Women empowerment is not a new concept. Right from the medieval times we have heard stories both real and mythological of women standing strong against injustice, cruelty and even turning into saviors of mankind. Reading through the Amar Chitra Kathas at night, my entire generation identifies with those stories of valor, strength, intelligence combined with kindness, beauty and compassion. Be it historical characters of Jhansi ki Rani, Savitribai Phule, Ahiyabai Holkar, or their counter parts of the new India in Mother Teresa, Sarojini Naidu or Bachendri Pal, they inspire be to more than I am. They help me to believe in myself and to enhance my skills.
In India, the journey of empowerment has just begun seeding itself in the minds of the new generation. When we as parents do not discriminate between our own children n basis of their gender, we make a difference. When we women are treated with the same value system as our male counterparts within our homes, we are taking a step forward. Tough the journey has only just begun, I believe it’s a motion in movement. While we in the metro cities have seen a surge of change and awareness, rural India is still far behind. I appeal to all who can urge, explain and propagate the simple idea of empowering a woman by her realization that she is in fact Shakti. She has the power within her to be.
Navratri, a festival celebrated all over with great joy and reverence should go a long way to nurture this seed of empowerment. We see here what each of these Goddesses represent.
- Sailaputri : Means the daughter of mountains also known as Sati Bhavani or Parvati. Goddess Shailaputri symbolizes the power of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. She has within her the embodiment of all the Gods. In one word, she is the world.
2. Brahmachariṇi : She symbolizes spirituality and meditation. She is the harbinger of peace, prosperity and happiness.
- Chandraghaṇṭa : She represents a totally different from that of Durga, who shows her angry side when provoked. She showers blessings of courage and bravery.
4. Kusamaṇḍa : Ku means little, Ushma means energy and Anda means cosmic egg. She is the beginning of creation. The one that ended darkness of the universe.
5. Skandamata : She brings with her the blessings of wisdom, power and prosperity. She is the life –form of fire…that symbolizes energy
6. Katyayani : She is the Warrior Goddess. Mythology says that she eventually led to slaying the demon, Mahishasura and then mounted the lion given to her by Goddess Gauri.
7. Kalaratri : She is the destroyer of evil. Depicting the darker side of life, where there is no injustice that goes unpunished and no forgiveness granted to the malicious. When no other forces work, she comes to being to destroy the sinful. This is the violent form of Goddess Durga.
8. Mahagauri : She represents purity, energy and brilliance. She is compared to a ray of lightning.
9. Siddhidatri : She is all pervasive. She is knowledge.
The Goddesses represent what we women have within us. Do share this with every woman who needs encouragement, the feeling of self-worth and the strength to combat whatever vagaries life may offer. We all are winners every day when we chose to empower another.