Goddess Durga – The Hindu Goddess who always wins!

Goddess Durga is one of the most important Hindu Goddesses. She is the most powerful one! She has many different names, but you’ll commonly find Maa Durga when referring to her, which means “Mother Durga”.

Essentially in Hindu Mythology, many Goddesses, called Devi, are manifestations of Shakti or manifestations of other Devi. She can be considered an angered manifestation of Goddess Parvati and her uncontrollable aspect is Goddess Kali.

She is so strong that she was the only one able to defeat a powerful Asura who won battles against all Gods (Devi) together. She carries all the Celestial Weapons that were given to her by all of the Gods.

You can watch a video in which I explain her story and archetype, subscribe to my YouTube Channel, and also continue reading this article for more information and images.

In Neo-Paganism, Durga is considered an aspect of the Mother Face of the Triple Goddess.

  • Attributes: Goddess of Power, Protection and Mother of the Universe
  • Symbols: Fire, lions, bowls with rice, spoons and yellow things in general
  • Place: India

Durga, as well as other Hindu Goddesses (Devi) are in my free Goddess Oracle! Use the button below to access it, flip a card and receive a message from a Goddess!

A classic depiction of Goddess Durga
A classic depiction of Goddess Durga

Who is Goddess Durga?

Goddess Durga is The Hindu Warrior Goddess. Although she is a fierce deity, she’s also considered a Mother Goddess who protects everyone. It’s common to chant her mantra and ask for protection against all types of evil.

She is usually depicted as a woman riding a lion or a tiger. In her 8 or 10 arms, she holds all the weapons from the Gods (Deva). I’ll soon explain how she was given these weapons!

She is represented as a beautiful woman with two or three eyes and usually with a serene complexion – although we know she can be extremely ferocious!

Another interesting thing about her is that we can find many different names referring to her. Actually, there are 108 names. Chamunda and Chandi are very common ones, and in the Puranas we mainly find Chandi.

A statuette of Goddess Durga
A statuette of Goddess Durga

Durga and Mahishasura battle story: the appearance of Chandi

There’s a very important and popular story in Hindu Mythology that refers to Durga and Mashishasura battle. The story starts with Mahishasura, the Buffalo demon, conquering the Gods who were led by Indra during a series of battles. He is ready to start a reign of terror and darkness over the worlds.

At this moment, all the Deva (Gods) got together and created a new manifestation of the supreme and primordial feminine energy Shakti. This manifestation is Chandi, the fierce and ferocious aspect of Goddess Durga.

Durga depicted by Abhishek Singh
Durga depicted by Abhishek Singh

Below you can read an excerpt from a text called “The Origin of the Goddess from the Gods” which can be found in the book “Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas“. This text depicts how Chandi was born from all the Gods together:

Her mouth was born from the energy that arose from Sambhu; from Yama’s energy came the hairs of her head, and from Visnu’s her arms. From the energy of the moon were born her two breasts; from Indra’s her waist. From Varuna’s energy came her calves and thighs, and from energy itself, her genitals. From the energy of Brahma arose her feet, her toes from the Sun’s; from the Vasus’ came her fingers and hands, her nostrils from Kubera’s. Her teeth sprang from the energy of Prajapati and her three eyes from that of Fire. From the energy of the two twilights came her eyebrows, and her ears from the wind’s.

Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas

If you wish to read other great texts, I highly recommend the book. Purchase yours using my links and you’ll also support the website without paying extra for it!

Consequently, she was given all the weapons from the Gods. She fiercely faced Mahishasura and won the battle.

An interesting point, noted by the author of the book mentioned above, is that all the Hindu Goddesses are usually married to Gods and represent either equilibrium or duality.

The exceptions are Goddess Durga and Goddess Kali (the uncontrollable aspect of Durga) who are not married.

When Mahishasura realized he was losing the battle against Durga he asked her in marriage saying that a woman like her should not be on a battlefield. Her answer was:

“I may be stubborn, but there is a desire in my heart, great demon. Only he who conquers me in battle shall be my husband!”

Right after saying this, her lion (or tiger) attacks the buffalo of the demon and she emerges victorious!

Goddess Durga Killing Mahishasura
8th Century A.D Vaital Deul Temple

Goddess Durga Killing Mahishasura
Goddess Durga Killing Mahishasura

Durga, The Hindu Mother Goddess of Protection

Although Goddess Durga is the Warrior Goddess who fights and kills enemies, she’s also a Mother Goddess of Protection. Everyone who asks for her protection gets protected by her.

The word “Durga” means something like “The Invincible”. And she is the invincible one not only during battles but all the time, including when she takes care of someone who seems to be lost. She never gives up. She always wins!

Another painting showing Durga by Abhishek Singh
Another painting showing Durga by Abhishek Singh

She also has nine aspects (which are also deities by themselves) that are honored during the nine days of her festival in September, the Durga Puja. These nine names/Deities are:

  • Skondamata;
  • Kusumanda;
  • Shailaputri;
  • Kaalratri;
  • Rahmacharini;
  • Maha Gauri;
  • Katyayani;
  • Chandraghanta;
  • Siddhidatri.

As I wrote above, she carries all the Celestial Weapons from the Deva (Gods). Besides weapons, she also may hold some objects. You can read below each weapon and object she holds and their symbolic meaning:

Durga’s symbols and their meaning

  • Chakram: Given by Krishna, it turns around the index finger of the Goddess without ever being touched. It symbolizes justice or dharma.
  • Shell (or conch): Given by Varuna, it symbolizes the word “Om”, a mantra that indicates a connection with the divine through sound.
  • Bow and Arrow: Given by Surya, they represent energy. She holds them in the same hand, demonstrating their power over potential and kinetic energy.
  • Thunder: Given by Indra, this weapon symbolizes firmness of mind. Thunder can destroy where it falls without being affected, and so must be Durga’s devotee, overcoming his challenges without losing confidence in himself.
  • Lotus Flower: Given by the ocean. The flower is not fully blossomed in the hand of the Goddess, symbolizing certainty of future success, the awakening of spiritual awareness. The lotus is a flower that manages to be born in the midst of filth (and its Sanskrit name, “pankaja”, means that), and this represents the devotee who manages to rise spiritually in the midst of adversity.
  • Staff: Given by Yama, this object represents sharp knowledge and intellect.
  • Spear: Given by Agni, the spear destroys negativity and ensures prosperity.
  • Axe: Vishwakarma‘s gift, this weapon hits any enemy regardless of their defence. Her blessings will help those seeking to defeat any threat.
  • Trident (or Trishul): Present of Shiva, it is a symbol of the three Gunas (three qualities in a human): Satvva (creative force), Rajas (manifestation) and Tamas (inertia). The Gunas represent a triangle of opposing and complementary forces, balancing existence. She manages to give the courage to fight with his evils to someone who is not aligned with any of these qualities.
Goddess Durga and her weapons
Goddess Durga and her weapons

Goddess Durga Mantra

You can chant the Goddess Durga mantra to attract power and protection from her.

Chant it daily, preferably 108 times each session, for its full power.

You can use a Japa Mala to help you.

Durga mantra lyrics are:

Om Dum Durgayei Namaha

Which means something like:

Salutations to the feminine energy that protects from all negative influences

Goddess Durga the Divine Mother painting by Abhishek Singh
Goddess Durga the Divine Mother painting by Abhishek Singh

Durga Images

Below you’re going to find all the images I used in this post formatted for Pinterest.

Feel free to save them all to your boards!

Photo of author

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