ॐ Hindu Of Universe ॐ

“God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.”


Durga is an incarnation of Devi or the Mother Goddess, a unified symbol of all divine forces. For Shaivas Durga is the wife of Shiva. For Vaishnavas and Shaktas Durga is another form of Uma or Parvati.

The Hindu Goddess Durga manifested when evil forces threathened the very existance of the Gods. To destroy these demons, all gods offered their radiance to her creation and each formed part of Durga’s body. Durga also obtained very powerful weapons, such as the chakra from Vishnu and a trident from Shiva.

Durga killed the powerful demon Mahish and all his great commanders. Demonic forces are self-destructive but very powerful. Divine forces are constructive but slow and efficient. When demonic forces create imbalance, all gods unite, becoming one divine force called Shakti or Durga.

Durga Puja
Visit Us @ www.MumbaiHangOut.Org

Origin of Durga – The Mythology

Devi is the great goddess of the Hindus,the consort of Shiva and she is worshiped in various forms corresponding to her two aspects: benevolence and fierceness. She is Uma, “light”; Gauri, “yellow or brilliant”; Parvati, “the mountaineer” ; and Jagatmata, “the-mother- of-the-world” in her milder guise. The terrible emanations are Durga “the inaccessible” ; Kali, “the black”; Chandi, “the fierce”; and Bhairavi, “the terrible.”

Descent of the Goddess
Durga, a beautiful warrior seated upon a tiger, was the first appearance of the great goddess. The circumstance of her miraculous arrival was the tyranny of the monster-demon Mahishasur, who through terrific austerities had acquired invincible strength. The gods were afraid of this water-buffalo bull because neither Vishnu nor Shiva could prevail against him. It seemed that the joint energy of Shakti was only capable of vanquishing Mahisha, and so it was the eighteen-armed Durga who went out to do battle.

She went to battle on her ferocious mount lion, armed with the weapons given to her by the other Gods. Durga is one of the angry and aggressive aspects of the goddess Shakti, whose role in Hindu mythology was to fight and conquer demons and also personify the Sakti or female aspect of any male deity. In the battle, she fought and killed the evil Mahishasura and restored heaven to the Gods. Since then the goddess is invoked for protection from the powers of evil. Durga Puja is observed in her honor, to celebrate her victory over evil.

Revered Mother
She has been worshiped from about 400 AD, but probably earlier, to the present. Her literary references are chiefly the Ramayana and Mahabharata, epic and Puranic texts, and she is mentioned by name in Vedic literature. In general, Durga is regarded in northern India as the gentle bride epitomizing family unity while in southern India she is revered more in her warrior aspect.


The festival of Dassehra, also known as Vijayadashmi, is one of the fascinating festivals of India and is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm. According to the great Hindu scripture, the Ramayana, Lord Rama performed chandi-puja (holy prayer). This was carried out in order to invoke the blessings of Durga Maa for the killing of Ravana, the ten-headed demon king of Sri Lanka who had abducted Seeta, wife of Lord Rama.

Durga Maa divulged the secret to Rama on how he could slay the great Ravana. Hence upon vanquishing the demon Ravana, Lord Rama with Sita and younger brother Laxmana, returned victorious to his kingdom of Ayodhya on the day which is called ‘Diwali’. Revelers across northern India re-enact the legend at sundown in a performance called the Ramlila, featuring actors dressed as Rama shooting flaming arrows at effigies stuffed with firecrackers.

Dassera day is considered a most auspicious day. It is a time-honored belief that if any new venture is started on this day, it is bound to be successful. Hence, all the undertakings be it laying-in of foundation of a new building, opening of a new commercial establishment or even initiating a child into the world of learning- are started on this day. Also on this day implements of agriculture, manufacturer’ s machines, the intellectuals pens, the household articles, the children’s school books are placed before the idol of Durga and worshiped.

The Bengali Belief
Sati, the consort of Shiva was the daughter of Daksha Prajaapati a descendant of Bhrama. Sati had married Shiva against the wishes of her father. Daksha was sponsoring a sacrifice and attendees came from various parts of the universe. He invited all of the gods and goddesses except his son in law Shiva. Against Shiva’s wishes, Sati attended this sacrifice and was insulted by her father. Unable to bear this insult, Sati immolated herself.

Enraged at the insult and the injury, Shiva destroyed Daksha’s sacrifice, cut off Daksha’s head and when pleaded by other gods, replaced it with that of a goat and restored him to life. Still berserk with grief, he picked up the remains of Sati’s body, and danced the dance of destruction throughout the Universe. The other gods intervened to stop this dance, and the disk of Vishnu cut through the corpse of Sati, whose various parts of the body fell at several spots all through the Indian subcontinent and formed the sites of what are known as Shakti Peethas today.

Shiva was finally pacified when the last piece fell off from his shoulder. Narayana revived sati as Uma for a new life. Ever since peace was restored, Uma, with her children, Ganesh and Kartick, and with her two ‘sakhis’ – Jaya and Bijaya, comes to visit her parent’s home each year during the season of ‘Sharat’ or autumn when Durga Puja is celebrated.

Mahalaya ushers in the aura of Durga Puja. The countdown for the Durga Puja begins much earlier, from the day of ‘Janmastami’ . It is only from the day of Mahalaya that the preparations for the Durga Puja reaches the final stage. The midnight chants of various hymns of ‘Mahishasura Mardini’ reminds one of the beginning of Durga Puja.

Mahalaya is an auspicious occasion observed seven days before the Durga Puja, and heralds the advent of Durga, the goddess of supreme power. It’s a kind of invocation or invitation to the mother goddess to descend on earth – “Jago Tumi Jago”. This is done through the chanting of mantras and singing devotional songs.

The day of Mahalaya is also the day of remembrance. On this day, people offer ‘tarpan’ in memory of their deceased forefathers. The banks of River Ganga becomes a sea of humanity. Priests are seen busy performing ‘Tarpan’ for devotees in groups. The rituals start from early down and end during the midday. Devotees and worshipers buy clothes and sweets to offer to their forefathers. ‘Tarpan’ is to be performed in empty stomach. After offering ‘tarpan’, people eat at the same place.



Goddess Durga: the Female Form as the Supreme Being
O Mother!
Thee, who is present everywhere,
thee who is the embodiment of power and Energy!
I Bow to Thee! I Bow to Thee! I Bow to Thee!

Durga – the goddess of power and strength, is perhaps the most important goddess of the Hindus. She is a multi-dimensional Goddess, with many names, many personas, and many facets. As Mahishasuramardini or Shakti, she is the destroyer of evil – with her ten mighty arms carrying lethal weapons she triumphantly slays the demon Mahishasura. As Sati, beloved daughter of King Daksha and Queen Menaka she gives up a kingdom and earns her father’s wrath. As Kali, she turns black as the night and omnipotent, terrible in rage and fury, with just a string of skulls as her garland and her only garb. As Parvati, she is serene, the pretty consort of Lord Shiva by his side in the snowy peaks of the Kailash mountain. She is Bhawani, symbol of life. She is Sati, the object of death. She is Basanti, the heralder of springtime. She is also Amba, Jagadhatri, Tara, Ambika, Annapurna.

Durga, through all her forms, encompasses the essence of salvation and sacrifice. She is the mother of bounty and wealth, as also of beauty and knowledge, for her daughters are Lakshmi and Saraswati (Hindu goddesses of wealth and knowledge, respectively).

She is the embodiement of purity, knowledge, truth and self-realization. The highest form of truth present in any being or Jiva is known as “Aatman” or supreme consciousness. This supreme consciousness or the absolute soul is infinite, birthless, deathless, beyond time and space, and beyond the law of causation. Goddess Durga is the inherent dynamic energy through which this supreme consciousness manifests itself.

Goddess Durga represents the power of the Supreme Being that preserves moral order and righteousness in the universe. She is the energy aspect of the Lord. Without Durga, Lord Shiva has no expression and without Shiva, Durga has no existence. Lord Shiva is only the silent witness. He is motionless, absolutely changeless. He is not affected by the cosmic play. Shiva has no direct connection with the tangible elements in the universe and is obliged to emanate a manifestation, an emission of energy, shakti, through the goddess. It is Durga who is the doer of all actions. Shiva and Durga are regarded as the twofold personalization of Brahman, the primeval substance.

The Sanskrit word Durga means a fort, or a place that is protected and thus difficult to reach. Durga, also called Divine Mother, protects mankind from evil and misery by destroying evil forces such as selfishness, jealousy, prejudice, hatred, anger, and ego.

The projection of the stronger and fiercer side of womanhood is but obvious in the tales surrounding goddess Durga. According to certain mythological tales, Durga is thought to be the skin of Parvati, which slips off and fights the demon brothers – Shumbha and Nishumbha. Sometimes Durga is supposed to have created helpers to fight for her, Kali being the most famous. In other versions she is supposed to have created the Saptamatrikas, the Seven Mothers, who were originally Yaksha gods.

The absence of any male influence as well as of any male assistance, in Durga’s fierce battles with male demons, is worth noting. The most interesting facet of the tales of her origin is not that she is presented as Shakti – the divine power – but rather, that she assumes the powers of the male gods to save the universe.

Hindu mythology tells an interesting tale of the fierce battle of Durga with Mahishasura, a demon who earned the favour of Lord Shiva after long and hard penance. Lord Shiva, pleased with the devotion of the demon, blessed him with a boon that no man or deity would be able to kill him. Empowered with the boon, Mahishasura started his reign of terror over the Universe and people were killed mercilessly. He even attacked the abode of the gods. The war between gods and demons lasted a hundred years, in which Mahishasura was the leader of the Asuras or demons and Indra was the chief of the gods. In this contest the army of the gods was defeated by the more powerful demons. When Mahishasura conquered the gods, he became their leader.

The gods, utterly defeated, took refuge under Lord Brahma, who took them to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Having heard of the misdeeds of the demons, pure energy blazed forth from Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – the trinity forming the pure energy of Godhood. As the gods witnessed this fiery crest of energy pervading all the directions and blazing forth like a mountain peak aflame with the sun, this matchless energy that sprang from the bodies of all the gods, its light illuminating the three worlds, became concentrated in one spot and took form of the Goddess. Her face was from the light of Shiva. Her ten arms were from Lord Vishnu. Her feet were from Lord Brahma. The tresses were formed from the light of Yama (god of death) and the two breasts were formed from the light of Somanath (Moon God), the waist from the light of Indra (the king of gods), the legs and thighs from the light of Varun (god of oceans), and hips from the light of Bhoodev (Earth), the toes from the light of Surya (Sun God), fingers of the hand from the light of the Vasus (the children of Goddess river Ganga) and nose from the light of Kuber (the keeper of wealth for the Gods). The teeth were formed from the light of Prajapati (the lord of creatures), the Triad of her eyes was born from the light of Agni (Fire God), the eyebrows from the two Sandhyas (sunrise and sunset), the ears from the light of Vayu (god of Wind). Thus from the energy of these gods, as well as from many other gods, was formed the goddess Durga.

The gods then gifted the goddess with their weapons and other divine objects to help her in her battle with the demon, Mahishasura. Lord Shiva gave her a trident while Lord Vishnu gave her a disc. Varuna, gave her a conch and noose, and Agni gave her a spear. From Vayu, she received arrows. Indra, gave her a thunderbolt, and the gift of his white-skinned elephant Airavata was a bell. From Yama, she received a sword and shield and from Vishwakarma (god of Architecture), an axe and armor. The god of mountains, Himavat gifted her with jewels and a lion to ride on. Durga was also given many other precious and magical gifts, new clothing, and a garland of immortal lotuses for her head and breasts.

The beautiful Durga, bedecked in jewels and golden armor and equipped with the fearsome weaponry of the gods, was ready to engage in battle with the fierce and cruel Mahishasura. Her lion’s thunderous roars shook the three worlds. Oceans boiled and surf poured overland. Continents were torn at their granite foundations as whole new chains of mountains rose, while older ranges crumbled, cracked, and gave way to dust in a thousand landslides. Mahishasura and his demon allies found their attention drawn from heaven to Earth, as Durga’s power moved its way towards heaven. Though confident of their power and control in heaven, the demons could not help being awestruck.

As Mahishasura’s armies were struck down effortlessly by Durga, it became obvious to him that he was not as secure in heaven as he had thought. No demon could fight her and win. Her breath would replenish her armies – bringing back to life all of her soldiers who fell. From Airavata’s gift, the bell, came a confusing clamor. The demons were in chaos and were easily defeated and captured. The ground was left littered with the broken limbs and body parts of the defeated demon army.

Mahishasura was shocked and enraged by the disastrous events on the battlefield. He took on the form of a demonic buffalo, and charged at the divine soldiers of Durga, goring and killing many and lashing out with his whip-like tail. Durga’s lion pounced on the demon-buffalo and engaged him in a battle. While he was thus engaged, Durga threw her noose around his neck.

Mahishasura then assumed the form of a lion and when Durga beheaded the lion, Mahishasura escaped in the form of a man who was immediately face to face with a volley of arrows from Durga. The demon escaped yet again and then having assumed the form of a huge elephant, battered Durga’s lion with a tusk. With her sword Durga hacked the tusk into pieces.

The demon reverted once more to the form of the wild buffalo. He hid himself in the mountains from where he hurled boulders at Durga with his horns. Durga drank the divine nectar, the gift of Kuber. She then pounced on Mahishasura, pushing him to the ground with her left leg. She grasped his head in one hand, pierced him with her sharp trident held in another, and with yet another of her ten hands she wielded her bright sword, beheading him. At last he fell dead, and the scattered surviving remnants of his once invincible army fled in terror.


The Gods bowed to the goddess and showered their praises on the goddess following her victory:

“Mother, you have created this universe. You are the strength of all. Devatas (Gods), Rishis (sages), Yakshas (demi-gods), Kinnaras (heavenly musicians with human bodies and heads of horses) all bow to you. Even Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar (Lord Shiva) do not know you fully. For the Dharmik (righteous) you are Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth), for the adharmiks (evil) you are Alakshmi (she who brings misfortune). You are buddhi (knowledge), you are lajja (modesty), you are shraddha (respect). You were there always and will be there forever. You are the adhar (source) for all, You are Prakriti (nature). You save the earth by killing the numerous asuras (demons).”

The tale of Durga continues beyond Mahishasura, through the tale of goddess Kaushiki, another form of goddess Durga. After Mahishasura, two more demon brothers, Shumbha and Nishumbha forcibly drove the gods out of heaven. The gods then started praying to Mahamaya – the mother Goddess – to help them. At that moment, Goddess Parvati – wife of Lord Shiva – was going to take a bath in the river. After Parvati heard their tale of woe, a beautiful woman emerged from Parvati’s body. She was named Kaushiki. Upon the emergence of Kaushiki, Parvati’s body turned black and she then became known as Kalika.

Kaushiki was spotted by Chanda and Munda, the two trusted assistants of Shumbha and Nishumbha. They reported to their masters, that they had spotted a beautiful woman. Shumbha then sent a messenger to Kaushiki. The messenger, Sugriva, went to Kaushiki and informed her of the desire of their masters, Shumbha and Nishumbha, who were also the rulers of the heavens, that Kaushiki marry either of the two demon brothers. Kaushiki, feigning innocence replied that she was very foolish and that she had pledged that she would marry only that person who would defeat her in warfare. She asked Sugriva to convey to his masters that whoever could defeat her in battle could win her. On hearing this, Shumbha sent Dhumralochana to capture the goddess. Initially the asura (demon) tried to persuade the Devi to accompany him, but when she refused, he rushed to capture her. The goddess uttered a mantra and the asura was reduced to ashes. On hearing this, Shumbha sent Chanda and Munda to capture the Devi. On seeing Chanda and Munda coming, Kaushiki wriggled her eyebrows. From the eyebrows emerged a ferocious looking goddess with a sword and a noose in her hands. She wore a tiger skin around her body. Her big eyes were red and from her tongue saliva dribbled. She was goddess Kali. Kali jumped among the asuras (demons) and started killing them. She killed Chanda and Munda and dragged their bodies to Kaushiki. This gave Kali the name of Chamunda.

The asuras, after the death of Chanda and Munda, attacked the goddesses Kaushiki and Kali from all sides. At that moment, from the bodies of the various gods, women forces began emerging. These goddesses started fighting along with Kaushiki. Kali then approached Shiva and requested Lord Shiva to ask Shumbha and Nishumbha to surrender. This act of Kali requesting Lord Shiva to be her messenger earned her the name Shivaduti – (she whose messenger is Shiva). Hearing Shiva’s message, the asuras became even more ferocious. Among the asuras there was one named Raktabija. If a drop of his blood, dropped on the ground, another asura would spring forth from that drop of blood. Unknowingly, the goddesses attacked Raktabeeja and from his flowing blood numerous Raktabeejas emerged. Following this, Kali swallowed up Raktabeeja and the asuras which emerged from his blood.

Upon Raktabeeja’s death, Nishumbha was killed by Kaushiki after he attacked her. After Shumbha too was defeated, he asked if so many goddesses fighting against a solitary demon was fair. In response, all the goddesses merged into Kaushiki and thereafter she killed the evil Nishumbha.

Durga is also equated with Mahamaya – the supreme creator of illusions and attachment – the one whose spell even the gods cannot elude. There is an interesting tale related to Mahamaya. Before the creation of the universe, water pervaded all space. In that water, Lord Vishnu rested in Yoga Nidra (deep slumber), which was a result of a divine spell cast by Mahamaya on Lord Vishnu. From the navel of Lord Vishnu appeared Lord Brahma, the creator, seated on a lotus. From the wax in Lord Vishnu’s ear were formed two demons, Madhu and Kaitabha. Madhu and Kaitabha were supposed to be companions of Brahma but being demons they indulged in naughty acts, which disturbed Lord Vishnu’s slumber and he ordered them to limit their fun and frolic in the depths of the ocean so that his cosmic slumber wouldn’t be disturbed. Though the demons went away they pledged vengeance on Lord Vishnu. They propitiated the Mahamaya and appeased her into giving them a boon of choice of their own death, which she granted them. The demons then decided to come back to where Brahma and Vishnu resided and started scaring Brahma. Seeing this Lord Vishnu decided to kill the two demons but he could do little since they were protected by Mahamaya’s boon. Brahma and Vishnu then propitiated Mahamaya. Mahamaya used her powers of illusion and cast spells on the two demons, which made them grant a boon to Lord Vishnu. They granted Lord Vishnu the boon of being able to kill them, on the condition that he did so only where there be no earth or water, no air or ether, neither mind nor intelligence and not even false ego. Taking this opportunity, Lord Vishnu squashed the two demons on his thigh, which was neither of earth, water, air, ether, fire, mind, intelligence or false ego, since Lord Vishnu’s was a transcendental body. Thus the Mahamaya using her skills at illusions brought the evil demons to their own end.

Durga is also equated with two other popular Indian goddesses – Sati and Parvati – both consorts of Lord Shiva, though at different points in time. Though all three are worshipped separately, they are seen to be the form of the same goddess Durga.

Sati was the first-born daughter of king Daksha, one of the progenitors of mankind. Sati, right from her childhood, started worshipping Lord Shiva as her would-be husband. Shiva, being pleased with the worship of Sati, came to marry her. Daksha did not like this tiger-skin clad groom with ash and dirt over all of his body. Sati however got married to Shiva against her father’s wishes. King Daksha, later on, arranged for a yagna (Hindu form of penance where offerings are made to a holy pyre which represents the fire god) where everyone except Shiva was invited. Sati, despite Shiva’s objections went to attend the yagna and was subsequently subjected to insulting remarks made by her father. Not being able to bear this insult, Sati immolated herself in sacrificial fire. Hearing this news Shiva flew in a rage and reached there with his blazing trident and along with his followers of demi-gods, destroyed the sacrificial altar and beheaded king Daksha. Then, lifting up Sati’s body, he started his violent dance, Tandava -the dance of destruction. As the entire creation looked on with fear as the earth shook and winds roared and the oceans heaved, Lord Vishnu used his Sudarshan Chakra (divine disc) to cut off Sati’s body into pieces while Shiva held on to it and kept dancing. As the last of her pieces fell from Shiva’s shoulder, he was finally pacified. Shiva then restored life to Daksha using a goat’s head as a replacement for Daksha’s own. The spots where the pieces of Sati’s body fell are now known as Shaktipeeths and are spread over 51 places in the Indian subcontinent.

In her next life, Sati appeared as Parvati, the daughter of Himalaya. After the loss of Sati, Lord Shiva had lost interest in worldly matters and marriage did not interest him anymore. Parvati, however, being Sati reincarnate, wanted to marry Lord Shiva, and identical to Sati, Parvati too practiced severe austerities for a thousand years to appease Lord Shiva, who eventually agreed to marry Parvati. The wedding of Shiva and Parvati is described in a very colorful manner in ancient Hindu Puranic literature, describing the merry-making procession of the followers of Lord Shiva – mendicants, wanderers and the lot – following him to Parvati’s home for his wedding.

There is an interesting tale about how Parvati came to be called Durga. On one occasion the sage Agastya asked Lord Kartikeya why Parvati, his mother, was called Durga. Kartikeya replied that once there was a demon, named Durga, the son of Ruru. He with his austerities pleased Lord Brahma and with his blessings, became very powerful. He conquered the three worlds and even dethroned Indra, the king of Gods. He abolished all religious ceremonies. Brahmins were terrified and stopped reading Vedas. All the gods assembled and prayed to Lord Shiva to protect them from the tyranny of this demon. Shiva took pity on them and asked goddess Parvati to go and destroy the evil demon. She calmed the Gods and agreed to slay the evil Durga. There was long and fierce battle. As soon as the demon came near with his evil followers, Parvati assumed thousand arms and also brought out a number of weapons out of her body. Just as in the legend of Durga and Mahishasura, here too, Goddess Parvati, with her trident, killed the evil Durga, who had assumed the form of a buffalo. The Gods, pleased with the goddess, honored her by naming her Goddess Durga.

Origins of Durga as a Deity
Traces of origin of Durga as a deity have been found in wild regions such as the Vindhya Mountains and with old tribes such as the Sabaras and Pulindas. Probably these roots associate her with the non-Aryan habits of drinking alcohol and non-vegeterianism. Durga is first mentioned in the Mahabharata as a virgin delighting in wine, flesh, and animal sacrifice. Durga’s association with agriculture, especially in her major festival, the Durga Puja, may arise from her early origins. She is thought to be the power inherent in the growth of crops and in all vegetation.

The origin of goddess Durga can be, very strangely, traced back to the Mesopotamian culture. The depictions and form of goddess Ishtar, worshipped in Mesopotamia, hold a striking resemblance to those of goddess Durga in Hindu religious texts. Mesopotamia of ancient times is an area, which is mostly covered by present day Iraq. The goddess Ishtar was worshipped by the Sumerians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and even Romans and Egyptians, since about 2000 B.C. and probably even before that, since an epic called the descent of Ishtar was already traced to an old tale of that time. Ishtar is described as an independent goddess who roamed the forests and deserts at will and was a constant seeker of battle. She was depicted as riding a lion and had multiple arms holding many weapons. She was thought to have had many lovers from all sorts of backgrounds and probably this was seen as a probable cause of her immense popularity with the common man of those days since he preferred her raw energy to pretensions and pomposity often associated with most other gods. This feeling of her transcending class division was emphasized by the wide-ranging profile of lovers from all social classes.

{{image -9}}
Possibly through trade routes and ancient cross-cultural contacts, goddess Ishtar found her way into ancient Hinduism. However, the nature of promiscuity of Ishtar did not probably find favor with the ancient Hindus and hence those characteristics of hers, which alluded to promiscuity, were discarded and thus goddess Durga took form in ancient Hindu religion. Other forms of Durga have been found in other regions, cultures and religions too – with evidence of similar deities in Japanese-Buddhist art forms.

Widespread worship of goddess Durga is found in texts of the 4th and 7th centuries A.D., with the resurgence of goddess worship during those times. She is the only female deity after whom an entire Upanisad is named. At the close of the Vedic era there were apparently several goddesses acknowledged as wives of Shiva while other goddesses were worshiped by different castes throughout India. These diverse deities eventually coalesced into the one great goddess, Mahadevi, whose ultimate origin may have been the Mother Goddess of the Indus valley civilization. In the ancient Indus Valley civilization it is obvious that the worship of female deities had a very prominent place in society. The many seals and figurines found provide evidence for the apparently highly important place of female deities in the religion of the time. There is evidence of a Mother or Earth goddess cult being in existence in the period.

The post-Vedic period saw the rise of several goddesses hardly mentioned in the epic period (Mahabharata and Ramayana and Vedas) rising to a dominant position in worship. Durga and Kali were such goddesses and each gathered a following of devotees who held them as the supreme divinity. Durga and Kali were essentially independent but they were still often linked to powerful gods but in a drastically different role than the subservient, model partners played by the goddesses of the epics.

Durga came to be seen as the supreme deity by her devotees and in many aspects was supposed to have a similar role to the highest held male deities. She took on the role of leader of the gods in their struggle against the demons and also, as does Vishnu, comes down to earth to defeat evil. Durga was thought to be particularly pleased with blood offerings. Though associated to Lord Shiva, Durga is still essentially seen as independent.

In the early Medieval period appeared the Great Goddess or Mahadevi. She was to her devotees indisputably the highest manifestation of the divine. The emergence of Mahadevi is evidence of the acceptance by a large section of the population of the highest manifestation of the divine being feminine. Portrayals of Mahadevi can be found in the Devi Mahatmya, Saundaryalahari and the Devi-bhagavata Purana. The Devi Mahatmya is perhaps the most significant, illustrating the emergence and establishment of Devi as the ultimate reality of the universe within the Sanskritized Hindu tradition. As has been mentioned earlier, goddess Durga is essentially equated with the Mahadevi.

Around the fourth century A.D., images of Durga killing a buffalo become common throughout India. After the sixth century and into the medieval period, Durga was well-known and popularly worshipped. In the classical texts, the Puranas, dating from the third to the fifteenth centuries, her mythological exploits are recounted. An entire Purana, the Devibhagavatam, is dedicated to Durga. The most important text is the section of the Markandeya Purana called the Devi Mahatmya, of possibly the seventh century, which is also known as the Durgasaptasati or Chandi Mahatmya. This text is so venerated that every verse is considered a mantra (sacred utterance) of the Goddess.


Various Forms of Goddess Durga
Goddess Durga is propitiated as various forms, as have been mentioned in various holy Hindu texts. Some of these sets of forms overlap partially. All of these forms however mark an independent Goddess who is intricately involved in the protection of nature and cosmic order and in destruction of evil forces who try to overturn this balance.

The Markandeya Purana places the ten forms of Durga in the following order:

Durga: The Goddess who first received and showed her beautiful face to entice the demons.

Dashabhooja: In this fierce ten-armed form of hers, she destroyed a part of the army of demons.

Singha-Vahini: In this form atop a lion, she fought with Raktabeeja, the general of Shumbha and Nishumbha whose drops of blood created thousands of demons.

Mahisha-Mardini: In this form she slew Shumbha, the demon, who had taken the form of a buffalo.

Jagadhatri: In this form she overcame the army of demons.

Kali: In this form she destroyed Raktabeeja by drinking his drops of blood and not allowing them to fall on the ground thus disallowing the further creation of demons from his blood.

Muktakeshi: In this form with flowing hair she overcame another army of demons.

Tara: In this form she killed Sambhu.

Chinnamastika: In this form she killed Nishumbha.

Jagadguree: In this form she was worshipped by all the gods on their salvation from the demons.

Goddess Durga is also intricately associated with three distinct aspects of the cosmos as seen in the Hindu thought process. Durga is said to be associated with Shakti, Maya and Prakriti.

Shakti, the Basis, is the underlying power of the divine, the aspects of the divine that permits and provokes creative activity, a creative force, personified as goddess.

Goddess as Shakti: the male gods contribute their strength and vigor to the goddess, who epitomizes power, action and strength in the battle with demons. Durga is action and power personified and as such is a fitting representation of the idea of Shakti.

Maya, the Delusion, is the power that deludes an individual into thinking oneself to be the center of the world, the power that prevents an individual from experiencing the ultimate truth. It impels individuals into self-centered, egotistical actions and thus hides the underlying unity of reality and masks one’s essential identity with Brahman. Maya can be as either a positive or a negative energy.

Goddess as Maya : In the battle with Madhu and Kaitabha, she deludes the demons so that Vishnu can slay them. In the battle with Mahishasura, she enters into the battle more of leela (divine play), fighting with the demons because it pleases her, not out of sense of compulsion.

Prakriti is the physical world as well as the inherent rhythms within this world that impel nature to gratify and provide itself in its manifold species. She is both primordial matter, from which all material things come, and the living instincts and patterns, that imbue the material world with its proclivities to sustain and recreate itself in individual beings.

Goddess as Prakriti: In Devi Mahatmaya – a Hindu text on goddess Durga – it is stated that Durga is the world, and as the earth itself, she conveys cosmic stability. She is Sakambhari (she who provides the world with food from her own body). She is the foundation of all creatures and that, which nourishes all creatures. In her role as the cosmic queen, warrior goddess and demon slayer, Durga in effect protects herself in her aspect as the earth itself.

Hindu religious texts also talk about the existence of the Ten Great Feminine Cosmic Powers (Dasha Mahavidyas) which basically can be thought to be the ten fundamental aspects of the Supreme Cosmic Mother’s personality. Nevertheless, each Goddess has a specific cosmic function in the universal harmony. The traditional sequence of the ten Goddesses is:

Kali : The Power of Time and The Night of Eternity

Tara : The Power of Void and The Night of Anger

Tripura Sundari : The Power of Absolute Splendor

Bhuvaneshwari : The Power of Space and The Night of Perfect Realization

Tripura Bhairavi : The Power of Death and The Night of Destiny

Chhinnamasta : The Power of Sacrifice and The Night of Courage

Dhumavati : The Power of Deprivation and The Night of Frustration

Bagalamukhi : The Power of Instantaneous Stopping

Matangi : The Power of Domination and The Night of Illusion

Kamalatmika : The Power of Perfect Happiness and The Night of Paradise

Another such classification of the mother Goddess based on the various functions in protecting the cosmos and keeping the divine cosmic cycle running is the basis of the Nava Durga or the Nine Durgas. These nine goddesses, who actually are forms of Goddess Durga are propitiated on each day of a popular Hindu festival called the Navaratri.

Shailputri: As daughter (putri) of the Himalaya mountains (Shail), Parvati or Hemvati represents the first of the nine Durgas. She is depicted as holding a trident and a lotus in each of her two hands and is shown mounted on a bull.

Brahmacharini: The name indicates the phase of Parvati’s life when she was indulging in severe austerities to appease Lord Shiva into marrying her. She had pledged that she would remain unmarried (Brahmacharini) till Lord Shiva gives his consent to marrying Parvati. She is shown as holding a water pot (Kumbha) in one hand and a rosary in the other. She is considered as a holder of knowledge and wisdom. Rudrakhsa (rosary beads) form her favorite ornamentation.

Chandraghanta: As Chadraghanta, the goddess is depicted as having golden skin and with a moon-crescent near her forehead. She is shown as having three eyes and ten hands, eight of which carry weapons and two of which form gestures of giving boons and stopping harms. She is shown as sitting on a tiger. She is usually associated with the giver of knowledge, bliss and serenity.

Kushmanda: The fourth Durga is known as Kushmanda. She is depicted as emanating a cosmic aura and is depicted as having eight hands, seven of which carry weapons while the eighth carries a rosary.

Skanda Mata: Skanda Mata literally means the mother of Skanda. Skanda was the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati and was the leader of the army of gods.The goddess is shown as having four hands, two of which carry lotuses while two are in defending and granting gestures. She is shown sitting on a lion with her son Skanda in her lap.

Katyayani: Katyaynai is so named because of her stay at the hermitage of sage Katyayan for the purpose of penance. She is sometimes also said to be the daughter of sage Katyayan. She also is shown astride a lion and has three eyes and four arms. In one hand she holds a lotus and in another a weapon. The third and fourth hands show defending and granting gestures.

Kaalratri: The seventh Durga, Kaalratri, is depicted as having black skin with bountiful hair, four arms and astride a donkey. In one hand she holds a cleaver and in another a burning torch. With the other two hands she forms gestures of granting and defending. She represents the enemy of darkness and ignorance.

Maha Gauri: Maha Gauri is depicted as the fairest of the nine Durgas and is often dressed in white or green. She emanates peace and compassion and is shown with three eyes and as riding a bull. She also has four arms, one of which carries a tambourine and another a trident. The other two form defending and granting gestures. It is said that when Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva, became dirty while observing penance, Lord Shiva bathed her with the holy waters of river Ganga. Parvati’s body turned lightning bright and thus she came to be known as Maha Gauri (Gauri means fair).

Siddhidatri: Siddhidatri means the giver of siddhis (magical or spiritual powers for the control of self, others and the forces of nature). It is said in Devipuran that the Supreme God, Lord Shiva received all of these powers by propitiating the Maha Shakti. The Goddess is sometimes shown atop a lion and sometimes atop a lotus. She is shown as having four arms, which hold a club, a conch shell and a lotus. The fourth hand forms a gesture of granting. Siddhidatri is considered to be the most powerful of all the nine forms of Durga.

Durga is said to be extraordinarily beautiful; she does not use her beauty for seduction, but rather entrapment. She entices her victims and then defeats them. She rides a lion, and it appears whenever her strengths are needed. Her role is not that of creator, but rather that of a maintainer: she maintains cosmic order by defeating demons that plague the universe.

Durga is not only a powerful force for cosmic order but also a protector of her devotees. She listens to her devotees and attends to their needs. The Devi Mahatmya describes her as a personal savior who will save her devotees from forest fires, wild animals, robbers, imprisonment, execution, and battle.

Goddess Durga keeps up the play of the divine universal God through the three attributes of Nature, namely, Satva (equilibrium and serenity), Rajas (dynamism and kinesis) and Tamas (ignorance and inertia). Knowledge, peace, lust, anger, greed, egoism and pride, all are Her forms. Maha Saraswati is Her Sattviki Shakti or power of equilibrium. Maha Lakshmi is Her Rajasik Shakti or power of activity. And Maha Kali is Her Tamsik Shakti the power of destruction. All these are feminine forms.

Shiva’s power is Shakti, the dynamic creative mother aspect of the Godhead. It is she who creates and at the time of dissolution, it is she who swallows her own creation. Shakti cannot exist without Shiva and Shiva cannot personify without Shakti.

Therefore Hinduism proclaims the highest personification of God, the supreme energy, to be feminine. Hinduism is the only religion in the world, which conceptualizes the supreme form of Divinity to be a woman. This demonstrates the elevated status of women in Hinduism as a religion.

Festivals associated with Goddess Durga
An important festival of the Hindus associated with goddess Durga is that of Durga Puja, which has been celebrated for ages by Hindus. In the Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana there are various references to goddess Durga. When the Pandavas entered the capital of Virata for their period of one year in disguise they propitiated Durga who appeared before them and granted them boons. Again, at the commencement of the great war of Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna advised Arjuna to worship Goddess Durga to ensure victory in battle.

The festival of Durga Puja is popularly attributed to a tale from the Hindu epic, Ramayana. Lord Rama went to Lanka, the kingdom of Ravana – the demon king, to rescue his abducted wife, Sita. Before starting for his battle with Ravana, Rama wanted the blessings of goddess Durga. He came to know that the goddess would be pleased only if she is worshipped with one hundred eight ‘Neel Kamal’ or blue lotuses. Rama, after travelling the whole world, could gather only one hundred seven of them. He finally decided to offer one of his eyes, which resembled a blue lotus. Durga, being pleased with the devotion of Rama, appeared before him and blessed him. The battle with Ravana started on the ‘Saptami’ (the seventh day after the new moon night just prior to the Autumn festival of Durga Puja) and Ravana was finally killed on the ‘Sandhikshan’ i.e. the crossover period between Ashtami (the eighth day after new moon) and Navami (the ninth day after new moon). Ravana was cremated on Dashami (the tenth day after new moon). Since the period of this worship was different from the conventional period of worship of Durga (during the spring – ‘Basanta’), this puja is also known as ‘Akal-Bodhan’ or worship (Bodhan) at an unconventional time.

Durga Puja is a Hindu festival observed in Ashwin Navaratri (month of October) and is celebrated all over India with great joy especially in West Bengal. The festival is also popular by other names like Dusshera and Navaratri. The ten days of festivity are dedicated to the supreme mother goddess Durga.


Worship of goddess Durga signifies the process by which the divine potential within every being removes its layers of ignorance and achieves the state of self-realization. Hindus celebrate this occasion at an auspicious time every year to constantly remind themselves of the significance of this very process. They contemplate the progress made on their spiritual journey and celebrate with great joy the victory of the supreme consciousness over the demons of ignorance. The festival is also a reminder that evil can never triumph over the power of truth.

Durga Puja is the greatest Hindu festival in which God is adored as Mother. Hinduism is the only religion in the world, which has emphasized to such an extent the motherhood of God. Perhaps the greatest testament to the power of Durga Puja is that even today the Mother is worshipped by billions of Hindus world wide in exactly the same manner as she was thousands of years ago.

Images of Durga usually have an extra divine eye in the middle of the forehead. There can be four, eight, ten, eighteen, or twenty arms. The most common objects held in the hands are a conch, discus, trident, bow, arrow, sword, dagger, shield, rosary, wine cup, and bell. Her hair is in Karandamukuta, a crown style of hairdo. She wears gorgeous red clothes and several ornaments, and stands on a lotus or the head of a buffalo or rides a lion. There are endless aspects of Durga described in the Puranas and Agamas (ancient Hindu texts) and the iconography is consequently varied.

The most important form of Durga is as Mahishasuramardini or the slayer of Mahishasura (the demon king). The image is of the Goddess cutting off the head of the buffalo-demon. This image usually most commonly is shown with eight or ten arms, and the hands hold weapons and a lotus. Mahishasura, the demon, may be shown half emerging in his human form from the carcass of his former buffalo form.

At the Durga Puja, the most important festival of Durga, she is shown with four other deities – usually smaller in size than that of goddess Durga. Two deities are placed on each side of the main idol of goddess Durga. These deities are Kartikeya, Ganesha, Saraswati, and Lakshmi, who are commonly identified as her children. The festival of Durga Puja usually involves beautiful and larger than life clay idols of Durga and her accompanying deities.

In eastern India Durga Puja is celebrated with enormous vigor. Enormous tents spring up in practically every locality and an amazing array of idols of Durga, crafted from the special clay of river Ganga, are installed. These idols are crafted by skilful idol makers using a wide array of alternative materials, the range limited only by imaginative creativity. The most common of these of course is clay. However, other innovative media like shola pith, coconut husk, cloth, and flowers, amongst others are popularly used. Legend has it that the idol of the goddess is incomplete without a pinch of clay from a prostitute’s courtyard. This probably was society’s attempt to include and accord status to its most alienated beings.

The four days (beginning with the sixth day after the last new moon before the festival) of the festival is actually representative of the home-coming of goddess Durga along with Kartik, Ganesha, Saraswati and Lakshmi. These four days are marked by celebration and merry-making. The deities are presented with offerings throughout the festivities. On Vijayadasami, the “Victorious Tenth Day,” the idols are taken in a parade to a river or tank and immersed as a representation of bidding a tearful goodbye to the deities. This is usually a very emotional time for devout Hindus who accompany the idols to the immersion spot.

The same day sees millions of Hindus also celebrate the festival of Dusshera which marks the end of evil, as depicted by the burning of huge effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnad – the three demon brothers, Ravana being the king of demons. All three were defeated by Lord Rama on this day.

Other forms of festivities during the period preceding Dussehra or Vijayadashami also exist, the most popular being that of the Navaratri festival, which involves the propitiation of Goddess Durga in nine different forms called the Nava-Durga (explained in an earlier section), over the nine days preceding Dussehra and starting on the first day after the last new moon preceding Dusshera. During Navaratri, one of each of these nine forms of goddess Durga is worshipped on a particular night for the destruction of evil and for the preservation of Dharma (religion).


The Devi Mahatmya indicated that Durga, in the form of Mahamaya or Mahashakti, pervades the universe in both its forms as material and thought. She creates, maintains, and periodically destroys it. When the balance of the universe is disturbed, Durga assumes various forms to restore order and balance. She is thus also, the guardian of dharma or cosmic order. This nature of hers makes her akin to a female form of Lord Vishnu since the concept of a deity assuming a separate form for maintaining the cosmic order is central to Vaishnavism – the Hindu sect which follows Lord Vishnu as the sole universal power.

The Devi Mahatmya talks about three such cosmic interventions by Durga on behalf of the gods: the battle with Madhu and Kaitabha, the battle with Mahishasura – the buffalo-demon, and the battle with Shumbha and Nisumbha.

The Devimahatmya states that Durga is the universe. “As immanent in the world Durga is equated with the earth. As transcendent, she is the heavenly queen who descends from time to time to maintain harmony on earth.” (Kinsley 1986, 105)

The Divine Mother is beyond all material attributes, eternal and ever omniscient. She is beyond any change, immutable and unattainable but by yoga. She is the refuge of the universe and her nature is of pure consciousness.

Durga, the Mother Goddess is the symbol of all the auspicious and true qualities which define the Supreme Being. Of all her forms, Devi Durga is the ultimate representation of infinite power, purity and strength of purpose, which resides within the divine essence of every being.

Om. She Who Conquers Over All,
All-Auspicious, the remover of Darkness,
the Excellent One Beyond Time,
the bearer of the Skulls of Impure thought,
the reliever of difficulties, loving, forgiving,
supporter of the Universe,
accept the oblations of the devotee who is one with you,
accept the oblations of ancestral praise,
We bow to you.



The Goddess Durga: The Mother of the Hindu Universe
In Hinduism, the goddess Durga, also known as Shakti or Devi, is the protective mother of the universe. She is one of the faith’s most popular deities, a protector of all that is good and harmonious in the world. Sitting astride a lion or tiger, the multi-limbed Durga battles the forces of evil in the world.

Durga’s Name and Its Meaning
In Sanskrit, Durga means “a fort” or “a place that is difficult to overrun,” an apt metaphor for this deity’s protective, militant nature. Durga is sometimes referred to as Durgatinashini, which literally translates into “the one who eliminates sufferings.”

Her Many Forms
In Hinduism, the major gods and goddesses have multiple incarnations, meaning they can appear on earth as any number of other deities. Durga is no different; among her many avatars are Kali, Bhagvati, Bhavani, Ambika, Lalita, Gauri, Kandalini, Java, and Rajeswari.

When Durga appears as herself, she manifests in one of nine appellations or forms: Skondamata, Kusumanda, Shailaputri, Kaalratri, Brahmacharini, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, Chandraghanta, and Siddhidatri. Collectively known as the Navadurga, each of these deities have their own holidays in the Hindu calendar and special prayers and songs of praise.

Durga’s Appearance
Befitting her role as mother protector, Durga is multi-limbed so that she may always be ready to battle evil from any direction. In most depictions, she has between eight and 18 arms and holds a symbolic object in each hand.

Like her consort Shiva, the goddess Durga is also referred to as Triyambake (the three-eyed goddess). Her left eye represents desire, symbolized by the moon; her right eye represents action, symbolized by the sun; and her middle eye stands for knowledge, symbolized by fire.

Her Weaponry
Durga carries a variety of weapons and other items that she uses in her fight against evil. Each has a symbolic meaning important to Hinduism; these are the most significant:

The conch shell symbolizes the Pranava or the mystic word Om, which indicates her holding on to God in the form of sound.
The bow and arrows represent energy. By holding the bow and arrows both in one hand, Durga demonstrates her control over both aspects of energy—potential and kinetic.
The thunderbolt signifies firmness in one’s convictions. Just as a real bolt of lightning can destroy anything it strikes, Durga reminds Hindus to attack a challenge without losing confidence.
The lotus in Durga’s hand, not yet fully in bloom, represents the certainty of success but not finality. The lotus in Sanskrit is called Pankaj, which means “born of mud,” reminding the faithful to stay true to their spiritual quest amid the worldly mud of lust and greed.
The Sudarshan-Chakra or beautiful discus, which spins around the index finger of the Goddess, signifies that the entire world is subservient to the will of Durga and is at her command. She uses this unfailing weapon to destroy evil and produce an environment conducive to the growth of righteousness.
The sword that Durga holds in one of her hands symbolizes knowledge, which has the sharpness of a sword. Knowledge free from all doubts is symbolized by the shine of the sword.
The trident or Trishul is a symbol of three qualities: Satwa (inactivity), Rajas (activity), and Tamas (nonactivity). Deva uses these to alleviate physical, mental, and spiritual suffering.
Durga’s Transport
In Hindu art and iconography, Durga is frequently depicted standing atop or riding a tiger or lion, which represents power, will, and determination. In riding this fearsome beast, Durga symbolizes her mastery over all these qualities. Her bold pose is called Abhay Mudra, which means “freedom from fear.” Just as the mother goddess confronts evil without fear, Hindu scripture teaches, so too should Hindu faithful conduct themselves in a righteous, courageous way.

With its numerous deities, there is no end of holidays and festivals in the Hindu calendar. As one of the faith’s most popular goddesses, Durga is celebrated many times in the year. The most notable festival in her honor is Durga Puja, a four-day celebration held in September or October, depending on when it falls on the Hindu lunisolar calendar. During Durga Puja, Hindus celebrate her victory over evil with special prayers and readings, decorations at temples and homes, and dramatic events recounting Durga’s legend.




Devi Durga
In Hinduism, Durga is a significant goddess. She is one of the most prominent and highly respected Indian divinities, venerated as one of the mother goddess Mahadevi’s main attributes. Protection, strength, motherhood, devastation, and conflicts are all linked with her. She is one of Goddess Bhuvaneshvari’s five forms, according to the Devi-Bhagavata Purana. Her tale is about battling evils and demonic powers that threaten peace, prosperity, and Dharma, or good triumphing over evil. Durga is said to unleash her divine anger on the wicked in order to free the downtrodden, and this includes destruction in order to empower creation. The oldest depictions of Durga, according to religion and art historians, may be found on seals from the Indus Valley Civilization. However, there is no clear visual evidence from the site to support this assertion. Early Vedic literature include multiple references to her, and by the time of the epics, she had established herself as a separate deity. Durga is a motherly character who is frequently represented as a beautiful woman riding a lion or tiger, wielding multiple arms, each bearing a weapon, and fighting demons. She is revered by adherents of Shaktism, a goddess-centered cult, and is revered by other faiths like as Shaivism and Vaishnavism. Durga is connected and affiliated with various deities in different cultures. Many Goddess Durga followers seek her blessings by reciting Saptashloki Durga Saptashati.

Devi Mahatmya and Devi-Bhagavat, two of Shaktism’s most prominent scriptures, honour Devi or Shakti (goddess) as the universe’s primal creator and the Brahman (ultimate truth and reality). While the goddess is mentioned and revered in many major Hindu texts, these two writings focus on her as the supreme divinity.

Durga is revered throughout India (especially in the eastern provinces of West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Assam, and Bihar), Bangladesh, and Nepal. Durga is worshipped after the spring and fall harvests, especially during the Durga Puja and Navratri celebrations.

Stories of Goddess Durga
1. Birth of Goddess Durga
Goddess Durga was formed to fight Mahishasura, an evil demon. Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva combined their powers to construct a formidable female form with ten arms.
All the gods combined gave Durga a bodily form when she arose as a spirit from the sacred Ganga’s waters. Lord Shiva sculpted her face, while Indra sculpted her torso. Chandra created her breasts, while Brahma created her teeth. Bhudevi moulded her lower torso, Varuna sculpted her thighs and knees, and Agni sculpted the Goddess’s eyes. As a result, she was an ultimate force produced by combining the abilities of all the other gods. Goddess Durga, also known as ‘Mahamaya,’ is the Great Mother of the Cosmos, who is responsible for the creation, preservation, and eradication of evil forces throughout the universe.
The gods then bestowed their blessings and weapons on her individually. The goddess rode into combat on a lion, armed like a warrior. Durga ultimately slew the demon king with her trident after a hard battle. Heaven and earth celebrated at her victory, and the three planets were once again in peace. In Sanskrit, the word ‘Durga’ refers to a fort or a safe and secure location. Durgatinashini, which means ‘the one who removes pain,’ is another name for Durga. Her name denotes her function as the protector of her believers and the destroyer of evil in the world.

2. Ambika battles the mighty Shumbha
The Goddess Ambika had shattered the great Asura king Shumbha’s pride when she turned down his invitation to be his queen. She then vanquished his army twice more.
Finally, Shumbha marched against her, leading an army of tens of thousands. Ambika, with the assistance of Kaali and the Shaktis (divine powers of various devas), defeated the invader and inflicted great losses on him. Shumbha lost not only his most capable troops, but also his brother, Nishumbha, who had assisted him in driving the Devas from their heavenly dominion.
He screamed out like a wounded lion now, alone on the battlefield.
He yelled, “You’ve triumphed because the Shaktis, the goddesses, assisted you.” “It’s not fair that there were so many of them.” That’s not the way to win a fight!”
Ambika teased, “Are you sure there were so many goddesses?”
The numerous Shaktis then rushed forward and vanished into her body, much to his surprise.
“I’m on my own now.” “You can fight me,” the Goddess said.
A Goddess of virtue and a power-hungry Asura marched towards each other, firing and dodging arrows and hurling spears in front of the Devas and Asuras. Shumbha raced forward, brandishing his legendary blade, which gleamed like a thousand suns. Ambika retaliated with a hail of arrows, destroying first the big shield and then the sword in his other hand.
Shumbha drew a large mace from his belt and swung it at her. She skilfully evaded the blow and, stepping forward, slammed her clenched fist into his chest. He was taken aback and collapsed as a result of his astonishment. Then, jumping to his feet, he seized her by the waist and sprang into the air. Ambika sprang into the air, caught Shumbha by the leg and spinning him around before flinging him to the ground.
Shumbha sprang up, shaken but unharmed, and moved forward, intending to strangle her with his bare hands. Ambika snatched a spear from the ground and hurled it at him. The spear pierced his chest, knocking him unconscious and pinning him to the ground. For him, it was all over.
When they saw their lord dead, his army disbanded, and the troops ran till they reached Pataal-lok, their underworld home. The inhabitants of the earth and the Devas were relieved when peace returned to the three planets. This tranquilly would linger for a long time. Everyone saluted Ambika with their hands in the air and sung her accolades.

3. Chandika fights Shumbha’s army
Shumbha, the Asura Lord, had proposed to Goddess Ambika. She baited him to show that he, as an avatar of goddess Durga, was stronger than she. To destroy Ambika, Shumbha dispatched an army led by capable leaders. However, she and Kaali Ma killed the entire army.
It was a slap in the face to the strong Asura, who had ascended to the throne of the three realms by driving the devas from Svarg-lok and expanding his dominion over the world of mortals. He concluded that Ambika needed to be humbled.He’d beat her down and bring her to her knees.
As a result, he marched out in front of his large army. With a twang of her bow, Ambika greeted the Asura horde. The goddess Kaali Ma shouted in approval as the sound reverberated across the earth and skies. This enraged the Asura even more. On her, he unleashed the whole power of his army. It was a magnificent demonstration of strength.
Each of the three major gods — Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva – dispatched assistance through his Shakti (divine power), but Shumbha was unconcerned. Wasn’t it true that he’d already beaten the Devas? What may the Shaktis be capable of?
Ambika gave birth to a new Goddess. Devi Chandika was her name.
“Withdraw into the nether realm where you belong, or perish!” Chandika said to the Asura king.
Shumbha retaliated by surrounding Chandika with many army units.
The Shaktis came to her rescue: Vaishnavi came in on Garuda, the eagle, and flung her disc at them. Brahmini, who had arrived in a chariot driven by swans, performed a spell on the Asuras by sprinkling water from her kamandalu, rendering them weak and susceptible. Maheshwari flung her trident at them while riding Nandi, the bull. Aindri, Indra’s Shakti, was riding the elephant Airavat. Her thunderbolt landed on the besieging troops. Varaahi, the Shakti of Varaha and a Vishnu manifestation, had appeared as a female boar. She and Narasimhi, the Shakti of Narasimha, a half-lion, half-human incarnation of Vishnu, tore through the Asura ranks, causing terror and destruction. The Asuras appeared to be on the point of defeat after being attacked by the Devis.
Then Shumbha released Rakta-Bheej, his hidden weapon.
Rakta-Bheej had a boon that made him unstoppable. If even a drop of blood from his body fell to the ground, another Rakta-Bheej would emerge, fully formed and ready to battle. That is why no one has been able to vanquish him thus far. The clones’ blood also generated more clones.
Chandika used a variety of weapons to try to stop the savage Asura from fighting. Blood streamed from his wounds, yet every drop that reached the ground spawned a Rakta-Bheej clone. Thousands of these clones were soon swarming the battlefield. The battle’s tide began to shift in the Asuras’ favour.
“Not even a drop of his blood should fall on the ground!” Chandika said Kaali Maa.
Kaali’s tongue was extended out and raced over the battlefield at breakneck speed, capturing every drop of blood that dropped from Rakta-or Bheej’s his clones’ corpses.
Rakta-Bheej, unable to expand any longer, charged towards Chandika in despair, only to die at her hands.
Nishumbha, Shumbha’s brother, was the next to die. The Asuras were defeated. Were they, however, defeated? No! Shumbha, the most powerful of the Asuras, remained. It was just a matter of time before he took action.

4. Story of Devi Chamundi
Durga slew Mahisha, the Asura ruler. The Asuras returned to Pataal-lok, the underworld, after his death. Shumbha vowed vengeance and ascended to the Asura throne. He launched an attack on Svarg-lok, the devas’ dwelling, with the help of his brother Nishumbha, and was successful in taking it. While the Asuras were celebrating their victory, King Shumbha’s faithful lieutenants Chanda and Munda kept an eye on the deposed gods’ activities.
The devas rushed to Mount Himavat and begged to Goddess Durga for assistance. Instead of Durga, Lord Shiva’s consort Parvati emerged from her abode to listen to their woes. She was understanding. A woman’s figure spilled out of her body, stunning to see. She was Ambika, incarnation of Durga.
“Victory to Ambika!” said the devas, who were pleased to see the celestial warrior.
From afar, Chunda and Munda were watching, and their eyes popped as Ambika appeared. The goddess’s breathtaking beauty was what impressed them the most.
“She’d be a terrific match for our king!” Chanda said.
Munda said, “You snatched the words out of my lips!”
Shumbha listened intently as his spies recounted all that had occurred on Mount Himavat. When they told him about the Goddess Ambika, he was ecstatic. She sounded like the embodiment of feminine elegance.
He announced, “I will make her my queen.” “Without a doubt, she was created for me, the Master of the Three Worlds!”
He dispatched one of his courtiers to the goddess with a marriage proposal.
Ambika was amused by the situation.
“I’d want to be his queen,” she expressed her desire, “but is he the strongest?”
“Strongest?” the envoy inquired.
“I’ve made a commitment to only marry the Three Worlds’ most powerful warrior. Is he the most powerful?”
“He is very strong,” the envoy remarked. “Didn’t he vanquish the Devas?” you might wonder.
“However, is he capable of defeating me?” Only if he can defeat me in combat will I believe he is the strongest!”
The ambassador returned to his master, distraught, to inform him of Ambika’s rejection of his proposition.
Shumbha was irritated. “Her arrogance complements her beauty,” he observed, “but she has to be put in her place!”
He summoned Dhumra-lochana, his commander-in-chief, and told him to bring Ambika to him.
To carry out his king’s commands, Dhumra-lochana marched at the head of an army of battle-hardened troops.
He surged forward with a thundering shout as he saw Ambika.
The goddess stood still as he approached. “HOOOM!” she said when he got close enough. The sound wave landed in the middle of Dhumra-forehead lochana’s and…poof! He’d been reduced to a smattering of ash!
When Shumbha learned of the death of his bravest warrior, he was furious.
He screamed, glaring at Chunda and Munda, “She’s mocking me!” “She’s making fun of me!” She has no idea who she’s up against! Get her now! Take her by the hair and drag her over to me!”
Ambika was irritated when she saw Chanda and Munda arrive. Her brows furrowed into a dark, furious frown, and the dreadful figure of Kaali erupted from her forehead.
When Chanda and Munda saw Kaali Maa approaching them with her bloodshot eyes, a garland of skulls around her neck, and her tongue lolling, they were terrified. She destroyed their army, knocked off their heads, and delivered them to Goddess Ambika, who embraced her and proclaimed her as Chamundi, Chanda and Munda’s slayer.
Shumbha was at a standstill for the time being. But he will eventually make war against Goddess Ambika once more.

5. Durga and Mahishasura
The Asura Mahisha was the monarch of Pataal-lok, the Asuras’ underworld and country. But Mahisha was a power-hungry woman. He desired to conquer both Bhu-lok, the human realm, and Svarg-lok, the Devas’ celestial home.
The devas were formidable foes, impossible to defeat. Mahisha, on the other hand, was not one to give up quickly. He went to the bush to perform tapas, or penance. He didn’t move out of his chair to eat or drink. He pondered on Brahma, the Lord of Creation, with his eyes closed.
He sat in tapas for how long? It must have been a long time ago. Finally, his penance paid off. He was visited by Lord Brahma.
“Ask for a boon,” Brahma advised.
“Make me invincible.” “Deathless,” Mahisha said.
Giving such a gift to someone who was intent to rule the three realms was extremely perilous, as Brahma understood. Asuras were as much Brahma’s progeny as Devas and mankind were to him, Lord of Creation. Any of his offspring who put forth a lot of effort had to be rewarded, and Mahisha’s rigorous penance was no exception. He had no choice but to grant Mahisha’s boon, at least in part.
“All who are born must die,” the Lord stated hesitantly. “I can’t make you eternal, but I can give you a say in how you die.” “You get to decide how you want to die.”
Mahisha pondered for a moment. Then his face became brighter.
“If I have to die, let it be at the hands of a lady,” he replied, slyly eyeing the Lord. Mahisha was certain that no woman could ever beat him. A dude, perhaps. But a lady? Never!
“So be it,” Brahma remarked as he walked away.
Mahisha marched upon Svarg- lok, bolstered by the boon. His onslaught was so fierce that Indra, Lord of the Devas, had to flee. Along with the other heavenly beings, he escaped.
Mahisha swelled with pride as he held Svarg-lok in his hands.
He boasted, “I’m the lord of the universe.” “Everyone on this planet should be aware of my power. I’m going to make them beg for their very breath!”
He used his tremendous abilities to alter the paths of the moon, sun, and winds, inflicting havoc on the world. Nobody knew when or where the sun would rise or set, if the moon would emerge in the sky, or if there would be enough rain to produce grain.
The Devas were worried by the earth’s cries of despair. Indra approached Brahma, who was meeting with Lords Shiva and Vishnu at the moment. When the Gods of Creation (Brahma), Preservation (Vishnu), and Destruction (Shiva) learned of Mahisha’s transgressions, they had only one thought: Mahisha had to be stopped.
Mahisha could only die at the hands of a woman, they realised. They needed to build a lady capable of defeating him. Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma, as well as all the other Devas present, emitted a swarm of light. The lights blended into a ball of energy that took on the shape of a divine-looking woman. Durga, the Invincible One, was her name.
Durga was given the trishul, a three-pronged weapon by Shiva. Other gods also bestowed upon her a weapon that was unique to them. Durga was given a disc by Vishnu. Indra bestowed to her a lightning rod. Durga stood on a formidable lion, which was now armed to the fangs.
She marched to fulfil her destiny, the screams of ‘Jai Durga’ resounding in her ears.
The goddess rode like the wind, her eyes flaming with rage, to punish Mahisha, the tormentor of mortals and gods. The earth shook, the waters boiled, and massive rocks tumbled from the peaks of mountains, splintering the plains below.
Mahisha sprang from his bed, gathered his weapons, and hurried outside the castle with a bloodcurdling shout, sensing impending disaster.
He yelled, “Who comes! Who comes!”
“A terrible warrior, perched on a lion, spewing fire!” said a guard, terrified pointing into the distance.
“Spitting fire?” Mahisha said, stunned.
He moved in closer to see what was going on. He got closer and closer till he saw her, the terrifying avenger! Like a blaze of fire, his eyes were ablaze. Her dark hair trailed behind her like a cloud.
He screamed, “A lady!” “She’s a lady!” Those treacherous Devas have cloaked themselves behind a lady!”
He told his men, “Go get her!” “Bring her to me in shackles!”
Durga’s progress was slowed by a portion of the Asura army, but she was just unstoppable. She made terrible use of the weapons she had, killing thousands of people.
Durga took a deep breath as Mahisha unleashed the remainder of his army on her, and as she exhaled, hordes of troops erupted from the expelled air. The newcomers dispersed Mahisha’s forces by spreading out in all directions.
When Mahisha saw the conflict was spiralling out of his control, he transformed into a massive and frightening buffalo and rushed towards Durga. She yanked with a lasso around his neck. Mahisha took on the appearance of a lion as he tumbled forward.
Mahisha, the lion, was unable to penetrate Durga’s defences, so he transformed into an elephant. He turned back into a buffalo when he couldn’t make much progress in that shape either. Durga, on the other hand, has had enough. She hurled her trishul, or trident, at the rushing buffalo, who fell dead at her feet.
The Asuras returned to Pataal-lok, shocked by the demise of their formidable leader. “My Lord, Mahisha, you have not died in vain,” an Asura Chief Shumbha vowed as they walked away. “One day, I’ll avenge myself.”
However, for the time being, all of the Asuras were back where they belonged, much to the delight of the Devas and the inhabitants of Earth.
In a homage to Durga, the Devas and mortals linked their hands.

6. Story of Maa Shailaputri
Shailaputri: The manifestation of Maa Durga worshipped on the first day of Navratri
Maa Shailaputri is the goddess who is worshipped on the first day of the Hindu festival of Navratri, which lasts nine days. Shailaputri translates to “mountain daughter.” She was born as Sati before becoming Shailaputri. Daksha Prajapati, one of Lord Brahma’s sons, has a daughter. Sati adored Lord Shiva and wished to marry him, but her father, Daksa Prajapati, was adamantly opposed to the union. Shiva, according to him, was a filthy ascetic unfit for marrying respectable females, but this did not deter Sati’s love for Shiva, and she married him over her father’s opposition, and she began living with Lord Shiva in Kailash Parvat.
She learned after a few years of marriage that her father, Daksa Prajapati, was planning a massive yajna to which all gods and goddesses were invited. She was ecstatic since she missed her parents and wanted to see them, but they had not received an invitation. Sati couldn’t believe it and assumed there had been a blunder. Perhaps it was self-evident; after all, daughters are always welcome in their homes, right? So she went to see her parents, despite Shiva’s best efforts to persuade her that, “No, if we haven’t received an invitation, perhaps we aren’t expected there and we shouldn’t be coming there.” Sati, on the other hand, was deafeningly deafeningly. Shiva’s words had little effect on her, and she returned home. She was looking forward to meeting her parents after so many months of marriage, but when she arrived, she was given the cold shoulder not just by her father, but also by all of the family who had gathered there. Sati was sad because she couldn’t take the notion of being unwelcome in her own home, and her mother was the only one who greeted her and embraced her. Her own father, whom she adored, embarrassed her, humiliating her choice of marriage, in the same house where she grew up, in the same house where she had those great memories. Sati couldn’t take it any longer and jumped into the raging flames, where she self-immolated.
Shiva was furious when he heard the news and rushed to the location. He was so furious that he dragged his wife’s half-burning body from the flames. He became so outraged that he assumed the appearance of the angry deity Veerabhadra and wreaked havoc on the land, to the point of beheading Daksha Prajapati. He dragged his wife’s half-burning corpse behind him, furious and enraged. Sati’s various bodily parts dropped on various locations along the road, and these locations are known as Shakti Peethas. In India, there are 52 Shakti Peethas. Because to Lord Vishnu’s intervention, Daksa Prajapati was subsequently pardoned and granted the head of a ram. He even completed his Yajna in the presence of all the gods.
Sati was born a second time, this time as a Himalayan daughter. Shailaputri, which means “daughter of the Himalayas,” became her name. She had two different names in this incarnation: Parvati and Hemavati, and she was wedded to Lord Shiva again. On the first day of the Navratri celebration, we worship to Shailaputri, who is considered one of Durga’s most powerful incarnations. She is extremely powerful, riding a bull named Nandi while wielding a trident and a lotus. She is well-known for her numerous accomplishments.

7. Story of Devi Brahmacharini
Maa Brahmacharini | Navratri images, Navratri, Durga goddess
She reincarnated as Sati after self-immolating in her previous life, and this time she was born to the Himalayas, the ruler of the mountains. She was given the name Parvati in this birth, while Bhramacharini was given the name Parvati in this birth. ‘Bhram’ in this context refers to tapasya, while ‘charini’ refers to a female devotee — particularly an intense female devotee. Narada Muni-ji came to see Parvati one day. ‘You can get married to Lord Shiva in this incarnation as well,’ Narada Muni-ji assured her, ‘but you would have to undergo terrible penance for that.’ Parvati made the decision right once that she was willing to do any form of penance. She embarked on a strict penance. Parvati made the decision right once that she was willing to do any form of penance. She embarked on a strict penance. It wasn’t just any tapasya; her tapasya had been going on for thousands of years. She only ate fruits and flowers for the first thousand years, vegetables for the following hundred years, and dry leaves for the next three thousand years. This type of tapasya, or penance, was unique. Nobody had ever seen such a tapasya, and after 3000 years of eating just leaves, she stopped eating altogether. She gave up water, food, and her life’s goal became harsh penance. She became quite frail and malnourished. When her mother came to see her, she was shocked to see her and said, ‘Oh! mum.’ Parvati is sometimes referred to as Uma as a result of this comment. When she stopped eating leaves, she was given a new name: Aparna, which means “one who survives without leaves.” Lord Brahma was delighted after so many years of penance, and he came to see her and bless her, saying that Lord Shiva was happy as well because of her penance, and they both received Lord Brahma’s blessings, and they could marry in this incarnation. Bhramacharini represents great sacrifice, penance, seclusion, and purity. On the second day of Navratri, we pray to her for enough strength so that we may devote our entire attention to penance toward God, what we love, sacrifice, and isolation. She holds a rosary in one hand and a commandal in the other in this way. Peace, wealth, and happiness are all things that people pray to her for. Many individuals who observe Navratri also fast for the entire nine days. They go without food and drink at times. They pray to goddess Bhramacharini for strength on those days so that they may stay focused and deal with anything they choose.

8. Story of Maa Skandamata
Chaitra Navratri 2021, Day 5: Worship Maa Skandamata for salvation and prosperity, chant these mantras | Culture News | Zee News
‘Skanda’ refers to Kartikeya, Shiva and Parvati’s eldest child, and’mata’ refers to mother, hence Skandamata is primarily the narrative of goddess Parvati. We all know that when Sati immolated herself, Shiva remained utterly cut off from the world, living deep in tapasya and completely unconcerned with what was going on. He lived as a hermit.
Surahpadman and Tarakasura, two demons at the time, had received a blessing that they could not be destroyed. In reality, only Shiva and Parvati’s kids were capable of killing them. ‘What if they never manage to get rid of the two demons Tarakasura and Surahpadman?’ all the gods and goddesses fretted as Shiva entirely withdrew himself from the universe. They all rushed to Lord Vishnu and pleaded with him to find a solution. Lord Vishnu informed them that they had made a grave error. This would never have happened if they had not gone to Daksha Prajapati’s Yajna without Shiva and Sati. Sati would never have self-immolated, and Shiva would never have been cut off from the rest of the world. As a result, Vishnu was at a loss on what to do. That’s when Narad Muniji went to tell Parvati, who had reincarnated, that she was another incarnation of Sati, born to the deity of the mountains this time. Parvati was visited by Narad Muniji, who told her that she may marry the love of her life, Shiva, in this incarnation as well, but that it would necessitate tremendous penance and tapasya. Parvati aspired to marry Shiva and endured thousands upon thousands of years of tapasya – extreme penance, after which Shiva was eventually satisfied and yielded. They later married each other.
A blazing seed – a tremendous seed – was born as a result of their marriage. This seed was so beautiful that Lord Agni was tasked with caring for it since the child of Shiva and Parvati would be born from its brilliance. However, Agni was unable to tolerate the seed’s brilliance and sought assistance from Ganga. Ganga took care of the seed, while Parvati herself took on the shape of water, knowing that only she could carry the seed that was born of her marriage with Shiva. Then came the birth of Kartikeya. He had six faces and was cared for by six mothers known as ‘Krittikas,’ which is how he was given the name Kartikeya.

9. Story of Maa Kaalratri
Seven Day Of Shardiya Navratri Worship Of Kaalratri Maa And Know Puja Vidhi And Mantra : Seven Day Of Shardiya Navratri Worship Of Kaalratri Maa And Know Puja Vidhi And Mantra |
Shubhankari is another name for her. Devi Durga’s deadliest form is Kaalratri. She is the antidote to evil. Maa Kaalratri has three dazzling eyes and is as dark as night. She takes a deep breath and exhales fire. She has four hands, one of which is holding a thunderbolt and the other a sword. Her other two hands were said to be in mudras, one in ‘abhay,’ symbolising her courage, and the other in ‘varada,’ symbolising her compassion, according to legend. Some claim she holds one hand and protects with the other. The devas were rendered impotent after the asuras Shumbha and Nishumbha invaded Devlok and devastated Indra’s realm. These two asuras possessed a boon that no man or deity could kill them. Indra went to Parvati and informed her of the situation in order to spare the devas from the dread. Chandi, also known as Kaali, was dispatched by Parvati to deal with the demons. However, Shumbha and Nishumbha had already dispatched two more demons, Chanda and Munda, to the combat. Chandi was given the name Chamunda after killing the demons. She was then confronted by Rakhtabeej, another demon. Rakhtabeej was endowed with a strange and strong gift. He could never be taken out. A new Rakhtabeej would arise whenever Rakhtabeej’s blood was spilt and came into contact with the earth. Maa Kaalratri was enraged, and when she struck him, she knelt down and sucked his blood before it could hit the ground. Rakhtabeej has come to an end. Maa Kaalratri then killed Shumbha and Nishumbha, bringing Devlok back to peace.

10. Story of Maa Mahagauri
Navratri 2021 Day 8: Maa Mahagauri puja, vidhi, significance & colour!
The words ‘Maha’ and ‘Gauri’ signify ‘very’ and ‘fairly.’ This is the account of Parvati-ji, who once fought all the demons in the shape of Kaalratri, and when she returned, her skin had gone completely dark, and no matter what she tried, she couldn’t get rid of it. Her spouse, Lord Shiva, teased her a little. He taunted her and referred to her as ‘kali.’ However, this enraged her so much that she went to Lord Brahma. She pleaded to him again and over, telling him, “I want to get rid of this black skin.” Make me even once more.’ Lord Brahma was delighted with Parvati’s penance and blessed her. He advised her to take a plunge in the Himalayan Mansarovar Lake. Parvati’s black skin split from her and miraculously adopted the form of a girl the instant she walked into the Mansarovar Lake in the Himalayas. Kaushiki was the name of this girl. Shumbha and Nishumbha, two deadly demons, were defeated by Kaushiki. Lord Bhrama had given Shumbha and Nishumbha a blessing that they would not be murdered by any man, god, demon, or divinity. That’s how Kaushiki dispatched them.
Parvati came from the water looking incredibly gorgeous. Her complexion was suddenly beautiful and dazzling, and she was once again known as Maa Mahagauri, the fair-skinned one. Maa Mahagauri is a four-armed goddess. In one hand, she wields a trident, while in the other, she wields a damaru. She is mounted on a white bull. She is a symbol of virtue and charity. That was a fantastic story, wasn’t it? However, it causes me to consider things.
Is pale skin really a sign of attractiveness? Is having fair skin or a fair heart more important? Maa Mahagauri, I believe, had an immensely brave and lovely heart, and she was the one who eliminated demons before and after, regardless of skin colour.


Goddess Durga
The Hindu Goddess Durga is worshipped as one of the key aspects of the “mother goddess” known as Devi. Devi is the primordial goddess or the creator of the universe. She is supreme energy from where all other energy branches. Durga’s energy is an aspect of this Devi. Generally, the Hindu goddess Durga is associated with protection, motherhood, and strength, but sometimes and in some texts, she is also associated with destruction and war. She is one of the most widely favored divinities within the Hindu religion. According to Hindu legend, Durga was originally created to defeat the demon, Mahishasura, as a woman could only defeat him. This is how she became to be associated with both war and protection. She is often depicted as a beautiful woman with many arms, each wielding weapons while riding on a lion or a tiger. In these depictions, she is usually fighting a demon. Durga is generally considered one of the more powerful and protective deities.

Devi Hinduism
As aforementioned, Hindu Goddess Durga is generally considered to be an offshoot of Mahadevi or the divine mother. Devi Hinduism believes in the divine feminine as the head of god. Traditionally, the Hindu religion worships a triumvirate at the head of their religion: Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu, but Devi Hinduism glorify a woman at the head of the pantheon- the divine feminine. The name Devi actually refers to the name of the dominant female goddess, Mahadevi. She is often also referred to as Devi, Shakti, Adi Parashakti, and Adi-Shakti. The Mahadevi is the overall Goddess, but she often appears or reincarnates as other goddesses for different purposes. Durga is one of the forms that the Mahadevi takes- usually to provide protection or divine strength. Durga will appear and provide whatever help her, or Mahadevi’s, devotees need as an answer to prayer.

Durga- Form
When the Mahadevi appears as Durga, she often appears as a beautiful Indian woman with many arms holding weapons and other symbols- usually ten, but sometimes eight. Her ten arms are to protect her followers from the eight corners of the earth as well as the earth and sky. She is a fierce warrior, often represented as riding a tiger or a lion while fighting a terrifying demon. Each of the weapons that Lord Durga holds also has significance. She traditionally holds a conch, discus, lotus, sword, bow with an arrow, Trishul, mace, thunderbolt, snake, and flame. Refer to the table below for a breakdown of the significance of each of the items.