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Symbolism of Durga`s Ten Hands

||`Tvam sris tvam iswaris tvam hris tvam buddhir bodha lakshana,

Lajja pustis tatha tustih tvam santih khsant ir eva cha||

Meaning: “You are the Goddess Durga, bestower of good fortune, the ruler, modesty, intelligence, supreme knowledge, invincibility, nourishment, contentment, tranquillity and forbearance.”|| Khadgini sulini ghora gadhini chakrini tatha

Sankini capini bana bhusundi parighaayudha||

Meaning: “Armed with sword, spear, club, discus, conch, bow, arrow, slings, mace You are terrible.”

According to Markandeya Purana, after being defeated by the demon Mahisha, the Gods ran to Brahma for refuge. Brahma along with the Gods sought the help of Vishnu and Shiva.


Divine Manifestation of Durga

  • To defeat the demon, the Gods along with Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma emitted flames of pure energy which manifested as an effulgent form of Goddess Durga with three eyes and ten arms (formed of Vishnu`s energy),each holding a weapon given by the mighty Gods.
  • Durga means the invincible power that eliminates all sufferings and hence is called `Durgatinashini`.

The weapons given by the Gods to defeat the demon:

Lord Shiva – Trident, Lord Vishnu – Discus, Varuna – conch and noose, Agni – spear, Vayu – Arrows, Indra – thunderbolt, Yama – sword and shield, Vishwakarma – axe and armour, Himavat – Lion and Jewels, Other Gods – Lotus and magical offerings.

Significance of the weapons of Durga

    • Chakra –The Sudarshan Chakra that spins in the little index finger of the Goddess symbolizes righteousness or dharma. The Goddess uses this weapon to destroy evil and protect righteousness.
    • Conch – This is seen in her first upper left hand. The Conch stands for the cosmic sound of OM vibration. The sound destroys all evil negative forces and when one prays to her, the vibrations fill one with peace and tranquillity.
    • Bow and Arrow – She holds them in her second left hand to destroy the difficulties arising in one`s path in life. Her blessings are needed for success in all spheres of life. All hindrances get removed by this powerful weapon.
    • Sword – She holds it in her second right lower hand that depicts knowledge and keen intellect. She bestows one with the gift of knowledge to remove the veil of ignorance that binds a soul due to wrong deeds and karmic entanglements.
    • Spear – This weapon helps to destroy the negative and evil forces and grants auspiciousness.
    • Club – This is seen in her third right lower hand. This weapon destroys the power of the enemy, however powerful he may be. Durga`s grace will help defeat one`s enemies in life through the power of this weapon.
    • Trident – Trishul or trident seen in her fourth left hand symbolizes the three qualities- sattwa, rajas and tamas in a human. These qualities have to be balanced to lead a peaceful life. Her grace will give one the courage to fight the dark qualities arising in one due to the imbalance of the three qualities.
    • Thunderbolt – This weapon symbolizes firmness of spirit. Praying to Mother Durga will help shatter the problems encountered in life without losing confidence. She empowers her devotee with unshaken confidence and will.
    • Lotus – It stands for awakening of spiritual consciousness in a soul. Divine Mother will help her devotees to understand the transience of life and seek the ultimate truth.

Nine Nights or Navratri

It was on the nine holy nights of Navratri that Goddess Durga used her weapons to slay the powerful demons, Canda- Munda, Sumba – Nisumba, Mahisasura.

On the tenth day of Navratri, on the Dasami day she killed the powerful Mahisasura. This day is called Vijayadasami; it is the most auspicious day for attainment of success and victory. All endeavours become fruitful when commenced on this day.

Praise of the Gods to the Goddess on her supreme victory over evil

|| O cosmic Mother! O Destroyer of woes, you are the strength of all. O Mother of all the worlds, Gods, sages, demi-Gods, heavenly musicians, we bow to you.

O Mother, thou art the supreme controller of the universe. Even Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva do not know you fully. Protect us all and protect this world.

O Mother, thou art Vishnu Maya. Thou art the source of all. All Knowledge is thy form. We bow to you.||

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