Durga, in Sanskrit means "She who is incomprehensible or
difficult to reach." Goddess Durga is a form of Sakti worshiped for her
gracious as well as terrifying aspect. Mother of the Universe, she
represents the infinite power of the universe and is a symbol of a female
dynamism. The manifestation of Goddess Durga is said to emerge from Her
formless essence and the two are inseparable.
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.
Destroyer of demons, she is worshiped during an annual festival called Durga
puja, especially popular among Bengalis.
There are endless aspects of Durga described in the Puranas and Agamas and
the iconography is consequently very varied. She is usually pictured as
having ten arms holding Sword, Conch, Discus, Rosary, Bell, Winecup, Shielf,
Bow, Arrow, and Spear. She is most often shown riding a lion from which
comes Her august name, Simhavahini, "She who stands astride the king of
beasts". She is gorgeously dressed in royal red cloth and has several
ornaments decorating Her personage. Her hair is dressed up in a crown
(karandamukuta) which then flows out in long luxuriant tresses that are
darkly luminous and soothing to the eye. The various tools reflects the
eminent supremacy that helps in controling the universe and obey Her will.
Goddess Durga exists eternally, always abiding in her own sweet nature and
inhabits the hearts and minds of her ecstatic devotees. As Shakti power, she
shapes, nurtures, and dissolves names and forms, while as subtle spiritual
energy called Kundalini, She lights the lotuses fo the seven centres of
awareness in the sacred human body. Goddess Durga killed the powerful demon
Mahish and all his great commanders. When demonic forces create imbalance
all god unite becoming one divine force called Shakti or Durga.