Durga, the Divine Mother

As we celebrate Navaratri and today being Durga Ashtami, I looked around to see what Osho has said about Ma Durga or Ma Kali. Found this beautiful excerpt from the book “The Way of Tao, Vol 1”. It has been referred to in a couple of articles and am sharing the link here to one of them – Invitation to the Mother Goddess.

Osho on Durga

“…Whether it is the birth of matter or whether it is the birth of consciousness; whether the earth is born or heaven, everything is born through the mystery that lies hidden in the depths of Existence. Therefore I have said that those who have looked upon God as mother – as Durga or Amba – their understanding is much deeper than those who look upon Him as Father. If God exists anywhere, He is feminine, for man does not have the ability and the patience to give birth to such a vast Universe. That which gives birth to the myriads of stars and moons must have a womb, without which it is impossible.

Therefore the three extensions of the Jewish order – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – have given a very wrong concept of God to the world – that of God, the Father. This is a very dangerous concept for it gratifies the ego of man. Man looks upon himself as established in the form of God but this has no connection with the Reality of Existence. More befitting, more proper, is the concept of a Universal Mother. But this can only be understood when you understand the Feminine Mystery, when you understand Lao Tzu. Else it cannot be understood.

Have you ever seen the image of Kali? She is the mother, she is terrible! In one hand she holds a human skull! She is the mother – her eyes are filled with the ocean of tenderness. Down below – she stands on the chest of someone! Someone lies crushed under her feet! Why? Because that which creates, destroys also. Destruction is the other part of creation.

Those were wonderful people who conceived this image. They were people with great imagination who could visualise great possibilities. They have erected the image of Mother standing on a dead body! In her hands she holds the head of a dead man, dripping blood. Round her neck she wears a necklace of skulls but she has the eyes of the Mother, the Heart of the Mother from where the milk flows – and yet, the necklace of skulls!

Actually, the Annihilation of the Universe starts from the very place where creation starts. The circle completes at the same point. Therefore the mother gives birth but when she becomes terrible she can also give death. When a woman becomes terrible she becomes extremely dangerous. She has a great store of energy. The energy is the same whether it creates or destroys.

The imagination of those who conceived of the Mother as an embodiment both of creation and destruction was a very far-sighted imagination but together with this it was very deep and very near Truth.

Lao Tzu says, “That alone is the original source of the Earth and Heaven.” Everything takes birth therein. But remember everything is re-absorbed in the same place. That is the ultimate source also. It is altogether continuous. This Feminine Existence, this passive awaiting empty Existence is never divided. It is continuous – without any discontinuity whatsoever. As I said before, the lamp is lighted and extinguished; but darkness is continuous. Birth comes, life becomes visible; but death is ceaseless.

Mountains appear and disappear, the valley remains forever. When the mountains are there, the valley can be seen; when they are no more, the valley cannot be seen but its existence is ceaseless – altogether ceaseless. It does not cease when the mountains cease. Its power is indivisible, indestructible. No matter how much energy is withdrawn from this emptiness, it never decreases.

A man misses, a woman never misses. A man is enfeebled, a woman never.

Those whom we ordinarily call women, they too do not waste away as much as men. If a woman gains the full knowledge of her Feminine Mystery, she can remain established in an immaculate beauty even in old age. This is difficult for man. A man comes like a storm and goes away. If a woman attains to the height of her motherhood, she can remain beautiful till her last moment of existence.”

Navaratri – the Nine forms of Durga

Nava Durga

On the nine days of Navaratri, we celebrate the nine forms of Ma Durga. Here is an article that describes the nine forms of Durga and what their differences are – What are the Nine forms of Maa Durga.

All nine forms worshipped during Navaratri are forms of Ma Parvati or Shakti. They each have a different purpose and Shakti took different forms to deal with different challenges.

Maa Shailputri, is the daughter of Himalaya, the mountains and prayers to her can help ward off illnesses. Maa Brahmacharini, is the daughter of Daksha Prajapati and the unmarried Sati. Brahmacharini makes up her mind to marry Shiva and does Tapa in the Himalayas. So if anyone says that women can’t do tapa (loose translation, “penance”) tell them about Maa Brahmacharini.

Maa Chandraghanta is the ten armed Parvati, already married to Shiva, adorning the moon (Chandra) on her forehead. She rides a tiger, ready to destroy demons and negative forces. Maa Kushmanda is the Mother who gave birth to the Cosmos. She is the light that the Sun emits and the basic life force !!

Maa Skandamata is Parvati as Bhagwan Kartik’s mother. Kartik or Murugan or Skanda is Ganesha’s elder brother and the commander-in-chief of God’s army. No wonder the Chola army marched to Vetri Vel Veera Vel and the Earth shuddered.

Maa Katyayani is the fierce form of the Mother. She was born in the house of Sage Katyayana and hence the name Katyayani. Katyayani is a warrior, has the combined powers of Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva and all their weapons !! She was born to destroy Mahishasura, the demon who could not be defeated by the Gods. The other name for her is Mahishasuramardini – the slayer of Mahishasura. My most favorite shloka is the Mahishasuramardini Stotram 🙏🏾.

Maa Kaalaratri is again a fierce form of Durga. She destroys the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha and importantly Raktabeeja, the demon who would regenerate himself from a single drop of his blood that falls to the Earth. (Terminator is such a simple creature !!😁). She is dark skinned and ferocious denoting time (Kaal) and death (Kali).

MahaGauri who is worshipped today is the fierce Kaalratri after cooling herself down in Lake Mansarovar. She emerges as her radiant and benevolent form.

Tomorrow Maa Siddhidatri is worshipped. She is the possessor of all the eight siddhis, and the Adi Shakti herself.

The Navaratri celebrations are slightly different in different parts of India. Will write about that separately.

May men and women realise their inner “Shakti” and may the Mahishasura of ignorance be slayed by Maa Durga. Jai Bhawani. Jai Maa Durga.

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