How the Nine Days of Navratri Signify the Nine Stages of our Career

Contributed By: J K Varshika

Navratri (meaning nine nights) signifies the battle between Goddess Durga and Demon Mahishasura that went on for nine nights wherein each day Durga undertook one of her avatars (divine versions) to kill the monster. The end of Navratri is celebrated as Dussera, the celebration of triumph of good over evil, prosperity over poverty. It is also believed that it is on this day that Rama (one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu) kills Ravana (the Demon King from Lanka who abducts Rama’s wife Sita, one of the avatars of Goddess Lakshmi) to bring peace to the mankind and enlighten the path of following truth and goodness.

Mystic as though these mythological legends are, there is also a lot to learn from them even in modern day life. The names may have changed but the evils still reside in the society and it is up to us to find our inner Rama or Durga to demolish the outer demons. So, we have come up with parallels to the Navratri avatars of Goddess Durga as they take place in the journey of each of our careers and what all can we learn from it.

Much like the starting avatar of Goddess Durga that signifies action and vigor, our careers also start off with enthusiasm of all that fresh beginning fervor. The first interview, the first job, the first salary, the first degree – the first thing that we can get our hands on. All bring in that excitement of start of something new.

As we take on our duties, we try to excel in that area and are on our best behavior. Every tiny detail is catered to and we are ready for any challenges that come our way. We learn to deal with the obstacles and put our best foot forward, always going that extra mile to impress our teachers or boss or the client.

All the hard work put in finally pays off and we see ourselves in the stage of prosperity and tranquility, happy with the materialistic success that we have garnered. This could be getting the top grades at school, getting a promotion at office or even closing a deal with a big client. It signifies the zenith of the first stage of our careers, the peak of our outer potential.

As we prosper in our lives, we start holding onto the materialistic actualities even more and try to conquer everything to gain power. We create our own little universe, a bubble of our comfort zone that we don’t want to break out from, satisfied with the short term gains overlooking the longer term consequences.

As we join the rat race to materialistic success, we fail to realize that the more power we try to gain, the more it slips up from us. At this stage comes the vulnerability side of our careers. We start questioning if we truly believe in what we are doing. Is this discipline right for me, is this job right for me, is this what I want – we are engulfed in a haze of confusion.

Most of the stories end with the previous stage where people just succumb to their way of life, living in denial of any revolution required. The true success are those that overcome the previous stage to have courage to accept that they need a change of course. This is the day when Goddess Durga slays Mahishasura and this is the stage of our lives that decide who will we become.

Once we decide to make that transformation, we let go of our fears and plunge into the unknown. We confront what is wrong with our careers and lives and have the strength to let go of that, to completely venture into the uncertainty. This is where people find their calling, they switch jobs, they push for their own startups and they do it even though it may mean leaving behind the benefits.

From this battlefield of our inner conflicts, we then emerge rejuvenated, finding our true potential. We understand that it is not just short-lived success that we must chase after but long-term learnings and satisfaction. We are reborn into our new roles, experienced from the struggles of the past but much wiser for the possibilities of the future.

Finally, as we close the chapters of our careers, we find true enlightenment, our purpose of being. This is when we start to get clarity in terms of why our past had to happened to get us to the present that we are and lead us to the future that can be. We are finally at peace with our decisions having found true success in our inner potential.

Not every individual may go through the same stages of career and in the same order. But we all begin at same start line of intiationa and at the finish line of enlightenment. Some people maybe lucky enough to find their enlightenment without the in between stages of confusion and vulnerability, for others it might be a tougher journey. Nonetheless, everyone charts their unique journey to success and however we may reach it, we must remember where we started from and where we are going to. And no matter what the circumstances, there will be triumph of justice and good as long as we are true to ourselves.

J K Varshika is a PGP 2017-2019 student of IIM Bangalore.

Media Cell IIMB is the student run outreach and communication committee of IIM Bangalore dedicated to form the bridge within the student community and the outside world.

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