The Stacey Report

August 14, 2006: The Power of Righteous Indignation

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on August 14, 2006

I would like to start by saying that I totally swiped everything on this page from Lotus Sculpture. “But why,” you ask with that quizzical look on your face, “did you swipe it if you were going to admit to your swipery and give us a link to their site anyway?”

“Because,” I say, “there…” oh, wait, I can just say that.

Because there is the distinct possibility that you would not click on it, isn’t there? And if you didn’t read the story of Durga and the Buffalo Demon, you couldn’t understand the whole Righteous Indignation theme. And if you don’t get the theme, you can’t participate in the… well, the thing. I’ll tell you about it later. Just read the story, ok? It’s really good.

The Hindu Goddess Durga, the Unconquerable Form of Devi

Durga is the most splendid manifestation of Devi. Virginal and sublime, containing within her the power of all the gods combined, she is the invincible power of Nature who triumphs over those who seek to subjugate her.

(So this rocks already, yeah?)

Durga and the Buffalo Demon

The buffalo demon Mahisha stomped across the three worlds, kicking up dust, polluting the earth and sea.

Neither Indra, king of gods, nor Kumara, commander of the celestial armies could stop him. In despair the gods called on Vishnu for help. Vishnu confronted the demon Mahisha, first as Narasimha the man lion and then as Varaha the boar, but each time he failed to subdue the demon.

Shiva, the supreme ascetic, was disturbed by the violence and opened his third eye unleashing the fire of doom. Even the power of Shiva’s third eye, capable of destroying the three worlds, could not arrest Mahisha’s march.

“Nothing can stop Mahisha now: he will soon control the universe and make Nature dance to his tunes,” said Brahma the creator.

(OK, pay attention to this part, this is really important…)

“It will never be so, Nature can never be conquered,” said Brahma as his divine strength, his shakti, emerged from his body in the form of the goddess Brahmi. She rode a swan and held books of wisdom in her hands.

Simultaneously, the shaktis of the other gods emerged taking female forms. From Indra, rose Indrani bearing a thunderbolt, riding an elephant, from Kumara rose Kaumari holding a lance and riding a peacock, from Vishnu rose Vaishanavi on an eagle with a discus whirling on her finger, from Varaha came the sharp-tusked sow Varahi, from Shiva came Shiavani riding a bull and bearing a trident.

Red Marble Durga Statue

The seven shaktis, unrestrained by the bodies of the gods, were fearsome beings – unbridled, untamed, restless energies of the cosmos. They would not submit to the authority of any man, beast or god, let alone a demon.

They rose to the sky and merged with each other in a blinding light. The sounds of the conchs, drums, and bells filled the air. With bated breath, the gods watched the light. From the heavenly light arose a beautiful goddess.

“Who are you?” asked the gods.

“I am Durga, the inaccessible one,” replied the goddess. “I am Prakriti, the substance that gives form and identity to all things. I am Shakti, the power that enables all creatures to exist, to feel, think, act and react. I am Maya, the delusion that makes life alluring yet elusive.”

The gods saluted the great goddess. “Give me your weapons and I shall destroy he who seeks to dominate me,” said the great goddess.

The gods acquiesced. Shiva gave his trident, Vishnu his discus and mace, Indra his thunderbolt, Kurmara his lance, Brahma his bow. Then mounting a lion, Durga prepared for battle.

News of Durga, the beautiful goddess who resided upon mount Meru, reached Mahisha. “She shall be my queen,” declared the buffalo demon.

He ordered his two generals, Chanda and Munda, to fetch her.

Chanda and Munda placed the Buffalo Demon’s marriage proposal before Durga. Durga did not reply. The demons viewed this as insubordination and threatened Durga. The mighty goddess responded by swinging her sword, and in one grand sweep she cut off both the generals heads.

The violent rejection of his marriage proposal enraged Mahisha. “Bring that proud woman before me in chains and I shall show her who is master.”

A hundred thousand asuras armed with bows, arrows, spears and swords surrounded Mount Meru, determined to capture Durga. They marched up the mountain… and before long a hundred thousand demon heads were seen rolling down Mount Meru smearing its slopes red.

Durga drank the blood of the demons. Seizing a lute and drum she made music to celebrate her victory.

Humiliated by the defeat Mahisha asked, “Why won’t you marry me, am I not lord of the three worlds?”

“I shall marry only he who defeats me in battle,” revealed the goddess.

“Then let us fight,” responded the buffalo demon.

A great battle commenced. Mountains shook, oceans trembled, clouds scattered across the sky, as the buffalo demon attacked Durga. He rushed towards her, sometimes as a buffalo, sometimes as a lion, sometimes as an elephant. The goddess broke the buffalo’s horns with her mace, sheared the lion’s mane with her lance, cut the elephant’s trunk with her sword.

Weapon after weapon she hurled at the buffalo demon, but each time he managed to rise up undefeated.

Realizing that her weapons had no effect on Mahisha, Durga threw them aside, dismounted from her lion and with her bare hands sprang upon Mahisha’s back. With her tender feet she kicked his head. The demon, immune to the weapons of all the gods, fell senseless at the touch of Durga’s feet.

Durga then raised her trident and plunged it into the buffalo demon’s heart, conquering the unconquerable.

Durga Bronze Statue Picture

Yay, Durga! So how cool was that? Dude, she kicked him to death with her bare feet! And all because the Gods looked around and said “Hey! This ain’t right.”

A couple of years ago, my Mom and Stepfather brought us a beautiful carved statue of Durga from Bali. As I read the story, I thought “now this is the goddess for me.” Because that’s essentially what we all want to be able to do when something is just patently bad and wrong, isn’t it?
(You see where I’m going here.)

So when Hanley went back to Bali, I asked him to bring back a Durga I could give to Stacey. Because what could be better than the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts when we all feel (say it with me, kids) our Righteous Indignation rising up, and we collectively hurl it at the injustice.

When people ask me how Stacey is doing, I generally say something like “She’s doing very well!” But what I mean by that is something like this:

My sister is one of the most stubborn, intractable, unmovable objects in the universe. When she gets something in her head, that’s it and that’s all. So here comes this Buffalo Demon, threatening to harsh her buzz, and what is her reaction? OK, there was a brief period of freaking out, but then she settled back into herself and said, with her particular combination of understated certainty and unfettered derision, “No.”

No, you will not ruin my life, no, you will not make me whimper, no, I am not wasting brain chemistry on you. You are simply unsupportable, and although I may have to sling a whole bunch of weapons at you, ultimately I will kick you to death with my bare feet.

So this is the thing we’re doing. We are all participating in this uprising, and we’re doing it mostly by acknowledging that the cancer is not as real or important or interesting as Stacey, herself.

Well, at least her feet.


2 Responses

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  1. Sara said, on August 15, 2006 at 3:47 pm

    for the love of Stacey i love this post! i work with Mahisha by the way…

    Can’t wait to read more about the power of righteous indignation! – SS

  2. Alright Tit said, on January 15, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    I heart this post. Happy feet indeed. x

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