Becoming Durga

A recent article in the New York Times about the most publicized of India’s rape victims described women of New Delhi taking to the streets to commemorate and mourn the 23-year-old student who died last week. One participant, a 44-year-old mother of two teenage girls pronounced, “We can only tackle this by becoming Durga.” Durga is a fierce warrior form of the divine mother goddess. She is worshiped in India, the Himalayas and Hindu communities throughout the world. Shown here she holds the weapons given to her by many of the the male Hindu gods. The Devi Mahatmya story describes Durga’s defeat of a buffalo demon that terrorized the world, and whom the male gods could not kill. With news headlines blaring horrifying stories, at times it is hard to get past our own unspeakable sorrow and impotent rage. In dark days it is a small token of hope that we may some day transform our outrage into political action and collectively rise up and become Durga, putting an end to the vicious cycles of violence around us.