EXPLORING CULTURES & TRADITIONS : Understanding Hindu goddesses and their role in girl empowerment (includes book recommendations)

Author: Gauri Kshirsagar

O Bhagwati,

Only if Shiva is conjoined with You can He create

Without You, O Shakti, He cannot even move

O, Mother, Hari, Hara, and Brahma worship You.

-The first stanza of the ‘Soundarya Lahari’ by Adi Shankaracharya.

It was Navratri and Durga Pooja this week and as several Hindu men and women seek blessings of this goddess, I am taking this opportunity to share a few glimpses of my twins’ journey – throughout last year – of understanding the great Indian goddesses from a feminist perspective.

My daughters have always had a very keen interest in powerful women, be it fictional superheroes like ‘Wonder woman’ or ‘Captain Marvel’ or real life superheroes like Anne Frank, Frida Kahlo or the Mirabel sisters.  Their interest in the Hindu goddesses developed last year when they came across the story of goddess Durga and her various forms. The interest eventually grew into reading multiple books, pretend plays, visiting temples, watching documentaries, listening to different devotional songs and even doing a photo shoot at home.

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