søndag den 12. februar 2012

Countdown to India - No. 11

The celestials were reduced to homeless beggars, dressed in rags, picking through the garbage to survive. Demonic "Durga" forbade the worship of the gods, for only he was to be worshipped. Temples were set up in his honor. Soon chaos spread throughout society and throughout nature, for the Brahmins were afraid to recite the holy mantras from the Vedas. Not satisfied with how the world had been created, the mighty asura changed the weather patterns, drained swamps, leveled mountians, and rechanneled the rivers. The stars could no longer be seen as the sky was filled with dust and smoke. The seasons became irregular so that there were fruits and flowers in the winter. Nonetheless, Earth brought forth record harvests, mountains of grain and butter, but only because she was afraid of the mighty demon Durga.
     The increasingly loud anguished cries of the maltreated animals, the overworked human beings, and the fearful gods finally rose to Mount Kailash and woke Shiva from his meditation. As he enjoyed resting in his bliss, he turned the task over to the Goddess. She mounted her lion and rode against the asura, who countered by sending tens of thousands of snorting giants to meet her. Their monster arms ripped out the mountains and tall trees with which they wanted to bludgeon her. At that, she split the ogress Kalaratri "black night", from her being. Kalaratri's breath was so hot that it burned the monsters to ashes. New fiends appeared, as thick as hail, and pounded upon the goddess on the lion. Shakti destroyed them all and then went after the asura king, Durga, himself. Using his power of illusion, he constantly changed his appearance. He turned into a huge buffalo, then he became smaller than a fly, only to change into an elephant bigger than a mountain; bt each time, she thwarted him. Finally she killed him, in his original form of a thousand-armed giant. In memory of this brilliant victory, Parvati takes on the name Durga whenever she goes to battle riding her lion.

- From the Puranas.