The Devi Shakti in us
Life Positive|November 2020
Nikita Mukherjee explains the significance of Navratri, Dussehra, and Maa Durga. The Divine Mother is not only symbolic of the multifaceted nature of every woman but is also present in all of us as knowledge and divinity
Nikita Mukherjee

Ya devi sarva bhuteshu, shanti rupena samsthita

Ya devi sarva bhuteshu, shakti rupena samsthita

Ya devi sarva bhuteshu, matri rupena samsthita

Ya devi sarva bhuteshu, buddhi rupena samsthita

Namastasyai, namastasyai, namastasyai, namo namaha

O omnipresent goddess who is the Universal Mother, the omnipresent goddess who embodies power, the omnipresent goddess who is peace personified, O Devi, who resides in all the living beings in the form of Buddhi (Intelligence) and Rupena (Beauty), I bow down to you over and over.

The months of October and November in India are full of celebration. With beautifully tinted skies, lit houses, and people looking their best in gorgeous ethnic attires, the entire country gets into a festive mood to celebrate Dussehra and Diwali. However, they are both preceded by Navratri: nine days of fasting and worshipping of goddess Durga and her nine divine manifestations. “The Navratri season is a time when Maa Durga pays a visit to her parents on Earth, along with her children, and relaxes at her Maayka (maternal home). She brings hope, prosperity, happiness, and strength, and blesses us with her presence,” my grandfather used to tell me when I was a little kid.

Being a Bengali (the Durga Pujo tradition is very prominent in Bengal), I have always wondered about the significance of Devi Shakti (divine feminine energy), also called Maa Shakti (Divine Mother), who is worshipped in the form of Goddess Durga in the Hindu tradition. I have always felt that Maa Durga is not just some deity or a god-like entity but divine energy that resides in all of us. This divine energy makes us fight our battles and live a righteous life.

With Pujo and Dussehra having just gone by, and Diwali around the corner, this might be the perfect time to discuss ‘Shakti’ and how she is a part of our existence. I believe that ‘Maa’ is someone who lives within us all our lives and not for just two or three months of her earthly visitations. She’s the inner-strength that defines our existence and should be celebrated every day of our lives through our deeds, beliefs, and words.

The story behind the celebration

During the Treta Yuga, when Lord Ram was in a fierce battle with the mighty demon king of Lanka, Ravan, there came a time when he and his army of monkeys failed in every way to defeat the king. Tired and on the verge of giving up, Lord Ram decided to worship Maa Durga for nine days known as ‘Okal-Bodhon.’ Happy with her invocation, Divine Mother blessed Lord Ram, and he was finally able to defeat the demon king on the tenth day which is known as ‘Dussehra.’

In life, all of us are faced with hardships and challenges. Sometimes, you know what’s right but fail to gather the courage to do the right thing. In such times, Devi Shakti (divine feminine energy) gives us the strength to go ahead and fight our battles fiercely, irrespective of the consequences. Just like the Lord sought the blessings of Maa to defeat Ravan, similarly, we should peek inside ourselves and find the Devi Shakti in times of dilemma and challenges to emerge victorious in the end.

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