It is that time of the year when chants of 'Jai Mata Di' or 'Jai Maa Durga' reverberate in the entire atmosphere. The holy name of the Goddess can be heard in every nook and corner of the city, as the nation is gripped in celebrating the 9-day long festival of Navratri and Durga Puja. This year the festivity began from October 10 and will last till the 18th with Vijayadashami on October 19.
Maa Durga is often described as the influential diety, who won in her fight of good over evil, and ensured the spirit of ‘righteousness’ prevails. 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 don't come from being a woman alone but the constant battle which each one of us fights every day —be it on roads, at the workplace or at home. The plight of women in every sphere or horizon is the same. The recent outburst of the #MeToo movement is the best example to understand it.
So, I thought of listing out some life lessons from Maa Durga which women can take a cue from:
1. Fear no evil
There is not even a single day when incidents of a woman's modesty being outraged are not reported. 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 heaven, 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.
2. Muscle power is not everything
Those who fear that belonging to the fairer sex deprives them of having certain muscular capabilities, Goddess Durga's stories and legends can teach you a thing or two for inspiration.
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.
3. Find your inner Durga
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. Every woman needs to find her own Durga in order to survive in this evil world and emerge victoriously.
4. Keep your spirit alive
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.
5. Spread love
Goddess Durga in her mother avatar is an epitome of love and affection. While the world is filled with hatred, we must not forget to spread the love around us. Helping the needy and living a healthy life should be our motto. Every woman in her family plays different roles and love forms the foundation of each one. Look up to Maa Durga for blessing you and your loved ones. Spread love no hate.
On this Navratri and 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 every day.
Durga Devi Namostute!