At the outset, let me greet the valued readers on the solemn occasion of Shardeya Navaratra, dedicated to Mother Goddess Durga, the epitome of Shakti. While I was scripting this piece, an admirer of this column landed up, who confronted me with vexing questions that deserve an answer. “Sir, is there any scope for some form God in existence in the higher realms, who may selectively respond to our individualistic prayer and grant us boons? With a scientific bent of mind, how could you endorse such a mythical concept?”
Well, myths have been in circulation all through the run of civilisation across the globe, serving great purpose in human life. Especially in Indian tradition, our ancient seers beautifully used the language of mythical symbolism to impart lessons vital to our qualitative existence. For, imageries find an immediate appeal overriding all barriers of lingua franca and intellectual levels. Some mythical imageries help bring down even subtle realities of life operative at unseen level within the scope of human comprehension. Many others throw light on ‘conduct rules of life’ as would ensure a smooth run of life individually and collectively.
Remember, life is just not mechanical, bound by pre-mandated design parameters. In fact, human dynamism is quite complex, covering emotions, mind & psyche, and even physiological wellbeing. All these aspects of life remain subject to lot of unpredictable twists and turns, often turning our lives chaotic. What makes life even more complicated is that we remain an inseparable part of a large living order, in which every being is born unique, carrying varying desire and mind trends. That makes the world a natural breeding ground for conflict of interest. As a result, we have no choice than to go about in life with an assorted group of people – some of them may prove congenial and many more may stand in way of our desired destination. Amidst all these, how to go about in life with ease and comfort, is the challenge before all of us.
Out of many mythical deities in Indian circulation, the concept of Durga, with all the attributes assigned to the said imagery, carries great meaning for us. It is not important whether there exists a form God as such in the higher realms to bless us. But, if by focusing attention on Durga’s imagery, we could gather up all our internal resources to put in our whole towards the desired destination, success becomes more probable. Reflecting on the attributes identified with Mother Goddess during the process, if we could imbibe them, life may turn rewarding and fulfilling. Hence the relevance of this festivity to have become a part of our annual calendar.
Bear in mind; energy streams sourced to nature hold the key to our existence and all its functionalities. But energy is a double-edged weapon as the probability of its use and misuse remains equal, according as individualistic minds are inherently oriented. A look into the imagery of Mother Goddess will reveal that if offers lesson in how to productively use energy.
As the mythical story runs, when all Gods, including Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva pooled in their tejas (sakti), huge fire broke, out of which emerged Durga. The message loud and clear is that collectively all odds could be overcome. That makes it incumbent upon us for remaining conscious about our collective obligation together with our aspirational urges.
Remember, Shakti is purposely identified with a motherly form. For, a mother selflessly pools in all her resources and then takes all the pain to produce and nurse a child, meaning a productive application. She is mounted on a tiger. Intelligently, a tiger approaches its prey, which when within reach, it invokes all her energy and pounce upon it. But it won’t go for the next kill till it doesn’t become hungry again. So, the killing is need based, not greed born. Demons appearing in different modes symbolise all mental vagaries that Durga slays with her numerous weapons provided by different Gods. Evidently, one would need to be on full mental alert to identify the right weapon for the right occasion. Lotus flower around her signifies a sense of detachment. It though grows in the mud underneath a waterbody, neither earth matter nor water can stick to its leaves.
Ordinarily, going through the usual mills of life, often one forgets the basics, as if they would have outgrown their limits. But fundamentals never change. We, therefore, need to be reminded at regular periodic interval which is why such festivities occupy such an important place in our life.