The Symbolism Of Goddess Durga
Goddess Durga symbolizes the positive energy (divine forces) known as divine shakti (means force, power, and feminine energy) that is used against the negative forces of wickedness and evil.
Also called the Divine Mother, it protects mankind from misery and evil by destroying evil forces such as prejudice, jealousy, ego, hatred, anger, and selfishness.
She is considered to be the combined forms of Goddess Kali, Goddess Saraswati, and Goddess Lakshmi. Worship of the Goddess goes back at least 4,000 years in India, and further back to the Vedic times.
In Sanskrit, the word ”Durga” literally translates as the one who is ”unbeatable” or “invincible” and can not be defeated, hence ”unconquerable”. The Goddess is a sacred symbol of female power and reflects the very strength, the very pure of the divine feminine.
Since time immemorial, She has been worshiped as the supreme power of the Supreme Being and has been mentioned in many ancient Vedic Sanskrit texts, like Vajasaneyi Samhita, Yajur Veda, and Taittareya Brahman.
It is believed that the Divine Mother was created by Lord Vishnu (the sustainer or preserver of life) as a warrior goddess to protect good people from fighting. She is also believed to be the personification of knowledge and wisdom, and the power of sleep, or the Yoganidra in which Vishnu rests between creative cycles.
Devi Durga is also known as Mahishasurmardini i.e. slayer of a mighty evil buffalo demon called Mahishasur, which represents tamo-guna, the dark quality of inertia, ignorance, and laziness.
Note – like her consort Lord Shiva, the goddess Durga is also referred to as the three-eyed goddess (Triyambake).
She is either depicted as riding on a lion (the lion represents will, power, and determination, but also the animal tendency of greed for food and other sensual objects.
The Goddess riding on the lion represents that she keeps all such tendencies under total control) or a tiger (symbolizes unlimited power).
In addition, the Goddess is illustrated wearing a red sari, which symbolizes action and the red clothes represent that the Goddess is destroying evil and protecting mankind from suffering, misery, and pain.
The Significance Of Durga’s Eight Hands And Weapons
She is depicted as a warrior woman with 8 hands carrying weapons of eight kinds assuming mudras (actions of hands and fingers), that represent her teachings.
#1 Chakra in her 1st upper right hand symbolizes dharma (righteousness, spiritual teachings or duty). We must perform our responsibilities in life and follow an authentic traditional spiritual school.
#2 Conch in her 1st upper left hand symbolizes the ”Pranava” or the mystic word ”Om” or ”Aum”, which indicates the Goddess holding on to God in the form of sacred sound.
#3 Sword in her 2nd right lower hand symbolizes knowledge, which has the sharpness of a sword. Knowledge which is free from all doubts is symbolized by the shine of the sword.
#4 Bow and arrow in her 2nd left lower hand symbolizes character like Lord Rama (the seventh avatar of the Lord Vishnu). When we face difficulties in our life we should not lose our character.
#5 Lotus flower in her 3rd lower left hand symbolizes the awakening of spiritual consciousness in a soul. The Goddess will help her true followers to understand the transience of life and seek the ultimate truth.
#6 Club in her 3rd right lower hand is the symbol of Hanuman (the Hindu monkey god) and symbolizes surrender and devotion. Whatever we do in our life we do with devotion and love and accept the outcome as the Almighty’s will.
#7 Trishul/Trident in her 4th left lower hand is a symbol of 3 qualities – tamas (non-activity), rajas (activity) and sattva (inactivity). The Goddess is the remover (the purifier) of all the 3 types of miseries – spiritual, mental and physical.
#8 The fourth lower right hand symbolizes forgiveness and Her blessings. We must forgive others and ourselves for mistakes or/and any hurt we may have caused.
Note – Durga was not incarnated to have a child, like some of Devi’s other forms but instead was created so that she could slay Mahisaasura. As an Asura, Mahishasura waged war against the Devas, as the Devas and Asuras’ were perpetually in conflict.
The Effects Of Chanting Durga Mantra – Om Dum Durgayei Namaha
It is considered that by reciting (aloud or mentally) this protection mantra regularly one gets prosperity, beauty, and intelligence and the Divine Mother will remove the mental, physical and worldly problems in life and shower us with her unlimited blessings.
Furthermore, this powerful mantra can be used for different types of problems that you face in your life related to money, bad luck, health problems, and failures. To make it effective, one must show humility and acknowledgment of one’s incompetence and ignorance, and honest invocation of the Divine Mother’s grace.
Om Dum Durgayei Namaha Mantra Meaning In English
“Salutations to She who is beautiful to the seeker of truth and terrible in appearance to those who would injure devotees of truth.”
Festival of Navratri
A Hindu festival (it occurs four times throughout the year) symbolizing the triumph of good over evil, Navratri takes place at the beginning of October around harvest time and, as the name implies, is celebrated for 9 days.
The word Navratri literally means 9 nights in ancient Sanskrit, ”nava” translates as ”nine” and ”ratri” translates as ”nights.”
The 10th day after Navratri is celebrated as Vijayadasmi or Dussera. It is the most auspicious day for the attainment of victory and success in all aspects of life. All endeavors become fruitful when commenced on this day.
Although the universal nature of the festival is often found to transcend regional influences and local culture, the Dusshera of Mysore, Garba Dance of Gujarat, Ramlila of Varanasi, and Durga Puja of Bengal need special mention.
This amazing traditional ritual symbolizes that Mother Goddess descends on Earth on Shashti (6th day) and returns to her abode on Dashami (10th day).
Note – Navaratri in 2019 will start on Sunday, the 29th of September and will continue for 9 days until Monday, the seventh of October.
According to Hindu mythology, Navadurga, which literally translates as ”nine forms of Goddess Durga”, constitutes the manifestation of Parvati (the protector and regenerator of the Universe and all life) in 9 different forms.
During the auspicious 9 days of Navratri, nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped mostly. The revered 9 forms are:
- Shailputri (”the daughter of the mountains”)
- Brahmcharini (”one who practices devout austerity”)
- Chandraghanta (“one who has a half-moon shaped like a bell. Her third eye is always opened and she always ready for war against demons”);
- Kātyāyanī (she is first mentioned in the Taittiriya Aranyaka part of the Yajurveda);
- Kushmanda (credited with creating the world with her divine smile);
- Skandmata (literally meaning ”Mother of Skanda”);
- Kaalratri (regarded as one of the many destructive forms of the Mother Goddess);
- Mahagauri (has the power to fulfill all the desires of her devotees);
- Siddhidhatri (”Siddhi” translates as ”supernatural power” and Dhatri means ”giver”).