DURGA-THE WARRIOR GODDESS:
The term durga means impassable, invisible or “Difficult to defeat”. She is considered as an undefeatable goddess who destroys all the distress. She is a principle god of hinduism who is known for war, strength, protection and roots the peace, prosperity and Dharma in the world. She determines the power of goodness over the evil or demonic forces.
She releases the wrath of the divine against the wicked negative forces around us.She is familiar in various places of India(Especially north India- west bengal, odisha, jharkhand,tripura,kolkata,assam,bihar etc,) Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia,cambodia,vietnam, and all over the world where hinduism prevails.
HISTORY BEHIND GODDESS DURGA:
Goddess Durga was created inorder to destroy the evil Mahishashura- a half buffalo demon who has the ability of shape shifting and because of the boon he got from Lord Brahma,he tortured the people and devas without fear that only a woman can destroy him.
He considered women as weaker.
Hence the devas asked Trimurti to make an end for this suffering, as a result every together formed a women power with all their efficiency and Goddess Durga took the form to slay the demon and protect everyone from the misery.
TRAITS OF GODDESS DURGA:
- She is portrayed as an aggressive and fierce form but also acts as a protective motherly goddess.
- She has got eight to eighteen hands holding concen,conch,chanku, chakra, sword, lotus, arrow and bow, thunderbolt,mace, trishul, snake, javelin, noose and fire
- She is seated and riding on a lion(king of animals) towards the battlefield and has been a demon slaying goddess.
- She is often shown in the pose of slaying the demon Mahishashura.
DURGA IN SAIVISM AND VAISHNAVISM:
- In case of Saivism is considered as an incarnation of goddess shakthi wife of lord shiva
- In case of Vaishnavism she is considered as the sister of Lord Vishnu or avatar of Lakshmi(wife of Vishnu).
Besides she is also worshipped in Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism too.
PRINCIPAL FORMS OF DURGA:
The 3 main principal forms of goddess Durga are
- MAHADURGA has three more forms of Ugrachanda. Bhadrakali and Katyayani( one form among nava durga worshiped during the 6th day of navratri).
- CHANDIKA has two more forms of Chandi, Chaunda (a form of kali who killed chanda and Munda)
- APARAJITHA who is manifested from the womb of earth.
Nava durga are the 9 manifestations of goddess Durga who are specially celebrated during the period of Navratri each form on each single day with specific respective poojas and rituals. The specific characteristics of Nava Durga are as follows.
- This is the first form of Durga worshipped on the first day of Navratri.
- The term Shailaputri means ‘The daughter of the mountain’, (shaila means mountain and putri means daughter)
- The goddess was born as the daughter of Lord Himalayas after the process of self immolation while being Sati form.
- She is also called as Sati, Bhavani, Parvati and Hemavati
- She is considered as another form of Mother Nature
- She governs the planet of Moon
- She has got 2 hands holding a trident and lotus flower and wears a crescent moon over her head by riding Nandi(bull).
- MANTRA: “Om Devi Sailaputryai Namah”
- This is the second form of Durga worshiped at the second day of Navratri.
- The term Brahma means exact reality, universal, sacred knowledge and charini means occupation, behaviour, moving with etc. Hence this form of goddess who practices Brahmacharyam.
- She was born as a daughter for Prajapati Daksha and later got married to Shiva.
- This is considered as Durga’s unmarried form.
- Other names include Parvati, Aparna, Uma and Patlabati.
- She governs the planet of Mars.
- She is portrayed as walking with her bare feet with japa mala and kamandalu holded in her hands.
- MANTRA: “Om Devi Brahmacharinyai Namah”
- This is the third form of Durga worshipped on the third day of Navratri.
- The term Chandraghanta is a combo of two words where chadra means moon and ghanta means bell.
- She is considered as the goddess of courage who is ready to defeat the demons in war where her bell sound drives away all the evil.
- She is adorned by a halfmoon shaped like a bell on her forehead by which is got the name.
- She has got 10 hands carrying trishil, gada, sword, kamandalu, varadamudra, lotus flower, arrow, dhanush,japamala and abhaya mudra.She mounts on tha vehicle tigress
- She governs the planet of Venus
MANTRA: “Om Devi Chandraghantayai Namah”
- This is the fourth form of Durga worshipped on the Fourth day of navratri.
- The term Ku means little, ushma means energy/warmth and anda means universe in sanskrit.
- After her siddhidatri form, goddess Durga resided in the sun resulting in the glow and radiance found on her body and shines like sun and she governs the planet of Sun.
- She is considered as the creator of the universe with her smile flash and blessed people with powers and wealth.
- She has got 8 hands holding kamandalu, shanush, bada, kamal, amrit kalasham, japa mala, gada, chakra by riding lioness.
- MANTRA: “Om Devi Kusmandayai Namah”
- This is the fifth form of Durga worshipped during the fifth day of Navratri.
- She got this name for being the mother of the God of war Skanda(lord Muruga) and bestowed the blessings not only for her devotees but also for the devotees of her son.
- She is regarded as the goddess of fire and Goddess Padmasana.
- She has got four hands holding lotus flowers and carrying baby skanda on her lap riding an aggressive lion.
- She governs the planet of Mercury.
- MANTRA: “Om Devi Skandamatayai Namah”
- This is the sixth form of Durga worshipped during the sixth day of Navratri.
- This form of Goddess was born as a daughter of sage Katyayana inorder to destroy the monster Mahishasura and protect devas.
- She was considered to be the angry goddess who achieved victory over the evils.
- She has 4 hands holding lotus flowers in her two hands and showing abhaya and varada mudra in other two hands.
- She governs the planet of Jupiter.
- MANTRA: “Om Devi Katyayanyai Namah”
- This is the seventh form of Durga worshipped during the seventh day of Navratri.
- The term Kalaratri means death night who is the very death of time(kala)and greater than that.
- She is considered as the most aggressive goddess who destroyed the demos called sumbha and nisumbha.
- She has got a dark complexion with four hands holding sword, deadly iron hook, abhaya varada mudras
- She governs the planet of Saturn.
- MANTRA: “Om Devi Kalaratryai Namah”
- This is the eighth form of Durga worshipped during the eighth day of Navratri.
- She got this name due to her hgh fair complexion.
- She is regarded as the goddess of pure, tidy and forgiveness
- When worshipped she blesses us with her grace that removes all our faults, mistakes and purifies them.
- She has got 4 arms holding damaru, kamandalu, abhaya and varada mudra by riding on a bull as vehicle.
- She governs the planet of Rahu.
- MANTRA: “Om Devi Mahagauryai Namah”
- This is the last form of Durga among 9 forms and worshiped during the 9th day of Navratri.
- The term Siddhi means supernatural powers hence she blesses all types of siddhis to people, gandharvas, asuras and devas as a whole.
- It is believed that this form of durga was created from Ardhanarishvara, while lord shiva worshipped Adi Parashakti for creation during the beginning of the universe.
- She is considered as the one who clears all the ignorance and fills them with knowledge in order to realize the reality and goddess of all achievements.
- She has got 4 hands holding chakram, lotus flower, gada and chakra sitting on lotus or riding a lion/ tiger.
- She governs the planet of ketu
- MANTRA: “Om Devi Siddhidatryai Namah”
PRE AND POST VEDUC LITERATURE TEXTS ON GODDESS DURGA:
The 2 important texts are Devi Mahatmya of Bhagavad Geetha and Devi Bhagavata Purana points out the specifications of goddess Durga.
Apart from this other text includes Rig veda, Atharvana vedha, Taittriya Aranyaka, Ashtadhyayi by panini, Nirukta by Yaska and 2 epics Ramayana and Mahabaratha mentions about the details of goddess Durga.
FESTIVALS ON GODDESS DURGA:
Apart from various festivals the two main festivals celebrated on goddess Durga are Navratri and Durga pooja, which became an inseparable indian culture.
It is also called as Durgotsava, an annual hindu festival which is celebrated for 10 days with various rituals and traditions.
- It is celebrated for the victory in the battle of Durga over the shape shifting demon Mahishasura.Both symbolic and animal sacrifice is done at the end of this festival.
- It is also considered a Harvest festival in some parts.
The various rituals performed during this festival are
- Mahalaya: The first day to do tarpana
- Sasti: 6th day for the inauguration of celebrations.
- Saptami, Ashtami, Navami: Pooja for goddess Durga
- Bodhana: welcoming festival.
- Adhivasa: offerings to the goddess.
- Navapatrika snan: Holy water on 9 different plants.
- Sandhi puja: Ashtami pushpanjali with flower offerings.
- Homa/Boga: fire ritual of burning past and old
- Sindoor khela: Done by married women with sindoor on statues to be immersed into the river.
- Dhunuchi naach/ Dhuno pora: It is a celebration of dance and music.
This festival also coincides with Navratri and Dussehra.
- It is a 9 day festival celebrated on 9 forms of Durga the incarnations of Goddess Shakthi.
- The three main deities are Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi.
- Here the goddess is worshipped in 9 different forms each on each day with respective rituals and poojas.
- The last is celebrated as Saraswathi/ Ayudha pooja.
- The 10th day is considered as Vijayadasami for her victory in the battle over the demon.
BEST TIME TO DO DURGA POOJA:
- It is preferable that Durga puja done on Ashtami day of Navratri is highly beneficial and it is called Durgashtami
- During weekdays all Tuesday and Fridays are said auspicious for Durga puja by Rahu Kalam.
OFFERINGS FOR DURGA POOJA:
The major offerings for Durga puja should resemble the red color in them. Saree blouse, red coloured food, fruits, kumkum and cloth can be provided as offerings during pooja.
BENEFITS OF WORSHIPPING GODDESS DURGA:
- This puja is generally done by everyone without any discrimiation and for overall welfare of the people and their family.
- When done with positivity, it helps to get free and peace that lasts longer from the grip of negative influence, black magic or evil-ness.
- It provides benefits like marriage to unmarried, long life span for husbands of married womens and long contented life with joy and prosperity.
MANTRAS FOR GODDESS DURGA:
“Sarva mangala mangalye shive sarvartha sadhike
Saranye trayambike gauri narayani namostute”
DURGA DHYANA MANTRA:
“Om jataajuta samaayukta mardhendu krita lakshnam
Lochanyatra sanyuktam padmendu sadya shan naam”