Shakti is the divine force, energy; it manifests to destroy demonic and evil forces, and restores balance. As an archetype, Mother Durga, as a fierce warrior who kills the demon Mahishasura and other evil creatures, is invoked as a universal source of energy, fertility, prosperity and creativity.Shakti is both desirable and adorable, and is accumulated, even pooling other sources of strength. Mother Durga, as Mahashakti, as legend goes, was created by combining strengths of gods who offered different weapons for the noble cause of annihilating the demon.Unlike Shakti, power is transient, meets limited purposes and is prone to misuse and abuse. Shakti is inner energy-force, indefatigable and inexhaustible, and ought to be conserved, valued and cherished as a potent agency and force to fulfil noble and worthy causes. Power is external manifestation of Shakti. By virtue of being external, exhibitionistic and intoxicating, power is susceptible to manipulations and corruption. It has proclivities that could be antithetical to liberal values and humanism.Selfishness, arrogance, intolerance, belligerence, expansionism, unilateralism are some of the facets of centralisation of power at individual, societal, national and global arena.Political centralisation of authority leads to intolerance and diminishes heterodoxy. Economic centralisation results in disparity in income and distribution, crony capitalism and exploitation. Cultural centralisation manifests in hegemony of the mainstream community. Centralisation of power by superpowers undermines multilateralism, pluralism and rule-based order.In the path from Shakti to power, what changes is addition of ahamkara, ego, the ‘I’ factor, that is not shared with or devolved in ‘we’. So accumulated power, unshared and undistributed, becomes prone to misuse and abuse.By: RAM KRISHNA SINHA
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