Durga is the warrior goddess, protecting those around her with strength and justice. She is known as the mother of the universe, Shakti. “Durga” means “impassable,” “inaccessible” or “invincible.”
This powerful goddess is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. According to ancient legends, she was created by Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to slay Mahishasura, a buffalo demon, because they couldn’t do it.
Durga is believed to embody their combined male divinity as one unique power.
She is usually depicted riding a lion and has eight or 10 arms, each holding the special weapon of one of the gods:
- Conch shell: symbolizing the Pranava (Om, or Aum),
- Bow and arrows: representing energy,
- Thunderbolt: signifying firmness in one’s convictions,
- Lotus: showing a certainty of success, but not finality,
- Sudarshan-Chakra: symbolizing the world is subservient to her will and command,
- Sword: representing knowledge,
- Club: showing loyalty,
- Trident, or Trishulis: signifying the three qualities of Satwa (inactivity), Rajas (activity), and Tamas (nonactivity).
Wearing a red sari, Durga is often depicted riding a tiger or lion to show her power, will and determination — “freedom from fear.”
She symbolizes divine, positive, feminine energy that can be used against the negative forces of evil and wickedness.
Durga is often energetically associated with the dosha pitta.
A common mantra for Goddess Durga:
Om Sri Durgaya Namah
Articles consulted for this blog post:
- Devi, the Mother-Goddess: An Introduction
- Goddess Durga and sacred female power
- Is the goddess a feminist?: the politics of South Asian goddesses
- Hindu gods and goddesses
- Femininity, equality, and personhood
- The constant and changing faces of the goddess: goddess traditions of Asia
- Ritual worship of the great goddess: The liturgy of the Durga puja with interpretations
- Durgā, goddess of victory
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