Oct 12: Today starts the year’s largest festival of Hindus, ‘worship of Devi Durga’ in the season of ‘Sharad’ (autumn) which will continue for pious nine days. The festival is observed twice a year once in the month of Chaitra another in Ashwin.
‘Durga’ means she who is beyond comprehension and difficult to reach. She is divine mother of the whole universe and exists in us in the form of intelligence, beauty, power, patience and mercy. She combines in her two opposite aspects ‘benevolence and fierceness’. She is the protector from the evil.
She is Shakti and represents the infinite power of the universe. There are endless aspects of Durga mentioned in the Hindu scriptures. Ten-armed goddess sitting on a tiger is also known for her various forms and names. She is called ‘Parvati, ‘Simhavahini’, ‘Shakti, ‘Mahishasurmardini’, ‘Uma’, ‘Gauri’, ‘Kali’, ‘Chandi’, ‘Bhairvi’. She is ‘Shakti of Shiv’. As Shakti she gives forms and also destroys, she lights the seven centre of awareness in the sacred human body. Shiva also derives his powers from Shakti.
Over nine days ‘Durga’ is worshipped in nine different forms that is nine manifestations of her as ‘Shailputri’, ‘Brahmacharini’, ‘Chandraghanta’, ‘Kooshmanda’, ‘Skandmata’, ‘Katyayani’, ‘Kalratri’, ‘Mahagauri’, ‘Siddhidatri’. First of which is worshipped today ‘Shailputri’, ‘the daughter of mountain’.
‘Shailputri’ has been mentioned so being the daughter of Himalaya in Puranas and the first among the nine forms. Himalaya named the girl Parvati or Hemvati. She tore the ego of various gods. They bowed down and accepted her as Shakti.
She took avatar to relieve the gods of the tyranny of the demon Mahishasur. Durga is the aggressive face of the Goddess Shakti who was born to fight with demons.
Durga being a warrior is invoked to protect human beings from every evil whether foreign power or diseases.
There is scientific aspect too to the festival as people observe fast because the bodies and minds of people undergo a change due to the climatic changes. This helps them to give rest to their body which adapts itself to the changing climate.
Let us pray for all that this year like many other years of the earth Goddess Durga protect us from the evil and bestow on us the prosperity, knowledge and all potential power. And we stay with each other on this earth with peace.