Durga Pooja

From time immemorial in every civilization, pure and unpretentious minds of early human species have accepted existence of some unseen power or energy initiating, guiding, evolving and transforming every thing in manifestation. They conceptualized the all pervading sky as the father, with gathering clouds as his frowns, flashing lightening as his anger and the pouring rains as his munificence. The earth below became countervailing Mother, endowed with patience and compassions, bearing all pains of producing and creating progeny, food and fruits of labour and precious bounty bearing every tribulation or the creatures without any hesitation or complaints.  While father was feared and respected mother was loved and adored, both as essential and interdependent forces in his temporal and spiritual evolution.  

In India Vedic Seers while declared the Prime Existence to be the singular power, designated as That One, they conceived it to exist along with its ever present self impulse, the energy, the power, and the potency to manifest and become potential as creation. In later Vaishnava puranas, That One became Purusha – Narayana the dominating principle and Prakriti became Lakshmi, the self impulse, the energy, the power, the potency.  Krishna declares – the great effulgence (Prakriti) is My womb and I (Purusha) cast the seed and from it is the birth of all beings. Divine is the self impulse, the energy, the power, the potency which Krishna declares as Maya, derived from the root ma or meeyate - to measure, demonstrate is the creative Impulse, kinetic force or divine attribute or power to format which are difficult to overcome.

Assimilation of non-Arya religious concepts within the vedic  Arya religious beliefs with their temporal perception dominating their spiritual needs, Mother Earth as Prakriti became dominantsymbol of the female energy as Maya constituting half of Shiva’s body on his left side and in reality his Shakti, to be worshipped as gramadevata or kshetyradevata by each village or town. The vedic Purusha assumed the character designated as Shiva. The inter-dependence of Shiva and Shakti is brought out in hymns which says Shiva does not becomes pro-active unless activated by Shakti and only when united with Shakti Shiva has the power to manifest; without her, the god cannot even stir. According to Shvetasgvatara Up. Prakriti is Maya and the wielder of Maya is the great lord – Maheshvara. In Yoga Vashishtha, we find Devi being referred to as Intellectual Energy, Creative Energy, similarly all energies in Action and non-Action. All are known as Energies. There is no end to the One who is the very Self of Shiva, the Auspicious.

In Devi Bhagavata she is the Primal Energy taking the position of vedic Brahman itself. Shakti thereafter came to be referred by any special name he chose according to his individual; choice as Lakshmi, Parvati or Sarasvati and all of them together. But in whatever form she is worshipped she is worshipped as the great Mother. Devi Bhagavat represent the crux of mother worship, where she is represented as Prakriti everything that exists in manifestation vying to the description which is attributed to Vishnu as the comprehensive and all pervading Purusha, her existence being designated every mutable and immutable place. She represents as that which exists in every creature as the immutable energy. For the sake of her devotees they become manifest in fragments, all permutations and combinations, modifications and manifestations being she alone. She describes herself as neither man, nor woman nor even sexless when she comes to destroy the worlds. She is perception, prosperity, firmness, fame, remembrance, faith, intelligence, compassion, desire, refuge, energy, thirst, mercy, classification, modesty, tranquility, receptivity, resplendence, Prosperity, inclination, memory, compassion, fulfillment, mother, bewilderment, energy infused in creatures, consciousness in creation, nothing that which she is not, nothing there being without her.

Devi Bhagavata attributes the goddess of all the worlds as Mother, who creates this universe of the nature of Existance-non-Existance, protects the same by her own energy of the three great attributes) and withdraws it at the close of every eon and remains sporting herself in her one-ness. Shankara adds his colophon saying in the very opening verse of his celebrated work Anandalahari  saying ‘O father-mother, this world of ours was created by the compassion of your joint protectorship to the purpose that by your mutual help, your joint intention may fulfill itself’ adding further in Saundarya Lahari, ‘Only when enjoined with Shaakti has he the power to manifest; but without her the God cannot even stir’.

In Brahmanda Purana, we find Lalita sahasranama Stotra, eulogy to Adi Shakti, the Primal Energy where a description is provided of Sri Lalita, Brahman of Upanishads, sitting on her throne and ruling over crores of galaxies or worlds giving audience to all. At that time there come to worship her sitting according to their status and importance crores of Brahmas with crores of Brahmanis, crores of Narayanas with crores of Laksmis, crores of Rudras with crores of Gauris, thereby clarifying that there are endless universes Brahmanadas galaxies like ours, all co-existing ; and each having a Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra, for its creation, preservation and destruction ; all these were assembled at the same time and Sri Devi was the Ruler of all the universes. The nature of the Supreme and his Energy was originally identical and no difference did exist amidst them. What He is, She too is ; and what She is, He too was. Devi assumes the role of Brahman and just as her abiding place Shreepura is the best among the cities, so is Latita among the Shaktis and the Supreme Shiva among the devotees of Shree Vidya

This meets the description in the National Geographic Magazine (February 2003) of the moment in Time, when the universe was ‘without stars, no galaxies and no light, just a black brew of primordial gases immersed in a sea of invisible matter. Beginning a few thousand years after the blinding flash of the big bang, the universe plunged in to a darkness that lasted almost a half billion years. Then some thing happened that changed it all, some thing that lead to the creation not just of stars and galaxies, but also of planets, people, begonians and lizards. Less than a century ago astronomers knew only about our own galaxy, the Milky Way, which they believed held about 100 million stars. Then observers discovered that some of the fuzzy blobs in the sky weren’t in our own galaxy, but were galaxies in the own right – collections of stars, gas and dust bound together by gravity. To day we know that the Milky Way contains more than 100 billion stars and there are some 100 billion galaxies in the universe, each harbouring an enormous number of stars’.

Jnaneshwar graphically describes in Changdeo Pasashti  saying in that state it is difficult to say which is the other part of the other one, because they are of one form, Even though male and female are two distinct designations they are both one Shiva alone. Because of their equal parts the World becomes perceived. Shiva becomes effective because of Shakti and Shakti becomes effective because of Shiva, thus becoming  mutually contributory. The One who became in turn his own beloved, to revel in one's own Bliss even as the salt giving up its saltiness becomes one with the ocean. It is even like the Space within the stem of the Banana becomes one with the Space all around.