Whats The Story Behind The Hindu Goddess Durga?
More about the popular Hindu Goddess Durga and what she represents
Dec 16, 2019
The story of Hindu Goddess Durga
Goddess Durga is an integral part of Hinduism. She was a warrior who represents the feminine nature of God. Hindus have a very firm belief and faith in Durga as she came into being as a force against oppressors and unjustness in the world. As legends go by, her creation has a very interesting story behind it.
There lived a king with a buffalo head named Mahishasura who was a power-hungry and greedy person. He was a staunch follower of Lord Brahma, another popular Hindu god. After years of undying determined worship, Lord Brahma finally decided to repay him with a wish and this is how Mahishasura attained immorality. As promised, he was granted what he wished for but was also informed by the lord that his end will be at the hands of a woman. Becoming ignorant of this warning, Mahishasura let his inner devil unleash on the world. His tyranny was getting out of hands as he was becoming toxic for the beings of the universe. However, his power had become too strong to be defeated and despite many tries, all the lords kept failing to stop him.
In this great hour of need, three lords decided to combine their powers and create a female goddess to defeat Mahisasura. Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva (Lord of destruction) collaborated with other lesser gods to create ‘Durga’ also known as ‘Devi’ and ‘Shakti’. A powerful Goddess, having 8-10 arms riding a lion came into being. Being true to her name Shakti, she was the power of the universe. After coming into the world, she fulfilled her purpose and fought with the God of evil for 15 days. In this long course of the war, Mahishasura kept dodging her by shifting into different animals until finally he became a buffalo and she killed him by passing her trident through him. This story not only glorifies Durga as the killer of a tyrant but also holds her as a symbol of justness, fairness, prosperity, and peace even today.
She Takes on Many Forms of Goddess Representations
The Hindus believe that there are nine forms that their Durga Maa takes and each form represents a Godly trait that makes her worthy of worship. These forms together are called “Navadurga” and are celebrated on the occasion of “Navratri” a Hindu festival spread over nine days; each day celebrating each form of Durga. The nine representation or forms of Durga are as follows
Shailaputri which means “daughter of the mountains” as she was born to the king of Himalayas. This represents her as the epitome of nature and purity. Mountains are a magnificent part of nature and are known as the daughter of such a magical thing shows what she is made of. She is also known as Sati, Bhavani, Parvati or Hemavati, all words of Hindu dialect that translate into being all-powerful.
Brahmacahrini is the form celebrated on the second day of this festival. This name translates to someone who lives a simple life with devotion. This representation of Durga portrays her as a symbol of grace and power.
The third manifestation of the Hindu goddess is known as Chandraghanta which means calmness and prosperity. This form is shown to be riding a lion and has a weapon in all her hands. She also has three eyes which help her see all around herself, making her prepared to combat evil coming in from any direction.
On the fourth day, she is celebrated as the creator of the universe with the name “Kushmanda.” She is someone who brought light to the dark times of the universe, creating a better world for all.
Holding a lotus in two of her hands while riding a lion is the fifth version of Durga called “Skandamata.” Being the fighter against demons of the world, this name represents her as the giver of blessings. The fifth day of Navratri celebrates her pure and celestial nature.
Katyayani is the sixth manifestation that represents a fearless force of light beaming to combat any darkness much like Kushmanda.
The next day she is celebrated as “Kalaratri,” the one who is wild, fearless and powerful. She has a dark complexion and shoots flames from her mouth. She is known to destroy evil and bring serenity to her world.
Mahagauri is the eight form of Durga and she is white in color emitting luminosity that depicts her pure and beautiful nature. Hindus worship her to have their sins washed away on this day.
Giver of supernatural powers is the meaning of Durga’s ninth, and final form called “Siddhidatri” that is worshipped and celebrated. Her worshippers believe that on this day, she bestows upon them the ability to think wisely and make insightful decisions in their lives.
The Meaning Behind her Name
Durga means a power that is very hard to defeat, someone who is fierce and invulnerable. The word is originated from two words; Dur meaning difficult and Gam meaning overrun. Durga is also referred to as someone who puts an end to people’s sufferings and provides relief. Therefore, most of the Hindus believe that Durga protects all her followers from evil and free them of all the distress and miseries of life. The word can also be found in several historical Sanskrit texts where it is used under different contexts. An example of that is ‘Durg’ – the name of an ‘Asura’ (A group of divine spirits who are hungry for power) whom God could not kill and Durga, who also happens to be a Goddess, was chosen to stop and kill.
Her Weapons and Meaning
The Hindu goddess possessed numerous weapons each having a different meaning and use. All these weapons gave her qualities and powers that made her invincible and undefeated against the evil of the world.
The first weapon was a thunderbolt that helped her remain steadfast while combating the forces of evil. It gave her the energy and boost to overcome any challenge thrown her way.
Next, she had a half-bloomed lotus that kept her modest and grounded. It represents that one must not cling on to the worldly possessions and luxuries that can make them arrogant. This weapon ensured awareness about the uncertainty of success in a situation which in turn kept the humility in check.
The third weapon is a shiny sword that gave Durga the power of knowledge while the luminosity of it represented that the supremacy that comes with having knowledge never fades away.
Sudharshan Chakra, a spinning wheel on her index finger gave her the power to destroy evil and gain control of the world.
Having lord Shiva as one of her creators, she was granted one of his strongest weapons called Trishul. It’s a trident that has the powerful ability to slay the demons.
Bow and arrow
The next weapon she has is a bow and arrow which usually requires a lot of focus and control to hit the right target. Having this weapon showed that she has control over everything in the world.
Conch shell or Sankha is another weapon of Durga that makes her powerful as this represents humility and success. Having this weapon makes her exude her power and energy around the world.
Her devotees always feel as if she is constantly lending an ear to listen to them and is bestowing blessings upon them through Abhaya Mudra, her hand that is always in an upright position.
Being fiery and powerful is a strength granted to her by Lord Agni who gave her a spear that depicts auspiciousness and greatness.
Club or Ax
The last weapon that she has is a club or ax that could be used for two opposite purposes; to build or to destroy. This means she had the power to create and had the power to abolish the same. This weapon was given to her by lord Visvakarma.
Get inspired by Goddess Durga for...
In the world we live in today, there is a lot of oppression and discrimination especially in the name of gender. It is very rare to see women being able to showcase their power and talents that may put them in the same position as men or maybe even higher.
In such a world, there are many qualities of Durga that can be useful for the women of today to achieve a respectable status. Her fearlessness and inner strength made her invincible and stand strong against all kinds of evil and adversities. No matter how big the challenge may have been, she found with willfulness and determination to eliminate oppression and tyranny. Fighting the wrong of the world consistently without giving up made her stronger and eventually win the war.
She was able to defeat the evil and come out stronger which can be fully credited to her nature of fearlessness and faith in her own self. Today the women need the same quality in order to overcome the discrimination and pushback that they constantly face. Only with consistency and a strong will, they can bring about a change for themselves and women in general.
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In conclusion, we now know that Durga is an integral part of the Hindu religion whereby the followers are devoted to worship her. She is the representation of all-powerful, just, fair, peace and prosperity for them. Being a product of many powerful lords and gods of the world, she overcame and destroyed evil and demons that were harmful to the world.