Om Dum Durgayei Namaha
In Hinduism, Durga (Sanskrit: दुर्गा, Durgā, meaning "the inaccessible" or "the invincible"; Bengali: দুর্গা, durga) or Maa Durga (Bengali: মা দুর্গা, ma durga, meaning "Mother Durga") "one who can redeem in situations of utmost distress" is a form of Devi, the supremely radiant goddess, depicted as having ten arms, riding a lion or a tiger, carrying weapons and a lotus flower, maintaining a meditative smile, and practicing mudras, or symbolic hand gestures.
An embodiment of creative feminine force (Shakti), Durga exists in a state of svātantrya (independence from the universe and anything/anybody else, i.e., self-sufficiency) and fierce compassion. Kali is considered by Hindus to be an aspect of Durga. Durga is also the mother of Ganesha and Kartikeya. She is thus considered the fiercer, demon-fighting form of Shiva's wife, goddess Parvati. Durga manifests fearlessness and patience, and never loses her sense of humor, even during spiritual battles of epic proportion.
The word Shakti means divine feminine energy/force/power, and Durga is the warrior aspect of the Divine Mother. Other incarnations include Annapurna and Karuɳamayi (karuɳa = kindness). Durga's darker aspect Kali is represented as the consort of the god Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing.
As a goddess, Durga's feminine power contains the energies of the gods. Each of her weapons was given to her by various gods: Rudra's trident, Vishnu's discus, Indra's thunderbolt, Brahma's kamandalu, Kuber's Ratnahar, etc.
According to a narrative in the Devi Mahatmya story of the Markandeya Purana text, Durga was created as a warrior goddess to fight an asura (an inhuman force/demon) named Mahishasura. He had unleashed a reign of terror on earth, heaven and the nether worlds, and he could not be defeated by any man or god, anywhere. The gods went to Brahma, who had given Mahishasura the power not to be defeated by a man. Brahma could do nothing. They made Brahma their leader and went to Vaikuntha — the place where Vishnu lay on Ananta Naag. They found both Vishnu and Shiva, and Brahma eloquently related the reign of terror Mahishasur had unleashed on the three worlds. Hearing this Vishnu, Shiva and all of the gods became very angry and beams of fierce light emerged from their bodies. The blinding sea of light met at the Ashram of a priest named Katyan. The goddess Durga took the name Katyaayani from the priest and emerged from the sea of light. She introduced herself in the language of the Rig-Veda, saying she was the form of the supreme Brahman who had created all the gods. Now she had come to fight the demon to save the gods. They did not create her; it was her lila that she emerged from their combined energy. The gods were blessed with her compassion.
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