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Durga unlimited

india Updated: Oct 08, 2010 02:24 IST
Sumit Dhanraj
Sumit Dhanraj
Hindustan Times
Sumit Dhanraj

The festival of Navaratra is back. The spiritual charisma in the festive mood is enlightening the inner-self. It reminds us to realise the power of creation and destruction that is in every female.

Durga Uttsav is celebrated in most parts of India for nine days. This celebration originated from the feminine principle of Shakti cult. The goddess is adored in her different attires.

She manifests the divine power of Shakti through her person. The most prominent form the female principle takes is as the consort of Shiva. Thus the dual aspect is called Shiva-Shakti.

The concept that male and female are both part of the whole is so fundamental that Shiva-Shakti is often represented as one person.

The two different aspects of Shakti are a) the benign; loving; mother-wife aspect of feminine power - as Shiva's consort Sati and in next birth as Parvati, b) the destructive feminine power – Sati-Parvati are not the only aspects of Shakti, anger and destruction are also part of it.

The angry aspect of Shakti is Durga. Durga is the beautiful yellow skinned lady with 10 arms whose vehicle is a tiger and who is most often pictured slaying a buffalo-demon. In each of her 10 arms she carries a weapon given to her by different gods. She is seen carrying Shiva's trident, Vishnu's conch, Ram's bow, Krishna's Sudarshan. Durga has the power of 10 gods.

Kali is the most terrifying aspect of the Shakti energy. Kali is represented as black-skinned and half naked. She sometimes has claws or tusks or a necklace of skulls. Her tongue hangs out and blood drips from it. In two of her four hands, she is shown with a head she has just cut off with a large sword. The head still drips blood. But the other two hands are raised in blessing.

Even at the moment of destruction, she calls out hope and promise of new creation. We can say that by conquering the god of destruction, she affirms creation, which is the ultimate expression of the feminine principle in the universe.