The Story Behind The Creation of Maa Durga
In Hinduism, Durga Maa is one of the most famous and widely revered Indian divinities and is venerated as a primary facet of the mother goddess Devi. Protection, strength, motherhood, devastation, and conflicts are all linked with her. Her power to kill ‘Mahishasura’ is prayed for. Mahishasura was a half-buffalo demon who performed penance to appease Brahma, the creator. After several years, Brahma appeared before the demon, satisfied with his dedication. The demon requested the deity for immortality as he opened his eyes. Brahma declined, claiming that everyone must die at some point.
After some thinking, Mahishasura was granted a boon that only a woman should be able to kill him. After bestowing such a boon, Brahma vanished. Consequently, Mahishasura began torturing the people at large. Moreover, he conquered the heavens and showed no fear since he considered women to be feeble. The devas became concerned and travelled to Trimurti. They, the Trimurti along with the rest of the devas, united their strength and formed a woman-warrior with many hands. The devas presented her with a replica of their weapons whereas Himavan, the Himalayan monarch, gave her a lion as her mount. The woman-warrior AKA ‘Durga’ arrived at Mahishasura’s palace riding her lion. Mahishasura assailed the goddess in many forms and Durga kept shattering his form each time. Finally, while Mahishasura was turning into a buffalo, Durga slaughtered him.
Maa Durga in the 21st Century
Let us now turn our attention to the 21st century, women of this century all over the world have started to stand up to violence against women, gender equality, economic equality, reproductive freedom, equal pay & gender pay gap, digital gender divide, period poverty and stigma, underrepresentation as leaders and the list goes on. Nonetheless, every woman’s soul rides a tiger and wields numerous weapons when she is born, weapons of self-discipline, selfless service to others, self-examination, prayer, devotion, remembering positive affirmations, cheerfulness and meditation. Durga traditionally holds the weapons of various male gods of Hindu mythology, which they give her to fight the evil forces because they feel that she is the shakti (energy, power) just like the modern real Durgas.
The Saree of Goddess Durga
Durga kills Mahishasura courageously in her red saree beaded with golden zari all over. Just like her, today’s women fight and triumph in their battles for good education, equal business opportunities, fair companies, pleasurable motherhood, undisturbed daughterhood and so much more. Looking at some examples of achievements of the Fearless Modern Durga, let us remember –
Rani Laxmibai – a prominent personality in India’s first war of Independence,
Rani Padmavati: Queen of Chittor, who defended the Rajput pride by self-immolation when Alauddin Khalji wanted to capture her,
Mother Teresa: Founder of Missionaries of Charity,
Chandramukhi Basu: India’s First Female Graduate,
Dr Rakhmabai: Physician and Feminist,
Kalpana Chawla – the first Indian American woman to go to space,
this list continues and will continue forever.
Who is a modern Durga?
A Modern Durga wakes up early feeds her family, goes to work, takes care of her clients, colleagues and stakeholders, grow her empire, educates her children, takes care of her family’s nutrition and health, financially stabilizes her family, becomes a shoulder for her parents and never gets tired of that never-ending to-do list. But, on a beautiful day, if she feels like her energy hits the pan she will again be enough self-aware and educated enough to stop by in front of the mirror, put together herself, wear a gorgeous saree and sit on a chair with a glass of wine or tea. She will meet her friends, take a course for further education or start a start-up of her own! Modern Durga is the Real Durga, she is fierce, she is classy, she is smart and she rules the world the moment she is born.
Let us all embrace the real Durga Maa in ourselves and help all the Durgas out there to have powerful lives.
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