The Story of Durga
The Story of Durga...
The word "Durga" in Sanskrit means a fort, or a place which is difficult to overrun. goddess Durga protects her devotees from the evils of the world and at the same time removes their miseries.
As per Shiva Purana and Devi Mahatmyah, Mahishasura, the son of demon Rambha, unleashed evil and terror on earth. He was granted a boon by God Brahma that he would not be destroyed or killed by any deity or man.
When gods intervened, Mahishasura defeated gods and banished them from heaven. Vanquished, gods, headed by Brahma and Vishnu, sought Lord Shiva's help. Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma decided to create a powerful force to destroy the invincible Mahishasura, as they were unable to defeat him themselves. The unified powers of all the Gods resulted in the creation of a fiery mass issued from the mouth of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and other Gods from which, the magnificent Goddess Durga was born. Durga was born with youthful beauty and decked with divine ornaments. She was blessed with all the powers given to her by the Gods.
She also acquired celestial weapons of all deities so that she could kill Mahishasura.
She has three eyes and is also known as Triyambake. The left eye represents desire (the moon), the right eye represents action (the sun) and the central eye represents knowledge (fire).
She has ten hands out of which she holds different arms in eight of her hands and conch and lotus in the rest two. Ten of her arms represent ten directions and it signifies that the goddess protects her devotees from all direction and all harms.
Durga’s holds the following weapons in her arms
The conch shell in Durga's hand symbolizes the 'Pranava' or the mystic word 'Om', which indicates her holding on to God in the form of sound.
The lotus in Durga's hand is not in fully bloomed, It symbolizing certainty of success but not finality. The lotus in Sanskrit is called "pankaja" which means born of mud. Thus, lotus stands for the continuous evolution of the spiritual quality of devotees amidst the worldly mud of lust and greed.
Durga's trident or "trishul" is a symbol of three qualities - Satwa (inactivity), Rajas (activity) and Tamas (non-activity) - and she is the remover of all the three types of miseries - physical, mental and spiritual.
The shining sword that Durga holds in one of her hands symbolizes knowledge, which has the sharpness of a sword.
The bow and arrows represent energy. By holding both the bow and arrows in one hand "Mother Durga" is indicating her control over both aspects of energy - potential and kinetic.
The thunderbolt signifies firmness. The devotee of Durga must be firm like thunderbolt in one's convictions. Like the thunderbolt that can break anything against which it strikes, without being affected itself, the devotee needs to attack a challenge without losing his confidence.
The beautiful discus or "Sudarshan-Chakra", which spins around the index finger of the Goddess, while not touching it, 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 goddess is bound on a lion that symbolises power, determination and will. Since the goddess has made the lion as her slave it is believed that she has power, will and determination which is suggestive of the fact that unless an individual possess all the three qualities one will not be able to win over the demon of ego.
Durga stands on a lion in a fearless pose of "Abhay Mudra", signifying assurance of freedom from fear. Durga rode her lion into the battle field and challenged demons for battle. Mahishasura's entire army attacked Durga at once but Durga slew all of them with unparallel cruelty.
The enraged Mahishasura attacked Durga in guise of a buffalo. But Durga bound it with ropes.
The buffalo morphed into a lion and leapt on Durga, but she beheaded it with her sword. At this, Mahishasura began to fight in form of a swordsman. Durga pinned him down with a torrent of arrows. Mahishasura now assumed form of a giant elephant and tugged at Durga's lion. Durga lopped off its trunk with her sword and freed her lion.
The elephent turned into a buffalo and charged at Durga. Sipping from her wine cup, Durga flung her trident and beheaded Mahishasura, finally killing him.
Durga is considered the supreme goddess and primary deity in Shaktism, occupying a place similar to Lord Krishna in Vaishnavism. She is Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati in her mild form; Goddess Kali and Goddess Chandi in her wrathful form. 'Devi Durga' is known as the Goddess of eternal power.
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