Goddess Durga and the Festival of Devi (4-5/7) The Mighty Goddess

The mighty Mother is born which means that she takes upon herself a limited form. The form depicted in the story of Durga is evidently on the subtle planes where each of her hands represents the power of the one of the gods. The Lion is symbol of quiet power, a strength that can tear through the very body of the Asura and repel his advance. She challenges Mahisasura who laughs with pride not knowing that nemesis follows hubris. He sends his generals from the demon army who are all slain by the mighty ten-armed goddess who is dear to Shiva since she is born out of the tremendous energy of Shiva. She comes riding on the lion with her trident in hand. She is beautiful and strong and radiant scattering the darkness all around her. We must however note that she is a one-time conquest over Mahisasura nor is the demon limited by a one-time form depicted in the stories. The Titans are as much cosmic powers as the Gods. Even when the form of one particular titan is destroyed he assumes another form and even looks for human receptacles in whom he can incarnate and spread havoc and vitiate the earth atmosphere with forces of lust and greed and hate and spite and arrogance and falsehood and fill human hearts and minds with suffering born out of ignorance and egoism, create confusion by throwing upon man the spell and influence of an adverse Asuric maya that creates wrong suggestions, wrong thoughts, wrong impulsions thereby ruining man’s life. Each of these gods can send out many emanations out of itself. One such emanation of Durga is the presiding deity of India and guards her. It is her whom Sri Aurobindo invoked during the nationalist days to drive away the British and to inspire the countrymen to rise to nobility and courage and wisdom and strength. This beautiful invocation reproduced below has indeed a mantric power in it like the powerful mantras used in certain tantric rituals to invoke aspects and forms of the Divine Mother.

HYMN TO DURGA by Sri Aurobindo

MOTHER DURGA! Rider on the lion, giver of all strength,
Mother, beloved of Siva! We born from thy parts of Power,
we the youth of India, are seated here in thy temple.
Listen, O Mother, descend upon earth, make thyself manifest
in this land of India.

MOTHER DURGA! From age to age, in life after life, we
come down into the human body, do thy work and return
to the Home of Delight. Now too we are born, dedicated
to thy work. Listen, O Mother, descend upon earth, come
to our help.

MOTHER DURGA! Rider on the lion, trident in hand, thy
body of beauty armour-clad, Mother, giver of victory, India
awaits thee, eager to see the gracious form of thine.
Listen, O Mother, descend upon earth, make thyself manifest
in this land of India.

MOTHER DURGA! Giver of force and love and knowledge,
terrible art thou in thy own self of might, Mother
beautiful and fierce. In the battle of life, in India’s battle,
we are warriors commissioned by thee; Mother, give to our
heart and mind a titan’s strength, a titan’s energy, to our
soul and intelligence a god’s character and knowledge.

MOTHER DURGA! India, world’s noblest race, lay
whelmed in darkness. Mother, thou risest on the eastern
horizon, the dawn comes with the glow of thy divine limbs
scattering the darkness. Spread thy light, Mother, destroy
the darkness.

MOTHER DURGA! We are thy children, through thy grace,
by thy influence may we become fit for the great work, for
the great Ideal. Mother, destroy our smallness, our selfishness,
our fear.

MOTHER DURGA! Thou art Kali, naked, garlanded with
human heads, sword in hand, thou slayest the Asura. Goddess,
do thou slay with thy pitiless cry the enemies who
dwell within us, may none remain alive there, not one. May
we become pure and spotless, this is our prayer, O Mother,
make thyself manifest.

MOTHER DURGA! India lies low in selfishness and fearfulness
and littleness. Make us great, make our efforts great,
our hearts vast, make us true to our resolve. May we no
longer desire the small, void of energy, given to laziness,
stricken with fear.

MOTHER DURGA! Extend wide the power of Yoga. We
are thy Aryan children, develop in us again the lost teaching,
character, strength of intelligence, faith and devotion,
force of austerity, power of chastity and true knowledge,
bestow all that upon the world. To help mankind, appear,
O Mother of the world, dispel all ills.

MOTHER DURGA! Slay the enemy within, then root out
all obstacles outside. May the noble heroic mighty Indian
race, supreme in love and unity, truth and strength, arts and
letters, force and knowledge ever dwell in its holy woodlands,
its fertile fields, under its sky-scraping hills, along the
banks of its pure-streaming rivers. This is our prayer at the
feet of the Mother. Make thyself manifest.

MOTHER DURGA! Enter our bodies in thy Yogic strength.
We shall become thy instruments, thy sword slaying all evil,
thy lamp dispelling all ignorance. Fulfil this yearning of thy
young children, O Mother. Be the master and drive thy
instrument, wield thy sword and slay the evil, hold up
the lamp and spread the light of knowledge. Make thyself
manifest.

MOTHER DURGA! When we possess thee, we shall no
longer cast thee away; we shall bind thee to us with the tie
of love and devotion. Come, Mother, manifest thyself in
our mind and life and body.

Come, Revealer of the hero-path. We shall no longer
cast thee away. May our entire life become a ceaseless
worship of the Mother, all our acts a continuous service
to the Mother, full of love, full of energy. This is our prayer,
O Mother, descend upon earth, make thyself manifest in
this land of India.

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