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Divinity Series: Day 8 - Mahagauri

The Devi of today is Mahagauri, who symbolizes intelligence and peace. To the Hindu, every bodily process that cannot be controlled through adopting particular cultural practices, and every impulsive action that is not controlled through self-discipline, implies the dominance of nature. From this perspective, even the mind is seen as an obstacle to self-refinement because unruly thoughts in the undisciplined mind lead to impulsive action. Ideally, then, the goal of human existence is conceptualized as a movement toward perfecting oneself as a cultural artifact through controlling natural processes and natural impulses. Opportunities for refinement exist for men and women, but because only women possess the unique ability to reproduce a living creature from their own bodies, only they have been provided a resource that can be worked on, developed, and transformed so as ultimately to produce immense, almost frightening power.

Hindu women in which they are neither passive victims nor active rebels but, rather, key actors who make use of the resources available to them to construct for themselves meaningful and satisfying identities and lives. They make choices and they take action, always aware of the costs and rewards that these entail, and their agency, rather than resisting the ideological, affirms or, perhaps more accurately, ‘reconfirms’ it . This representation explicitly assumes that these women live in a moral universe that is uniquely Hindu: individual rights, personal choice, and self-gratification, although acknowledged as necessary, are not the goals Hindus strive for; instead, their guiding moral principles are duty, self-control, and service to others.

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