True Empowerment

In My Meditation Today: True empowerment is resting back into the knowledge that we are all expressions of the divine and letting that knowing inform us of the eternal nature of our being. What follows is an understanding that no circumstance in life – no matter how horrendous – ever comes close to harming us let alone destroying us.

The Grand Story of the Divine Mother is told in three parts. Each section describes a battle between good and evil and most often the story is interpreted as the forces of good and evil external to us. A more useful interpretation for me, however, is that it represents the battle between my basest instincts and my highest potential. The battles are bloody and gory because a battle to live from your highest potential is hard and ugly and metaphorically bloody and gory.

The sixth chapter of the Myth is the second story in the third part of the Grand Story of the Divine Mother. Sugriva, the messenger, has returned to Shumbha & Nishumbha’s Palace with the story of Devi’s challenge – i.e. that she can only marry a man who defeats her in battle. Aghast at her audacity, Shumbha, is now determined to possess her. He sends Dhumralochana (the smoky-eyed one) with an army of 60,000 soldiers to capture “the wretch” and bring her to the palace, dragging her by her hair if he had to.

The Devi is sitting on a swing in her backyard when the demon Dhumralochana approaches her.  He starts off deferentially, “ Your highness. Please come to the presence of Shumbha & Nishumbha.” The deference quickly disappears as he bellows ” If you do not come to my master with delight right now, then I will immediately take you by force, upsetting you by dragging you by your hair.”durga

“You have been sent by the lord of the demons. You are mighty and surrounded by your army. If you take me by force, what can I do about it?” the Devi says seemingly innocently.
Hearing that Dhumralochana rushes towards her in a rage. Devi stands up inhales and exhales with a powerful sound of HMMMM and Dhumralochana crumbles into ashes. Most of his sixty thousand strong army either scatters or die at the hands of Devi’s lion.

I love the images in this story. The irresistible yet playful and delicate Devi on a swing; the coarse, uncouth, powerful, loud mouthed thug who is completely deluded about the power he has and ease with which Devi, destroys him. She does not have to lift a finger to turn him into ashes. Delicious and powerful images which I really would have liked to have heard and known about as a young girl growing up.

In the allegory – Dhumralochana – the smokey eyed one – represents the delusion of Maya – he represents ignorance. Devi, on the other hand, represents a fully empowered being who is fully cognizant of her powers.

Two compelling points in this story for me.
1. Once you are truly empowered, i.e. you have let the truth of the eternity of your existence sink into your bones, you can invite disaster in, knowing that no one and nothing can destroy your essence.
2. Remember Devi’s stance as disaster rushed towards her. Aware of her power, she stood up, squared her shoulders took a deep breath and exhaled. Faced with the power of her knowledge about the truth of her being, the enemy/the circumstance, the ignorance that the demon represented did not have a chance to overpower her. It quietly crumbled.

Hence – real empowerment is resting back into the knowledge that we are all expressions of the divine and letting that knowing inform us of the eternal nature of our being.  What follows is an understanding that no circumstance in life – no matter how horrendous – ever comes close to harming us let alone destroying us.

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