Some evoke her as the Mahisasur Mardini, others adulate her as the Shera-wali, some keep a 9-days long fast, others spend these nine days feasting like there’s no tomorrow; some do the garba in colorful chanya-choli, some frolic to the beats of a dhak in a white cotton saree with a crimson border holding a fuming dhunuchi.
The celebration of the arrival of Goddess Durga observed as Navratri or the Durga Puja changes form and style as you move from one part of the country to another, but the emotion flowing across the length and breadth of this country during these 9 days remains unaltered, and eternal.
The Goddess is worshiped in her nine mighty manifestations through these nine days and the tenth marks the undeniable, irrefutable victory of the good over the evil.
We have seen the Mother Goddess, we refer to as Maa Durga, in her all-conquering avataar as the primordial feminine power holding an entire armory of weapons in her indomitable arms.
Interestingly, these weapons are not just held to slaughter the malicious demon king, Mahishasura. Did you know that each of these symbolizes a unique virtue?
Trishul or Trident: Received from her husband, Shiva, the three sharp heads of the trident symbolize three qualities every human is made up of: Rajas -hyperactivity and desires, Tamas – lethargic tendencies, and Sattva – purity and positivity.
Sudarshan Chakra or Discus: Vishnu is the protector of the universe as per the Hindu faith. His gift to the goddess makes her the center of the universe, with the rest of the creation revolving around her.
Vajra or the Thunderbolt: Indra’s gift symbolizes solidarity of purpose, robust determination and firmness of character every human should strive to achieve to become a better version of himself.
Shankh or the Conch: The blow in the conch replicates the sound waves emitted by the Sun, which sounds a lot like the ‘Aum.’ The conch, hence, represents the eternal sound of creation, as the Sun is the single source of energy dominating the creation.
Bhala or the Spear: Received from Agni dev, the spear denotes auspiciousness. Fire is also considered sacred in the Hindu faith; hence the gift of Agni stands for purity and fiery power.
Talwar or the Sword: The sharp metal weapon embodies wisdom and intellectual. She carries it as a responsibility, her ability to distinguish the right from the wrong and cut off the wrong. The sense of differentiation one from another comes only with knowledge, hence, knowledge is powerful.
Teer-Dhanush or the Bow and the Arrow: Handed to the mother goddess by Vayu, the wind god in the Sanatan culture, the bow and the arrow connote the amalgamation of potential power with kinetic energy.
Kulhadi or the Axe: Vishwakarma bestowed all his powers upon the goddess through this weapon. The axe has the strength both to destroy and creation. Whether one uses one’s powers for destruction or creation depends on individual discretion.
Kamal or the Lotus: The lotus personifies Brahma, who, in Hinduism, is looked upon as the creator. It encourages one towards knowledge and wisdom, as only through these two virtues, will one be able to detach oneself from worldliness and attain liberation. Like the lotus stays clean of the muck it flourishes in, men should stay free from worldly bindings too.
Snake: Most of the images of idols you see, will have the goddess blessing the creation with her tenth hand. But it is supposed to hold the snake as a suggestion for Shiva and an upward movement of human consciousness.
We are already five days into the Navratri, with five more days of celebration remaining. We hope you have a healthy and joyous time ahead.