(Note: Have a discussion with the children at the end about what would happen to an individual and a society without strength or without wealth or without knowledge)
Hinduism is one of the few religions in which worship of independent Goddesses survives. Religions with a dated origin like Christianity, Islam, Judaism does not recognize worship of Goddesses. This form of worship of Goddesses, survives only in those religions which preserve a continuous link with antiquity. In Hinduism Goddesses are associated with every major God, for instance Parvati with Shiva, Laxmi with Vishnu, Saraswati with Brahma, etc. Worship of these Goddesses takes place along with that of the Gods. But there is another form of worship of Goddesses who are not associated with any God, like Goddess Durga, Kali, Ambika, Chandi, Bhavani, etc
But this worship of mother-Goddess is not limited to Bharat. It is found in most of the ancient civilizations. In Mesopotemia there was the cult of Ishtar, in Greece there was Athena or Pallas Athene. In pre-Islamic Arabia, independent Goddesses were worshipped. On of them was named Mannat. But only in Bharat has this tradition has survived in a significant way. There are shrines all over Bharat dedicated to Goddesses alone. We have the shrine of Vaishno-devi in Kashmir, Meenakshi and Kanyakumari in the South, Ambejogai in Maharashtra etc.
The three main forms of Mother Goddess are Durga-Lakshmi-Saraswathi.
Durga is the Goddess of strength.
Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth.
Saraswathi is the Goddess of learning.
Worshipping these three forms of Mother in real life is the key to success of an individual or a society. Many a times, people accuse overdose of Hindu philosophy for the poverty in Bharat. Hindu philosophy always emphasized the importance of wealth.
Hindu society has tremendous knowledge. But for the lack of physical strength, Bharat was ruled by foreigners for nearly 1000 years! A handful of British could rule Bharat! So, strength is the language that is understood by the entire world.
Strength without morals and character is dangerous. Hence right knowledge has to accompany the strength. So, we worship Saraswathi.
To translate our grand vision in to reality, wealth is equally important. Hence we worship Lakshmi.
A perfect balance has to be there between all three: Strength, Wealth and Knowledge.
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