Divinity Series: Day 4 - Kushmanda
Goddess Kushmanda is worshipped on Chaturthi. Kushmanda is believed to be the creative power of the universe, she is associated with the endowment of vegetation on earth. She is depicted as having eight arms and sits on a tiger. The creation of the universe is according to the Śākta an act of love, illustrated by the so-called erotic imagery of the Śāstra. The Self loves itself whether before, or in, creation. The thrill of human love which continues the life of humanity is an infinitesimally small fragment, a faint reflection of the creative act in which Śiva and Śakti join to produce the Bindu, which is the seed of the Universe.
Sharing in the goddess’ ability to create, reproduce, and destroy has a critical precondition. The ability to reproduce requires participating in the natural processes of menstruation and childbirth, as well as being involved in the nursing of infants and the care of small children with all their accompanying pollutions. The auspicious, generative processes and the upbringing of a child keep women continually alternating between conditions of relative impurity and relative purity – the latter being achieved through countermeasures like bathing, chewing the sacred leaves (Basil indica or Aegle marmelos), and being circumspect about what they eat, where they go, what they distribute, and with whom they associate.