Over thirteen and a half years ago I stepped out of the plane of east India for the first time. I landed in Kolkata (Calcutta), one of the most crowded, filthy, wondrous, artistic cities in the world. Lined with markets and bazaars, smoke from small fires and puja (ritual) shrines, women dressed in outrageous colors, I was simultaneously overwhelmed, enthralled and oddly, relieved. I felt like I was home. My arrival, in late September was marked by the annual Durga festival, honoring the great Warrior and Mother Goddess Durga. Images of colorful clay Durgas exploded from every corner of the city. These refined, artistic renderings of the fierce goddess with her 8 or 10 arms, brandishing a variety of weapons atop tigers and lions was enough to get my curiosity crackling. I discovered that every year the people of India, and especially the state of Bengal, Durga festival is the time to celebrate the victory of good over evil a reflection of love conquering negativity or suffering. As I continued my travels and eventually, my many years of living in India, I learned more about Durga and her power.  When my daughter was a tiny girl we would often visit our local village Durga temple to receive blessings and listen to the chants offered to the Mother Goddess. Durga Defeats the Demons The most popular mythic story of Durga tells of her battle against the a great many asuras, or demons who plagued the world and the universe.  At their wits end, the three powerful gods of creation, destruction and perseverance came together to figure out what to do. None of the other gods were able to defeat these demons, especially the great demon Mahisasura. By this [...]