The famous mythological tale of Devi Durga vs the tormentor Mahishasur goes something like this. There was once a vicious young demon named Mahishasur who wanted nothing more than to become immortal, and be the supreme power across earth and heaven. He prayed relentlessly to the Gods, and seeing his dedication, Lord Bramha appeared and granted him one wish.
The cunning demon Mahishasur asked that he be made the most powerful creature on the planet, rendering him invincible by any man or God! Bramha unsuspectingly granted him his wish. Shortly after, Mahishasur gained immense strength and powers, and began to misuse his superiority by wreaking havoc across earth. He even dislodged most Gods from their heavenly abodes, leaving them to scurrying to Bramha for help.
An urgent meeting between Bramha, Vishnu and Mahesh saw them create Goddess Durga in order to take on and vanquish Mahishasur. Many Gods came together and bestowed a slew of powers and weapons upon Durga. Shiva gave her a Trishul, the God of the Himalayas gave her a Lion to ride on, and so forth.
Durga became like a one-person army, endowed with multiple special skills, making her the only match for Mahishasur. Armed with all these powers, Durga descended from the heavens, and after a long and arduous ten-day battle, beheaded Mahishasur, restoring peace and order.
It took a woman of many talents and powers to triumph over evil. This story from our own mythology is of particular significance simply because it reminds us as a society, of the boundless vigor and tenacity of a woman, provided she is able to develop, and hone her skills.
It is the former aspect of the aforementioned statement that is especially relevant today; that a woman whose skills and powers are developed and nurtured, is an unstoppable force.
THIS is what we need to draw and learn from Durga's story, and apply it to society. Not only does Goddess Durga serve as an icon for empowering women, her life presents many lessons from which we can learn, particularly with reference to women in society today.
The Power Of Transformation
It is well known that Goddess Durga transformed herself into many different avataars depending on the need and situation she was presented with. Women mirror this trait in everyday life, smoothly transitioning from wife, to mother, employee to sister. This dexterity ought to be treasured, celebrated and appreciated much more than it perhaps is.
Durga also displays and demonstrates that she was strong of Mind & Body. She wasn't just a woman who was a great physical warrior but also an individual who had tremendous psychological resolve. This again is an enviable quality that is present in all women, something that ought to be applauded and amplified, and lessons learned therefrom.
The reason Durga was able to overcome Mahishur was because her endeavor to conquer him was the culmination of a collaborative enterprise. All the various Gods who put their might and trust in her, helped her overcome the demon monster. In real life too, women are naturally prone to draw from the people around them. If a woman is surrounded by people who are positive and encouraging, there is virtually no limit to the heights a woman can reach.
Durga always stayed steadfast of purpose. She too had fears but she didn't cower, choosing instead to face them, head on. She tamed a wild lion too! Herein is another great lesson for young women and girls across the country - to not let fear determine their actions, rather push them to confront and triumph.
Durga is one of the best examples of a single entity embodying Ferocity as well as Compassion. Equal parts Destroyer and Creator, Durga's life and story provide invaluable learnings for women of all ages, that within them resides the ability to be protector and care-giver. We celebrate Durga Puja each year with much pomp and pageantry. That is all well and good. Perhaps this time, we should also look a little.
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