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The Goddess Durga or Maa Durga (Mother Durga) is one of the most powerful Goddesses in Hinduism. Essentially, to the Hindus, all Goddesses are different representations of one same deity called “Goddess” or “Devi.”
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The Goddess Durga appears as one of the main Devi and she has a very important role as a fierce warrior who protects the world, thus she is known as a Warrior Goddess and also as a Goddess of Protection.
Goddess Durga appears with many faces and many names in various occurrences of her mythology. She is usually represented as a beautiful woman with two or three eyes and eight or ten arms, holding a divine weapon in each hand.
- Attributes: Goddess of Power, Protection and Mother of the Universe
- Symbols: Fire, lions, bowls with rice, spoons and yellow things in general
- Place: India
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Goddess Durga – Warrior Goddess
According to Hindu mythology, when the buffalo demon Mahishasura (Mahish = buffalo and Asura = demon) defeated the Gods commanded by Indra, his reign of terror took over the world. The Gods then united and created an emanation of Shakti, the primordial feminine energy. This emanation was Chandi, the fierce and uncontrollable face of Goddess Durga.
According to the passage “The Origin of the Goddess from the Gods” from the book Classical Hindu Mythology which brings a translation of the Puranas:
Her mouth was born from the energy that arose from Sambhu; from Yama’s energy came the hairs of her head, and from Visnu’s her arms. From the energy of the moon were born her two breasts; from Indra’s her waist. From Varuna’s energy came her calves and thighs, and from energy itself, her genitals. From the energy of Brahma arose her feet, her toes from the Sun’s; from the Vasus’ came her fingers and hands, her nostrils from Kubera’s. Her teeth sprang from the energy of Prajapati and her three eyes from that of Fire. From the energy of the two twilights came her eyebrows, and her ears from the wind’s.
You can find the book on Amazon:
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Goddess Durga received the weapons from the Gods and fiercely faced Mahishasura. An interesting point, noted by the author of the book above, is that the Hindu Goddesses are usually married to Gods and represent either equilibrium or duality. The exception is Goddess Durga and Goddess Kali (Goddess Durga manifestation) who are not married.
When Mahishasura realizes he is losing the battle for Durga he asks her in marriage saying that a woman like her should not be on a battlefield. Durga’s answer is:
“I may be stubborn, but there is a desire in my heart, great demon. Only he who conquers me in battle shall be my husband!”.
Soon after the lion (or tiger) of Durga attacks the buffalo of the demon and her victory begins. Durga <3
Goddess Durga – Goddess of Protection
The word “Durga”, in Sanskrit, is translated as a stronghold or local that is difficult to fall. Hindus believe that the Goddess Durga protects her devotees from the evil and misery of the world.
The Goddess Durga carries in her hands several objects that were given to her by the Gods during the battle against Mahishasura. The accessories worn by Durga were also gifts from the Gods. Some of the objects are:
Some of the weapons and objects given to Goddess Durga and their meanings
- Chakram: Given by Krishna, it turns around the index finger of the Goddess without ever being touched. It symbolizes justice or dharma.
- Shell (or conch): Given by Varuna, it symbolizes the word “Ohm”, a mantra that indicates a connection with the divine through sound.
- Bow and Arrow: Given by Surya, they represent energy. Durga holds them in the same hand, demonstrating their power over potential and kinetic energy.
- Thunder: Given by Indra, this weapon symbolizes firmness of mind. Thunder can destroy where it falls without being affected, and so must be Durga’s devotee, overcoming his challenges without losing confidence in himself.
- Lotus Flower: Given by the ocean. The flower is not fully blossomed in the hand of the Goddess, symbolizing a certainty of future success, the awakening of spiritual awareness. The lotus is a flower that manages to be born in the midst of filth (and its Sanskrit name, “pankaja”, means that), and this represents the devotee who manages to rise spiritually in the midst of adversity.
- Staff: Given by Yama, this object represents sharp knowledge and intellect.
- Spear: Given by Agni, the spear destroys negativity and ensures prosperity.
- Axe: Vishwakarma’s gift, this weapon hits any enemy regardless of their defence. Durga’s blessings will help those seeking to defeat any threat.
- Trident (or Trishul): Present of Shiva, it is a symbol of the three Gunas (three qualities in a human): Satvva (creative force), Rajas (manifestation) and Tamas (inertia). The Gunas represent a triangle of opposing and complementary forces, balancing existence. Durga manages to give the courage to fight with his evils to someone who is not aligned with any of these qualities.
Goddess Durga – Mother Goddess
The Goddess Durga is also known as Maa Durga (Mother Durga). This side prizes her protective side, protecting the world against threats.
Durga also has nine aspects (which are also deities by themselves) that are honoured during the nine days of her festival in September. They are: Skondamata, Kusumanda, Shailaputri, Kaalratri, Brahmacharini, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, Chandraghanta and Siddhidatri.
In addition to these various “existences,” Durga also has many names: 108 exactly. During the days of the Durga Puja festival, her devotees pray to the Goddess in her 108 names.
Summoning Goddess Durga
The main festival for the Goddess Durga, the Durga Puja, takes place at the end of September. Her devotees thank the Goddess for her deeds and urge her to continue offering protection.
During the 6 days of the festival various rituals are performed for different aspects, and anyone who wants to show devotion to the Goddess can perform them, but it is important to study them, as well as the festival itself so that they can be performed correctly.
Below you can find a simple ritual to ask for protection from the Goddess, not requiring much in-depth study.
Necessary items for Goddess Durga’s ritual:
- A Candle
- An Incense
- A bowl of rice with a spoon
- A Durga’s Symbol (optional if you want to work on some deeper aspect of yourself.) To work the desired aspect, use some symbol that refers to the equivalent weapon carried by the Goddess
No matter the time of day, perform the ritual in a quiet place.
Light the candle and the incense, meditating on your request.
You can use Durga’s mantra to facilitate meditation:
“Om Dum Durgayei Namaha” which means “Om and greetings to the feminine energy that protects against all forms of negative energies”
Call Goddess Durga to thank her for the protection she gives every day and to ask her to continue this way.
Thank her again and leave the candle and the incense burning. You can consume the rice or bury it.
Whenever you want, light the candle again, referring your thoughts to the Goddess so that she will always protect you.
Also read about other Hindu Goddesses