Goddess Durga is mother of the universe and is power behind the work of creation, preservation, and destruction of the world. She has been worshiped as the supreme power of the Supreme Being. The word "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." Thus, Maa Durga protects her devotees from the evils of the world and removes their miseries.
Maa Durga has been a warrior goddess, and she is depicted to express her martial skills. Her iconography typically resonates with these attributes, where she rides a lion or a tiger, has between eight to eighteen hands, each holding a weapon to destroy and create. She is often shown in the midst of her war with Mahishasura, the buffalo demon at the time she victoriously kills the demonic force. Her icon shows her in action, yet her face is calm and serene. In Hindu arts, this tranquil attribute of Durga's face is traditionally derived from the belief that she is protective and violent not because of her hatred, egotism or getting pleasure in violence, but because she acts out of necessity, for the love of the good, for liberation of those who depend on her, and a mark of the beginning of soul's journey to creative freedom.
Durga appears in numerous forms and names, but all these are different aspects and manifestations of one goddess. She is terrifying and destructive when she has to be, but benevolent and nurturing when she needs to be. Like Shiva, Mother Durga is also referred to as "Triyambake" meaning the three eyed Goddess. The left eye represents desire (the moon), the right eye represents action (the sun), and the central eye knowledge (fire). Her vehicle, the lion represents power, will and determination. Mother riding the lion symbolizes her mastery over all these qualities. This suggests to the devotee that one has to possess all these qualities to get over the demon of ego.! ✨👁🔱🐅🔆⚔🏹☀️🌀🌙🕉📿🎨
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