One can get confused with the large number of goddesses and gods in any of the Durga Puja pandal that is getting celebrated these days all over India, particularly wherever, the Bengali community is in number good enough to organize one. I unscrupulously try to listen to the queries of little boys and girls who visit the pandals and try to impress each other about his or her knowledge of the mythology. While Saraswati with her vina and books represents learning and fine arts, Kartikeya stands for military prowess for protection and preservation. Ganesha, the elephant god and his little mouse entertain the little ones while representing the subtle intelligence. And the world can’t survive without Lakshmi’s wealth and her owls. While the main festival is for Durga with ten weapons in her ten hands and she dominates the pandal and rituals, Shiva and other Gods are also in attendance sometimes. Normally, it presents pretty complex situation for a devotee. He is to be equally faithful to all. And the result may be devastating sometimes that reminds me of a story given by Jug Suraiya.
Jug Suraiya has started with this interesting tale in a lead article in Times of India, New Delhi on October 17, 2007.
A Muslim, a Christian and a Hindu are crossing a river in a ferry. A storm springs up and the ferry is pitched and tossed about. The passengers begin to pray for salvation. “Save me, Allah”, pleads the Muslim. And a divine being on a winged horse carries the Muslim to safety. “Save me, dear God”, cries the Christian. And a chariot of fire descends and conveys him to the shore. “Save me, oh save me!”, begs the Hindu. But despite all his entreaties, no help is forthcoming and the poor fellow drowns. He finds himself in Heaven, where Brahma welcomes him with a warm “Swagat”. “What swagat!”, the newcomer huffs. “How you showed me up in front of that Muslim and that Christian. They prayed to their respective gods who came and saved them. But though i prayed and prayed, no one bothered to come and save me”, he grumbles. Brahma shrugs helplessly. “What could I do, my son. You started praying to Vishnu to save you, so I adopted that avatar and was coming for you, when you began to call on Ram. I was stringing my bow as Ram, when you suddenly called Krishna. I was getting my flute and my gopis, when you invoked Durga. I was putting kajal in my eyes before coming to rescue you, and in the meantime you went and drowned”.
I went through the story many times, enjoyed it thoroughly and shared it with Yamuna as well as with some friends too. You can think over the situation a little lightly, and you can also enjoy it more.