Who Is Durga In Hinduism

The Origin of Durga

Durga is one of the most powerful Hindu Goddesses and is worshipped throughout India. She is the consort of Lord Shiva and incarnates of Devi, the spiritual manifested energy of Brahman. The word ‘Durga’ itself is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘duh’, which means to take away or to remove. It is symbolic of Devi’s ability to protect her devotees by removing difficult circumstances and impediments. Since every Goddess has her own mythological story, Durga’s story is quite unique and fascinating.

The origin of Durga goes back to the mythological story of Samudra Manthan. In short, the gods and the demons fought with each other over an amrita (nectar) churned out of the ocean by Lord Vishnu. After the gods had failed to overpower the demons, they collectively prayed to Lord Shiva and Brahma, who then created a female warrior out of all the divine weapons. This celestial warrior was none other than Durga, who is considered a combination of all the Hindu Goddesses.

Companions of Durga

Durga is often depicted in Hindu art as a beautiful warrior goddess riding a tiger, bearing multiple weapons and accompanied by several other gods and goddesses. This divine entourage is known as the Dasamahavidya or The Ten Incarnations of Durga. Each incarnation carries a special power and together they form a powerful assembly that can ward off any demon or obstacle.

The ten companions of Durga are Kali, the fierce form of Devi Durga; Chandra, an incarnation of the moon; Varuni, a goddess of alcohol; Varahi, the bull-headed goddess who rules the battlefield; Indrani, the goddess of rainfall; Bhairavi, a female form of Bhairava, the destroyer of evil; Maheshvari, the goddess of power and authority; Aindri, the goddess of lightning; Chamunda, the destroyer of the demons; and Kaumari, the goddess of all beings.

Nine Forms of Worship of Durga

The Hindu scriptures describe Nine Forms of Worship, or Navadurga, which are associated with Durga. These forms symbolize her power and capabilities. The first form of Durga is Shailaputri, which literally means ‘daughter of the mountain’. She is represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, who holds a trident and a lotus in her hands. The second form is Brahmacharini, the form of the one who does continuous penance. This Durga incarnation is invoked for blessings to achieve the highest knowledge. The third form of Durga is Chandraghanta, which stands for courage and bravery. She has a third eye, rides on a lion and is often associated with ‘Rajas Guna’.

The fourth form of Durga is Kushmanda, which is the form of a ‘cosmic egg’. This form is said to bring health, wealth and prosperity. The fifth form is Skandamata, who is the mother of Lord Skanda (also known as Kartikeya). The sixth form is Katyayani, who has a lotus in one hand and is associated with peace and nourishment. The seventh form is Kaalratri, which stands for time and darkness; she holds a sword and a trident in her hands. The eighth form is Mahagauri, which is the form of a beautiful goddess who is adorned with ornaments and carries a ‘Trishul’. Last but not least, is Siddhidatri, the ninth form, who epitomizes all the spiritual powers that an individual may attain.

Significance of Durga in Hinduism

Durga is one of the most prominent and beloved Goddesses in Hinduism and is especially revered in North India. The legend of Durga’s fight against Mahishasura, the buffalo-demon, is one of the most popular tales in Hinduism and is celebrated during the festival of Navaratri. It holds deep symbolic significance, representing the victory of good over evil. The devotees of Durga offer her prayer and worship her in various ways such as chanting hymns, performing rituals and decorations in temples, and observing a fast. Every year, devotees prepare an image of Durga and worship it on the tenth day of Navaratri.

Durga is often seen as the protective force of her devotees and is believed to have the power to remove all obstacles, eliminate fear and grant well-being. Her ability to bring courage and strength to her devotees has made Durga one of the most powerful and revered Goddesses in Hinduism.

Durga’s Impact on India’s Cultural Heritage

The cult of Durga has left an indelible mark in India’s cultural landscape. It has been immortalised in the form of songs, poems, and stories and is deeply embedded in the popular culture of the country. Durga is often invoked in the form of a protective force in India’s many art forms, such as in dance dramas and puppet shows. The ritualistic worship of Durga has also become a part of many Indian communities, and her worship is an essential part of many festivals and rituals. In addition to this, the image of Durga can also be found in many Indian paintings, sculptures and carvings, which serve as a reminder of her divine power.

Portrayal of Durga in Literature

Durga is also a popular character in Hindu literature, particularly in the epics of the Ramayana and Mahabharata. In these epics, Durga personifies a powerful force that protects and guides her devotees. She is a symbol of devotion and courage, and her many attributes are celebrated in literature. In addition to the Ramayana and Mahabharata, Durga has also been featured in various folk tales, novels, and poems. Her divine power has captivated the imagination of many writers and poets, who have encapsulated these tales in literature.

Symbolism of Durga in Hinduism

Certain symbols are associated with Durga in Hinduism. The most prominent of these is the trident, or Trishul, which is associated with Durga’s power to remove obstacles from the lives of her devotees. Other symbols found in Hindu scriptures include the conch shell, which is associated with the divine sound of Om and is said to be a symbol of Durga’s ability to protect and combat evil forces; and the lion, which is an animal that symbolizes Durga’s ferocity, courage, and strength.

In addition to the symbols associated with Durga, her portrayal in Hindu art is also symbolic and meaningful. She is often portrayed as a beautiful woman riding a lion or tiger, which stands for the power of divine knowledge and energy. A lotus is usually found in her hands, which symbolizes purity and serenity. The various weapons she carries symbolize her divine power, which can dispel all darkness and ignorance.

Durga in Modern Times

Today, Durga still holds a sacred place in Hinduism, and her divine power and strength are cherished even in modern times. She is worshipped all over the world, especially in India, where her special power and importance are still remembered and celebrated. Durga is an important part of India’s cultural landscape, and her divine presence still inspires her devotees with courage and strength.


Durga is one of the most powerful and beloved goddesses in Hinduism. The origin of Durga, her companions, the Nine Forms of Worship and the symbolic representation of Durga in Hinduism hold immense significance to her devotees. Her legacy of protection and power still lives on in India and around the world, and her divine presence still fills her devotees with courage and strength.

Jennifer Johnson is an experienced author with a deep passion for exploring the spiritual traditions of different cultures and religions. She has been writing about religion and spirituality for the past ten years in both print and digital platforms, engaging readers in meaningful dialogue about the soul's journey through this life. With degrees in Comparative Religion and English Literature, she brings an insightful perspective to her work that bridges the gap between traditional knowledge and modern theories. A lifelong traveler, Jenn has lived in multiple countries exploring various paths to understanding faith, and her dedication to learning new things is palpable in every piece she creates.

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