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Navratri special: How Durga can be embodied by the women of today’s time

By Ritika Handoo | Last Updated: Sunday, October 2, 2016 - 00:44
 
Ritika Handoo
The Outside View
 

Durga Durga!

This holy chant reverberates in the soul of all those who immerse themselves in the bhakti of Goddess Durga (the form of shakti), which embodies power in itself. Maa Durga is often described as the influential diety, who won in her fight of good over evil, and ensured the spirit of ‘righteousness’.

For me, Maa is a matriarchal goddess figure. This in some ways should be embodied by women in today’s testing times – struggling to save grace and dignity. The honour and pride of being a woman doesn’t come from being a woman but the constant battle which each one of us fights everyday —be it on roads, at workplace or at home. The plight of women in every sphere or horizon is the same.

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There is not even a single day in history, when the modesty of a woman has gone untouched. Every now and then, there appears a demon in the face of ‘Mahishasur’, who needs to be killed and put to rest for others to learn from the mistakes. Maa Durga destroyed the evil, by winning over the deadly demon ‘Mahishasur’—a legend which is known to all (more so during the Navaratras). 

The famous mythological legend goes that Mahishasur was a demon (asura), who could change his form from a buffalo to a human at any given time. Mahishasur, in order to capture the heavens, set out on a battle with his huge army. The battle that ensued between the demons lead by Mahishasur and the gods headed by Lord Indra, saw the emergence of the mystical power named 'Durga', which destroyed the evil face of the demon forever.

Like in the legend - the form of Shakti kills Mahishasur, and outshines in her battle against all odds—the example set by the Goddess of not feeling inferior at any cost needs to be understood in the present day context by all women. 

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Especially those who fear that belonging to the fairer sex deprives them of having certain muscular capabilities. The legend may be seen or read by many as just a form of tale, which is told and re-told to children during the Durga Puja festival, however, to me, if anything can be imbibed from it, is the fact that even the most powerful of the gods—Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, needed a strong, powerful Goddess Durga to come to the forefront and slay the evil. The reason which explains why this form of Durga is celebrated during the nine-day long festival pan India.

If our gods can do it, why not us? Why is it that a woman can’t emulate the nine forms of Durga, namely—Shailaputrī, Brahmachārinī, Chandraghanṭā, Kuṣhmāndā, Skandamātā, Kātyāyanī, Kālarātrī, Mahāgaurī and Siddhidātrī, in herself and unfold a new chapter in the history of creation. 

Remember, like in the legends bygone, there will always be a demon making his way into our lives—but the spirit of not giving up and raising your voice when needed, can be laid with a solid foundation of belief. Goddess Durga, didn’t just kill Mahishasur, there are many tales and stories associated with the fighting zeal of the mother, to secure the world and uproot the evil. Be it the killings of Chanda-Munda, Shumbh-Nishumbh, Madhu-Kaitabh, Raktabeej or Mahishasur—each tale loads us with a feeling of triumph and faith that whatever the circumstances be, never think you are too weak or incapable of putting up a brave front.

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On this Navratra (Durga Puja), let's pledge to Goddess Durga - that we as women will never step backwards when in trouble and give a befitting reply to the demon, who may come in any garb to harm or induce us. Let the shakti of Durga, be present in each woman, who fights her life’s battles everyday.

Durga Devi Namostute!

First Published: Thursday, September 18, 2014 - 13:09

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