According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga represents positive feminine energy (Shakti) who removes all the obstacles or darkness; and acts as a prime factor for neutralising negative energy and ensuring peaceful existence in this universe. She is referred to as Durgatinashini, which means "the one who removes all kinds of troubles and miseries. Hindus worship nine forms of Durga every year in October.
Glory of Durga
It is mainly observed for celebrating the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon king Mahishasura. The Dashain Festival is the most notable festival celebrated in the honour and glory of goddess Durga in different countries in different ways by Hindus.
Worshipping Goddess Durga holds a moral message about how mighty evil force may be; it is bound to end sooner or later. Worshipping Goddess Durga has many positive impacts on devotees' lives. Durga is symbolised as a divine formation of Maha kali, Laxmi and Saraswati. Along with Durga, prime deities such as Saraswati, Laxmi and Kartikeya are also worshipped during this festival. Goddess Durga protects her devotees from evils and miseries by eliminating negative or evil forces such as hatred, jealousy, greediness, anger, ego, selfishness.
During the Dashain festival, Goddess Durga's nine forms are worshipped. The victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura is celebrated as a nine-day-long festival known as Navaratri. For Hindus, Goddess Durga is a very special deity and it appears in nine different forms, each of which is characterised by unique powers and qualities. Together, these nine manifestations are called Navadurga. Hindus strongly believe that worshipping Durga with true devotion will awaken the divine spirit in the purely spiritual realm.
According to many Hindu Astrologers and priests, it is believed that hymns and reading Durga Chalisa especially during Navratri help in overcoming obstacles or negativities in life. Durga Chalisa is usually chanted as a song in the glory of Goddess Durga.
It imbibes devotees with a positive thinking process. It may help in overcoming emotions of despair, lust; etc. In addition, it solves the problem of the financial crisis too. Moreover, with honest devotion Goddess bestows peace, prosperity, good health and wealth.
The least devotee of Goddess Durga can do during Durga puja is chanting the mantra that is assumed to be very beneficial from all perspectives of life. Most importantly, it helps in awakening spiritual consciousness that ensures a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous life. The mantra that is strongly believed to have a positive and powerful impact on devotees according to Hindu Priests are: Sarva Mangala Mangaley Siva Sarvartha Sadhike Sarvanaye Traymbike Gauri Narayani Namostute Ya devi sarva bhuteshu shanti rupena Sangsthita Ya devi sarva bhuteshu shakti rupena Sangsthita Ya devi sarve bhuteshu laxmi rupena Sangsthita Ya devi sarve bhuteshu kanti rupena Sangsthita Ya devi sarve bhuteshu buddhi rupena Sangsthita Namastasyai, Namastasyai, Namastasyai, Namo Namah: It is believed that by chanting these mantras during these nine days, devotees dearest wishes may be fulfilled. Chanting these mantras blesses the devotees with peace and a stable mind imbibes with inner strength to face the adversities of life.
The Goddess Durga is worshipped to guide the devotees with righteousness and fight all evil spirits. According to religious texts, it is considered favourable to read the text of Durga Chalisa or chant mantras especially during the nine days of Durga puja.Goddess Durga can be taken as a symbol for women empowerment too. Like Goddess Durga, women have many forms and roles too. To be a daughter, wife, mother, daughter in law, sister and many other social roles can be challenging; however, it could be taken as an opportunity as well. Opportunity gives different platforms to demonstrate inner qualities such as patience, determination, love, courage, and the strength to overcome injustice. Real worship comes from strong commitment within that eradicates negativities and empowers to know the true self. To prevent social injustices for which women and girls are encountered, this kind of spiritual connection can be of great help.
Spiritual consciousness gives liberation and a great sense of contentment that is great means to experience ecstasy. Let us awake in the spiritual realm and join hands together to truly admire both genders: male and female. Being born as female gender is not a weakness; in fact, it is a strength that needs to be acknowledged by both the male and female gender. There is a strong need to admire one's true self. This may bring positive changes not only within but in society, community and nation as a whole. Let us celebrate this Dashain festival in true devotion to Goddess Durga and through making a strong commitment to bringing positive changes in ourselves first. Life is the product of cosmic creation, and therefore cosmic consciousness awakes with spiritual awakening. This may lead to peaceful existence among all species in this beautiful universe.
(The author teaches English at a Kathmandu college)