Vijayadashami 2017: Nine things we can learn from goddess Durga


Written by Anuradha Varma
| New Delhi |
Published:September 30, 2017 1:31 pm

Goddess Durga knows when to alternate between hard and soft power. (Source: Express photo by Subham Dutta)

Multi-limbed, riding a ferocious mount, goddess Durga is all one needs in terms of a powerful female icon. As Navratri comes to an end, here are nine lessons we can learn from the goddess and her many forms.

The Ultimate Multitasking Mom
As the universal mother, Goddess Durga is ready to take on the dark forces, with her many arms—nearly 18 of them—ready with weaponry and other instruments. As Sailaputri, astride a white bull, she blesses her children with a lotus flower in one hand, her three eyes symbolising the elements—the sun, the moon and fire. Even as she rules the world with an iron hand, she looks out for her children’s interests. She is the ultimate multi-tasker!

She Knows Her Mind
As Goddess Brahmacharini, she did severe penance for Lord Shiva as a husband and a father who would respect him. It’s a lesson to women to know their minds and stick to their guns when it comes to the choice of a life partner, no matter the obstacles. If goddess Parvati could do it, why can’t you? Though this doesn’t mean you have to spend eons surviving on berries and walking barefoot in forests.

She Walks the Path of Peace
Mounted on a tigress, as the powerful goddess Chandraghanta, she carries weapons along with a lotus. While she has all the world’s forces at her command, she chooses the path of peace, chasing away negative energies. The lesson is for us to pick our battles and keep our eye on the ultimate prize—welfare for all.

A Positive, Spiritual Force
Luminous like the sun, as goddess Siddhidatri, she helped the sun disperse its energy, becoming known as Kushmanda. She is said to have sparked the entire universe into existence just with the hint of a smile. Despite possessing eight arms, which sport weapons, her real power lies in her spiritual strength. The lesson? You can radiate positivity and conquer the world with a smile!

Harnessing Hard and Soft Power
Goddess Durga knows when to alternate between hard and soft power. As goddess Skandamata, she is a compelling image, astride a lion with baby Murugan in her lap. She is perfectly in tune with her warrior as well as maternal instincts, with no desire to give up one for the other. It’s a lesson in fighting gender stereotypes and forging life on one’s own terms, without apologies.

The Demon-Slayer
The colour red stands for Katyayani, who slayed the mighty demon Mahishasura, a feat that is celebrated till today. Born out of the collective fury of the devas or gods, she shows us that we can fight and conquer our demons, harnessing the power of our inner strength.

Keep Calm and Carry On
As the fierce Maa Kalaratri, the goddess spelled doom for the demon Raktabeej. She also dispels darkness and destroys dark forces. She stands for calm and fearlessness in the face of a storm. The lesson is to keep calm and carry on! Shun darkness and move towards the light.

A Strong Sense of Purpose
Women praying for a good husband have been told to meditate on Mahagauri, the consort of Lord Shiva, but there’s more to her than this. The goddess symbolises the energies of balance and creation, washing away the sins of all those who look up to her. The lesson is that intelligence and clarity of purpose can clear one’s path of obstacles like a bolt of lightning.

Aspire to Greatness
Maa Siddhidatri, worshipped not just by mere mortals but the gods as well, leads one towards spiritual fulfilment. While the goddess has the power to dispel pain and obstacles, the key is to remember that the actual goal is divinity. We should set out on the path of true liberation, from fear and narrow, personal greed.

The writer is an editorial consultant and co-founder of The Goodwill Project. She tweets @anuvee. Views expressed are personal.

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