Friday, December 1, 2023

Business lessons from Durga Puja


Durga Puja may be just a festival, but beyond that, it has a lot to learn from, even for business owners.

It’s Durga Puja- that time of year when Bengalis across the world rejoice & reunite. The five days of Durga Puja are much more than a religious festival, it’s a celebration of culture & creativity. Of course, Durga Puja represents the victory of good over evil. But for those of us who work in the domain of women empowerment, Ma Durga is also a great symbol of hope, success, and feminine strength. But beyond these, there are still so many other important life lessons that Ma Durga teaches us.

The mythological story of Ma Durga and Mahisasur has been passed down by generations, and we remember the tale every year on Mahalaya (the start of Durga Puja). It is said in the olden days, there was often war between the Gods and Demons. But the Gods nearly always emerged victorious. The situation changed when Mahisasur, the son of demon king Rambha, emerged as an opponent. Mahisasur had prayed to Lord Bramha for many years and had received a blessing that no man or God would be able to kill him.

Encouraged by this, Mahisasur went on a rampage to destroy Earth and even reached the doors of heaven. None of the Gods could stand in his path of destruction. Ultimately it was Ma Durga (the goddess created by the collective power of the supreme gods) who faced Mahisasur in battle. Mahisasur tried many tricks and changed his appearance numerous times, but Ma Durga was able to combat in every situation. In the end, she killed him, thus ending the dark era.

The ancient story mentions that Mahisasur had always defeated anyone who came forward to fight him. Ma Durga was not the first but rather the last opponent to face him. Before her, all the powerful Gods had been unsuccessful in their efforts. Yet when Ma Durga went forward to face the demon, she did not stop worrying about what had happened or who had been defeated before her. Instead, she remained confident in her own capabilities and techniques and focused on her own mission.

We all face our own demons – whether limiting thoughts inside our minds or in the form of problems in the outside world. Sometimes these hurdles seem so big, almost undefeatable like Mahisasur. We look around and say, “no one has been able to solve this before or get out of this situation, so how can I?” But that’s exactly when the story of Ma Durga is so relevant- as it reminds us that what hasn’t happened yet is still possible.

Maybe you are the one capable of what none else has even thought of! The problem may have been around for generations, but whenever you approach it, do so with innovative thoughts and not the baggage of what has happened before you. Whether in our work or business, why only tread on the known path or use the common weapons of growth? Let us learn from others, but always be unique in our struggle with the demons of society or the world around us.

The battle between Ma Durga and Mahisasur lasted ten days. As per folklore, the divine Goddess, even with her amazing strength and best assortment of weapons, couldn’t kill Mahisasur with just the first blow. In fact, such a fierce battle raged for nine days and nights that it shook both Heaven & Earth. It was only on the 10th day of the war that success finally came her way. Yet we often expect instant gratification or results! We quickly get demotivated and are ready to give up just because our initial efforts didn’t go the way we envisioned.

But as the ancient tale clearly shows us, persistence is the key. Especially if you are an entrepreneur or an innovator, let us learn perseverance from Ma Durga. Just like all wars and opponents are not the same, not all paths and work can be equally impactful in a short amount of time. Instead of looking around and comparing others’ trajectories, may we learn to be patient and committed in our battle? Even if victory, or the fruits of your labour, seem far away- may we keep believing that we will reach there.

This year, like every year, lakhs of people will throng to see Ma Durga idols in community pandals. Many will seek her blessings in the solitude of their homes. But the beautiful diversity represented in the image of Ma Durga will touch your heart, wherever you are. On the one hand, we see her as the fearless warrior who defeated Mahisasur. At the same time, she is an elegant sari-clad mother surrounded by her four children.

In our daily life, we do not hesitate to judge people based on their age, looks, life choices etc., and so we may forget true talent & strength lie beyond our regular perception of intelligence and qualifications. Let Durga Puja remind us that we are not limited as individuals; in fact, anyone from anywhere is capable of greatness.

This year let’s look at Ma Durga again with a more open, inquisitive mind and see what new lessons we can learn from her. Let her story motivate us to be better versions of ourselves and to work for a more beautiful, sustainable and kinder world.

Happy Durga Puja to all!

Also Read: Power of small and medium businesses to achieve sustainability

[Sujata Chatterjee is the Founder of (on behalf of WICCI WBSBC).]

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.)


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