Written Assignment #1: Units 1B-3 (Gilgamesh Through Odyssey)
Written Assignment #1: Units 1B-3
Every religion in the world has certain characters in it that are highlighted in terms of negative and positive. These characters are usually portrayed as heroes, who have fought against the forces of evil and remained strong through the dark times, or villains, who went towards the dark side and tried to mislead innocent people towards the wrong path. Some religions and cultures have a limited number of such heroes, even only one whereas the other religions have a number of such characters who play a very strong role in shaping up the teaching of that religion or culture. One of such religions is Hinduism
Hindu religion is full of thousands of such characters that hold positive and negative traits that make them strong or week. These traits or qualities also make these characters good or evil. Most of these characters are worshipped as Gods and Goddesses in the Hindu culture. It is interesting to know that there are a total of 33 million deities in the Hindu religion who are worshipped in different forms (Knott). Many of these deities are females and worshipped in different due to various reasons. One of the most prominent and powerful among them is Durga.
Durga is the mother-goddess in Hindu Religion and she represents the fiery powers of Gods. She has powerful characteristics as she protects the right from wrong and destroys the evil. Durga is portrayed riding a lion, carrying a number of weapons in her many arms. Durga is considered as an aggressive form or incarnation of Goddess Parvati.
Is the character strong or weak?
Goddess Durga is considered to be one of the most powerful and strongest goddesses among all the Hindu deities. She is usually portrayed shown sitting on a lion, holding various weapons that are usually used by male gods. These weapons allow her to fight against the might Mahisasura and the other evil forces. According to some legends, Durga is considered so powerful that she is considered the mother of the Hindu Universe (Jordan).
Source of Power
According to the legend, the Goddess Durga was created to slay the buffalo of demon Msahisasura by Brahma. She was the result of the creation of Brahman, Vishnu, Shiva, and some other lesser gods, who were otherwise unable to counter him (Narayanan). They handed over their power in combined form to Durga so that she caters to the evil powers of Mahisasura.
She also gets her power from the weapons that had been gifted to her from different gods. Her vajra was given to her by Indra, the conch was handed over to her by Varuna and Vayu gifted her a bow and arrows. In addition to this, her missile and spear were a gift by Agni, Vishwakarma gave her his axe and the lion was gifted to her by the lord of mountains.
Extent of Influence on the Culture
Durga is amazingly influential in Hindu Culture. Her influence can be judged from the fact that a large number of Hindus worship her as a Goddess. There are even many specially dedicated festivals for her celebrated in the Hindu community by the name of Durga Pooja, Durga Ashtami, and Navratri.
Hence, in a nutshell, it can be seen that although all the deities or gods carry great importance in the Hindu religion, female goddesses have a special place, especially Goddess Durga. Durga is considered to be one of the most powerful and strongest among all the female characters of Hindu Culture. She exhumes power and dignity, as well as at the same time is sign of aggressiveness and anger. She has a great influence on Hindu Culture and has thousands of followers and worshippers all over the world.
Jordan, Michael. Dictionary of gods and goddesses. Infobase Publishing, 2014.
Knott, Kim. Hinduism: a very short introduction. Vol. 5. Oxford University Press, 2016.
Narayanan, Vasudha. "Hinduism." Her Voice, Her Faith. Routledge, 2018. 11-57.
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