Gods + Goddesses - Get to Know Durga

Durga - The One Who Eliminates Suffering

Who is Durga?

Wikipedia: Durga is the most popular incarnation of Devi and one of the main forms of the Goddess Shakti in the Hindu pantheon. Durga is the original manifested form of Mother Parvati or Adi-Parashakti. Durga is Adi-Parashakti herself. The Devi Gita, declares her to be the greatest Goddess. Thus, she is considered the supreme goddess and primary deity in Shaktism, occupying a place similar to Lord Krishna in Vaishnavism. 

Name Meaning: 

The name Durga (Sanskrit: दुर्गा), means "the inaccessible" or "the invincible".

Other translations of Durga in Sanskrit means a fort, or a place which is difficult to overrun. Another meaning of Durga is Durgatinashini, which literally translates into "the one who eliminates sufferings". 

According to Skanda Purana, the goddess Parvati received the name "Durga" after she killed the demon Durgamaasura. Goddess Parvati is considered to be the complete incarnation of Adi Parashakti or Goddess Durga. All other goddesses are her reincarnations.

Adi Parashakti or Mahadevi, the supreme power, is called Durga Shakti as per Devi-Mahatmya. Adi Parashakti or Devi Durga is a Hindu concept of the Ultimate Shakti or Mahashakti, the power inherent in all Creation. 

Who Worships the Goddess? 

Durga is one of the most worshipped goddesses throughout India and the rest of the Far East. She's essentially worshipped anywhere where Hindus reside. 

In Bengel, Assam, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand and Nepal, she's worshipped during the festival of Durga Puja, which is the biggest annual festival in these areas. This festival is also celebrated heavily celebrated in various parts of India, especially in the Himalayan region. 

Durga Puja also includes the worship of Shiva, who is Durga's consort, as well as Lakshmi, Saraswati with Ganesha and Kartikeya, who are considered to be Durga's children. Worship of mother nature is done, through nine types of plant (called "Kala Bou"), including a banana tree, which represent nine divine forms of Goddess Durga.

Fun Facts: 

In depictions of Durga, she has eight or ten hands. These represent eight quadrants or ten directions in Hinduism, suggesting that she protects the devotees from all directions.

Durga is either depicted as riding on a lion or a tiger. A tiger symbolizes unlimited power. Durga riding a tiger indicates that she possesses unlimited power. She uses it to protect virtue and destroy evil. The lion is a symbol of uncontrolled animalistic tendencies (such as anger, arrogance, selfishness, greed, jealousy, desire to harm others etc.). Her sitting on it reminds us to control these qualities, so that we are not controlled by them.

In addition, Durga is depicted wearing a red sari; this symbolizes action and the red clothes signify that she is destroying evil and protecting mankind from pain and suffering.