The image of Goddess Durga with her ten hands is the symbolic representation of many dimensions within one body
11/1/2017 4:54:59 PM
|written By : Debashis Chatterjee|
One of the great illusions of our life is this: we believe that there is a single unique person within us. We are not a person. We are multiple people inside the same body. The singular human personality is a mask of deception.
Personality is shaped by the interaction of our life principle with the outer world. We have a tendency to think that we are nothing more than a bundle of memories that define our strengths, weaknesses, fears, joys and key life events determined by our DNA. Our mind is constantly seeking continuity of our personality by interpreting us and our actions.
The image of Goddess Durga with her ten hands is the symbolic representation of many dimensions within one body. Durga challenges us to consider whether we are actually many persons within one form. Durga is an embodiment of invincibility. She is a fortress of power. She fortifies us against our worst enemies. Durga gives us security. Her ten hands are armed with the following weapons: sword, spear, club, discus, conch, bow, arrow, slings and mace. All of these are the creative instruments of the divine feminine. Instruments are extensions of the human consciousness. Consciousness is the masculine seed principle or Shiva. The instruments of consciousness or Shakti are the feminine expression of Shiva. Our body is a multi-dimensional instrument combining Shiva and his multi-faceted Shakti. The structure of the body is a collaboration of many people who are your ancestors. If you go back a few generations in your ancestry, you will find that your body is made up of the genetic material that you share with a million ancestors.
Durga teaches us that we are a timeless reality. This reality that we share with all of humanity cannot even be grasped by our thinking mind. Our mind seeks continuity within the structure of our personality. In reality, there is no such continuity. You can see how our personality changes over a lifetime. In a lifetime, a Prince Gautama can become a Buddha or a Mohandas can become a Gandhi.
For instance, your mind may say something like, ’That’s too bad you lied again, you disgusting liar! Or, ‘Look you just sneezed before a journey!’ What’s the point of my mind telling myself that I sneezed… don’t I know that already! Isn’t the mind creating ideas about ourselves and defining us in narrow meaningless grooves all the time? Behind the many movements of the mind is the ego. The ego is forever concerned with definitions. When Durga kills the demon Mahisasura, all she does is kill the ego. The ego is like a shadow that vanishes when the light of wisdom falls on it. The ego dissolves when we simply enquire about its real identity. The ego has no place to hide, just as the demon Mahisasura cannot hide from the discriminating knowledge of Durga.
When the mind becomes quiet and is no longer telling me who I am and what I am supposed to be, there is something magical that happens inside me. I am awakened to finer awareness about myself. As I go deeper into that unexplored territory in my awareness, I see the many unseen faces of my human identity. I experience peace, power, love and freedom that lie hidden deep inside the wrapping paper of my personality.