As Durga Puja, Navaratri, Dusshera and Diwali - festivities of the Hindu calender roll around in the upcoming months, we take a look at the celebrations of feminine divine powers. Hinduism's central belief is one of the Supreme Being that is manifested through both male and female representations depicted as Gods and Goddesses. “Shakti” which means power, is the driving force behind the Supreme Being and is considered to be feminine.
Female Goddesses are revered for their dual powers of creativity and destruction of evil. Goddesses Saraswati symbolises knowledge, music and the arts, Goddess Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and well-being and her incarnations as Sita (from the Ramayana) and Radha (Krishna’s favorite) are venerated in many Hindu epics. Goddess Parvati embodies the power that destroys all negative energy in the world. Stories of Durga and Kali, as incarnations of Parvati, showcase strength and courage to destroy evil forces.
Here is selection of books that serve as a primer to introduce your young ones to the Goddesses in the Hindu pantheon and showcase how the divine honors and celebrates feminine power and strength.
BOOKS THAT CELEBRATE GODDESSES
Amma Tell me About Durga Puja - A picture book written in rhyming verse, this book recounts the story of how Durga overcame Mahisashura, the evil demon who thought he was indefeatible, and also how Durga Puja is traditionally celebrated especially in east India. Also see Durga and Celebrate Durga Puja With Me! (Picture book, 5+)
Devis the Mother Goddesses: A chapter book with vibrant illustrations that shares the stories of bravery, courage and wisdom of the different Hindu Goddesses. This book is a must have for anyone interested to learn more. (Chapter book, 8+)
Fun in Devlok Omnibus: A collection of interesting short stories, including one where the goddess Saraswati makes a visit to a school because she's concerned that her river is missing. She helps the principal discover the true meaning and spirit of knowledge, and together they figure out how to make the river flow again - A fun modern day spin to learn about goddess Saraswati’s powers and skills. (Chapter book, 7+)
Lakshmi: Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. People pray to her on Diwali, the festival of lights. This board book uses stunning illustrations to captivate kids to learn more about her different attributes. (Picture book, 3+)
Sanjay Patel's The Little Book of Hindu Deities is a primer of the popular Hindu gods and goddesses and their avatars with fun facts and snippets about each of them. (Chapter book, 6+)
Saraswati: The Hindu goddess of knowledge, wisdom, art and learning Saraswati is revered throughout India. A feminine deity with healing powers Saraswati's creative energies are captured in this beautiful board book. (Picture book, 3+)
Sita’s Ramayana: This is an exquisite graphic novel about the Hindu epic, Ramayana and has stunning illustrations in Bengali Patua style. The book is written from Sita's perspective and provides a nuanced approach to morality, including the costs of the war that was fought by Rama, her husband against Ravana. (Graphic Novel, 10+)
The Girl Who Chose: A New Way of Narrating the Ramayana: An early chapter book which explains the Ramayana as a story which evolved due to five choices made by Sita, as opposed to a story driven by Rama’s decisions - a refreshing new perspective by Devdutt Pattanaik. (Chapter book, 8+)
Check out books Celebrating Krishna