|Maa Durga is the Ultimate form of Mahamaya. This 3D Picture Created by Me (Manash Kundu)|
Goddess Durga :
Goddess or Devi Durga according to ancient hindu Purana was the Ultimate Form of Mahamaya (Prakriti or Female Counterpart of Universe) or Devi Parvati (Wife of Lord Shiva) . According to ancient Veda the whole universe was continuously originated from a Single entity named Param Brahma (Not confused with lord Brahma) . Param Brahma then divided into three ultimate form of Trimurti . 1) Lord Brahma : Creator of Vedas and Rules of Universe 2) Lord Vishnu : Preserver of Balance of Universe 3) Lord Shiva : Destroyer and Initiator of New Ragimes and Law of Universe.
After the creation universe filled with only Purusha or Male Counterpart in form of Trimurti . Due to maintain the Balance of Universe with two Opposite forces Prakriti ( Female Counterpart) Came into exsistence from the parts of Trimurti.
Ultimate form of Prakriti or Mahamaya was Devi Durga.
Devi Durga`s Three eyes like the petals of Lotus, long curly hair, red- golden radiance from the skin and a quarter moon on the forehead endow the Goddess with Her Striking beauty. The Goddess looks gorgeous in oceanic blue attire and in dazzling gold ornaments studded with precious jewels. We come to know about the creation of the Goddess in the Markandeya Purana.
According to the Hindu purana there was a Asura or Demon names Mahishsasura ( Buffelo headed Demon) who received the blessing of lord Brahma by his intense penance and devotion that he cannot be killed by any male creature in the universe but only by Female girl.
With This blessing of Brahma he thought he became invincible and attacked heaven . After defeating Devas force, he became the king of Heaven and Earth.With the Newly achieved powers he became very arrogant and ordered all his Asur companions to destroy all theTemples and Idols of Devas on Earth. He aslo ordered all Sages to worship his Idols only instead of Devas.
All deafeted devas take refuge to Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) . The Unified power of Trimurti formed Devi Durga . Face of Devi durga was formed from Lord Shiva (Or may be from Lord Shiva`s Wife Parvati) . Ten Hands were formed from Lord Brahma and Legs were created from Lord Vishnu.
Devi Durga`s Ten hands were adorned with very powerfull weapons which were given by various devas :
|Devi Durga Slaying Demon Mahishasura. This 3D Picture Created by Me (Manash Kundu)|
Lord Shiva Gave another Trident which was originated from his own Trident
Lord Vishnu gave his Sudarshan Chakra or Disk and Mace
Lord Brahma gave his holy Kamandal
Indra (King of Devas) gave his Lightning Bolt
Baruna gave his snake rope.
Himalaya gave his Lion
Kumara’s gave his lance
To combat the evil Mahishasura, she had appeared in a great blinding light, to combat this demon and end it for all to be in peace. Mahishasura had gravely underestimated her, thinking: "How can a woman kill me, Mahishasur—the one who has defeated the trinity of gods?". However, Durga roared with laughter, which caused an earthquake which made Mahishasur aware of her powers.
And the terrible Mahishasura rampaged against her, changing forms many times. First he was a buffalo demon, and she defeated him with her sword. Then he changed forms and became an elephant that tied up the goddess's lion and began to pull it towards him. The goddess cut off his trunk with her sword. The demon Mahishasur continued his terrorizing, taking the form of a lion, and then the form of a man, but both of them were gracefully slain by Durga.
Then Mahishasur began attacking once more, starting to take the form of a buffalo again. The patient goddess became very angry, and proclaimed to Mahishasur in a colorful tone—"Roar with delight while you still can, O illiterate demon, because when I will kill you, the gods themselves will roar with delight".When Mahishasur had half emerged into his buffalo form, he was paralyzed by the extreme light emitting from the goddess's body. The goddess then resounded with laughter before cutting Mahishasur's head down with her sword.
By Killing Mahishasura Devi Durga also Named as Mahishasurmardhini—the slayer of Mahishasur.
The time at which Durga Puja is celebrated nowadays (autumn) is not supposed to be the right time to perform the puja, as per the scriptures. That’s why Durga Puja is also sometimes called Akal Bodhon (untimely invocation).
|Akal Bodhon By Sri Ram (Incarnation of Lord Vishnu)|
The reason for this timing may be traced back to another piece of Indian mythology, the epic Ramayana. Lord Rama, the hero of the epic, performed Durga Puja at this time to invoke the blessings of goddess Durga before waging war with Ravana, the demon-king who had abducted his wife, Sita. During The Puja Ram Needed One Hundred Eight Lotus flower to please devi, but he could found only Hundred and Seven lotus flower therefore he decided to sacrifise his own eye (Which was as beautiful as Lotus) to please Devi. Devi Durga was the pleased with Ram`s Devotion and gave him her blessings to slay Ravana.
|Goddess Durga is said to descend to earth from the heavens with her children Ganesh, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Kartik. This 3D Picture Created by me (Manash Kundu)|
Days of the Puja
Mahalaya- which marks the beginning of Debi-Poksha, comes seven days before the actual Puja. Saptami is regarded as the first day of Durga Puja.
Maha Sashti – This is the day that the Goddess is said to descend to earth from the heavens. She is accompanied by her children Ganesh, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Kartik. On this day the idol of the goddess is unveiled, followed by the Kalparambho (ritual performed before beginning the Pujas), Bodhon (invocation of the deity), Amontron (invitation) and Adibas (sanctification of the place of worship).
Maha Saptami – Nine different plants, symbolizing the nature-pervading power of the Goddess, are worshipped, followed by Kalparambho, Mahasnan (ritual pre-dawn bathing) and Saptami Puja.
Maha Ashtami – Devotees give offerings, or Anjali, to the Goddess and recite hymns. Young girls are also worshipped as forms of the Devi in a ritual known as Kumari Puja. The evening sees the Sandhi Puja, which is performed at the cusp of the eighth and ninth days. This is supposed to be the time during which Durga assumes the terrible and powerful form known as Kali or Chamundi.
Maha Navami – Along with the concluding portion of the Sandhi Puja this is a day of great feasting. The food offering, or Bhog, is first made to the Goddess after which all devotees partake of it in a community meal.
Bijaya Dashami – This is the last day of the Puja, and it is the day of farewell to the Goddess. It is an emotional moment for devotees, who have spent the past few days serving the Goddess, to have to let go of their Goddess who returns to the heavens. The idol of Durga is taken on a procession till the nearest riverbank, where it is immersed in the water.
Durga Puja Celebration :
Durga Puja is widely celebrated in the Indian states of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Tripura and West Bengal, where it is a five-day annual holiday. In West Bengal and Tripura, which has a majority of Bengali Hindus, it is the biggest festival of the year. Not only is it the biggest Hindu festival celebrated throughout the state, it is also the most significant socio-cultural event in Bengali society. Apart from eastern India, Durga Puja is also celebrated in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. Durga Puja is also celebrated as a major festival in Nepal and in Bangladesh all over the places of Dhaka,
Durga Puja in Kolkata, West Bengal:
|Durga Idol waiting for Completion seven days before in Baghbazar, Kolkata ,West Bengal. Picture taken by me (Manash Kundu)|
The history of Durga Puja in Bengal dates back to the Mughal era. History says that the first Puja was organised by Raja Kangshanarayan of Teherpur, Nadia and then Raja Jagatnarayan of Bhaduria followed soon after.
Other Hindu kings too came forward and the puja spread far and wide to Gour, Raj Mahal, Murshibad and Krishnagar. By the mid of 18th Century, this festival had become the occasion for the nouveaux rich Babus of Kolkata to flaunt their wealth.
They invited Europeans in every evening of their feast to grace their occasion. The British too participated enthusiastically and had ‘Prasad’ and did Pranam, often lying prostrate on the ground.
|Durga Puja at Sovabazar Raj Bari|
Some believe that the Puja of Saborno Chowdhury is the oldest puja in the city and it started in 1610 AD near Behala Sakher Bazaar area. The second oldest Durga Puja was the Puja of Govindaram Mitra of Kumartuli in the earlier 1800 AD. Next renowned Puja was the Puja of Sovbazaar Raj Bari.
|Goddess Making Factory in modern day Kumartuli (Idol makers shops) in Kolkata giving their Final Touch. Picture taken by me (Manash Kundu)|
Sarbojanin Durgotsab, as we know it today, started off much later in Kolkata, in the 1920s, with Shimlaya Byayam Samti and Bagbazar being the earliest.
Kolkata's oldest Durga puja turns 400:
|Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family`s Durga Mandop (Place where Durga Puja Offered)|
The oldest Durga pujo in Kolkata turned 400 on Saturday. It is older than Agra’s Taj Mahal by 43 years and is organised by one of the oldest families of the city who once ruled over most part of which is now called as Kolkata.
However, the Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family maintains a low profile about the feat.
|Durga Idol of Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family|
The family’s Barisha Aatchala pujo was founded by Lakshmikanta Majumder in 1610 when Mughal emperor Jehangir was ruling Delhi.
Mughal general Man Singh handed over parts of the city to Majumder as jaigir (property) and the Roy Chowdhury title to the family during his raids of Bengal.
Since then there has been no break in tradition or rituals of this pujo.
“Our family is the only family in Bengal to have Sakta, Shaiva and Vaishnav (the three rituals of the Hindu religion),” says president, Sabarna Roy Chowdhury Paribar Parishad, Devarshi Roy Chowdhury.
Even the 37th generation of the family intends to carry the family’s legacy further.
Source : http://ibnlive.in.com/news/kolkatas-oldest-durga-puja-turns-400/102235-3.html
|Durga Slays Mahishasura, Mahabalipuram sculpture.|
Old Ancient Durga Idols From India and Outside India:
|Figure of Durga at Halebid in Karnataka - 1856:|
Figure of Durga at Halebid in Karnataka - 1856:
An albumen print by Richard Banner Oakeley of the figure of Durga at Halebid in Karnataka. Halebid (ancient Dwarasamudra), a small town in the Hassan district, was once the capital of the Hoysala dynasty of the southern Deccan which flourished from about 1100-1350 AD. Invasions by the Delhi Sultanate in the 14th century led to its decline. The Hoysalas were avid temple builders and the site is renowned for the remnants of architecture and sculpture fashioned out of the chloritic schist in the region. The most famous monument here is the twelfth-century Hoysaleswara temple dedicated to Shiva, which was built for an official of Vishnuvardhana (reigned 1108-42). It is an exemplar of the lavish Hoysala style and is encrusted with continuous bands of sculpture, unsurpassed in its detail and vitality. Here Durga (a form of Shakti the Mother Goddess) is seen in a typical pose slaying the demon Mahisha.
Source: British Library
|Durga Temple, Aihole|
Durga Temple, Aihole:
The Durga Temple at Aihole is one of the most celebrated and intriguing ancient Hindu temples. One of the most beautiful and well-preserved temple, it has a unique tapered-oblong plan, and one could never be tired of walking around it and admiring its shape. The photogenic Durga or the fortress temple is planned along the lines of a Buddhist chaitya, a high molded adisthana and a tower - curvilinear shikhara. A pillared corridor runs around the temple, enveloping the shrine, the mukhamandapa and the sabhamandapa. All through the temple, there are beautiful carvings.
The temple derives its name from Durgadagudi meaning 'temple near the fort'. Dedicated to Vishnu, the temple appears to be a Hindu adaptation of the Buddhist chaitya (hall) with its apsidal end. Standing on a high platform with a 'rekhanagara' type of Shikhara, it is the most elaborately decorated monument in Aihole. The columns at the entrance and within the porch are carved with figures and ornamental relief's. The temple appears to be a late 7th or early 8th century construction.
Aihole is a temple complex in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, India. It is a very popular tourist spot in north Karnataka. Aihole is to the east of Pattadakal, along the Malaprabha River, while Badami is to the west of both.
Aihole has the potential to be included as a UNESCO World heritage site.
Early inscriptions call this town Ayyavole and Aryapura. Aihole has its own historical significance and is called as cradle of Hindu rock architecture. Many temples and caves of historical importance can be found at Aihole.
Aihole was the first capital of the early Chalukyas. Here they built over 125 temples in various styles and is said to be a laboratory of experiments in rock cut architecture. Pulakesi I, one of the greatest rulers of this dynasty, moved the capital to Badami nearby. Badami was then known as Vatapi. It is from these temples that the Chalukyas gained their experience and went on to build the great temples of Pattadakal. The first phase of temple building in Aihole dates back to the 6th century CE, the second phase up to the 12th century CE. Some temples were even built as early as the 5th century CE.
Aihole, was the cradle of ancient Hindu temple architecture. It has more than 70 temples. The experimentation with different styles was undertaken by the artisans. The artisans worked on the rocks to create the earliest rock cut shrines. The artisans graduated to the full fledged Chalukya style of architecture.
The early Chalukyas inherited architectural styles largely from their neighbours to the north and south of their kingdom. Usage of curved towers decorated with blind arches came from northern India. Pilastered walls with panel inserts are a southern Indian style. The usage of Deccan style is in their balcony seating, angled eaves and sloping roofs, and elaborately carved columns and ceilings (George Michell,1997). In short, they artistically brought together the prevailing styles in their neighbourhood to create the Chalukya style.
Typical features unique to Badami Chalukyas architecture include mortarless assembly, an emphasis on length rather than width or height, flat roofs, richly carved ceilings, and, sculpturally, an emphasis on relatively few major figures, which tend to be isolated from each other rather than arranged in crowded groups. The aesthetic sensibility of sculpture from this period also seems to retain a certain classical quality whose impulse does not carry over into later periods of Indian art (Susan Huntington, 1985).
Source : By Mukul Banerjee (www.mukulbanerjee.com)
|Durga :Fu Nan period, 7th–8th centuryLuu Nghiep An Village, Tra Vinh Province|
Fu Nan period, 7th–8th century
Luu Nghiep An Village, Tra Vinh Province
Stone Museum of Vietnamese History, Ho Chi Minh City
The bull’s head on the base of this sculpture identifies this figure as Durga, an important Hindu goddess. Durga is worshipped independently, but is also considered to be a form of Parvati, Shiva’s consort. According to Hindu tradition, when Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu proved unable to defeat the demon Mahisha, the task fell to Durga. She vanquished the demon while he was in bull form, an act that came to symbolize religious attainment or victory. All four of Durga’s hands would originally have brandished weapons, but only the dagger in her upper right hand and the shield in her upper left are extant.
Source : Jill Krementz covers Arts of Ancient Viet Nam
|Standing Four-armed goddess Durga, late 9th century India|
Standing Four-armed goddess Durga, late 9th century India (Jammu and Kashmir, ancient kingdom of Kashmir) Stone
Two small male attendants on a stepped pedestal flank this standing four-armed female deity. The deity is richly adorned with jewels and wears a trilobed tiara. Her elaborate costume includes the pointed tunic so often worn by females in Kashmiri sculptures. All of this is rendered with an unusual and meticulous precision, providing a useful description of costume of the period. The deity holds a sword in her lower right hand and a bell with attached ribbons in her lower left. Her raised front right hand is missing but was probably held in the fear-allaying gesture known as the abhayamudra. In her raised front left hand she holds what appears to be the head of a ram, but which probably represents a rhyton. Incised on her forehead is a vertical third eye. These characteristics identify the deity as Durga, a powerful and potent form of the goddess Devi.
Source : "Standing Four-armed goddess Durga [India] (1984.488)". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1984.488 (October 2006)
|Hindu Goddess Durga - 10th century statue found at the ancient city of Anuradhapura, Ceylon(Sri Lanka) 1903|
Hindu Goddess Durga - 10th century statue found at the ancient city of Anuradhapura, Ceylon(Sri Lanka) 1903
KALINGA SCULPTURE of Devi Durga, CHENGAMEDU
KALINGA SCULPTURES, CHENGAMEDU
The northern part of the present Orissa state used to be called Kalinga in the ancient times. Sculptures of Durga, Kali, Bhairavar and Bhairavi found here were brought by Rajendra Chola I (11th century CE) from the Kalinga country as a mark of his victory. These sculptures of red sand stone are excellent examples of the Kalinga art.
Location : 5 km from Gangaikondacholapuram.
|A VERY RARE EARLY PANDYAN DURGA In Thondi Thailand|
A VERY RARE EARLY PANDYAN DURGA In Thondi Thailand:
This statue is found in a very ancient temple in a place called Thondi. Thondi was aport city with a very busy harbour. It lies in the same latitude as Ta Kua Pa in Thailand. Ta Kua Pa was a very important port city with colonies of Tamil merchants.
The ships would make use of the monsoon winds and sail straight to Nicobar and then to Ta Kua Pa. From Nicobar the ships can go to Akshaya - the present day Acchey. Or to Kedah.
The temple is very very near the sea shore. It is unusual to build a temple so very near the sea.
Geographical changes had evidently taken place during these millenia.
You can see many early Durgais with lovely lively expressions. It is all Middle Pandya Era. Thats the time that the Pandyas took sculptures and carvings to new heights. They were the masters of miniaturisation and other artistic wonders which would seem impossible at present. Stone polishing was also very well-developed.
The figure belongs to the Early Pandya Era which would be 7th to 10th centuries. The statue could be around 7th or 8th century. Or earlier.
Source : http://jaybeemuseum-e.blogspot.in/2011/05/very-rare-early-pandyan-durga.html
|Mahisasura Mardini Devi Durga Sculpture it is the Entrance of Ellora Cave No. 29 and was built around 650 to 900 AD.|
Mahisasura Mardini - Devi Durga
This is the oldest Mahisasura Mardini Devi Durga Sculpture it is the Entrance of Ellora Cave No. 29 and was built around 650 to 900 AD.
This photo was taken on December 26, 2009 in Ellora, Maharashtra,
Source : http://www.flickr.com/photos/anjan03/4895485021/
Different Names of Devi Durga:
Goddess Durga is the embodiment of the divine force of the Almighty. The word Durga, in Sanskrit means "the invincible". Durga Devi represents power, strength, morality and protection. Maa Durga is the destroyer of sin and protector of morality. Goddess Durga is also known as Shakti (Power). Durga came into being, when Maha lakshmi, Maha Saraswati and Maha Kali assimilated their powers. So, Durga is the ultimate power. Durga is the mother, as well as the slayer of evils at the same time. Goddess Durga is known by 108 different names. It is believed that Maa Durga gets happy if, these names are spoken with a dedicated heart. So, recite these names of Durga and make her happy.
Some of Them are :
Sati One who got burned alive
Saadhvi The Sanguine
Bhavaprita One who is loved by the universe
Bhavaani The abode of the universe
Bhavamochani The absolver of the universe
Durga The Invincible
Navadurga: The Nine Forms of Goddess Durga:
Nava – that also means 'new' – denotes 'nine' the number to which sages attach special significance. Hence, we have Nava-ratri (9 nights), Nava-patrika (9 leaves / herbs / plants), Nava-graha (9 planets), and Nava-Durga (9 appellations).
There are of the 9 manifestations of Goddess Durga. Each goddess has a different form and a special significance. Nava Durga, if worshipped with religious fervor during Navaratri, it is believed, lift the divine spirit in us and fill us with renewed happiness.
1) Shailaputri :
literally means the daughter (putri) of the mountains (shaila). Variously known as Sati Bhavani, Parvati or Hemavati, the daughter of Hemavana - the king of the Himalayas, she is the first among Navadurgas.
2) Bharmacharini :
She is worshipped on the second day of Navaratri and is the second form of Mother Goddess. Bharmacharini means one who practices devout austerity. She enlightens us in the magnificent embodiment of Durga with great powers and divine grace. She holds a rosary in her right hand and a water utensil in her left hand.
3) Chandra Ghanta:
The third facet of Goddess Durga is ‘Chandraghanta’, who is worshipped on the third day of Navaratri, for peace, tranquility and prosperity in life. She has a ‘chandra’ or half moon in her forehead in the shape of a ‘ghanta’ or bell.
Kushmanda is the fourth form of the mother goddess and is worshipped on the fourth day of Navaratri. The meaning of the name ‘Ku-shm-anda’ is as follows: ‘Ku’ = a little; ‘ushma’ = ‘warmth’; ‘anda’ = ‘the cosmic egg’.
5) Skanda Mata:
The fifth aspect of the Mother Durga is known as ‘Skanda Mata’ - the mother of Skanda or Lord Kartikeya, who was chosen by gods as their commander in chief in the war against the demons.
The sixth form of Mother Durga is known as ‘Katyayani’, who is worshipped on the six day of Navaratri. The legend behind her name goes thus: Once upon a time, there was a great sage called Kata, who had a son named Katya. Kata was very famous and renowned in the lineage of saints. He underwent long austerities and penance in order to receive the grace of the Mother Goddess. He wished to have a daughter in the form of a goddess. According to his wish and desire the Mother Goddess granted his request. Katyayani was born to Kata as an avatar of Durga.
7) Kaal Ratri :
This is the seventh form of Mother Durga and is worshipped on the seventh day of Navaratri. She has a dark complexion, disheveled hair and a fearlessness posture. A necklace flashing lightning adorns her neck. She has three eyes that shine bright and terrible flames emanate from her breath. Her vehicle is the donkey. Her raised right hand always seems to grant boons to all worshippers and all her right lower hand is in the pose of allaying fears.
8) Maha Gauri:
She is worshipped on the eighth day of Navaratri. Her power is unfailing and instantly fruitful. As a result of her worship, all sins of past, present and future get washed away and devotees get purified in all aspects of life. Maha Gauri is intelligent, peaceful and calm. Due to her long austerities in the deep forests of the Himalayas, she developed a dark complexion. When Lord Shiva cleaned her with the water of the Ganges, her body regained its beauty and she came to be known as Maha Gauri, which mean extremely white.
Siddhidatri is the ninth form of Goddess. She is worshipped on the ninth day of Navaratri. Siddhidatri has supernatural healing powers. She has four arms and she is always in a blissful happy enchanting pose. She rides on the lion as her vehicle. She blesses all Gods, saints, yogis, tantrics and all devotees as a manifestation of the Mother Goddess.
Source of Pictures : With inputs from Shri Shankerprasad S Bhatt. Art by Manohar Saini. Watercolor on cotton, available at www.exoticindia.com
Source of Text : By Subhamoy Das, About.com Guide
|Nine Different forms of Devi Durga|
Click Here to see the Graphical Comics on Devi Durga as Mahishasurmardhini—the slayer of Mahishasur.