Bharat Mata and Durga

The Economic Times - - Breaking Ideas -

In Ma­ha­rash­tra, Durga is bet­ter known as Bha­vani, who in­spired Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shivaji to fight op­pres­sion. In the song Vande Mataram com­posed by Bankim Chan­dra Chatterjee, Mother In­dia is iden­ti­fied with the Mother God­dess, Durga. The Devi Ma­hat­myam enun­ci­ates our vi­sion of God as mother. She is con­ceived as Shakti, or energy, and the whole uni­verse is the ex­pres­sion of that Shakti. Hav­ing cre­ated this world from within her­self, she pre­serves it and fi­nally re­ab­sorbs it at the time of fi­nal dis­so­lu­tion. This spir­i­tual truth is sus­tained by the phi­los­o­phy that chit shakti, the energy of con­scious­ness, is the ul­ti­mate re­al­ity be­hind the uni­verse and that it is mas­cu­line-fem­i­nine, Brahmn-Maya, Shiva-Shakti and Im­per­sonal-Per­sonal. The mas­cu­line as­pect is its qui­es­cent state while the fem­i­nine form is the ac­tive one.

Shiv-Shakti rep­re­sents the unity of eter­nity and time. She is Ma­havidya and Ma­hamaya (supreme knowl­edge and il­lu­sion), and Ma­hamedha and Ma­hasm­riti (great in­tel­lect and sharp mem­ory). Durga is the pri­mor­dial source of ev­ery­thing and man­i­fests all the three gu­nas, sattva (truth, tran­quil­lity), ra­jas (pas­sion, rest­less­ness) and ta­mas (dark­ness, ig­no­rance). She is the ter­ri­ble night of pe­ri­odic cos­mic dis­so­lu­tion and the great night of fi­nal dis­so­lu­tion.

Durga is prakriti, which is twofold: apara prakriti, or or­di­nary na­ture, which is sub­ject to change, and para-prakriti, or higher na­ture, which sus­tains the uni­verse.

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