Navratri is celebrated twice: in winters and summers. The beginning of the two main seasons – summers and winters, influence change in climate and solar system. Science always deals with the logic and forms the basis for religion-
- The mysterious divine power provides energy to the earth so that it keeps revolving around the sun causing changes in the outer nature. It maintains the balance of all life forms of the universe.
- Due to the considerable change in nature, the mind and the body also undergo the same change. So, it helps in maintaining the physical and mental balance of the body.
Kanya Pujan- Navratri ends with the day of MAHANAVAMI in which nine girls (assumed as the nine incarnations of Durga) who haven’t reached adolescence are worshipped. This worship prepares the ground for female fertility. It reaffirms the theory that energy can neither be created nor destroyed because it’s already there. Everyone offer prayers to the nine kanyas in the hope to get blessings. But the other side of the story is that these little kanyas also becomes the victim of rape. Well, on day we love and give reverence to these little girls and the other day we rape them. Few months ago, a 4yr old girl was raped in Gujarat. The girl who was unknown to any misery or sorrow was raped and murdered brutally. The sweet little goddess was abused. India – the sweet home of gods and goddesses where Durga and Laxmi are worshipped. Every girl would think “Should I call myself Durga or Lakshmi?” If a woman can become Lakshmi who can nurture her children and bring prosperity in their lives then she can even become Durga who can fight against all the evil forces. If a woman is the creator then she can even become a destroyer too. As an individual we must kill the Mahishasura within us and respect the goddess with our heart.
— About the Author: The article has been contributed by our intern, Vandana Chawla.