Goddess Durga represents
the power of the Supreme Being that preserves moral order and righteousness
in the creation. The Sanskrit word Durga means a fort or a place that is
protected and thus difficult to reach. Durga, also called Divine Mother,
protects mankind from evil and misery by destroying evil forces such as
selfishness, jealousy, prejudice, hatred, anger, and ego.
The worship of Goddess Durga is very popular among
Hindus. She is also called by many other names, such as Parvati, Ambika,
and Kali In the form of Parvati, She is known as the divine spouse of Lord
Shiva and is the mother of Her two sons, Ganesha and Karttikeya, and daughter
Jyoti. There are many temples dedicated to Durga's worship in India.
In Her images, Goddess Durga is shown in a female
form, wearing red clothes. She has eighteen arms, carrying many objects
in Her hands. The red color symbolizes action and the red clothes signify
that She is always busy destroying evil and protecting mankind from pain
and suffering caused by evil forces. Following is the symbolism associated
with Goddess Durga:
- Bansi Pandit
A tiger symbolizes unlimited power. Durga riding
a tiger indicates that She possesses unlimited power and uses it to protect
virtue and destroy evil. The eighteen arms of Durga signify that She possesses
combined power of the nine incarnations of Lord Vishnu that have appeared
on the earth at different times in the past. The tenth incarnation, the
Kalkin (a man on a white horse), is still to come. Thus, Goddess Durga
represents a united front of all Divine forces against the negative forces
of evil and wickedness.
The sound that emanates from a conch is the sound
of the sacred syllable AUM, which is said to be the sound of creation.
A conch in one of the Goddess's hands signifies the ultimate victory of
virtue over evil and righteousness over unrighteousness.
Other weapons in the hands of Durga such as a mace,
sword, disc, arrow, and trident convey the idea that one weapon cannot
destroy all different kinds of enemies. Different weapons must be used
to fight enemies depending upon the circumstances. For example, selfishness
must be destroyed by detachment, jealousy by desirelessness, prejudice
by self-knowledge, and ego by discrimination.
Sharika (Durga) Bhagwati
Original painted by Veer