• Thursday, December 07, 2023

51 Sacred Peethas of the Goddess

51 Sacred Peethas of the Goddess
on Mar 16, 2021
51 Sacred Peethas of the Goddess

This week’s reading list includes a book on the peethas of the all-powerful mother goddess, one on nurturing house plants, and another on female fighters of the LTTE in the aftermath of the Sri Lankan civil war

The story of Devi Sati and Lord Shiva ended tragically with the death of Sati. An angry and inconsolable Shiva took Sati’s lifeless body and started the Rudra Tandava, or the dance of destruction. To save the world, Lord Vishnu used his Sudharshan Chakra to cut the body of Sati into 51 pieces. Each part fell at different places on Earth and each became a revered Shakti peetha.Renowned writer and historian Alka Pande narrates that while the Shakti Peetha represents a single philosophical fold, they are a testament to the diverse legends of Shakti. Different Peethas, which became holy at the touch of Sati’s body, have survived hundreds of centuries and have kept alive their local folklore of Shakti. Together they evoke the Mother Goddess as both the nourishing and the destructive force behind the existence of the cosmos. Still, the 51 Peethas featured in the book can never be an absolute representation of the Peethas of the Goddess, since the Devi is anywhere and everywhere.* In 2009, the genocidal war of the Sri Lankan state against Tamils ends. In 2012, Meena Kandasamy, who grew up with posters of Tamil Tigers and Tigresses, decides to make a documentary on the violence faced by the female fighters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the aftermath of the brutal war. She meets the women who had survived the Sri Lankan camps where the orders were to rape them – women who are now refugees in distant lands, pale shadows of their blazing selves. Her documentary never gets made. But Kandasamy exhumes old hard drives to piece together their shattered lives. Kandasamy also translates and presents us the poetry of three Tamil women combatants – poetry as op-ed, poetry as resistance, poetry as a call to arms, poetry as a call to poetry.* Plant parenting
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