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Forms of Devi Durga

Durga, who restored peace in the Universe, has different forms. From the new moon day to the ninth day in Ashwin people pray the nine different forms of the goddess.

Durga Shailputri (Daughter of Mountain):

She is the first among the nine avatars of Durga, the daughter of Himalaya. In her previous birth she was Sati Bhavani, the daughter of Daksha and wife of Shiva. It is said that once Daksha arranged a grand yagna but didn't invite either Shiva or Sati. Nonetheless, Sati went to her father's place to attend the Yagna where her father insulted Shiva. Sati couldn't tolerate her husband's insult and burnt herself in that Yagna's fire. In her next birth Durga became the daughter of Himalaya named Parvati and got married with Shiva. Upanishad says that she was able to rupture the egos of gods who then started praising her.


She is the second incarnation of goddess Durga. She is the embodiment of merriment and practice meditation. She is depicted as holding rosary in her right and kamandal in her left hand. It is believed that when Durga was Parvati, Narad (the Messenger of gods) came to her and seeing her palm told her that she will get married to Shiva with whom she was married in her previous birth. But now in order to get married to Him Parvati needs to perform penance. After listening to this, Parvati went to her mother Menoka and told her that she is going to observe penance because she wants to get married only to Lord Shiva. Hence, she is known not only as Bramhacharini but also Tapacharini or Uma.


The third avatar of Durga is Chandraghanta. Here, she is described as a charming, bright goddess with a half circular moon on her fore head. She has ten hands and three eyes riding on a lion as if she is going to fight a battle. She symbolizes bravery and when she rings her bell al the evils shiver in fear.


Durga in her fourth avatar is Kushmanda, where she creates the Universe which is an egg by laughing. Here, she shines brightly in ten directions like the Sun with eight hands riding a lion. Her seven hands hold seven different weapons and in her right hand she holds rosary. As she likes "kumdhe" as her offering she is known as Kushmanda.

Skanda Mata:

Parvati after her penance got married to Shiva and became the mother of "Skanda" who was the leader of gods' army. Skanda Mata, the goddess of fire is white in color sitting on a lotus with Skanda in her lap. She has three eyes and four hands.


Here, she is the daughter of a sage named "Katyayan" who meditated to get goddess Durga as her child. Hence, the name "Katyayani". She has three eyes and eight hands holding various weapons.


She is depicted as dark as night with her hair loosened. She wears ornaments of lightening and with her breath fire comes out. With three bright eyes she sees the Universe and has four hands. With her right hand she holds the sword and mashal with her left hand the rest two hands give solace to her devotees. Here unlike the lion, she rides on a dead body i.e. Shava.

Maha Gauri:

Durga in her eight form has been described as an eight year old girl who is as white as conch or moon wearing white clothes and ornaments. She has four hands and rides on bull with calm and serene look. It is believed that while Durga was performing penance, her body became dirty because of dust but later, Shiva cleaned her with the water of Ganga which made Durga’s body to shine bright like before. Hence she is called as Maha Gauri.


The eight Siddhis are Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Iishitva and Vashitva. It is Maha Shakti who gives all these Siddhis. According to the Devipuran, it is said that Lord Shiva attained all these Siddhis by worshipping Maha Shakti and with Her blessing Shiva's half of the body took the shape of the goddess. Thus, He was called "Ardhanarishwar". Here, she rides on a lion with four hands and gives a peaceful look. This ninth form of Devi Durga is worshipped by all to attain the best religious asset.
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