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Durga Hindu Mythology

Updated: Dec 18, 2022

A long time ago when the world was still young, it was divided into the forces of good known as the Devas or the gods and the Asuras or the demons. Kashyapa and Danu were the parents of the demons Rambha and Karambhawho performed many penances and thereby won boons from Brahma the creator god of the Hindu Pantheon. Karambha was Killed when he tried to kill Indra. Rambha used his boon to make his son invincible by assuring him that he could not be killed by either man or demon, Rambha then married Mahishi a water buffalo. He was killed by a water buffalo and his wife joined him on the pyre after giving birth to their son Mahisha. Mahisha was a buffalo-headed demon who could shapeshift form from buffalo to demon and he too performed many austerities and thereby won the favour of the gods. He could not be killed by any man. Therefore he could only meet his demise at the hands of a woman. Henceforth Mahisha, went on a power-grabbing spree and eventually became more powerful than the gods, having brought them to their knees. Dismayed the gods assembled and thus Durga came into existence. When all the gods assembled their divinity gave out such a brilliant light and Durga was Manifested out of that light. Each of the gods contributed to her form. Durga is a goddess with eight arms, each of them carrying a weapon and manifests riding on a tiger. Her face was formed by the brilliance of Shiva. Yama, the god of Death gave her, her wild tresses. Vishnu the preserving deity gave her arms. Somnath the moon god created her breast with his gentle moonlight. Indra the god of Heaven formed her waist. Varun the god of the winds gave her legs and thighs. The Earth god Bhoodevwas instrumental in forming her voluptuous hips. Brahma's light gave her feet while the sun god Surya's brilliance gave her, her toes. Her fingers were from the Vasus who were the children of the River Goddess Ganga. Prgapati the god of all beings gave her teeth. The fire in her eyes was put there by Agni the fire god. Her eyebrows came from the Sandhya goddesses or the goddesses of dawn and dusk. Her ears came from Vayu, god of the winds. In addition, Durga was armed by the gods. She got her trident from Shiva, her chakra from Chakrapani, her Conch from Varuna, her spear from Agni, her discuss from Vishnu, ' her bow and quiver of arrows from Maruta', a thunderbolt from Indra ' a bell from Indra's elephant Airavarta, staff from Yama the god of Death, a noose from Varuna, a string of Beads from Brahma the creator, a mace from Kuber the god of wealth, a sword from Kala the god of time and an axe from Parshuram. The mountain god Himalaya gave Durga a tiger to Serve as her  mount.WhenMahishahappened to chance upon the goddess he lusted after her and asked her to marry him. Durga knew that she was the one on whom the gods had pinned all their hopes and therefore she engaged with Mahisha, promising to marry him if he would defeat her in battle. A terrible battle ensued and Mahisha understood that he was clearly going to be the victim. Desperate, he tried to flee by shape-shifting from buffalo to lion, man and elephant. Eventually, Durga thrust a spear into his heart and cut off his head with her sword.    Durga is a cosmic goddess. She has always existed and therefore she represents eternity. She manifests as a result of the combined auras of the gods and therefore is a Symbol of Strength.   

Dignified: Strength stands for the qualities of the goddess, courage and the use of principles over emotional response. Durga's response to Mahisha's marriage proposal is cool and not tinted with emotions. Instead, she uses her mind to keep calm and let that be a ruse to allow him to battle with her so that she can contain evil. While she does physically battle the demon, this card stands for the kind of strength that is not visible in a tangible form. Durga is made of the  combined brilliance of the gods and she represents eternity, of which she is also a manifestation.  While Durga is a chaste goddess she is the personification of Shakti or the divine feminine and she is called upon by women who worship her to help them reconnect with their own sexuality. Durga thus shows how to maintain a healthy relationship between the spiritual and physical aspects of the self and aims as befriending one’s own lower instincts rather than annihilating them. While the Chariot refers to heroic strength and conquests, the card under the patronage of Durga refers to strength within, the strength to stand up to your fears and up to others with a single-minded conviction of what the goals may be. in a manner of speaking Mahisha also stands for carnal and base desires which are very much of this world, and Durga's slaying him refers to how she has had mastery over him.    

Reversed or weakly Aspected: In this case, the weaker baser elements of human nature seem to triumph. A person is acting out from an emotional stance as opposed to taking a rational principled view of things.

Works Cited:

Hindu Mythology Kinsley, D. (December 8, 1988).

The Goddesses' Mirror: Visions of the Divine from East and West. SUNY Press; 1st Edition edition. Krishna, N. (2010).

Picture: Detroit Institute of Arts, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


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