Drinking the Elixir of Compassion: A Teenage Son’s Question to His Mother and the Ancient Story of Durga Saving the world

Durga-Puja-27By Yeye Omileye Achikeobi-Lewis

Spiritual Teacher, Student of Life and  author

(A member of WaterSongline Council and c0-founder of Humanity4Water Awards)

Extract from Blog on www.yeyeosun.com

Today my teenage son asked me a difficult question. He said, “mom how do we over come all this evil in the world today? How do we change the system? I knew this question had been provoked by the extensive list of black men and now women dying at the hands of the police like flies. I also knew that as a youth he was concerned about the culture of greed and exploitation of everything, that has engulfed our world.

I sat for what seemed like a few minutes too long and at first could not find an answer that didn’t seem trite. Then suddenly I found my self going back to a very ancient place within myself, a place where the stories of our ancestors lie. I scanned their oracular wisdom in my mind and found myself telling him a story from India. I said:

One day the world was on the verge of extinction. Everything was dying, including our waters, as humanity had lost all sense of its responsibility to each other and the Earth. As a result a great evil demon was running rampant in the world and completely destroying it. The male Gods tried to help the world, but they could not do anything. Then one day a few of the top male Gods got together and deeply contemplated what to do about the destruction engulfing our earth. Well, from their deep concentration appeared the Goddess Durga. Durga engaged in a long battle with the demon. Every time she fought him he changed his form. At one point he even multiplied. Well, eventually Durga took a moment of pause, sipped on a cup of elixir, let a whooping great laughter, whooped and killed the Demon.

After telling my son the story, I explained to him that this ancient story is repeated in many cultures. I also told him that many times the ancient stories were not stories but prophecies that provided deep insights. I tried to explain to him how the story showed the importance of developing our deeper spiritual selves as the road to defeating the evil that has engulfed our world. This is what the elixir represented. Durga herself represents the great spirit of compassion and enlightenment that resides in each of our own and the collective heart. Also she reminds us of the power of joy and  laughter to overcome the dark shadows that stop us from healing our world.

As I told my son this story, I knew it would be a hard pill to swallow. For right now love, compassion, spirituality do not appear to be the answer. I searched my heart and thought is this story really irrelevant for these times?  I thought about it for a moment and realized that nothing else so far has truly worked, just like the ancient story,  repeated in so many different cultures, indicates.

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