To Honour Her ...
After days of noise, firecrackers, fireworks, temple music played loudly over loudspeakers, only the lights remained. .... last year I managed to get out in the streets (not sure how many will be visible publicly) to witness the festivities of Shivaratri, but this year, I was stuck in waiting for a/c repairs etc. Such is life.
This image does not depict the goddess, Shakti, (see excerpt below) but I felt it represented the idea of the Goddess.
"Her eyes are fixed in single-minded concentration; a steady, unwavering gaze that devotes on the azura, brings him to his death. Her many hands are raised, countless weapons in them. Select gifts: a conch, a discus, an axe, a noose, a trident, a sword, a bow, a mace. A bell from Airavata. arms radiating from both sides of her bejewelled, astonishingly beautiful body. And yet, the face is benign, the primary right hand bestowing freedom from fear - abhaya, and the left granting all wishes - varada. Roses and marigolds garland her - statuesque dazzle of light emerged from gods several, long hair loose about her shoulders. At her feet, part buffalo, part demon, Mahishasura lies vanquished, caught in the penultimate state before he is beheaded.
Tvaiyaitat dharyate visvam tvaiyaitat srijyate jagat tvaiyaitat palyate tvamatsyante cha sarvada....
By You supported this universe, by You created this world, by You protected O Devi, and consumed at the end ....
The priest waves the multi-flamed arati in front of her and the sound of the dhak seizes the pulse of everyone in the pandal. At first, it is slow, an attenuated beat of eight, the emphasis placed at the end. Incense burned over coal and fibre spills smoke into the crowded room. There is no breeze, the windows are shut.
People press upon each other, runnels of sweat flowing off the forehead and neck. The women are dressed in their finest, to honour her - this daughter come home to her parents, to rest her dropping head on her mother's silken shoulder. She will stay for only nine days, for Shiva is lost without his Shakti, and she must leave on the tenth. Refreshed, she will gather once again her tremendous and fearful energies, be mother to all of creation."
~ Tulsi Badrinath ~
From the novel, "Meeting Lives"
A rather different quote from the novel here..