Durgā (a fort)
Ma Durga Definition
Ma Durga is an invocation of the Mother Goddess Durga. Ma means ‘mother’ in Sanskrit, as well as referring to rebirth and renewal.
She is the Hindu Goddess of strength, protection, destruction, motherhood, and valor; one of the most powerful deities in the Hindu religion. Ma Durga is the epitome of the power of Shakti – the unconquerable feminine.
Ma Durga Deep Dive
The Legend of Durga
Legend has it that Durga was created by the combined energies of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and other Gods who were trying and failing to slay the shapeshifting demon, Mahishasura.
Mahishasura unleashed his anger and tormented beings across all of the earth and heavens. He could not be defeated by any man that was sent to stop him. Enter Durga.
It is said that her characteristics were created out of each of the Gods’ powers – ten arms from Lord Vishnu, her feet from Lord Brahma, and her face from Shiva. Depicted usually with 8-10 arms, in her possession were weapons given to her by the Gods.
With Mahishasura sending his best commanders to fight the mighty Goddess riding in on her lion, it was an epic battle that lasted for ten whole days.
On the tenth day, she finally slayed him. The 9 days of battle prior to his death have become what we now know as Navaratri, an annual Hindu celebration in honor of the warrior Goddess Durga.
10 Weapons Of Durga
Ma Durga holds 10 divine weapons that she used to slay the demon, each having their own significance.
Her 10 arms and weapons enable her to protect devotees from every direction, including above and below (earth and heaven).
|Khanda (Sword)||Lord Ganesh||We should rid ourselves of illusions preventing us from carrying out our duties|
|Trishula (Trident)||Lord Shiva||It’s three points representing the past, present, and future – we should stay in presence-awareness. It’s also thought to symbolize the three Gunas|
|Sudarshan Chakra||Lord Vishnu||Symbolizing creation and destruction|
|Vajra (Thunderbolt)||Lord Indra||Determination, firmness of character, and spirit|
|Bow and arrow||Veyu Dev||To stay focused on our goals and aims|
|Bharji (Spear)||Agni Dev||Representing fire and power necessary to overcome obstacles|
|Shankh (Conch)||Varuna Dev||Believed to be where the sound Aum originated, the primordial sound of all creation|
|Lotus||Lord Brahma||Liberation through wisdom and knowledge|
|Khitaka/Parashu (Axe)||Vishwakarma||The power to destroy evil|
|Snake||Lord Shiva||The energy of Shiva and consciousness|
9 Avatars of Durga
Particularly during Navaratri, there are nine different manifestations of Durga that are worshipped and celebrated. These are considered the stages of her 9-day-long battle against Mahishasura before slaying him on the 10th day.
Each avatar has its own color and symbolism.
1. Shailaputri – Daughter of Mountain
This is Durga in the stage of childhood, it is one of the most prominent forms of Ma Durga.
- Color: orange
- Represents: success and happiness
2. Brahmacharini – Mother of Devotion
The aspect of Durga who devoted herself to Lord Shiva, showing severe self-discipline and practicing Brahmacharya (renunciation of worldly pleasure).
- Color: white
- Represents: grace, peace, and prosperity
3. Chandraghanta – Destroyer of the Demons
Often depicted in this form riding a tiger or a lion, this is Durga in the form of pure Shakti.
Chandraghanta shows fierceness towards evil but compassion for her devotees.
- Color: red
- Represents: passion, courage, and fearlessness
4. Kushmanda – Goddess of the Cosmic Egg
The source of Lord Surya‘s power, she bestows her followers with riches, strength, and well-being.
- Color: royal blue
- Represents: prosperity and energy
5. Skandamata – Goddess of Motherhood and Children
This is Durga in her motherhood stage, as Mahadevi or Adi Shakti (the Superior One).
- Color: yellow
- Represents: immense love and affection
6. Katyayani – Goddess of Power
One of the fiercest manifestations of Durga. This is the Goddess in her warrior stage, able to remove obstacles for her devotees and destroy evil.
- Color: green
- Represents: new beginnings, intelligence, and peace
7. Kalratri – Goddess of Auspiciousness and Courage
Seated on a donkey, this is Durga in the form of destruction!
- Color: grey
- Represents: destruction and grounding
8. Mahagauri – Goddess of Beauty and Women
Graceful, bright, and feminine, Mahagauri is Durga returning to health.
- Color: purple
- Represents: the inner beauty of everything
9. Siddhidharti – Goddess of Siddhis (Supernatural Powers)
This is her highest and most supreme form of Shakti, Durga is also the giver of siddhis.
- Color: peacock green
- Represents: bliss, grace, and integrity
Incarnations of Durga
As mother of the universe, Ma Durga has many other different incarnations.
There are 108 different names for Durga that are included in prayers and offerings to the Goddess. It is said that Lord Shiva called the Mother Goddess Durga 108 names in order to please her!
The manifestations of Durga include:
Ma Durga In Your Life
The Great Liberator
As I’m sure you can see by now, Durga is a fierce, compassionate, and graceful force.
Calling upon Ma Durga can help remove the obstacles in your life that are hindering you from self-realization or destroy limitations in situations that may feel insurmountable.
Her presence and embodiment bring peace, power, and strength, enabling us to calmly and confidently face our fears and difficulties.
Mantras for Ma Durga
Mantras are sacred words or phrases that contain within them the vibrations of spiritual significance, they are a great way to call honor and call upon the strength of deities.
As the root of all creation, Ma Durga is particularly good to call upon if you are facing any challenges in all areas of your life or to ask for protection.
She empowers us to stand in our truth and fight for what is right, in the current climate it feels that the collective needs to call on the power and wisdom of Durga more than ever.
1. Hey Ma Durga – हे मा दुर्गा
2. Om Sri Durgaya Namah or Om Dum Durgayei Namaha – ॐ दुं दुर्गायै नम
3. Durga Dhyan Mantra – दुर्गा ध्यान मंत्र
4. Devi Stuti Mantra – देवी स्तुती
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