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Despite forming an extensive component of the sub-continental psyche, Durga still remains an elusive individual in the ongoing taxonomy between literal and metaphorical. An amalgamation of tenderness and blood-thirstiness, Durga unfortunately escapes all notions of definition and recognition. Who is she? And what truly is her purpose in the veiled religiosity which encapsulates all sub-continental faiths? The answers are numerous and disparate on many terms, subsequently a new precedent was ingrained for Durga when Gurmat became prevalent. No more was she a goddess worthy of worship but a metaphor for the multi-tapestried dictums birthed by the latter. The Akali-Nihung, the Nirmala and Udasi school identified her as an extrapolation of the metaphorical construction which aimed to signify and provide a human-based identification of spiritual precepts. Her very anatomy was an exegesis of broad spiritual concepts which had universal parallels. Their identifications are still retained by their descendants and disciples even in the contemporary period.

Durga's limbs not only provide striking magnetism which one gravitates towards on viewing her, but are representatives of much broader practicalities. Each limb makes a unique distinction with it's contemporary and defines one of the nine modes of devotion, prevalent in many orientalist traditions. Usually these nine modes are professed towards a deity but in Gurmat they are reserved for the 'Shabad' or the word, a physical embodiment of the creator and the inheritor of the Guru's doctrines. Despite being victims of extensive scrutiny and unwarranted criticism, these modes are prevalent in Sikh shrines even today.

1.) 'Sravan'- This is the first representation of Durga's limbs. It defines the hearing of the creator's praises (or one's indigenous deity). As per Gurmat 'Sravan' occurs when one listens to the 'Shabad(s)' contained within the three parallel Granths.

2.) 'Kirtan'- The musical recitation of the creator's praises, it has become a tradition of profound importance in the Khalsa ethos and is practiced even today. Despite undergoing successive evolution(s), as per time, Khalsa tradition still retains the mystical procedure of performing 'Kirtan' as done by it's early forebears.

3.) 'Simran'- Remembrance (contemplation) of the creator's name(s). As per Western doctrines this can easily be taxonomized as being meditation. It is central to the Khalsa ethos, and suffers from heavy ignorance.

4.) 'Padsevena'- Voluntary (heavily emphasized) service and offering at the creator's abode. The Sikh Guru's heavily emphasized this dictum amongst their disciples.

5.) 'Arachana'- Worship of the creator.

6.) 'Bandana'- Reverential submission before the creator.

7.) 'Dasyam'- The cultivation and observance of emotions, which dictate one to be a servant of the creator.

8.) 'Sakhyam'-Preservation of an emotional bond of companionship attached to the creator.

9.) 'Atma-Nivedana'- The final act of devotion, surrender of oneself to the creator.

By adopting an indigenous deity, and the vernacular associated with her, Gurmat constructed a new precept for it's adherents; one which did not stratify the deity's original disciples yet established the creator above her.


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