Goddess Durga and her Nine Manifestations

Goddess Durga and her Nine Manifestations

Durga, the literal meaning of which is THE INACCESSIBLE, is one of the primary deities in Hindu Mythology. Legends say that Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva collectively created Goddess Durga in order to slay the buffalo demon known as Mahisasura as they all render powerless and become unable to slay the demon.

In Hindu Mythology, Durga has a depiction of riding a lion and with eight or ten weapons which she receives by different Gods for her mission to kill Mahisasura. Born bold, beautiful and brilliant, Durga after slays Mahisasura, came to be known as The Brave and merciful Mahisasuramardini.

The Brave and merciful Mahisasuramardini

Goddess Durga appears in nine different appellations, each of which holds its own essence. Navratri is the festival that celebrates the grandeur of the divine Goddess who symbolizes power and Dharma.

The nine forms of Goddess Durga

(1) Goddess Shailputri

Shailputri whose name’s literal meaning is the daughter of the mountains is the first goddess that people worship during the nine holy days of the Navaratri. She has several names such as Sati, Bhavani, Parvati, and Hemavati.

Shailputri- purest of all the nine forms of Goddess Durga

In addition to that, she is the daughter of the king of mountains and is as the purest of all the nine forms of Goddess Durga. The pictorial representation of the Goddess of Nature involves herself riding a bull and holding a trident which signifies the three-time zones namely the past, the present and the future and lotus blossom which signifies peace.

(2) Goddess Brahmacharini

Brahmacharini whose name’s literal meaning means the one who performs penance or the one who is the follower. People worship Maa Brahmachari on the second day of the nine-day long festivity. 

Brahmacharini- performs penance or the one who is the follower

Brahmacharini, according to the legends takes birth in the house of Daksha Prajapati. People worship her as the unmarried form of the Goddess Durga. She is the symbol of penance. Also, she is many names like Devi Yogi and Devi Tapaswini.

As a matter of fact, the pictorial representation of Goddess Brahmacharini involves the Goddess walking barefooted with two hands with a rosary in one hand and a kamandal in another. Devi Brahmacharini other than penance also symbolizes love, wisdom, loyalty, and knowledge.

(3) Chandraghanta

Chandraghanta whose literal meaning is the one who holds a half-moon in the shape of a bell. In the points of fact, people worship Maa Chandraghanta on the second day of the Navaratri. According to legends, her third eye is always open as she is always ready to fight against demons.

Goddess	Chandraghanta- always ready to fight against demons

Chandraghanta has eight hands in which she holds a trident, a mace, a bow and an arrow, a sword, a lotus, a bell, and a kamandal. The Goddess symbolizes bravery and courage. With her golden complexion, she is also the semblance of beauty, grace, and elegance. According to the traditions, people worship her on the third day of the nine-day festivity.

(4) Goddess Kushmanda

Maa Kushmanda whose name has a division of her name into three different parts namely
KU= a little
USHMA= Energy
ANDA= The cosmic egg

Goddess	Kushmanda- improves health and strength

In Hindu mythology, Maa Kushmanda creates the world just by her smile. Also, she is the reason behind the power of Lord Sun. Besides, Maa Kushmanda also created Mahalakshmi, Mahakali and Maha Saraswati. Legends say the worshipping Maa Kushmanda improves health and strength. Therefore, people worship Maa Kushmanda on the fourth day of the Navaratri.

(5) Skandamata

The literal meaning of the name of the Goddess Skandamata is the mother of Skanda, Lord Kartikeya. In Hindu customs, he is also popular as the Lord of War.

Goddess	 Skandamata-  the Lord of War

People worship her on the fourth day of the Navaratri. Popular as the Goddess of fire, her complexion is white and she has lotuses in her hands and her son Skanda on her laps.

(6) Goddess Katyayani

Her worshipping takes place on the sixth day of Navaratri. Devi Katyayani receives the second name for Devi Parvati. In the ancient tales, Devi Katyayani was born out of the fury of all the Gods.

Goddess	Katyayani- born out of the fury of all the Gods

She has her mentions in Markandeya Purana. In the Puranas, upon hearing the plight of gods, Mata Katyayani in a fit of rage put on radiant red clothes and ornaments and with a ferocious look, slew Mahisasura.

(7) Kaalratri

Maa Kaalratri the literal meaning of whose name means the one who does good.  It is the seventh manifestation of Maa Durga and is the first form of herself that has been mentioned in the Durga Saptashati.

The Markandeya Purana widely describes the destructive nature of Maa Kaalratri.

Goddess	Kaalratri- the destroyer of all that is evil

She is the most fierce form of Goddess Durga and is known as the destroyer of all that is evil. In her pictorial representation, she is shown with a fearsome dark complexion and disheveled hair with four arms and three eyes. She is a Goddess who is to be both loved and feared.

(8) Goddess Mahagauri

The literal meaning of the name of the Goddess Mahagauri is “extremely white”. She is the eight manifestations of Goddess Durga and is said to be the ultimate forgiver of all the sins.

Goddess	Mahagauri- the ultimate forgiver of all the sins

Mata Mahagauri wears white clothes and rides a bull in her pictorial representations. Goddess Mahagauri’s brilliance provides salvation to the ones who worship her with pure devotion. She is worshipped on the eight days of Navaratri.

(9) Siddhidatri

The literal meaning of Mata Siddhidatri’s name is the awarder of supernatural powers or meditative ability. The ninth manifestation of Goddess Durga is also said to comprise half of the body of Lord Shiva which is why he is known as Ardhanareshwara.

Goddess	Siddhidatri - the awarder of meditative ability

As a matter of fact, the supreme Goddess is the birth giver of the trinity of Gods, that is Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh. Also, in her pictorial representation, Mata Siddhidatri rides a lion and holds Sudarshana Chakra, a conch shell, a lotus, and a trident. She is worshipped on the ninth day of the Navratri.

These were some major information about Maa Durga. Also, you may like to read about Durga Puja- The Tale of Warrior. 

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