“Dear Uday Sir, as you know there has been lot of controversy going on about Mahishasura Mardini and the left political parties call her a prostitute. How can a person like you keep quiet hearing such dirty allegations? You should react strongly. Does it have any Puranic base? I expect an unbiased truthful article from you” – a WhatsApp message from Subhash Narayan, a reader.
“What exactly did they say?” I asked.
“Durga Puja is the most racial festival, where a fair skinned beautiful goddess Durga is depicted brutally killing a dark‐skinned native called Mahishasura. Mahishasura, a brave self‐ respecting leader, was tricked into marriage by the Aryans. They hired a sex worker called Durga, who enticed Mahishasura into marriage and killed him after nine nights of honeymooning, during sleep. This is how Aryan Savarna Brahmins destroy powerful Dalits…”
“As a democratic country, people are free to worship anybody. Any morons who do not know anything about our culture also can float such false stories. Why should I react to that?” I asked.
“Is there any truth in this denigratory story?”
“I have not read such story in any Purana. This is totally baseless and false. Not only that, it is 100% technically wrong. Durga’s name is Kali – which means black. Durga is black god. She is manifestation of Shiva’s wife Parvati. Shiva is also black god. If dark skinned is Dalit, what about Krishna, Vishnu, Shiva and Rama? The writers of Ramayan, Mahabarat, Vedas? – All were tribal or Dalits. Asura’s are sons of Kashyapa and his second wife, Diti. Hence Asuras are Brahmins. Ravana was also a Brahmin who was defeated by a Black King Rama. Asura doesn’t mean they are bad. The good Asuras are called Adityas and are led by Varuna, while the malevolent ones are called Danavas and are led by Vrtra. We also pray to Prahlad and Vibeeshana – both are asuras….”
“Oh, I didn’t know that…”
“But my question is to our women lib organizations. Isn’t the Mahisha martyrdom not an anti‐woman‐power phenomenon since Durga is primarily a demonstration of feminine power? Why are they keeping quiet?”
“Yeah, that’s true, I didn’t think about that…” he said.
“This, in fact, is a story of a Dalit woman’s victory over a Brahmin Asura.”
“But it is called an example of Savarna Aryan attack…”
“The meaning of Savarna is “same varna”. For instance, when a boy in Shudhra Profession marries a girl from same profession their kids would be called Savarnas. When a Brahmin boy marries a Kshatriya girl, the kids will be known as Avarna. Arya means cultured man, that’s why Indian wives address their husband as Aryaputra, son of a cultured father. So, when those political parties use words like “savarna” and “arya”, they are praising upper caste and insulting the lower caste people…”
“But they consider fair‐skinned people as upper caste Brahmins and dark‐skinned people as lower cast…”
“That means they are racists. Very large chunk of Brahmins are dark‐coloured. A huge population among OBCs, SC/ST and Dalits are fair‐skinned.” I said.
“And, most shocking is, they called Durga as a prostitute…”
“According to our belief, Durga is mother for everyone. It’s just a concept. It’s a manifestation of Prakriti (female nature) for creation. Hence we call our land, our earth, our country, the nature etc. as mother. That’s why we call India as Bharat mata. If somebody calls his/her mother prostitute, why should I react? They might derive pleasure from hailing own mother as sex worker. Those people would even persuade own mother for sex working to get votes. So, it is useless to argue with such senseless people. And I am sure that those people calling Durga as prostitute have a mental state that they may even get aroused when seeing their mother feeding younger siblings.”
“Is…Is there any such mention in our texts?”
“Not at all.The ultimate symbol of feminism incorporating the kindness of a mother and strength of a fighter is called as a “hired sex worker”. Where are those ‘justice for women’ parties now?”
“Yes. Where did those students get such an idea?”
“It’s part of evangelist’s unholy methods of cheating naive dalits and tribals to convert them. The story of Durga as sex worker is created by evangelists the way they created caste systems and such derogatory things about Hinduism. The “Forward Press”, a Christian evangelical Magazine in the guise of Dalits and Bahujans, reprinted the article about depicted Goddess Durga in a disparaging manner. Since several ultra‐left, Pakis and outright racist groups are focused in Hindu bashing, they circulated this article in colleges and universities to confuse dalits and Hindus. As it is normal for pseudo‐intellectuals to blindly follow the anti‐Hindu history written by die‐hard fans of evangelists and invaders, it is not at all surprising.”
“Isn’t it unethical and immoral?”
“All is fair in conversion business. The only goal of evangelists all over the world is to convert innocent people into their religion to make money and become powerful. Dalit Freedom Network is known as an evangelical organization. It is normal that they will adopt any unethical methods to market their service….”
“I have a doubt. Those who worship Mahishasur – are they saying Durga is a sex worker?”
“There are only few thousand people who worship Mahishasura. But they do not say that Durga is a sex worker. There are chances that the entire legend is different from the original one. Evangelists insult Hinduism because there won’t be anybody to protest against continuous denigration, ridicule and humiliation. It is a huge market for them. The evangelists have money and political power from the West. This counter worshipping a demon is used as a political and ideological tool to twist myths and include hatred and voyeuristic elements then its derogatory and also inflammatory incitement against the entire Hindu community.”
“Uday sir, is there anything related to sex in Durga story?”
“I don’t understand what you mean by sex. The Lalitha Sahasranamam describes Durga like this:
She who has two breasts that are like fruits borne on the creeper of tiny hairs raising from her belly. The creeper like hairs rising from hear beautiful waist. She has three stripes in her belly which looks like having been created to protect her tiny waist from her heavy breasts… ”
“Oh, that’s too much of an erotic description…”
“No – on the contrary, the description of a perfect body is not considered as erotic in our Puranas. It is just to display the physical strength or healthy body. Go to any old temples – all idols of Devi or Durga will be topless. The sewing machine was invented in the early 19th century. Hence it would have been difficult to stitch a blouse 5000 years ago. And if you give an erotic meaning to it, I don’t have to say anything. In my childhood, I have seen 100s of old women go topless in our village. Nobody felt any sexual thing about it then. It was normal to praise a female. The difference is in those days poets praised the perfectness of physical and mental beauty. Today you don’t tell a girl, “you are beautiful’. Instead you tell “ you are sexy ”. If you look back with this current mindset, yes, you can even see your own mother as sex worker”
“Is it true that Mysore was named after Mahishasura?”
“I don’t know about it. There is a legend that Mahishasura was killed by Goddess Chamundeshwari. ‘Mahisha’s ooru’ (Mahisha’s land, in local Kannada) is shortened as Mysuru, the legend says. It is based on legend, not a historical character. Another version is that the name of the city comes from ‘Maheswara’ means God Shiva and not Mahishasur the demon. However, history says, Tipu Sultan, wanted to name the region Manzarabad, but the plan fell through after Tipu was killed by the British in 1799. However, the region was known as Srirangapatnam, and Mysore was only a small province in the region.”
“The purpose of Durga avatar was to kill Mahisha, right?”
“No. Devi Mahatmyam says that Durga slayed Madhu and Kaitabha, Mahishasura, Chanda, Munda, Sumbha and Nisumbha respectively. ”
“Do you believe in that Puranic story?”
“Every puranic story has a science and symbolism behind it. Mahisha means buffalo. The buffalo represents brute power and vile human nature. The story of Mahisasura Mardini represents a hidden truth and a secret lesson for the seekers of liberation. If you have trouble managing your desires and passions because of the predominance of animal nature (tamas) and animal sexual nature present in their minds and bodies. Human beings are unable to find peace and stability in their spiritual practice. The cleansing requires huge effort and cannot be done entirely by themselves; they need the intervention of the Mother Goddess. The story says that you should pray to the Mother Goddess to transform you into a sattvik person. Only Mother can help you control your animal passions and become a virtuous person. She can also destroy your adharmic karma and help you achieve liberation.”
“Tomorrow if someone commemorates and worships Satan twisting Biblical or Koran texts then will it be acceptable to those religions? You have seen what happened to Charlie Hebdo. When you picture Durga based on blatant lies as sex worker, it is called freedom of speech? What kind of logic is that?”
“You asked two questions here. Asuras were not atheists. Ravan was the devotee of Shiv while Mahabali was a devotee of Vishnu. All Puranic stories about killing Asuras are symbolic. The Tamoguna or ego is getting killed by Sattvik guna. That’s the gist of the symbolism in Indian mythological stories. Even if you take those stories literally, there is nothing wrong in worshipping Asuras. Avatar killed them – they died in the hands of god and hence they were sure to have reached God’s abode! Subhash, as followers of Sanatan Dharma we should not be comparing with militant religions. In Hinduism there is no scope for blasphemy as we see everything as manifestation of the divine. Blasphemy is an exclusive right of insecure silly religions. Those people cannot understand the meaning of ‘Thathwamasi’, and ‘Aham Bhramasmi’. Our ancestors allowed criticism. That’s why we hail even atheists as sages!”
~ Udaylal Pai, Freelance Journalist, Writer and Researcher