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MOTHER DURGA: SYMBOL OF FREEDOM FIGHTERS
Navratri is Celebrated March 28 to April 4th
I got to be honest Navratri, the festival honoring the Divine Mother, is my favorite Hindu celebration. The Mother is worshiped for nine nights in nine different forms. Mother Durga, Mother Saraswati, and Mother Lakshmi comprise the three main forms of the Divine Mother in Hinduism. Mother Durga is the most powerful and is the warrior aspect of the goddess. Mother Saraswati is the sage and wisdom aspect of the goddess. Mother Lakshmi is all about material and spiritual wealth.
There are many great stories about Her power. Sri Ram was about to embark on his journey to Lanka to defeat the demon king, Ravanna, who had abducted His consort, Mother Sita. He was wondering how He was going to defeat this demon king. Then Narada, the sage to the gods, appeared to Ram and told Him to worship the Divine Mother before embarking on His journey to Lanka. Mother Durga, the warrior aspect of the goddess, appeared to Him riding on Her lion and told Him that He would defeat Ravanna. All that Durga told Him came to pass. He defeated Ravanna with the help of Hanuman, the bear and monkey armies, and Mother Durga. You got to understand how powerful Ravanna was. He was one of the most powerful kings in Asia. Ravanna had received boons from Lord Shiva because of his devotion which enhanced his power. However, he soon abused the boons and started harassing and killing sages, devotees and priests. He became arrogant and thought no one could defeat him. The celebration of Narvatri came to be celebrated two times a year in the fall and in the spring as a reminder of how Mother Durga helped Sri Ram defeat Ravanna.
Many centuries later Mahatma Gandhi appeared on the scene. He became an attorney and was educated at Oxford, England. He then went to South Africa where he worked with the Indian community on civil rights issues. You might remember the scene in the movie, Gandhi, which was so powerful. A widow was about to jump on the funeral pyre of her husband. Gandhi saved her life and started his crusade to gain independence for India from the British.
Do you think Gandhi was always in favor of female leadership? No. When he was first married, he tried to get his wife to stay home all the time. His mother asked his wife, Kasturba, to go to the market to buy food to cook some meals. She did as her mother-in-law instructed her to do. Gandhi came home and saw Kasturba was gone. When she came home, he chastised her for leaving home until he realized that his own mother had told Kasturba to purchase food at the market. He changed so much over the years to the point where he encouraged female leadership in the movement. Indira Gandhi and Laxmi Pandit are just some of the many female leaders in the movement who later became national leaders in India and even worldwide after independence had been declared in 1947.
Mother Durga became a symbol of the movement in the form of Mother India. Why Mother Durga? In the story of the Ravanna's defeat, we see that because Sri Ram worshiped Mother Durga he was able to defeat a despicable foe. Gandhi and members of the Indian Independence Movement (called Freedom Fighters) defeated a tyrannical foe, the British Empire, by using non-violence, civil disobedience, and Mother Durga as a symbol of the movement.
This movement became a model for all future social activists. The American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's used Gandhi's methods of non-violence and civil disobedience. Their great female symbol was Rosa Parks, who moved to the front of the bus, and who helped initiate the Montgomery Bus Boycott along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On the bridge near Selma it was the women who captured our imagination. People just could not bare to see them being beaten by the cops on the nightly TV news. The Civil Rights Act of 1965 passed when the public saw the injustice through the actions of the women. President Johnson signed the act and the rest is history.
A few months ago Trump got into office via the Electoral College. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. The women started their march for human rights the day after the Trump was inaugurated. It was Sally Yates, a female Attorney General, who stood up to Trump concerning the travel ban on refugees and the Muslims from the seven countries. She got fired for her stance. Later on the court sided with the refugees and Muslims. It was a female senator, Elizabeth Warren, who stood up in the hallway outside the Senate and read a letter from Coretta Scott King criticizing the racist actions of Jeff Sessions when she was banned from the floor of the Senate for trying to read the letter. Male members read the letter from the floor later on, and they were not thrown out. Senator Warren streamed the reading of the letter live on face book and more people heard about it because she did this. Now Jeff Sessions is in trouble for lying to Senator Al Franken of Minnesota during his confirmation hearing about his contact with the Russians before Trump got into office. It will be a woman who will be Trump's undoing. Mother Durga is the one who is the power behind the people defeating Trump Care. As a collective she worked through people to stop such a negative plan. She does that from time to time.
Mother Durga is a powerful goddess, and She has made Her appearance known throughout the history of the world. Nothing can defeat Mother Durga. She is the Shaki energy found in all beings and the Universe. She defeats tyrants of all kinds. On Navratri focus on Her power and activism when you are involved with your social action in the world. Know that She has many names and many forms. She can work through anyone and anything. She has appeared in many places of the world at crucial times. She has appeared as Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as Mother Tara, as Mother Durga and as Mother Bhumi (Mother Earth). These are only just a few of Her great forms. She is the what makes the world go round. She is one you want on your side. I am hoping you will invoke Her whenever you are in trouble. She is a winner! Happy Navratri to you all.
JAI SHRI MA! JAI SHRI NAVRATRI! JAI SHRI ACTIVISM!