Durga Puja is going on, and today is the Navmi, the 9th and the last day of Devi worshipping. For these nine days of Sharada Navratri every year, we pray to Durga, the Mahashakti, dedicating each of these nine days to her nine forms.
• Shailaputri (Daughter of the Himalayas)
• Brahmachariṇi (one who practices devout austerity)
• Chandraghanta (One who bears the moon in her necklace)
• Kushmanda (the creator of the universe)
• Skanda Mata (The mother of Skanda/Karthikeya)
• Katyayani (The daughter of sage Katyayana, who incarnated to help the Devas)
• Kalaratri (black as night, destroyer of evil)
• Mahagauri (doing great penance)
• Siddhidatri (Provider of Siddhis, giver of mystic powers)
These all nine forms have emerged from one Devi Durga, and they also merged back into her. Other than these none forms, Devi, or Adi Shakti also manifests herself in Tridevi; three forms of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati/Kali; The Creator, The Preserver, and The Destroyer respectively. Each of these three represents the Shakti, energy of their respective masculine Trimurti. Saraswati as the energy of Brahma; Lakshmi of Vishnu; and Parvati of Shiva. In true sense, God is neither a male nor a female. So, these are just their forms, or to put in more cosmic sense a unification of inactive and active, Nirgun and Sargun.
Why am I giving you a brief upon Hindu Goddesses?
Because if you see closely, all the forms of Devi, whether the nine forms worshipped during Navratri or the Tridevi; they all are so diverse and yet so uniform. Devi has taken so many forms, and still, She is One.
She is One.
She has everything inside her and she uses each of her forms when the need arises and then each form of her again merge back into her. Have you seen anyone doing that in the real world? Look closely around you.
She is like each of us, or to put it correctly, each of the superwoman that you see around, handling home, kitchen, work, you, kids, parents, society, world, and sometimes themselves; each of us is like a Devi.
Yet, I wonder, why we do not worship Devi in her purest form of as a woman.
We worship her as a Kumari (virgin). We fed kanchaka, little girls, (non-menstruating/virgin) after the completion of Navratri fasts. We wash and touch their feet for blessings.
We worship her as Mother, Maa. We see her as our own mother, one who has given birth to us. In this form too, she is pure, a motherly figure, older than us, a giver, a protector.
But, there is nothing in between a Kumari and Maa.
She could either be a virgin or a mother. We do not worship any female figure who is not either one of these. Even when Goddess in most of her Avatars is neither a mother nor a virgin. She is just a woman, a female figure.
Here I do not want to say that we should see a Goddess as a woman, and not as a mother. But, my mere implication is that, when we transfer the image of this Goddess in our real life; when we say, Every Mother is a Devi, “Maa Bhagavan samaan hai” (Mother is equivalent to God), or, “betiyaan to Devi ka roop hoti hain” (Daughters are the form of Devi); why we do not extend this respect to in general all the ladies out there?
She could be your friend, your wife, your daughter in law, your neighbor or just a girl walking on the road. No matter who she is, she is a form of Devi. If your mother or daughter is equivalent to a Devi, I bet your wife deserve the same respect too.
Why is it so hard to respect a woman who is in somewhat equal stature to us?
This is not only applicable to males, but also for females. We ourselves do not see the divine in other females. We are the ones who try to diminish and degrade other women. As a woman, we all know what the word ‘Respect’ means for our tribe; still, it will be the first thing that we will tarnish in another woman we don’t like.
Before you disrespect a woman physically, or emotionally, just try to remind yourself that there is a Parvati, a Lakshmi, and a Saraswati inside her watching each of your deeds. Be kind. Be respectful.