United & Divided

With so much happening around lately or rather more of the things that happen to come to surface over the recent times, I unwillingly feel, how strangely we are more united and divided in ways, now than ever. It is not that I wish to nag or complain when so much negativity surrounds us on a day to day basis, but it is the constant fight with oneself and the over pouring of information around us, that it is indeed a challenge to keep my mind in a stage of sanity.

In a phase, that I believed to have progressed from the life of the caves and striking pebbles to light a flare, we have simply transitioned to one that is clouded by nothing but damaging self created illusions.

Today we live in high rising & sky-kissing buildings like never before, transitioned from bullock carts to battery driven fuel efficient cars and eat a meal that is more of a luxury than a necessity. Thanks to the hard-work and sweat of our previous generations that we belong to this privileged race where we can earn a hefty paycheck while warming up our chairs all day long, while some rise and melt down along with the Sun.

It is hard to ignore the fact that in someway or the other we all depend upon each other in our life-cycle and along the chains of demand and supply. It is this beauty of interdependence that we all unknowingly participate in , that leads us to either step onto or climb the ladder of livelihood and co-existence.

Yet, how good are we in acknowledging this unseen thread that binds all of us together in some way or the other?

We are living in a time today,that is witnessing the biggest holocaust ever in terms of both human and animal slavery, for the sake of some pleasure that my simple or half-witted mind cannot process through, especially when I see commoners such as me pride over it. “Speciesism”, is thus the new hyped word, coined to honor this mindset of Human prejudice where we humans believe to have moral rights so high so as to overlook the pain and suffering of non-human animals, and treat them in ways that slavery would need a new definition for itself.

It also amuses me, when I look around and see the arrogance, alter in the eyes of a human being  for another person against his or her complexion, against a particular religion or faith, for the LGBT community or even if it is a regular gender favoritism. If there is anything at all, the ‘world’ has always and would still choose to believe, is to look up-to a ‘MAN’irrespective of his credentials.  For me, as a woman it is sadly bleak to imagine the day when that pedestal will be equally shared by a ‘WOMAN’ in the very same regard, needless to say that this charity awaits to begins at home.

On the very other hand, there is an uprising strength of people from within us, who are trying tirelessly day in and day out to make the world a more humane place for a better tomorrow. It is historic for a an era like now, how environmentalists, protectors of animal and human rights have a struck a revolution for a better and much needed change.

People selflessly working at the animal shelters where hundreds of pets are dumped in or traded once the momentarily pleasure period is over, those of who among us are working in the war zones to protect and support the lives of the victims and so many more, who can selflessly open their hearts for a wounded soul, are typically the ones who reaffirm my faith in Humanity. It certainly must not be easy to constantly stand up against what is ethically unfair but it this capacity to empathize, that is certainly one of the supreme qualities that natures has bestowed upon us and had we known of it’s uninterrupted supply, I guess we would have never chosen to be otherwise.

So, after all the Moon and Mars landing expeditions, technological advancements, culinary achievements and the daily dose of luxury that we relish so casually, is everything so worthwhile when we are so much at a conflict with our very own selves and our fellow beings, humans and non-humans alike? What is the point of an extravagant degree when our very basic morals are at stake? And what is the tiniest drop of our contribution to create that ripple of change that the oceans await?

This world today, from my eyes, seems to be divided and united in halves. One that is hell-bent on destruction blinded by prejudicial illusions and the other half who is equally determined in bringing together the scattered pieces of  broken mankind, to shape a worthier tomorrow.

And in the end, all that my simple mindset can understand and observe is the reality that we as humans, have tremendous capacities to both unite and to destroy and by just choosing the right direction of will, we can be the creation we were meant to be.

 

 

Pic Courtesy for Feature image

India & The land of Gods’

This is indeed one popular phrase I  heard growing up in India and being a proud Indian. There is so much still unknown to me about the rich heritage and golden mythological past of my country that I surrender not to defend this idea. And it would be also wrong on my part if I completely dismissed this notion too. You may think I am biased. Well, we all are fond of our cultural, mythological and religious past and they have silently become a foundation for our beliefs and value system.

As kids while we are introduced to identify different forms of deities of God’s and Goddesses, we find that out of the millions mentioned in the reigious texts, more or less each one of them have their own symbolic animal pet, AKA -Vahans’. Some of the most popular godly forms like Shiva can be identified with two of his characteristic representatives – the snake around his neck and the bull by his side. While Parvati, his spouse and the lady who is all about power,  is portrayed as one who proudly rides on the back of a lion and some times even a tiger, therefore known as Sheravali (Sher-the big cat & vali- owner). Their mythological children- Lord Ganesha on the other hand represents wisdom via hard-work and he chose his animal as the rat, Karthikeya chose his favorite one as the majestic proud Peacock; Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth chose the wise Owl and Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge was given a Swan as her representing candidate. Goddess Kali, is also one of the most well known goddess worshiped across the whole of India and with a number of beliefs. Kali receives her name signifying time and also meaning dark.A Goddess whom I personally feel is so popularly misunderstood and publicized as being blood thirsty and being associated to the power for black magic.

I will certainly not be the perfect person to assess and proclaim that I understand all the philosophies in the name of my religion. What confuses me today is the disparity of what I learnt and what I see now!

Religion, sadly has become the softest target for any grieving or accomplished heart. When there is no end to ritualistic traditions in the marathon to please deities whom we address as our Gods’, there seems to be a path that misleads us, from what might have been the primary reason for bringing ‘religion’ into existence in the first place. Not only has it been about the convenience of the preachers, it has also converted us from being ‘believers’ into  fearfully blind followers. Today, there is anything and everything that can practically happen in the name of GOD.

Every year, crores of money are spent in creative idol making. From the tiniest one to the sky reaching ones, the limits are boundless and so are the celebrations. You spend your hard earned money, your deep vested prayers and solemn beliefs in your desired idolized form and in the next 15 days you may find the very same modest idols lying by the road sides, adjacent to the venue of celebration or near the river bank simply forgotten to be immersed. Witnessing such callousness in respect for ‘the once upon a time’ beautifully hand crafted and royally adorned Gods and Goddesses, now leaning against some old banyan tree in a half ripped stage, I feel is the complete reflection of most of the things prevalent in our society – Use and Throw.

In the recent couple of weeks, when there have articles and undercover investigations flooding over the media about how India is not only one but THE LARGEST market responsible for supplying cows legally and illegally traded to countries all over the world, the concept of treating cows as holy, one that belongs to God, or even considered as being a mother, seems so disgustingly hypocritical. Where does the theory of “the land of the God’s” vanish when the ‘holy cows’ are brutally culled for trade and meat, snakes blinded, goats slaughtered at the alter of Goddess Kali as rituals embarking sacrifices, tigers and lions poached and all the rest when the list goes endless? A particular God has a designated time for celebration and follows it is the speechless art of innocent animal torture being executed, in the name of it.

 A reality, where people who preach and proclaim religion in broad day light actively engage in the game of death by dusk forces me to think if this so-called religion has failed to teach about conscience or was it just the preparation of another shield to make an abundance of illicit wealth and defend the shades of derogated humanity ?  

I feel so disturbed today by the thought of the systems that have brought us nowhere but to a stage where we are compelled to question our own credentials. This tug-of-war, to choose to be one that humanity requires and one that is ruled by the definitive minds is nothing, but challenging. Some hear it and some of us don’t.Celebrations of any festivity now, seems to be appearing farce. After all, I am in a dilemma to choose between  what I learnt and what I am exposed to today. All I know is I may not be a doctorate to understand the nitty-gritty of religion, but surely I am sane and can use my judgement to understand that our belief system tagged with what we identify as God, needs no blood of its child of any kind and in any form,as a souvenir of sacrifice for the sake of wish fulfillments.

Pic source: Google
P.S: Apologies if any sentiments have been hurt but am helpless to comprehend what we are hurting instead.

Gifted by the Divine

Believed to have appeared from the left side of Lord Shiva, Goddess Durga or Parvati attains her ninth embodiment in the form of “Siddhidatri”, meaning the giver of supernatural powers.  On the 9th and final day of the Navrati festival, the “Siddhidatri” form of the Goddess is worshiped in full spirit and enthusiasm.

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Being the one, who grants the ultimate wish of acquiring intuition, farsightedness, spiritual direction and likewise supernatural powers, Goddess Siddhidatri is worshiped by all gods, saints and demons across the heaven, earth and hell, with much devotion.

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siddhidratriThe “Siddhidatri” incarnation has four hands and is seen seated on a lotus or Her lion. With her peaceful and loving expressions, she holds a discus, a conch shell, a trident and a mace and blesses her devotees with spiritual enrichment.

After nine days of strict disciplinary lifestyle, fasting that majorly includes fruits as a primary diet, chanting the holy mantras  and meditation for most others, the Ninth day is the rewarding day with the gift of self realization and the much needed connection with the inner self.

Following the regime of the worship, rituals and fasting, the 9th day of Navratri, marks the moment of rejoice and cultures across the Nation, have their own signature style for celebrating this moment.

Scattered Hindus all over the world dance to the tune of the colorful “Garba dance” with vibrant colored sticks as the prime prop, celebrating the ninth day of the holy Navratri. Predominantly, celebrated in the  Northern & Western Indian states , the “Dandiya” or the “Garba” is a much popular and globalized festive dance and it is hard to resist the rhythm that it sets in your body.

For the Eastern India, and for the Bengalis who are crazy and overjoyed to celebrate the Navratri in the form of Durga Puja, it is their traditional “Dhunuchi Dance” holding an earthen pot with burning aromatic camphor and dried outer shells of coconut, done in the praise of the Mother Goddess.

For the Southern India, it is  “Bathukamma” where women dressed in traditional attires and jewelry, decorate bountiful and colorful seasonal flowers with medicinal powers, are piled in the shape of a temple and is dedicated to the Mother Goddess, inviting Her and praising Her as the life-giver and the goddess of Motherhood.

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With all the rejoice, festive spirit, awaited rituals and course of worship, the Navratri comes to a glorious end with “Goddess Siddhidhatri” on this 9th day of the festival.

However it is only the grandeur that comes to an end today, otherwise the entire stretch of these nine days are gentle reminder for all of us, to sit back from the usual run of regular chores and reconnect ourselves with the sweet change of the season as autumn sets in the stage of transition from the harsh summers to the cooler winters. It is also the dire need for the mind to breathe and rejuvenate, the time when migrated members of a family come back home to celebrate the festive spirit, the excitement of new clothes and an enjoyable break from the regular food.

Nevertheless, keeping rituals and ceremonial practices aside, it does reminds us the need for discipline not only in terms of clean eating but also clean thinking – one that sets the mind, body and soul to a detox or a purifying mode, enough to last another tough year until the “Sharad Navratri” arrives again.♥

   ♥ “Shubha Navratri” ♥

 

 

P.S: As adorable as the significance of  “Goddess Siddhidatri”, is this pleasing feature image of the Mother Goddess done by Suchita. Thanks you so much. 🙂

Others: Web

 

By Virtue of her Radiance

Day 8 of Navrtari ~ Goddess Mahagauri

Ancient legends and mythology narrates fascinating stories of  the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. For the 8th incarnation of Goddess Durga’s, “Mahagauri” avatar, there are interesting stories that reveal her this image.

After the long endless years of penance to become Lord Shiva’s wife in Her role as Goddess Brahmacharini and as the slayer of the demon, in her form of Goddess Katyayani and Kaalratri, Goddess Parvati/Durga was exhausted and her complexion was fatigued, pale and somewhat dark.  On a private gathering, post the victorious war that slayed the demons, Lord Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu on this note, seemed to have casually and lovingly teased Goddess Durga, for her apparent dullness and this certainly did not interest the lady and made her upset.

But how could Lord Shiva be at comfort when his precious beloved wife wasn’t at ease and was all dull? With the sensibility of a loving Husband, Lord Shiva is believed to have then washed the body of his wife, Goddess Parvati with the water of the Holy Ganga and she regained her sparkling and radiant beauty back.

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“Mahagauri”, meaning extremely fair, radiant, peaceful and calm is also the ‘wish-fulfilling’ avatar of the Mother Goddess that is worshiped on the 8th day of the Holy Navratri.

Because of her white and fair complexion, she is compared to the conch, the moon and the white flower of Kunda. Symbolically, the night blooming jasmine is also her favorite flower.

She wears a simple white sari, is depicted with 4 arms and rides a white bull. One of her right hand is in a posture that alleviates fear and with the other she holds a trident whereas she holds a small drum in one of her left hand and the other remains in a blessing posture for her devotees. In this form, She now personifies herself again as the happy wife of Lord Shiva and the composed and peaceful Mother figure.

It is believed that “Goddess Mahagauri” is the absolute goddess of kindness and mortality. She purifies the soul of those of her devotees and her earthly children, by forgiving their sins and help them get rid of materialistic vices and misery by leading them to path of contentment and self-realization.

♥ Happy Navratri ♥

P.S: The innocent chirpy girl in white and the happy bull/cow is sure to bring a smile from the Heaven above. Thanks a bunch Suchita for this extraordinarily cute feature image for this blog.

Other Pic: The Web

The Mystery of the Dark

Day 7 of Navratri ~ “Goddess Kaalratri”

One of the fiercest from of Goddess Durga is her “Kaalratri” form. Her dark complexion, bountiful hair, a shining necklace and four hands -two left hands holding a torch and a cleaver and the other two right hands, in postures of blessing and protecting, riding on the back of a donkey, is her characteristic appearance. Worshiped on the seventh day of the Navratri– the Hindu festival that celebrates Mother Goddess in her nine forms over these 9 nights and 10 days.

After the warrior form of “Katyayani”, “Kaalratri” is yet another fearless form of the Hindu Goddess. Not to misjudge or misinterpret her intense and dark appearance, this avatar of the Hindu Deity, embodies this image to destroy all demon entities, negative energies and unholy spirits.

In her this Kaalratri form, Goddess Parvati/Durga is said to have defeated the demons named Shumbha and Nishumbha, riding a powerful donkey.

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Her this darkness is symbolic of “Time”, meaning “kaal” and also meaning black, acknowledging it being created long before light itself. This dark or black complexion also signifies Her as the destroyer of ignorance and helps her devotees attain salvation by freeing them from the oblivion of the cycle of birth and death. Also many Hindus claim to believe that, for the welfare of the creation and her children, the Mother Goddess had absorbed into Her, all ignorance, negativity and sorrows that turned her complexion black.

Irrespective of her intense appearance, she always bears blessings and good luck for the welfare of her devotees and her children while removing the darkness of fear and worry from their lives.

In other words, She is just like any mother, who acquires yet another form to combat the darkness of fear, worries and ignorance from the life of her beloved children. Although she embodies an angry or even in some cases a blood thirsty image, there is no way that can interfere with the absolute reason and intention of her love and well-being for her children.

” May this Navratri, eradicate darkness in all forms, from our lives.”

♥ Happy Navratri ♥

P.S: This feature image is an extremely loving portrayal in contrast to the conventional angry image of “Goddess Kaalratri”. Thank you Suchita for letting me feature your illustration in my blog.

Other pic source: The web