Sonia Sumitra Thakar
If there is one powerful symbol of feminism in Hinduism, it would Maa Durga. She stands for bravery, strength and valour while also being the embodiment of beauty, peace and wisdom. The word ‘Durga’ comes from a Sanskrit term that translates into English as ‘invincible’.
Hindus believe that Ma Durga manifested in answer to the prayers of the gods and humans in order to conquer the evil demon Mahishasura who threatened their existence. All the gods contributed to making her form and as a unification of all the divine forces, she is considered a celestial super power.
Mother Durga is depicted as riding a lion whilst sitting in the fearless pose, Abhaymudra. The lion is a symbol of power, determination, and will. Ma Durga has mastered the qualities the lion stands for. She is shown having eight or ten arms which symbolise the various directions in Hinduism, symbolic of the fact that she protects us from all sides. In her hands, Durga is shown holding various objects and weapons—including a conch, lotus, Shiva’s trishul (trident), Vishnu’s Sudarshan chakra (discus), bow and arrow, thunderbolt, etc.
She has three eyes that symbolise the past, present and the future and also the three sources of light—the sun, moon and fire. Thus, Mother Durga is portrayed as the mother of the worlds, the bestower of auspiciousness, the protector of the good and the destroyer of all evil.
There are several prayers dedicated to Mother Durga, to awaken the power of the goddess within, harness the power of this potent deity and receive the blessings of this personification of Shakti. Of these, it is said the most powerful is the Durga mantra:
Sarva Mangala Mangalye Sive Sarvartha Sadhike
Saranye Trayambike Gauri Narayani Namostute
Meaning: The literal meaning of this Sanskrit shloka is that we bow down again and again in reverence to Mother Durga—the one who is pure and holy and bestows auspiciousness on all, the one who protects those who surrender to her, the three-eyed one and the one who is also known as Gauri (daughter of the Mountain King).
Benefits of Chanting the Durga mantra
Reciting the Durga Mantra with devotion can bring about many positive changes in our lives. It can counter bad luck and negative tendencies and bring us success, good fortune, and prosperity. Ma Durga is said to be compassionate—she even conferred liberation to the evil demon Mahishasura that she manifested to conquer. She also has the power to fulfil our every wish. Mother Durga can confer on us the blessings of good health and abundant wealth, boost our intellectual abilities, solve our problems, protect us from negative forces and help us connect to the divinity within. However, it is important to remember that if we recite the Durga mantra with negative intentions or harbour desires that may cause harm to others, the goddess may grant us our wishes but we will also have to reap the consequences of our wicked urges.
Chanting the Durga mantra daily with full faith and a pure heart, can bring about numerous efficacious changes in our physical and spiritual lives. Start your day on a positive note with our latest premium offering – the Shree Durga Nitya Aaradhana. This is a collection of the most powerful Durga prayers that can be chanted every day to awaken and connect with your inner Shakti.