The book of Durga by Nilima Chitgopekar
Durga, at the moment, is the most popular avatar of the Devi. Her visual form with multiple arms riding on a Lion and killing the Mahishasur – half man half buffalo demon while carrying a perfectly benign impression on her face can be seen everywhere from calendar art to modern art.
The book of Durga looks at the genesis of Durga. And what the mythology tells us about her birth. And the birth of Mahishasur who is inseparable from the persona of the Devi. The author traces various sources. And gives you the various versions of Durga’s story. Her birth, her Shakti that comes from the Vishnu and the Shiva, her enemy, her name and her form. She talks about stories of her valor mentioned in Devi Mahatamaya. She talks about her visual representation and how it evolved over the ages. Yes; finally she talks about how she is worshipped. Which is primarily how the Durga Pooja is done in Bengal.
It is a concise pocketbook that you can read to get introduced to Durga. If inspired, you can look for the deeper interpretations of the cult of Devi, and Durga in particular. And try and understand the whole thing in a social and spiritual context.
I wish there were more pictures accompanying the text that would have made the book far more interesting. Read it if the image of Durga intrigued you. But you never knew anything beyond bowing your head to the mighty form.
Buy this book – The book of Durga by Nilima Chitgopekar at Amazon India.
Recommend you read more:
- Devi Goddesses of India by John Stratton Hawley & Donna Mary Wulff
- Kumaon in the shadow of the Devi by Manju Kak
- Yogini Cult and Temples – A Tantric tradition by Vidya Dehejia
- The Dance of Durga by Kanika Dhillon