REL 340-02

*** LAST CLASS SESSION — no class Tue, Exam Thu ***

Durga (Dur/ga = difficult/to go)

  • independent, unpaired goddess
  • goddess of destruction & war
  • preservation by vanquishing forces of chaos
  • beauty & fertility (lesser connotations via shakti)
  • Durgapuja (harvest festival with animal sacrifice & blood offerings)
  • slays Mahisha (buffalo demon)
    • often called Mahishamardini (the buffalo slayer)
  • tejas = power/light/brightness
  • associated with maya quality: cosmic illusion
  • fights the demon Raktabija (rakta = blood, bija = seed)
    • produces the goddess Kali

Kali

  • ferocity & shakti
  • no life-affirming properties
  • war, death & destruction

Tantra

  • “forbidden” aspects of reality
  • good v. bad, examine both sides
  • break taboos
  • overcome polarities
  • esoteric tradition

Spectrum of Goddesses/shakti

  • paired (male control)
    1. Lakshsmi
    2. Sita
    3. Radha (?)
    4. Parvati
  • independent (lack of male control)
    1. Durga
    2. Kali

Hindu practice

  • to offer puja
    • to have a darshan (vision)
    • to achieve prasad (divine grace)
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