Thursday, October 14, 2010

Durga Puja

Shiva may be the most powerful God in the Pantheon, but he is also the most foolish. Easily moved by intense penance, he grants boons to his devotees without thinking of the consequences. Hindu mythology is full of stories of demons who charmed Shiva into granting them immortality and went onto terrorize the Universe.
When Mahishasura, who can be defeated by "no man, God or animal", unleashes his Terror, there is only one being who can save the Universe. Shiva's Consort, Parvati, may be the Mother Goddess, but as Durga, she is also the Supreme Warrior.

We worship her today.

Shiva on a Shop Sign, presiding over offerings to be made to Durga

For a longer version of the story, do read an older post of mine - Durga's Annual Homecoming- most mothers and wives would empathise with Durga.
_____
A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.
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25 comments:

Clarissa Draper said...

It amazes me how many gods there are in the world. I don't know how people remember them all. However, I just love the patterns and colors of your culture. Fascinating look at your culture, thank you.

CD

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Clarissa- the Hindu pantheon is easy to remember. There are the three main Gods, and their Consorts. Vishnu has twelve manifestations, many of them have consorts. Shiva has maybe half a dozen manifestations, and Parvati has about two dozen. They have two kids, who keep their own form. And there are a whole bunch of gods and goddesses with walk in parts. Maybe a couple of hundred in all. That's not too difficult, is it?

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Long may She ride on Her tiger!

Margot Kinberg said...

Rayna - Thank you for sharing this wonderful insight into Durga. How often it is that we get into trouble for shortsightedness, and then need to be saved, if you will, by real courage. Anyone who sees women as weak needs to think about Durga...

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Rayna, there's a Prolific Blogger Award for you over at my blog today!

Saumya said...

Beautiful! "Relation to Durga" is actually one of the meanings of my names. I love Shiva's contradictory nature though, whether it is with Parvati or the way he is with others.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Debra- Interestingly, she rides a tiger in Western India, and a lion in Eastern India. To me, it will always be a lion she rides.
But long may she rule.

@ Margot- absolutely. Women are anything but weak- they just choose not to use brute strength if they can achieve the same result without doing so.

@ Debra- thank you

@ Saumya- we share a name. My middle name is Parvati!
And yes, I love Shiva too- he'd make a great character in a story. He and his wife.

Georgina Dollface said...

My friend's daughter is named Shivah, with an H. She is Persian and I think there is a story behind her name too, but I am not sure. I must look it up.
I really do love these drabbles. (I tried my hand at it today and linked to you, but I think I have a long way to go before I can do it as smoothly as you do. You make it looks so easy and effortless! Thanks for inspiring me to challenge myself!) - G

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Shiva's just easy that way, huh?

Shannon O'Donnell said...

As always, your drabble is both beautiful and meaningful. Thank you for sharing your culture and faith, Rayna.

P.S. My students loved writing drabbles and they've asked to do it again. :-)

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Georgina - I would love to know the origin of your friend's daughter's name. And hopping across to your blog right away.

@ Alex - well, he requires things like standing on one leg and continuously chanting his name for 20 years, and thing. But yes, he is easy ;-)

@ Shannon - thank you. And I am so glad you got your students drabbling.

LTM said...

love learning these little tidbits, and LOL @your answer to Alex... :D

I like how you guys have something to focus on every day in your worship. I might emulate this~ :o) <3

Hart Johnson said...

I love these little windows to the gods and their antics. (and I love a good female warrior)

Anu said...

Nice way of putting it... there are just any number of instances where Shiva has granted boons and then had to regret it! Someone usually has to bail him and the whole world out... Guess we made our gods behave just the way real people do!and I must say, men are notorious for such behavior.... i see it all the time at home... how my son manages to get his dad and grand dad agree to his every wish, and then we have to find a way out! and you know what, my comment has probably grown longer than your drabble!

Carolyn Abiad said...

Always need a woman around to clean up after the boys, don't we? It seems the bigger they are, the bigger the mess...demons, world domination...what next? :)

Talli Roland said...

I know I keep saying this, but I'm really enjoying all these insights into your culture! And beautiful colours in the photo, too.

Mary said...

love learning of your culture through your writing and pictures. Thank you.

gargimehra said...

Am celebrating Durga Puja in full swing!
Btw, an award awaits you at my blog.

Laura Eno said...

Your answer to Clarissa cracked me up! My head would spin trying to remember all of them.
Your stories give me a fascinating look at your culture. Thank you for that.

Ellie said...

I love hearing about your culture, so rich and full of allure and mystery~ I will check out your older post! Thanks for sharing you n' your world xXx

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Leigh - lol
The Hindu gods and goddesses are one quirky bunch of characters.

@ Hart- don't let her love for bright colours, feminine saries and long flowing hair fool you- Durga was one hell of a warrior.

@ Anu- that is what I adore about our Gods. They are so human in the mistakes they make, and that is what makes them so vulnerable and accessible. Durga is a woman anyone with a workaholic husband can identify with. Ganesha and Krishna are the naughty kids every mother wishes she had. We could go on and on...

@ Carolyn- luckily, Shiva was smart enough to know when only his wife could bale him out. Some other men I know may never have thought to approach their wives.

@ Talli- thank you. And India is a technicolour country.

@ Mary- thank you.

@ Gargi- I grew up in Calcutta, and always get nostalgic at this time of the year. And thank you.

@ Laura- easie peasie, isn't it? Keeping track of the Hindu pantheon. We don't even try to keep track, but I love the stories.

@ Ellie- thank you. And you will definitely identify with Durga. s

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Leigh - lol
The Hindu gods and goddesses are one quirky bunch of characters.

@ Hart- don't let her love for bright colours, feminine saries and long flowing hair fool you- Durga was one hell of a warrior.

@ Anu- that is what I adore about our Gods. They are so human in the mistakes they make, and that is what makes them so vulnerable and accessible. Durga is a woman anyone with a workaholic husband can identify with. Ganesha and Krishna are the naughty kids every mother wishes she had. We could go on and on...

@ Carolyn- luckily, Shiva was smart enough to know when only his wife could bale him out. Some other men I know may never have thought to approach their wives.

@ Talli- thank you. And India is a technicolour country.

@ Mary- thank you.

@ Gargi- I grew up in Calcutta, and always get nostalgic at this time of the year. And thank you.

@ Laura- easie peasie, isn't it? Keeping track of the Hindu pantheon. We don't even try to keep track, but I love the stories.

@ Ellie- thank you. And you will definitely identify with Durga. s

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Leigh - lol
The Hindu gods and goddesses are one quirky bunch of characters.

@ Hart- don't let her love for bright colours, feminine saries and long flowing hair fool you- Durga was one hell of a warrior.

@ Anu- that is what I adore about our Gods. They are so human in the mistakes they make, and that is what makes them so vulnerable and accessible. Durga is a woman anyone with a workaholic husband can identify with. Ganesha and Krishna are the naughty kids every mother wishes she had. We could go on and on...

@ Carolyn- luckily, Shiva was smart enough to know when only his wife could bale him out. Some other men I know may never have thought to approach their wives.

@ Talli- thank you. And India is a technicolour country.

@ Mary- thank you.

@ Gargi- I grew up in Calcutta, and always get nostalgic at this time of the year. And thank you.

@ Laura- easie peasie, isn't it? Keeping track of the Hindu pantheon. We don't even try to keep track, but I love the stories.

@ Ellie- thank you. And you will definitely identify with Durga. s

slommler said...

Love the stories and your pics!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Thank you, SueAnn

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