Skandmata: Swaraj Mata Jija Bai

On Day 5 we worship the supreme maternal form of the goddess as Skandamata, the mother of Kartikeya – the general of the divine army. The goddess is most akin to another maternal figure of virtue and courage who has borne one of India’s greatest sons in her womb: Mata Jija Bai.

By Sreejit Datta, Assistant Professor, Director of Civilisational Studies Practice & Resident Mentor at Rashtram.

The goddess manifests in her supreme maternal form as Skandamata or the mother of Skanda i.e. Kartikeya – the lord of warriorhood and the general of the divine army, on the fifth day of Navratri. This valiant mother deity comes bestriding a lion, with various weaponry and a lotus held in her hands while bearing the Lord Kartikeya in her lap. The goddess is most akin to another maternal figure of virtue and courage who has borne one of India’s greatest sons in her womb: Mata Jija Bai.

Shivaji Maharaj – the legendary warrior-king and the pioneering architect of the Hindavi Swarajya or Indian nationalist thought was born to Mata Jija Bai. He was raised in her ideal of dharma to become the founder of the Maratha Kingdom which was to grow into one of history’s most magnificent empires – the Maratha Empire.

The Rajmata Jija Bai deeply inspired the making of this glorious dharmic realm. She was charged with righteous wrath from the very beginning of her life towards the Sultanate – the looting and plundering armies of which had rendered the fabric of the Hindu society weak and inconsequential. She prayed wholeheartedly to Bhavani Mata for the destruction of the villainous and protection to the nation and dharma. In answer to her meditation, Shivaji the vanquisher was born. For as long as Jija Bai lived, she instilled patriotic fervour in the hearts and minds of Shivaji’s people and evinced to them the vision of a nation which, like Ramrajya, was built on the foundations of dharma.

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