The resplendent Glory of the Divine Mother
The state rendering of ‘Durga’ by artistes of the Natya Vihar Kalakendra is in the form of a humble offering to the Divine Mother and is an attempt to capture the religious fervour and devotion that invariably accompanies Mother Worship.
The worship of the God as the Universal Mother is based on the purest and noblest form of love. The Hindu Scriptures – The Vedas and the Puranas make a reference to this worship as an integral part of Sanatana Dharma. The exalted rule of the Goddess in creation and Her boudless mercy and love towards Her Children have inspired the Great Sages of the Vedic times to praise and sing Her resplendent glory with devotion. The sacred text that is most important and universally used in the worship of Durga is called the Durga Mahatmaya or ‘The Durga Saptasati’. The subject matter of our choreography is based on the Charitas (Stories) from the Devi Mahatmaya and also from the common folklore of Sati, Parvati, and Durga, in that order.
Sati is usually described in mythology as beautiful but it is her devotion and asceticism that attracts Shiva’s attention who grants her a boon for her austerities. Shiva and Sati retire to their mountain abode in conjugal happiness. Daksha, Sati’s fater, in the meantime plans a great sacrifice and invites all divine beings of any mportance except Shiva. Shiva is quite undisturbed by this insult but Sati is furious at this treatment to her husband. As an omniscient divine being, Shiva, anticipating unpleasant consequences at the sacrifice, does not favour Sati attending the sacrifice but ultimately yields to Sati’s insistence. Sati storms off to her father’s abode and outraged by the way in which her father has treated Shiva, invokes the Fire God to consume her.
Hearing the news of Sati’s immolation, Shiva becomes angry and creates Virahadra and other demons to destroy the sacrifice. It is also at this point of time that Shiva reveals the aggressive nature of his dance called the Tandav.
After taking her father to task for insulting her husband, Sati abandons her body and goes to Mount Himvant. To grant favour to the lord of the mountains, Sati makes him her own father by yogic illusion and reincarnates as Parvati. Parvati, thus remembers Shiva from her past life. Desiring Shiva as her husband in this life also, commences her severe austerities. By per tapasya, she abandons the world of the householder and enters Shiva's world as the renouncer. During Parvati's attempts to attract Shiva's attention for purpose of marriage, Kamadev, the God of Love, is sent by the gods to awaken Shiva's lust. This went in the Dance Drama by a Rati-Manmatha dance Shiva burns Manmatha with the fire from his middle eye. Reverting to Parvati's . tapas, we depict the various seasons like rain, autumn, summer, winter, and spring distracting Parvati in her tapas.. None of these distract Parvati. Assuming the divine form Shiva offers himself in marriage to Parvati. The marriage takes place amidst great fanfare. It is at this time that Shiva realises that Sati and Parvati are but manifestations of Adi Shakti-the Supreme Goddess Durga- and that he is truly blessed to be in the company of the Divine Mother as a life partner. In the mythology concerning Sati, Sati plays the role of Luring Shiva from ascetic isolation into creative participation in the world. This theme is further developed and embellished in the Parvati cycle of myths in which Shiva actually becomes involved in an ongoing family situation to become a divine householder raising a family.
One of the most impressive and formidable goddesses of the Hindu pantheon is the goddess Durga. Her primary mythological function is to combat demons who threaten the stability of the cosmos. The Charitas of Durga Saptashati are illustrations of the glory of the Mother. In the second Charita, Mahisha, the buffalo demon, conquering the gods, establishes his power in heaven. The vanquished gods headed by Bramha approach Shiva and Vishnu for consultation. When the latter learn about the plight of the gods, they get so enraged that their wrath emit fire. The forceful light of each of these gods become a limb of a woman. Face of Shiva, hair of Yama, waist of Indra, shoulders by Vishnu etc. Each of the ferocious demons belonging to the Mahisha army like Chiksus, Chamaras, Udagra, Mahahanu, Asiloma, Baskala, Ugradarsana, Bidala, and Kala is annihilated by the goddess by multiplying herself into nine other godesses. It is now Mahisha's turn to face Devi's wrath. Mahisha has the capacity to transform himself into alternately an elephant, lion and buffalo and. it is in his buffalo form that he is most ferocious. Provoked by Mahisha's relentless attack on her, army, Chandika (Durga) guzzles her supreme liquor, flies up and treads on Mahisha's throat piercing him with her spear. After killing Mahisha, she becomes uncontrollable. To put a stop to this rampage, Shiva lies down on the battlefield as a corpse. As Kali puts her feet on Shiva’s inanimate body, she realizes her blunder and puts her tongue out in extreme repentance. In conclusion, Sati, Parvati, Durga, or Kali are different aspects of one and the same goddess-the consort of Shiva. The aspects may be benign or destructive. The divine goddess takes birth again and again to protect creation. This world is deleded by her, it is begotten by her; it is she who gives knowledge when prayed to and prosperity when pleased. As Mahakali, she pervades the Brahmanada and as Mahamari she becomes the destructress. As goddess of fortune, she bestowns wealth on men’s homes in times of prosperity. In times of disaster, she appears as Misfortune for their annihilation. When the goddess is praised and worshipped with flowers, incense, perfume and other gifts, she gives wealth, sons, mind set upon Dharma and happiness to all mankind.