In the previous blog we talked about Hinduism, it’s philosophy and the mythological stories that make an impact on us long after having read them. Read the Part 1 of this blog.
The ‘Gondhal’ Story
The philosophy of ‘Hinduism’ is a collection of several theories that discuss the evolution of the state, or of redemption of mankind and the birth of mankind itself. The ‘Gondhali’ community of Maharashtra has a story of how it came into existence, and it all begins in heaven, while man himself on earth was dabbling everyday in sinning and wars, the Gods in heaven were outraged.
Now, who are these Gods? One of the few things common to every story of the Hindu Philosophy, is that there are three paramount forces that maintain the balance of the world. Namely, they are Brahma; the creator, Vishnu; the preserver and Shiva (Shankar); the destroyer. What must be noted is that there are several names for each of these powers and different communities worship them differently and call them different names. Some even, worship one over the other. The never ending Vaishnav and Shiivite conflict is a simple example of how different communities look at the three balancing powers of the universe.
Ofcourse, these powers did not come to exist by themselves, and ofcourse they have a uniting factor. They are all said to be the sons of ‘Maya’. When I asked Mr. Haridas what ‘Maya’ is, he laughed and later added that it takes decades for devoted individuals to know what ‘Maya’ is, and it will take us all eternity to find out what it is. But, simply put, Maya is meant to be the seat of universal strength, and she, yes she is a mother, the mother of the three balancing forces of the universe. Maya later manifests herself as Shiva’s better half, Parvathy.
The interesting character of Narad plays a very important role in this story, and yes while he is visiting different worlds and keeping the Gods abreast about what is going on, he lets slip to the suffering people on earth the location of the three balancing forces. And the people go the gods begging them for aid and assistance.
Enter Mahishasur, the antagonist of the story, who is wrecking havoc on humanity. The three balancing powers, through an interaction with him get caught up in an ugly deal where he has leverage over them. (The details of which I am not clear about or privy to.) And where do the three boys go running to? Mother, ofcourse! Maya sits and listens patiently to her sons’ problems, and through an incarnation as Durga, kills the asur and hangs his head around her neck, earning her the name ‘Mahishasura Mardini’ or the killer of the demon Mahishasur.
This story of Maya killing Mahishasur is one that appears in several forms among an array of Indian communities. The Bengalis celebrate this victory in their Durga Puja, while the Gujarati’s play dandiya to motivate the Goddess as she fights on, the tambrahms recite the verses of ‘Narayaniyam’ and end the day with a recitation of ‘Ayigiri Nandini’ a supposedly powerful prayer verse that my grandmother supposedly remembers very well.
Read the rest of the story in the next part – The ‘Sambhal’.
Author – Anitha Krishnamurthy
Come. Drum. Be One