Overcoming Karmic Blocks

By Rudra Shivananda

Just as Lord Shiva is the cosmic consciousness that guides us towards liberation from the cycle of birth and death through the practice of yoga, the power of Durga-ma can help to unlock the karmic hurdles that prevent us from living life in pursuit of liberation.

Durga-maThe stories about Durga-ma are always concerning her invocation by other gods to save them from some terrible demonic power. These stories have both a macrocosmic and microcosmic perspective. The most famous story concerns the demon king Mahisaasur. He was so powerful that even though lacking any virtue, he was able to conquer the  three worlds of humanity, demi-gods and gods. The gods rushed to the Divine Trinity for help and when the three Lords heard their sorry tale, they reacted with righteous anger and each emitted golden light which conjoined to give form to a young and lovely  damsel. This was mother Durga with ten arms who was richly dressed in red and golden clothing and rode a fierce and fearless lion. She laughed and the world shook. She had the weapons bestowed by the other divine aspects – the trident from Lord Shiva, discus from Lord Vishnu, conch-shell from Varuna, flaming dart from Agni, the bow from Agni, the quiver and arrows from Surya, the iron rod from Yama, thunderbolt from Indra, the club from Kubera, the garland of snakes from Shesha and so on.

Durga-ma went on to defeat and kill Mahisaasur, of course. From a yogic perspective the demon lord personifies primordial ignorance and the might of the ego. When the  spiritual student’s positive characteristics as personified by the gods are separate and not unified, then she will suffer from the negative power of the ego. It is necessary to unify all of one’s virtues in order to defeat ignorance and ego – this unification of all one’s positive characteristics is called Durga-ma.

She is also called Chamunda for slaying Chanda and Munda who are the personifications of anger and passion. When these two demons hurled all their thousands of weapons at the Mother, she merely opened her mouth and absorbed them into her infinity without any harm.

Another strong demon called Raktabija had the power bestowed on him that every drop of his blood that touched the ground will give immediate birth to a clone of himself. He was the seed of desires and could not be killed – in fact, he multiplied himself as soon as he was cut down, just as the satisfaction of a desire gives rise to more desires. To overcome Raktabija, The Divine Mother stuck her lovely red tongue out and drank all the blood and consumed it – she is called mother Kali who can help us overcome our desires.

No matter what form she takes, she will help her devotees and punish the evil-doers. Since she is the mother of existence, she is also the giver of illusions as well as the remover of illusions. She will give the toys for her children to play if that is what they
desire, or she will help them achieve to Self-Realization if that is what they aspire to.

Durge smrtaa harasi bhitima sheshajantoh
Svasthaih smrtaa matimativa shubhaam dadaasi
Daaridrya dukha bhayahaarini kaatvadanaya
Sarvopakaara karanaaya
sadaardracittaa.

O Mother Durga who relieves all difficulties, my fears are dispelled when I remember you.  You increase the welfare and intelligence of the spiritual seekers who remember  you. You are unique as you dispel poverty, pain and fear and extend compassion to all
We bow to you who reveal the Divine Consciousness to those who meditate.

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