Does Durga inspire technology? The Lateralz likes to imagine so for some good humour as she hunts online for a jaamdani this puja.
“Sristi sthiti binasayang, shakti bhute, sanatani.”
In azure autumn skies, when cotton clouds take astral shapes, the child in us is reassured of the coming of Maa — Maa Durga that is. Myth goes that Goddess Durga was the magnum opus of an army of Gods, headed by Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara, created to annihilate the demon king Mahishasura. This was her springtime glory. Legend says that she rests her laurels in autumn for an annual visit back home to her father — kids, pets et al — from Mount Kailash, where her husband Shiva dwells.
There’s no passport to vouch on, no visa to check, let alone a boarding pass or a ticket. Yet we know she comes, year after year, not stealthily in our dreams or imagination but in full embodiment for five long days. Has anyone ever seen her come or go? No. Yet even the most scientific of minds have since time immemorial bought this airy fairy story as THE virtual reality.
Now, call it “Modinfluence” or a slightly cheeky if not stretched analogy, our divinity is in fact the original digital platform. How? Our Brahma has supreme local area networking that seamlessly connects thoughts and ideas in each of his four devises, read four heads, for the best-in-class advice that has been revered for eons after eons without an end. If Vishnu is information technology in holiness, Maheshwara is the sacred troubleshooter. Who is Ganesha but the God of Google and who is Mark Zuckerberg but Narad Muni revisited? And please don’t forget the little mouse — revered as highly as Ganesha himself.
It’s no joke
No, this not a joke. Social networking has always been at its height in the heavens above. Narad himself is like the virtual wall replete with celestial posts of anecdotes and grapevine from the courtroom of the Lord to the closet of the lady. Why, even sharing was his big idea when each of the five Pandavas desired the one and only Draupadi! Narayan, Narayan!
Now coming back to the story of Durga, when the holy trinity proposed a Mahashakti to slay one demon king, they themselves got a handful of likes. Durga, as we know, is an embodiment of 10 functions programmed into a single effective software. There she was, battling it out alone — frenzied and fearless. Armed with the best weapons, created by the most powerful, she dealt one blow after another till Mahishasura lost steam and dropped off. Actually, he was the victim of a software bug that led him to believing that he’d never die. Poor guy, he totally misconstrued the decree that he was to become the all-powerful among men and Gods, and never to die in the hands of a man. But man, there is an opposite gender, isn’t there? That’s Mr Chauvinist Mahishasura — no brain and all brawn, with an inflated ego, deriding and writing off women as puny, powerless creatures. Serves him right.
After all, Mahisasura is virtually nothing but a virus — a malware program in a ruthless mission to take full control over the bed of spiritual, philosophical and transcendental knowledge with his unruly, profane and carnal judgment. No matter how hard the bug within him gnawed, how stubborn his programming or how horrible his control, he simply could not be allowed to spread corruption and malice. After infecting the world and the underworld, Mahishasura was so full of ego and false confidence, that he duped himself into believing that he could conquer even the heavens.
Obviously, that was not to be. When Mahishasura was busy turning the mortals and lesser gods into zombies who did nothing but replicate their cruel master, the gods created the first-ever antivirus by virtue of their own programming prowess. They then armed their creation with 10 state-of-the-art programs to detect and defeat the malware, setting the biggest example of no matter how powerful evil is, victory will eventually and always embrace the virtuous. ‘Durga shakti’ is the most effective antivirus to date and was invented ages before even the remotest idea of a Norton was conceived of.
Skill, bravado, determination make Durga a military powerhouse, grace, poise and histrionics make her a rare spectacle. Even the most ancient descriptions of the belligerent Durga’s war dance can put the most advanced form of animation to shame. Ask a child to enact Durga’s conquest of Mahishasura, and the Goddess will look real like never before as a digital enigma with jet speed and army precision. In her war regalia, she is a raging queen whose stories enthral one and all.
Yet who would imagine Durga as a warrior goddess? Look at her — all sublime and classy, she poses her best la famille for the blessed sculptor. Durga is the lady of the house who salvages the lost honour of her husband and his comrades. In other words, she is the epitome of an Indian Nari, which excuse me, is a man-made concept, like Durga herself. But the point is that Durga attracts likes the same way as light draws little insects. If truth be told, it is through offerings to Devi Durga that the concept of Internet of Things was first ideated.
What is this Internet of Things? It is basically the network of physical objects – things as we call them – embedded with network connectivity, which allows them to gather and exchange data. Rings a bell? Yes, that’s exactly what Pushpanjali is! The objects – flowers, leaves, incense – virtually pick up whatever it is that we want to convey, forms a network via holy chants and transmits the data to the Goddess herself. Amazing, isn’t it, how, what we so long passed merely as a ritual, is actually the root of avant-garde technology?
When Durga slayed Mahishasura, the gargantuan demon king was himself struck by the unbeatable power that lay within her ethereal beauty. Then, by the natural course of awe, the number of likes for Durga grew from one to many to millions. She literally became the idol worshipped by one generation after another. And as people moved out from their homeland to make foreign lands their home, the Durga adoration too spread far and wide.
(To be continued)