Ma Durga is in news these days. No, not because it is Durga Puja time.
But because the Asura is in news these days.
A bunch of folks who see themselves as the voice of the marginalised, the advocate of the down-trodden, the champion of the oppressed have been made the ‘news of the hour’ by some vested interests in our elitist media. This hour could last a while, going by the sheer ignorance and the indifference of some sections of our ‘elite’, ‘educated’, ‘English-chatterati’ classes who rally behind these newly minted saviours of their warped “Idea of India.”
Hypnotised by the exaggerations and falsehoods peddled by some loud-mouths in the media, or perhaps blinded by their own ideological leanings or their ignorance about the truth of Indian civilization or simply a deep-seated hatred for a certain individual or a certain organisation, many supporters of such ‘saviours’ can’t even begin to see that their ‘heroes’ are merely cashing in on this frenzied moment as a means to launch and/or advance their political careers.
This has happened before. This will happen again, unfortunately. Such ‘saviours’ will be made in the fully air-conditioned TV studios, and they will be destroyed by the real heat of the ground reality. Such ‘heroes’ will be lauded by corrupt politicians and other dark forces trying to break the unity of our motherland, and they must be and will be crushed by the truth and light of the forces working to unite and harmonise.
…unless we have the honesty and courage to look existence straight in the face, we shall never arrive at any effective solution of its discords and oppositions. We must see first what life and the world are; afterwards, we can all the better set about finding the right way to transform them into what they should be. If this repellent aspect of existence holds in itself some secret of the final harmony, we shall by ignoring or belittling it miss that secret and all our efforts at a solution will fail by fault of our self-indulgent ignoring of the true elements of the problem. If, on the other hand, it is an enemy to be beaten down, trampled on, excised, eliminated, still we gain nothing by underrating its power and hold upon life or refusing to see how firmly it is rooted in the effective past and the actually operative principles of existence.
War and destruction are not only a universal principle of our life here in its purely material aspects, but also of our mental and moral existence. It is self-evident that in the actual life of man intellectual, social, political, moral we can make no real step forward without a struggle, a battle between what exists and lives and what seeks to exist and live and between all that stands behind either. It is impossible, at least as men and things are, to advance, to grow, to fulfil and still to observe really and utterly that principle of harmlessness which is yet placed before us as the highest and best law of conduct.
It is only a few religions which have had the courage to say without any reserve, like the Indian, that this enigmatic World-Power is one Deity, one Trinity, to lift up the image of the Force that acts in the world in the figure not only of the beneficent Durga, but of the terrible Kali in her blood-stained dance of destruction and to say, “This too is the Mother; this also know to be God; this too, if thou hast the strength, adore.” And it is significant that the religion which has had this unflinching honesty and tremendous courage, has succeeded in creating a profound and wide-spread spirituality such as no other can parallel. For truth is the foundation of real spirituality and courage is its soul.
(Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, CWSA, Vol. 19, p. 41-45)
It is when the darkness of the ignorance and falsehood begins to engulf our minds and hearts, that we must pray more fervently for the light of wisdom and truth. And the Mother answers.
That’s how I felt when I came across this beautiful image of Ma Durga on my Facebook newsfeed the other day. And all grew silent. For a few moments. For I knew that Ma Durga is coming. Soon.
“Durga is the Mother’s power of Protection.”
(Sri Aurobindo, The Mother and Letters on the Mother, CWSA, Vol. 32, p. 69)
“The lion is the attribute of the Goddess Durga, the conquering and protecting aspect of the Universal Mother.
The Death’s Head is the symbol of the Asura (the adversary of the gods) vanquished and killed by the Divine Power.”
(Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga – III, CWSA, 30, p. 158)
“You know the story of Durga, don’t you? Durga who every year has to destroy her asura; and always she is compelled to begin again. It goes on in this way till the end of the reign allotted to the titans. When they will be banished from this world, it will not be thus any longer. But till then, that is as long as they are useful…for intensifying the aspiration, clarifying the consciousness, for putting to the test the sincerity of people, they will be there. The day the test will not be needed, the day the sincerity will be pure and self-existent they will disappear. Then that day, Durga will no longer need to begin her battle over again every year.”
(The Mother, Questions and Answers 1953, CWM, Vol. 5, pp. 96-07)
About the artist, Ritam:
I met Ritam several years ago at a seminar here in Pondicherry in which a group of us were studying and exploring some aspects of the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. That was the only time we met, but thanks to internet and social media we have stayed connected.
This is how Ritam describes herself:
“Born and brought up in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh in a family full of Light and Grace of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, I am a post graduate in English literature working as guest faculty in Govt. Arts & Science College, Ratlam at present. We have a beautiful centre of Sri Aurobindo Society that started from our house in 1968 and with the installation of the Relics in 1990 it was shifted to a campus named as ‘Auro Ashram’. This is the place of my work as a devotee and child of the Mother. I paint, write, sing, and do all that can keep me touch with ‘Beauty’. I find myself in a continuous seeking of ‘Beauty’ in its originally pure and natural form and feel blessed enough that the Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s Light is there to guide us constantly. Jai Maa.
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