Dear Kid,

Today is the first day of Navarati. Navarati is one of the greatest Hindu festivals and celebrates the triumph of good over evil. The goddess Durga killed the demon king Mahisasur and heaven and earth rejoice in the victory. Some Hindus pray and fast. More importantly, this is a time to worship Durga, the mother goddess. Therefore Hindus will visit their mother.

DurgaWhich sounds like just a marvelous idea. If you’d decided to attend the community college down the block, visiting your mother would be much easier. Just sayin’.

The goddess Durga may be the best goddess depiction of mom-ness I’ve found. (After all, the Greek and Roman goddesses go around creating mischief and mayhem and in general not being entirely mom-like.)

The word “durga” means fort (it’s Sanskrit which is the primary liturgical and philosophical language of Hinduism). Another meaning is “the one who eliminates sufferings.” We all know this means moms who kiss a boo-boo to make the hurt go away.

Durga is shown having 8 or 10 hands. Some people say these represent the represent eight quadrants or ten directions in Hinduism meaning she protects devotees from all directions. I say that’s all fine and well, but everyone knows that moms need at least 10 hands to do the job right. And while it might seem difficult to find clothing (what with needing more sleeves than the average person), Durga does just fine. Goddesses are like that.

Durga has three eyes. The left eye represents desire (the moon), the right eye represents action (the sun), and the central eye represents knowledge (fire or “I can see what you’re doing back there and stop it!”).

Durga riding her lion represents her mastery over power, will, and determination.

I haven’t found where the representation of “Because I’m the Mom, that’s why” is, but given the rest of the symbolism, I’m sure it’s in there somewhere.

Love, Mom