Shri Durgadevi

 Durgadevi

Shri Durgadevi

Shri Durgadevi or Durga Mata or simply Durga Ma (as She is often called by Her devotees), is one of the most beloved and worshipped feminine forms of Shakti. Shri Durgadevi is lovingly worshipped to appease Her tarak (Saviour) form in which She nurtures and protects Her devotees. At the same time, Devotees have deep faith in Her marak (Destroyer) form, in which She fights, defeats and annihilates negative energies and protects Her dear devotees. In our Holy texts such as the Puranas, after being praised when She assured protection to the Deities from Asuras (Demoniacal energies), She said,

इत्थं यदा यदा बाधा दानवोत्था भविष्यति ।

तदा तदाऽवतीर्याहं करिष्याम्यरिसंक्षयम् ।। – Markandeypurana, 91.51

Meaning : Whenever there is harassment (of the world) by demons in this way, I will incarnate and destroy them !

This reassurance makes the devotees of Shri Durgadevi feel protected and secure in Her care. In this article, we will learn about some very fundamental and authentic scriptural information on Shri Durgadevi, so that Her devotees develop and enhance their bhav (Spiritual emotion) unto Her and benefit from Her Divine grace.

Origin and meaning of the word ‘Durga’

1. ‘दैत्यनाशार्थवचनो दकारः परिकीर्तितः ।

उकारो विघ्ननाशस्य वाचको वेदसम्मतः ।

रेफो रोगघ्नवचनो गश्च पापघ्नवाचकः ।

भयशत्रुघ्नवचनश्चाकारः परिकीर्तितः ।।

Meaning : According to the Vedas, the alphabet ‘da (द)’ in Durga (दुर्गा) suggests destruction of demons. The ‘u (उ)’ has been accepted to represent overcoming of obstacles. The half ‘r (र)’ signifies elimination of disease, ‘g (ग)’ nullification of sins and ‘a (आ)’ the overcoming of fear and destruction of enemies.

2. When She killed the demon Durg, She came to be known as Durga.

3. ‘Dur’ in Durga means evil and ‘Ga’ means remover or destroyer. Hence, Durga means the one who destroys the evil.

4. The basic form of Durga : ‘Earlier in different regions, various Devis were worshipped under different Names. The authors of the Puranas merged all these Devis into one, called Her Durga and accorded Her the status of the consort of Deity Shiva.’

Shri Durgadevi’s unique characteristics and mission

1. ‘Slaying powerful demons such as Mahishasur, Chanda-Munda and Shumbh-Nishumbh, Durgadevi emerged as Mahashakti (Great Shakti) and assured protection to all Deities and mankind.

2. There is also a spiritual form of Durga beyond Her physical form. In that form, She liberates devotees from the maze of Maya (Great Illusion) and attachment and bestows them with self-realisation.

3. The image of Durga represents the energy of the Nation. The physical and mental prowess, prosperity in all dimensions and spiritual strength of the Nation, all three are fused into this image.

4. Durga’s energy is manifest in three forms that is Iccha (Will), Kriya (Action) and Dnyan (Knowledge).

 

Various forms of Shri Durgadevi

Shri Durgadevi is depicted in various forms having four, eight or ten hands etc.

 

The ten-armed form of Shri Durgadevi

Here is how a meditation mantra, probably from Durgabhakti Tarangini describes Shri Durgadevi. (The meanings have been explained by H.H. Parashram Pande Maharaj.)

ॐ जटाजूटसमायुक्तां मध्येन्दुकृतशेखराम् ।

लोचनत्रयसंयुक्तां पूर्णेन्दुसदृशाननाम् ।।

तप्तकाञ्चनवर्णाभां सुप्रतिष्ठां सुलोचनाम् ।

नवयौवनसंपन्नां सर्वाभरणभूषिताम् ।।

मृणालायतसंस्पर्शां दशबाहुसमुन्नताम् ।

त्रिशूलो दक्षिणे ध्येयः खड्गं चक्रं क्रमादघः ।।

तीक्ष्णबाणं शक्तिं दक्षिणेयं विचिन्तयेत् ।

खदकं पूर्णचापं च पाशमंकुशमेव च ।।

घण्टां वा परशुं वापि वामतः सन्निवेशयेत् ।

अधस्तान्महिषं तद्वद्विशिरस्कं प्रदर्शयेत् ।।

चिन्तयेज्जगतां धात्रीं धर्मकामार्थमोक्षदाम् ।

ॐ दुर्गे दुर्गे रक्षिणि स्वाहा ॐ र्‍हीं दुर्गायै नमः ।। (Mantra)

Meaning : The matted hair of Shri Durgadevi is woven in such a way that it appears as beautiful as a ray of moonlight. She is three-eyed, with a face as beautiful as a full moon, complexion like that of heated gold, with radiant and beautiful eyes, ever youthful, adorned with all ornaments. She has arms resembling the stems of a lotus and they reach Her knees. She has raised all of her ten arms. In the arms to Her right, She holds (from above) a trident, a sword, a Sudarshan-chakra, a sharp arrow and a weapon called Shakti respectively. In the arms to Her left, She holds (from above) weapons like khadak (A weapon which is thorny and broad at one end and narrow at the other), bow and arrows, noose, goad, bell or axe. Also, the body of demon Mahishasur is shown lying at Her feet. Therefore, one should contemplate deeply (Meditate) on mother Shri Durgadevi, who is full of radiance and energy, bestower of Dharma, artha, kama and Moksha and nourisher of the whole universe.

The ten-armed form is of Mahakali. Mahakali has tamasik attributes. Therefore, the Tama component gets drawn into the picture. Mahakali has been described as ‘One who dwells in the cemetery’. Hence, if a cemetery is nearby, the Tama energy there also gets drawn into the picture. As far as possible, such a picture is not placed in the household.

The four-armed form of Shri Durgadevi

The picture depicting a four-armed Devi is generally placed in the house. Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Mahagouri and Siddhidatri are the four of the nine forms (Navadurga) of Shri Durgadevi that are worshipped during the Navaratri festival.

Navadurga

There are in all nine different dimensions in the nature and a separate form of Shri Durgadevi rules each dimension. There are nine such Durgas and hence they are called ‘Navadurga’.

 

Various Names of Shri Durgadevi as per different Holy texts

Shri Durgasaptashati and Agam scriptures

The Holy text Shri Durgasaptashati was written by Sage Markandeya, and is well-known in the Paths of Tantra and Mantra. One comes across millions of Bharatiyas doing periodic readings of the Saptashati today. This Holy text, along with Agam scriptures lists the following nine Names of Shri Durgadevi:

 

Brahmancharini

Chanda

Skandamata

Kushmanda

Durga

Katyayani

Kalaratri

Mahagouri

Siddhidayini

 

Skandayamal and Agnipurana

Rudrachanda

Prachanda

Chandogra

Chandanayika

Chanda

Chandavati

Chanarupa

Atichandika

Ugrachandika

 

Bhavishyapurana

Mahalakshmi

Nanda

Kshemakari

Shivaduti

Maharudra

Bhramari

Chandamangala

Revati

Harasiddhi

 

Some other names of Shri Durgadevi

Rudranshadurga

Vanadurga

Agnidurga

Jayadurga

Ripumaridurga

Nilkanthidurga

Kshemakaridurga

Vindhyavasinidurga

Harasiddhidurga

All over the world, wherever Bharatiyas live, they always celebrate special festivals like Navaratri, Diwali, etc. dedicated to worshipping Shakti in various feminine forms. Devotees who wish to obtain Her protection and benediction can worship Shri Durgadevi ritualistically in several ways. There are several vrats (Vowed religious observances) that can be performed by devotees for various purposes.

Apart from Shri Durgadevi, there are two more forms of Shakti – Shri Saraswatidevi and Shri Lakshmidevi.

Reference : Sanatan’s Holy Text ‘Shakti’
Categories Gods