Goddess Durga and her powers
Sindhu Culture is noted for its worship of women empowerment. Goddess Durga is one such deity who symbolises power within all of us. She is worshipped in various forms in the Hindu mythology. She is the incarnation of goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. However, the Avatar of Durga symbolises one who clears all obstacles and takes humanity to the divine path of salvation. In this article, we will highlight the innermost power of consciousness which Goddess Durga gives us. So tie up your boots to find the true self within you. Let’s find the Durga within us!!
Mythology: According to the Hindu mythology Goddess Durga is the combination of Goddess Kali, Laxmi and Swarswati. She is often called the Avatar of goddess Parvati or Goddess Kali. She is the consort of Lord Shiva. A popular myth revolves around the creation of Goddess Durga. The demon king Mahishasura captured heaven and tortured the humankind including Gods. Then all the Gods prayed to goddess Adishakti, to help them. The Goddess pleased with their devotion transformed herself into Goddess Durga and killed Mahishasura. From then she was known as Mahishasura Mardini. However she got the name Durga after defeating the demon Durgamasur. She is symbolic of positive energy defeating all the negative forces. She grants protection to all her devotees from evil forces. She is worshipped with utmost devotion in the Hindu religion. She is worshipped during the Navratri in her Avatars. The Durga Puja mainly takes place in October for four days. This is the most important festival in West Bengal. However, in recent time the goddess is worshipped even in other countries. She is the goddess of strength, nurturer and protection. According to legends, she is the other half of Lord Shiva. Shiva is the form and Durga is the expression. She rides on the lion which is symbolic of power. Goddess Durga riding on the lion is the ultimate Shakti. She is also known as Triambake meaning three eyes. The three eyes represent Agni, Surya and Chandra meaning fire, sun and moon. The word symbolises the one who is invincible. The devotees while visiting mother goddess’s temples experience the pious power of Devi Durga. She is the primordial cosmic energy who is the centre of the whole universe. She is symbolic of the dynamic force that moves through the whole universe. The divine feminine creative energy is called Shakti. In some versions, it is mentioned that she created Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma and gave them the tasks of creation, maintenance and destruction. She is the Parama Pakriti, Parvati. She comprises all the three qualities of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. The Goddess took many forms but the most influential were Mahakali, Mahasaraswati and Mahalakshmi who are the active energies of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva respectively. The Kali Avatar of the goddess represents the tamas gun and she is the fierce aspect of the goddess. She is the basic of all mystical energies and of the darker forces. Goddess Durga is also worshipped in her Navadurga form. She comprises of the strengths of all the Tridevas and other deities. The nine aspects of the deity are worshipped on the nine days of the Navratri. The avatars are symbolic of her divine powers. So let’s look into the nine incarnations of Goddess Durga.
Shailputri: She is the first to be worshipped among the nine Durga. She is symbolic of extreme power and judgement. She is the daughter of the king of mountains Himalaya and queen Meyanavati. In her earlier birth, she was the daughter of King Daksha and is symbolic of rock like determination and conviction. She was called Sati or Bhavani. According to legends, Once king Daksha arranged for a Yajna in which he did not invite Shiva. Sati arrived there uninvited and was insulted by King Daksha. She burned herself in the celestial fire and again took birth as Parvati.
Brahmacharini: She is worshipped on the second day. She is symbolic of Brahma Gyan and penance. Brahma means Tapa. She is a very gorgeous goddess. She carries Rosary on her right hand and Kamandal on her left hand. She is symbolic of merriment. She performed penance to marry Lord Shiva. She is also called Uma.
Chandraghanta: She is worshiped on the third day and the third power of Goddess Durga. She is symbolic of grace and divine. She bears a half circular moon on her forehead. The golden colour of her skin increases her charm. She has three eyes and ten arms holding different weapons. She sits on Lion and is symbolic of bravery. The sound of her bell causes terror among all evil forces.
Khusmanda: She is the fourth Durga significant of power. She is the creator of the universe and resides in the solar system. Her shine is bright in all the ten directions of the universe. With her right hands, she carries Rosary in one and seven other weapons. She rides a lion
Skanda Mata: She is the fifth Durga symbolic of courage and compassion. She is the fire deity. She has four hands with Skanda her son on lap. Skanda or Kartikeya is the army Chief of the gods. This deity is even worshipped by the demons.
Katayani: She is the sixth Durga. People worship her to get renunciation and protection. She is the daughter of Rishi Katayan who observed penance for obtaining the goddess as her daughter. She has three eyes and eight hands. She rides on a Lion.
Kalratri: She is the seventh Durga. She is symbolic of power and destruction. She is dark as night with unlocked hairs. Her necklaces shine like lightening. Her three eyes are round like the universe. She has bright eyes. Her respiration is equivalent to thousands of flames. She rides on a dead body carrying a sword in her hand. Her lower hand is in blessing form. She carries a torch in her other hand to grant her devotees fearlessness. She signifies piousness and is also called Subhkumari.
Maha Gauri: She is the eight Durga. She represents fearlessness, divinity and strength. She is as fair as the moon, conch and Jasmine. With three divine eyes, she wears white and clean adornments. She has four hands and rides on a bull. Her left hand lifts up in fearless mudra and her right hand holds Trisul. She signifies tranquillity and peace. According to legends, when her body is dirty with dust from penance, Lord Shiva cleans it with the water of river Ganges. Then her body shines like lightening. Hence the name Maha Gauri.
Siddhidatri: She is the ninth Durga. There are eight Siddhis namely Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Iishitva & Vashitva. She is the giver of all these Siddhis. According to Shaktipuran, even Lord Shiva got all his powers by worshipping Goddess Maha Shakti. By the Goddess’s gratitude, half body of Shiva became of Maha Shakti and hence the Avatar Ardhnarishwar. She rides on a lion with four hands. She is worshipped by all the beings on the earth whether Rishis or Asuras.
Goddess Durga is symbolic of wrath yet a bewitching form. The nine days of Navratri starts from new moon day. It takes place in the Asvin and is the most auspicious time in the Hindu calendar. This is celebrated as Durga Puja. This ends with Ram Navami and is sacred and pious. According to legends, even Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga before the battle of Lanka. He worshipped her with 108 blue lotus flowers which is crucial for the rituals of the Goddess. The deity to test Rama’s devotion took away one flower. Rama in turn offered her his own blue eye. The Goddess was pleased by him and blessed him. She is even worshipped in Buddhism and Jainism as the protector Goddess. Her weapons symbolise her powers. These are namely:
Sankha(Conch): This was granted to her by the God of water Varun. This is symbolic of the cosmic word Om meaning that the Goddess holds the supreme power in the form of sound in her hands.
Vajra(Thunder): Provided by Indra. This signifies firmness. The devotees of the goddess are expected to be firm as thunderbolt. She is symbolic of firm judgement and challenge.
Sudarshan Chakra(Discus): Provided by Lord Vishnu symbolises that the whole cosmos bends down before Goddess Durga’s wills and powers. The weapon is used to destroy evil forces and upheld virtue and nobility.
Bow and Arrow: Given by Vayu and Surya. This is symbolic of the power of vitality.
Trisul or Trident: Provided by Lord Shiva symbolic of creation, preservation and destruction. She waves away all spiritual and physical hindrances.
Sword: The sword in her hand signifies knowledge and learning. It represents information breaking all boundaries.
Mace: In her third right lower hand, the Gada symbolises Hanuman meaning dedication and surrender. All actions in our life must be done with dedication.
Lotus: Goddess Durga holds a half sprouted lotus. It is symbolic of dedication towards achievements but not wholly. It signifies the continuous efforts that a person needs to take in life.
Inner strength: So Goddess Durga is symbolic of our inner strength and how to fight all odds. She is the power within all of us. She is also called Jagadamba. She signifies immortal consciousness and arises from fire. In the form of Aditi she represents the cosmic space as her womb. She takes us beyond death and is the archetype of our minds. In her Tara form, she drives away all obstacles and even revives Mahadev when he drinks poison. She is Adi Shakti our innermost consciousness and the whole cosmos. All black magic starts and ends with her. She is the centre of all tantric forces. She is symbolic of inner reality and spiritual force. She is even the Yoga Shakti creating awareness in one and all. She was born as a human but became the supreme power. Hence she is symbolic of the power within all of us. We all have a Durga inside us.
Hope you had a peaceful reading and hopefully Goddess Durga enlightens all of us. We all should get the power to fight all odds. And girls bring out the Durga in you and fight back. With this thought we will leave you here but stay connected with us. We promise to be back soon. May Goddess Durga dwell in all of you. Stay strong and keep fighting.