21 Interesting Goddess Durga Facts Based On Hindu Mythology

Akinwalere Olaleye
Oct 10, 2023 By Akinwalere Olaleye
Originally Published on May 10, 2022
Durga Puja facts are extremely interesting.

Hinduism is a major religion in Southeast Asia, especially India, where numerous gods and goddesses are worshipped.

Goddess Durga is considered to be the supreme goddess, entwining two unique qualities of strength and gracefulness. Out of the different festivities in which Goddess Durga is celebrated, Durga Puja is the most important and popular festival that is mostly celebrated in the state of West Bengal in India.

As entangling and thrilling as Indian mythology can get, the stories behind Goddess Durga and her varied incarnations know no bounds. Goddess Durga is referred to as Maa Durga or Divine Mother who is the sole nurturer and caregiver of the universe.

In all her divine forms, Mother Durga symbolizes the true meaning of women's empowerment. She symbolizes the victory of good over evil, which makes hundreds of people worship the divine Boss Lady.

Durga Puja in India is celebrated over a span of 10 days and is considered to be an auspicious time of the year, welcoming the mighty goddess to the mortal world.

Origin Of Goddess Durga

In Indian mythology, the origin of Goddess Durga has quite an interesting backstory. Here are all the things that reveal how Goddess Durga came into being and what purpose did she serve.

According to the scripture of the Markandeya Purana, the section on Devi Mahatmya reveals that there was a time when a demon king named Mahisasura caused massive devastation all across the world and no gods could stop his destruction or kill him.

Mahisasura is also known as a Buffalo demon as he could transform from a human to a buffalo in no time.

After years of meditation and offering prayers to God Brahma, the demon king Mahisasura had received a boon of being immortal which he took selfishly, displaying his cunning nature.

As no gods could kill him, all of them collectively decided to create a woman who will bring salvation to the world by defeating the devil king.

Goddess Durga was created with the light of all the gods like Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva as a warrior woman to win overall forms of evil. Her victory against Mahisasura after an intense battle is what is celebrated by the people of eastern India.

In Bengal, Goddess Durga is treated like any other married woman who visits her maternal house in the mortal world with her four children. Her homecoming marks the celebration of the grand festival of Durga Puja.

There are numerous rituals around Durga Puja that hold immense spiritual importance. Goddess Durga's idol is made out of clay by the sculptors, but a part of the sculpting clay has to be begged and got from a nearby brothel, reflecting the inclusivity of people from all walks of life.

Durga is known as 'Triyambake' or the three-eyed goddess. The left eye symbolizes desire, the right eye represents action and the third middle eye depicts knowledge.

Mother Durga has 10 arms holding many weapons and objects that are of immense importance.

Durga Puja began in Kolkata in the 1700s when wealthy landlords heralded the festival. They imported silver foil decorations from Germany which came through posts (Daak). Hence, the silver decorations are called Daaker Shaaj.

Significance Of Goddess Durga

Goddess Durga and every ritual that surrounds the celebration of the Durga Puja has a long tradition that is intertwined with important sociocultural aspects. While most people love the festivities surrounding the grandeur of Mother Durga's arrival at the Durga Puja pandal, few know about the significance of the customs and rituals.

The Mother Goddess is the epitome of feminine grace and supreme power. Her Shakti or fearless strength is known by different names, each depicting a particular quality of the goddess.

For killing Mahisasura, she is also known by the name of Mahisasura Mardini, meaning the destroyer of the evil.

Riding a lion or tiger to fight the battle against the demon symbolizes her mastery over power, courage and determination to follow the path of righteousness.

Her descendance to Earth with her four children, Laxmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Kartik, represents her feminine motherly instincts as the supreme nurturer of the universe.

Some philosophers believe that four of Durga's children are not actually her children but her four attributes representing wealth, knowledge, prosperity, and valor respectively.

The famous chant 'Shakti Rupenu Samasthita' means that Durga is omnipotent and exists in each one of us in the form of divine energy.

The Mother Goddess is worshiped over a span of five days in Bengal.

Powers And Strength Of Goddess Durga

The fearsome side of Mother Durga makes her known as the warrior goddess who can stride along tough paths to destroy evil and shower the universe with love and prosperity. Knowing the powers and strength of Goddess Durga will make you respect her even more:

Unlike the usual representation of women being weak and timid, Durga is seen in Abhay Mudra or a pose representing her fearless strides with terrifying eyes riding on the back of a lion.

There are multiple manifestations of Goddess Durga worshipped in the form of other deities. The various forms of Durga in nine different avatars are known as Navadurga.

Reflecting the calm feminine side of the goddess- Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, and Kushmanda are the first four forms, Skandamata is the fifth form of Goddess Durga, worshiped on the fifth day of Navratri.

Katyayani and Kalaratri, the sixth and seventh forms of Durga depict the terrifying side of the goddess, ready to fight evil, offering protection from darkness. Mahagauri and Siddhidatri are the final forms of Durga representing peace, calmness, and the giver of supernatural power.

During her creation, all the gods and goddesses bestowed upon her all the divine qualities along with significant weaponry. Each weapon held by Durga is a symbol of her great qualities.

While the conch shell symbolizes her connection with God through sound, the bow and arrow represent potential and kinetic energy to be used in times of need.

Thunderbolt represents firm conviction while the partially-bloomed lotus signifies the uncertainty of success.

A revolving disc or Sudarshan chakra denotes the continuity of the universe under the blessing of Goddess Durga. The sword represents undoubted knowledge of the Devi.

The three sharp ends of the trident or Trishul is symbolic of the state of activeness, Satva (inactivity), Rajas (activity), and Tamas (no activity).

The transport which Mother Durga uses to descend to the earth also holds symbolic interpretations for the following year.

Descendance on an elephant means a prosperous year ahead, coming on a horse symbolizes an unfruitful harvest year, sailing on a boat warns of an upcoming flood, and coming on a palanquin represents devastation by an earthquake or other natural calamities.

During Durga Puja, a banana tree is dressed in the form of a married Bengali woman adorning a red-bordered white saree who is considered to be Kola Bou or Banana Wife, the wife of Lord Ganesha. Worshipping Kola Bou denotes the importance of worshipping vegetation even in the face of demonic atrocities faced by the world.

Festivals Celebrating Goddess Durga

In different parts of India, Goddess Durga is worshipped and celebrated differently. Let's find out more about the festivals:

In Northern India, the 9 forms of Goddess Durga is worshipped over 9 days in a festival called Navratri. Here, the tiger becomes the chariot of the goddess.

In South India, the festival of Golu marks the celebration of Goddess Durga.

In eastern India, particularly in Bengal, the original form of Durga Puja was held in the spring season, known as Basanti Puja.

The widely popular Durga Puja of the autumn season is known as Akal Bodhan or untimely worship of the goddess. This festival celebrated over five auspicious days has now acquired worldwide recognition as an 'Intangible Cultural Heritage' by UNESCO.

Akal Bodhan, occurring between the months of September-October was started by Lord Ramachandra who worshiped the Mother Goddess before venturing out for his battle with King Ravana. He offered 108 lotuses and lit 108 earthen lamps asking for Mother Durga's blessings before his battle.

This is the reason why the Durga Puja festivities of Bengal coincide with the Navratri festivities of the North Indians.

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Written by Akinwalere Olaleye

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Akinwalere Olaleye picture

Akinwalere OlaleyeBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

As a highly motivated, detail-oriented, and energetic individual, Olaleye's expertise lies in administrative and management operations. With extensive knowledge as an Editor and Communications Analyst, Olaleye excels in editing, writing, and media relations. Her commitment to upholding professional ethics and driving organizational growth sets her apart. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Benin, Edo State. 

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