First, I want to tell you the story of how I came to know Durga. During my yoga teacher training program one of the guest teachers, Bonnie Pariser, asked me a few questions about some lower back pain I was feeling. "Do you know Durga?" she asked me. When I told her I didn't she told me that Durga creates a protective shield around you and fights the righteous fight for you until you are strong enough to fight along side her. I had not yet made the connection between emotional and physical pain so I didn't understand what she was telling me.
It wasn't until a year or so later that I remembered what Bonnie had said. I was reading my friend, Susan Bertolino's blog one day and I noticed a beautiful image on the side bar. I asked her about it and she told me it was a Durga Yantra. (A yantra is a mystical diagram used for worship of deities)
That's when I remembered the story from yoga teacher training. I decided to google Durga. One of the first links to come up was for a temple not far from where I live. As I was reading the temple web-site I got a call from my daughter. Her boyfriend needed to visit a temple for his religion class and wanted to know if I would go with him. Turns out that the temple he was going to was the same Durga temple that I was reading about.
The synchronicity continued.....
Not long after my visit to the Durga temple with the boy who eventually became my son-in-law I met a Vedic Astrologer that was visiting from Oregon. (I'll save the story of the synchronicity of how we met for another post.) At the end of his first visit to our studio we were saying good-bye. He told me that he wanted to give me something that belonged to his mother. It was a beautiful image of Durga. I've carried that image with me ever since. This gift represents, for me, the story of the Goddess that I resonate with the most.
The story goes that none of the Gods could defeat the evil demon that was terrorizing the three worlds so they all came together to find a solution. After meditating, they decided that they would each offer up their own "super power" into the fire. It was out of their combined offering that the warrior, Durga manifested. She was easily able to defeat the demon and the three worlds were protected from evil. This story illustrates the power of the collective.
What I learned from doing sadhana to Durga is this:
We have a moral obligation to protect those who are not strong enough to fight the righteous fight. That doesn't mean encouraging co-dependency. It means holding space for someone while they do the work necessary to find their own inner strength. Doing the inner work is a lot easier when you know someone has your back while you are in the vulnerable state of working through your stuff. Hold the space for someone and ask for support when you need someone else to hold the space for you. Remember "all that evil needs to succeed is for good people to stand by and do nothing." Don't stand by and do nothing when you see someone in need of help or protection.
Collaboration is more powerful than competition. Can you offer your ego into the fire to benefit the whole? We each have unique gifts to offer and when we come together in community and combine our efforts for the greater good we can move mountains. Remember the old saying "It takes a village to raise a child."? In collaboration anything and everything is possible.
Change the thinking of I and mine to we and ours. There's no doubt that most mothers would fight a lion to protect their child. Think of the power behind all mothers and fathers standing up to protect ALL the children? It can no longer be about my children verses your children. It needs to be about OUR children. Even further, there needs to be a shift from protecting my home to protecting OUR home, Mother Earth. It's time to actually start practicing what we're preaching and see the oneness in all of life and move towards the unity that will accomplish greatness.
Om Hreem Shreem Dum Durgayai Namaha