Seeking Her protection

Today is the first day of Navratri or the nine nights in which we will worship the Goddess Durga .We will worship her in each and every form from the young Kumari, to Parvati to Kali to Lakshmi to Saraswati and along the way we will beseech her to protect us, to give us wealth and prosperity and knowledge and wisdom. We will end our devotion by worshipping nine little girls whose feet we will wash and who will endow with gifts and blessings. The we I refer to here is all of us Hindus, men and women. It is also all those who normally deride and dismiss women, treat them like second class citizens, who rape them with impunity, who use and abuse them without mercy, who even kill them in the womb! The disparity between the way we revere our Goddesses and treat our women every day is glaring.  Is it not hypocritical?

True some of us do not feel or act that way but do we hot keep strangely mum and behave like ostriches when aberrations occur? What right do we have to worship Goddess Durga if we are unable to protect girls and women? Why should she bestow anything on us when we forget once the nine nights have passed that she resides in every woman?

For the next none nights Durga will be adored and worshiped in every way imaginable. On the eight or night day nine little girls will also be worshipped as many will wash their feet as a mark of respect to the Goddess, each one symbolising one of the Goddess. Yet once the festivities over these very little girls will go back to the reality of not being wanted and treated respect and love. Every little girl has the right to ask why she is being worshipped once a year and abused for the rest of time.

I guess I am a believer though I cannot accept to be part of a show that his to say the last hypocritical. I have in days gone by been guilty of falling prey to the lure of ritualism. I guess it had to be a rite of passage, mercifully a short one. I was blessed to have had the privilege of entering a world that may seem alien to many but that brought straight back to reality and showed me the way I sought.

Today I do not go seeking the elusive God I believe in, in temples and faraway pilgrimage sites. I see Her everyday in the eyes of the little children who have been forgotten by all, and yet who open their hearts to anyone fortunate enough to look into their eyes with their hearts.

For the next nine days I will worship all the little project why girls and seek protection, prosperity and wisdom.