Why do we celebrate Durga Puja in the first place? According to popular belief in our traditional Bengali culture, Goddess Durga comes to her parental house for these few days of festivities. That is why the festival is commemorated with so much pomp and grandeur.
But what do we mean by Durga? According to Encyclopedia sources-
Durga, in Hinduism, a principal form of the Goddess, also known as Devi and Shakti.
According to legend, Durga was created for the slaying of the buffalo demon Mahisasura by Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwar and the lesser gods, who were otherwise powerless to overcome him. Embodying their collective energy (shakti), she is both derivative from the male divinities and the true source of their inner power. She is also greater than any of them. Born fully grown and beautiful, Durga presents a fierce menacing form to her enemies. She is usually depicted riding a lion and with 10 arms, each holding the special weapon of one of the gods, who gave them to her for her battle against the buffalo demon. Durga Puja held annually in her honour is one of the great festivals of northeastern India.
So how do we relate Durga with the present cyber generation? Is there anyone amongst us who will vanquish the modern-day demons? What is significant is that we hardly recognise who they are and what they are up to. It’s our blind eye that we maintain all throughout the year.
Shiva Purana gives an account of the origin of Durga. At the beginning of time, Lord Shiva invoked Durga, the primordial energy from his left half to create. Together they created their eternal abode, Shivaloka, also known as Kashi. Thereafter, they created Vishnu and Brahma.
As per Shiva Purana and Devi Mahatmyah, Mahishasura, the son of demon Rambha, unleashed a reign of terror on earth. When gods intervened, Mahishasura defeated gods and banished them from heaven. Vanquished gods went to Trideva- Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. As they narrated their woeful tale, an immense mass of light manifested from Lord Vishnu’s mouth, which was joined by similar rays that emerged from the enraged faces of gods. This mass of light transformed into a woman. Then all the Gods gave their divine weapon to that supreme power. Adishakti re-manifested as Durga to slay Mahishasura. Armed with celestial weapons of all deities and decked with divine ornaments, Durga rode into the battlefield and challenged demons for battle. Mahishasura’s entire army, led by demons like Chikshur, Chamar, Asiloma, Vidalaksha, Durdhara, Durmukha, Mahahanu and many more attacked Durga at once. But Durga slew all of them with unparalleled cruelty. An enraged Mahishasura attacked Durga in the guise of a buffalo. But Durga bound it with ropes. The buffalo morphed into a lion and leapt on Durga, but she beheaded it with her sword. At this, Mahishasura began to fight in the form of a swordsman. Durga pinned him down with a torrent of arrows. Mahishasura now assumed the form of a giant elephant and tugged at Durga’s lion. Durga lopped off its trunk with her sword and freed her lion. The elephant turned into a buffalo and charged at Durga. Sipping from her wine cup, Durga flung her trident and beheaded Mahishasura, finally killing him.
Coming back to our inefficiency in identifying the villains of our daily affairs and the Durgas, it is to be noted that all of us pray for prosperity and peace. In Bengali, she’s called Dashabhuja, which means lady with ten hands. That’s why she’s depicted with ten arms. Think of the woman in our daily lives. On one hand, they are completely entrusted with the responsibility of the household works, on the other hand, they are also successful professionals. It seems that they’re the only ones responsible for keeping the family bond strong. If they slip by mistake everything goes haywire. Then the entire blame comes on them. At times they are not even allowed to venture out to pursue their careers. Women in our popular culture aren’t supposed to work. The scenario is same in the northern state of Haryana as well as the southern fringes of Tamil Nadu. The mentality of the family wardens remains the same. It’s because of the patriarchal society we have been brought up where the birth of a male child is eulogized but the vicious practice of female infanticide is carried out without hesitation. I heard a guy from UP saying that it is always fun to watch girls in short skirts and jeans but if my sister wears any revealing clothes I’ll kill her and my parents will applaud me.
Now you all tell me what country do we reside in? The girls are ill-treated right from their birth but a lady is worshipped as the supreme power. In my view, it is hypocrisy to the core. If you revere your nearest family members including the female members, you are contributing to society. Kill the inner fiend of yours that deters your closest ones from pursuing their dreams. Have a look at the world around and see for yourself that the concept of woman power isn’t a myth but a reality. Else for the sake of displaying your devotion don’t bow in front of Goddess Durga. Grow up like a real man and recognise the Goddess sharing the same roof with you.