According to Adivasi legend the conflict between Durga and Ganga was a verbal but fond abuse between two village women.
Why is Ganga perched in Shiva’s head, Durga wants to know.
“It is Shiva himself who has folded me into his long tresses” says Ganga but Durga demands to know why Ganga qualifies for the honour.
“My water is supposed to be purifying”, Gaga replies. This only makes Durga furious to hear “That Old windbag”, muttering “So Mahadevi, the god of gods, needs her purifying touch. is it?”
“Who am I to talk of pure and impure? Why don’t you go and ask your husband?’
“Hold it” shouts Durga “you think I should bother Shiva over such trifles?”‘
“Well, bless yourself that I have not begun to sing your praises!” says Durga
Durga retorts “Killing eight new born’s, a blot on motherhood, that is what you are, don’t you question my reputation”
“The infants tat were born to me from king Shantanu were Ashta vastu and I had to kill them to lift the curse of them, otherwise which mother would do such a thing? So easily you abuse me, yet the world knows me as Triok-tarini. What about you?”
“None can equal my virtue” says Durga. “The world trembles at my power.”
“Well done, virtuous lady, married your own son? In the beginning you alone as Primordial energy permeated the world. Shiva himself was born of you. With this knowledge, how could you take him as your husband?”
“Your dumb, how would have creation happened otherwise?” replies Durga. “Besides, I had already taken 108 births and rebirths before I married Shiva.”
….. And so back and forth the debate continues unravelling the many myths of Durga and Ganga until each must admit the power and virtue of each other that strikes the chord of friendship.
Here the myth is painted and sung by the Patua painters of Bengal. The artists Manimala Chitrakar and Shri Gurupad Chitrakar are from the Midrapur region of Bengal. The art work is painted on a sora, or terracotta plate.