The vibrant festival of Navratri, celebrated with fervour and devotion, unfolds over a span of nine auspicious days. Each day holds a unique significance, and on the fifth day of this grand celebration, devotees pay homage to Maa Skandamata, the fifth form of the revered goddess Durga.
The name “Skandamata” is a composite of two words: “Skanda,” referring to Kartikeya, the beloved son of Lord Shiva and Parvati, and “mata,” meaning mother. Consequently, Maa Skandamata is venerated as the divine mother of Lord Kartikeya, also known as Skanda, Murugan, or Subramanya in various regions of India.
Skandamata in Hindu mythology is beautifully illustrated with four arms, gently cradling her beloved son, Skanda (Kartikeya), on her lap while elegantly riding a majestic lion. In her graceful hands, she might be seen holding a lotus flower or a melodious bell, which symbolize the core of her divine essence. On this day let us look at three lessons we can learn from Maa Skandamata.
1. Nurturing and Protecting
Maa Skandamata’s endearing image, cradling her beloved son, imparts a profound lesson in caring for our loved ones and the delicate world we inhabit. This reminds us that, akin to Maa Skandamata’s protective love for her child, we have a role to play as guardians of our environment, caretakers of our communities, and advocates for sustainability.
This lesson fundamentally calls upon us to recognize our responsibility as custodians of the world’s well-being. It is a gentle nudge to grasp the intricate interconnectedness of life’s various forms and ecosystems and to act responsibly in safeguarding them. Much like Maa Skandamata’s protective embrace around her cherished child, we are urged to extend that same protective care to our environment. This can materialize as active support for ecological conservation initiatives, the promotion of responsible resource management, and the advocacy for eco-friendly practices. By embracing this lesson, we become mindful custodians, conscientious of the delicate equilibrium that sustains our planet. Our sense of responsibility to preserve it for future generations grows deeper.
2. Empowering Women
Maa Skandamata’s portrayal as a nurturing and protective mother unveils a compelling lesson about women’s empowerment. This day serves as a platform to underscore the vital importance of gender equality, women’s education, and the provision of equal opportunities.
The lesson on women’s empowerment encourages reflection upon the challenges faced by women in diverse spheres of life. It urges us to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of women to society and to guarantee unhindered access to education, employment, and leadership roles. Much as Maa Skandamata shields her child with unwavering love, this lesson calls upon us to protect the rights and dignity of women, championing their journey towards empowerment.
3. Respect for All Life
The worship of Maa Skandamata is a poignant appeal for cultivating deep respect and reverence for all life forms. Her depiction, mounted upon a lion, symbolizes strength and protection and underscores a lesson of profound significance – the necessity of respecting not just human life but the entirety of Earth’s ecosystems.
Respect for all life transcends the recognition of human worth; it extends to understanding the intricate and delicate interplay of nature and our pivotal role in preserving it. Much like Maa Skandamata protects her divine child, we are exhorted to assume a protective stance towards wildlife and biodiversity. This lesson compels us to be responsible custodians of our planet, fervently advocating for conservation, and diligently safeguarding the habitats of endangered species. It propels us to revere the equilibrium of ecosystems that sustain all life on Earth.
By embracing this lesson, we become the guardians of not only our fellow human beings but also the myriad forms of life that inhabit our planet. We foster a culture of respect, preservation, and balance, ensuring the harmonious coexistence of all living beings.
As we celebrate the fifth day of Navratri and honour Maa Skandamata, let us not only pay homage to her but also reflect on the significance of her maternal virtues in our daily lives. Embracing these ideals in our actions can pave the way for a more compassionate, nurturing, and harmonious world. The lessons we learn from Maa Skandamata remind us that nurturing the environment, empowering women, and protecting wildlife and biodiversity are integral aspects of a more caring and responsible society. By nurturing the world around us, we contribute to a more sustainable and compassionate future.