Goddess Durga

Description:

Durga is the Active Energy of the Supreme Lord. She is the embodiment of purity, knowledge, truth and self-realization. As a warrior goddess, She is also known as Shakti or Devi. In Sanskrit, the word ‘Durg’ means a Fort, or a protected fortified place that is safe. Also, ‘Durga’ means the one who is invincible. Also ‘Dur’ means ‘prison’ and ‘Ga’ means ‘go or approach’. It means the one who sends or makes the miscreants go into the prison. She is the Active Principle in the Universal affairs. She punishes the disturbing elements. She is in charge of this material world which is described as ‘Dukhalaya’ or the place full of miseries (‘Dukha’ means pains and ‘Alaya’ means place as in ‘Vachnalaya’-library, ‘Bhojnalaya’-place where food is served).

Goddess Durga protects the human race from evil and misery, and it’s believed that praying to her destroys all negative forces like ego, hatred, prejudice, selfishness and jealousy etc. Another meaning of ‘Durga’ is ‘Durgatinashini’ which means "the one who eliminates sufferings."

Form and formless, Durga is Mahashakti – the very essence of creation, preservation and annihilation. Legend has it that she was born from the collective powers of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to fight the demon Mahisasura to protect both gods and other living beings.

A multidimensional goddess, she possesses various divine facets, names and personas. The destroyer of evil with ten mighty arms, each carrying its own weapon, she is Shakti or Mahishasuramardini. Durga is also Sati, the object of death who gives up Her kingdom, and she is also Kali – black as the night in Her rage and fury with a garland of skulls adorning Her neck. She is the serene Parvati who is the consort of Lord Shiva, and She is also Bhavani – the symbol of life. Her other names include Amba, Basanti, Annapurna, Tara, Ambika, and Jagadhatri. Durga is revered as the most powerful among Goddesses, all across India. As Santoshi Mata, She appears standing along with Her tiger. However, She is also worshipped as Shanta Durga in Her peaceful avatar.

Durga, through all her forms, encompasses the quintessence of salvation and sacrifice. She is the very crux of divine knowledge, wealth, power, bounty and beauty, with Saraswati and Lakshmi as Her daughters. Goddess Durga is the inherent dynamic energy and the divine life-force from which the supreme consciousness manifests itself. It’s believed that Durga is the sum-total of the combined powers of Lakshmi, Kali and Saraswati.

She is often depicted as a beautiful woman with ten arms that bear divine weapons to protect all that is pure and sacred. She overcomes evil and negativity, and bestows knowledge and sustenance. The festival of Navratri, celebrated with fervour all over India, is dedicated to the nine divine forms of Goddess Durga. The festival symbolizes the victory of good over evil. She is the very personification of the divine female power.

Bodily Features

Vehicles

Vahana or vehicle of Goddess Durga is a lion, and sometimes a tiger. The lion represents power, will and determination, and riding it represents Goddess Durga’s mastery over all these attributes. The tiger also symbolizes unlimited power, and riding it represents Goddess Durga’s unlimited power, which she used to destroy all that is evil and protect that is virtuous.

Forms of Durga

However, Goddess Durga is known to have many more forms, some of which are mentioned below:

Goddess Durga is also intricately associated with three distinct aspects of the cosmos.

Fruits or Food Offered To Durga:

In general, the food items that are believed to please Goddess Durga are: Gur, honey, ghee, milk, curd, Panchamrit, buttermilk, barley cake, fresh butter, Karkati (cucumber), Kushmanda, Modaka, jackfruit, Plantains, Jambu Fruit, Sesame seeds, amla, payasa, poha, gram pulses, coconut, singhada (or water chestnut).

The nine forms of Goddess Durga are associated with different food items, which are also offered as bhog or Prasad for that particular day during the Navratri. As Maa Shailputri, She is offered pure ghee. As Mata Brahmacharini, She is offered sugar. As Maa Chandraghanta, She is offered kheer or other sweets made with milk. As Maa Kushmansa, She is offered Malpua. Bananas are offered to Mata Skandmata, and honey to Mata Katyayani. Mata Kaalratri is pleased by offering jaggery, while Mata Mahagauri is offered coconut. On the final day, Til is offered to Goddess Siddhidatri.

Legends:

Hindu mythology tells many interesting legends of Goddess Durga slaying the demons to save the gods and Earthlings. The fiercest of all the battles of was foguth between Goddess Durga with Mahishasura, post which she earned the name of Mahishasura Mardini, the slayer of Mahishasura.

After log penance, Mahishasura pleased Lord Shiva and earned the boon that no man, animal or deity could kill him. Drunk on his powers, his reign of terror shook the universe and threatened even the gods. Since the gods could not kill Mahishasura, they needed a woman to come to their aid. Hence, through the collective powers of all gods was born Goddess Durga. Lord Vishnu gave Her ten arms and Lord Brahma his feet, Yama formed her tresses and Somanath Her breasts, Indra formed Her waist and Bhoomdev her Hips. The toes were made by Surya and the nose by Kuber, the teeth by Prajapati and the eyes from Agni. The gods also gave Her their weapons. She got the Trishul from Lord Shiva, the Sudarshan Chakra from Vishnu, the spear from Agni, the thunderbolt from Lord Indra, the sword from Yama. She was dressed in divine jewels and rode into battle on Her tiger.

When Mahishasura saw Durga on the battlefield, He fell in love, enthralled by Her beauty. Durga told him that if he desired Her, he had to defeat Her in battle. Hence they started a long nine day battle, filled with destruction and gore. On the tenth day, the demon desperate to escape transformed into a wild buffalo. Durga pinned him to the ground and as he shape-shifted back to his human form, She cut off his head.

Another story of her divine victory tells the tale of the battle between Raktabeeja and Goddess Durga. Raktabeeja, the Demon King, was granted a boon by Lord Brahma which allowed his power to increase by a thousand every time a drop of his blood was spilled. The demon soldiers, led by Raktabeeja, challenged the gods. The great and beautiful goddess Durga stepped forward. She had protected them before and was obliged to do it again. She successfully defeated the army. But as She attacked the demon-general, thousand more demons sprang from every drop of his blood spilled and an entire army was resurrected. Enraged, Durga took the form of Kali – black as night, She was armed with a skull topped staff, a noose, and the sword of vengeance. Half the army felt lifeless from her deadly gaze, and the other half fell dead from Her petrifying shrieks. When She attacked Raktabeeja, She quickly put Her mouth to his wound and drank all his blood, so no new demons could be created. And hence, as Kali, She killed the demon general and saved the gods again.

How to Pray and Please Durga:


Friday and Monday are auspicious days to pray to Goddess Durga. Since She is worshipped in many forms, the method of prayer varies. The Navratri Durga Pooja that is held for nine days is elaborate and has a different ritual with aarti, bhog and method for every day. Goddess Durga is worshiped along with Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Ganesh and Lord Kartik.

More often than not, Goddess Durga pooja is done in temples by learned priests, since many believe that evoking Her form as Kali and Chandi is best done by experts. At home, if you want to worship Goddess Durga, performing a simple pooja suffices.

  • Bathe and wear clean clothes.
  • Spread a red cloth on a wooden seat and put a Durga Maa idol on it.
  • Seat yourself in front (but below) it and arrange the thali which should contain – red flowers, roli, moli, Durga Chalisa, sweet and a diya made with ghee.
  • Chant the Maa Durga Mantra and perform a simple aarti. You can also do the Durga Chalisa pooja on Fridays.


Durga Idols
Maa Durga represents the total Shakti of energy of the Energetic (Supreme Purusha). Her devotees acknowledge that she harbors the total energies of the gods and the superintendent of the material manifestations. She acts as the main forces of creation, safeguarding and demolition. Durga idols can be placed at your home for daily worship and it is the best way to meditate on her powerful form. It fills the home and the occupants with positivity, powers and immunity against negative emotions. We offer Durga idols of brass and marbles as well as natural gemstones.

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Maa Durga Puja Mantra Japa And Yajna (Homam):

This is one of the most divine ways to worship Her. If one wishes to have relief from diseases, health & wealth and courage in their personal capacity, they should perform Maa Durga Puja during Navaratri. The ritual includes Sthapana (Ganesh, Devi, Navgraha, Kalash, Brahma), Navagraha Mantra Japa (1 mala of each planet), Rudra Kalash Pujan, Shodus Kalash Pujan, Sarvato Bhadra Pujan, Chetrapal Mandal Pujan, Chatukasti Yogini Pujan, Invocation of all Gods and Goddesses, Durga Pujan, Durga Sahasranama Strotra, Durga Homa, Yajna and Aarti.
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Shri Ram
12 Mukhi Rudraksha
Durga Sahasranamam

This ritual involves the chanting of one thousand names of Goddess Durga. ‘Sahasranamam’ means ‘thousand names’. Each and every name contains the cosmic energy of a particular quality. For instance, Mahisha-Mardini means the slayer of Demon Mahisha. By remembering this name, one’s strength to control demonic thoughts, feelings or emotions are controlled and reduced to zero. This ritual includes Kalash Sthapana, Gath Sthapana, Panchang Sthapana(Gauri Ganesh, Punyavachan, Shodash Matrika, Navgraha, Sarvotabhadra), Invocation of Durga, Gauri Tilak mandal, 64 yogini Puja, Sapthgrihith Matrika Pujan, Chatukashti Yogini Mangal Pujan, Shetrapal Pujan, Swasti Vachan, Sankalpa, Ganesh Pujan and Abhishek, Navgraha Pujan and 108 chants of each planetary mantra, Invocation of major Gods and Goddesses in Kalash, Durga Idol and Yantra installation and Pujan, Durga Saptashati recitation, Chants of Durga Mantra, Durga Sahasranamam Strotra recitation, Homa, Aarti and Pushpaanjali.
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Aishwarya Durga Kavach:

This is a highly powerful bracelet that contains an energized Kavach, a Seven Mukhi Rudraksha bead and a Nine Mukhi Rudraksha bead. The Kavach is made out of Powerful Items like Black chirmi beads, White Chirmi beads, Black Turmeric and Kamakhya Sindoor. These things naturally help in protection, acquiring wealth and fulfilling desires. The Kavach pendant is energised (Pran Pratishta done) by learned Natha Gurumukhi, by reciting the Vedic/Shabar mantra of the particular Devi or Deva along with the Homa done.
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12 Mukhi Rudraksha
Durga Power Pendant:

If you seek to keep the depressing thoughts away and gain emotional strengths, here’s the pendant. It contains a Nine Mukhi Rudraksha bead (Java). A Nine Mukhi Rudraksha bead is ruled by Shakti, the original form of Goddess Duraga, Also if Rahu is your horoscope inflicts the favorably positioned planets; you must wear this pendant for it nullifies the effects of Rahu.
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Aishwarya Durga Kavach:

Shree Durga yantra is energized with the Vedic mantras attracts the blessings of Goddess Durga. It is worshipped through the Beeja mantra particularly during Navratri festival and on Ashtami Tithi when it yields good results. It is also a powerful Yantra for attaining desires, remove difficulties and conquer enemies. Worship of this Yantra as per Adhayaya 4 sloka 17 of Durga Saptashati removes poverty.
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Related Chakra

Goddess Durga is related to the Ajna Chakra, or the Third Eye Chakra.

It is located at front of the head in between eye brows and is associated with the colour indigo. The mind, as the sense organ and action organ, is deeply associated with this chakra. A person with a well balanced Ajna Chakra is charismatic and intuitive and is also endowed with calm , fearless state and clear judgement.

The activation of Ajna chakra is said to lead to psychic powers (siddhis).