Durga is currently one of my most beloved Goddesses. Several times I have done a sadhana for Durga chanting her mantra 108 x/ day for 41 days. It’s so powerful.
Durga Mantra – Om Dum Durgayei Namaha
Below are some notes from Sianna Sherman one of my most beloved teachers and story tellers. Enjoy!
Hindu Goddess of Power, Strength, Protection, Justice & Courage
Durga is an embodiment of the Warrioress, the one who courageously rides into battle on her lion or tiger to slay the demons of pride, greed and arrogance. She stands for Truth, Protection and the ultimate power of Love.
Durga is one of the most celebrated Goddesses around the world. She is MahaDevi & MahaShakti, the Great Goddess of spiritual illumination and creative dynamism. When the going gets tough, she is the one to call on! Durga awakens within us the power to show up fully in our lives to face our battles with fierce compassion, courage, tenacity, grace, and commitment to fight for justice and love. Durga is the great Warrior Goddess who encounters and slays many demons. The demons represent the encounters we experience within ourselves. They are the demons of our pride, arrogance and greed. The inner battle is how we must come to terms with ways we have become greedy, overly inflated, narcissistic and intoxicated by who we think we are at times. As Durga rides her tiger into battle to conquer these demons, the alchemy of inner yoga is called into action. She uses her strength and power to fight for Love. Durga is the Warrioress of our heroine's quest and shows us how to rise with empowerment, stand in our truth and fight for justice in this world.
She is the Power of Love that defeats the love of power.
Durga’s myth is the play of consciousness where love defeats tyranny. She goes face-to-face with the seemingly invincible Mahisha, the demon of arrogance, greed and tyranny. In the end, the power of love defeats the abuse and misuse of power.
Durga's stories are found in the Devi Mahatmya, a Hindu text known as the "Glory of the Goddess", comprised of 700 shlokas or verses in praise of the Goddess.
Remember that you are EVERY character in the story! Let the myth come to life inside of you and reveal its insight through your embodied form.
Durga is the Mother of the universe from whom comes forth the creation, sustenance and dissolution of all beings and all worlds. She is Chit-Shakti, the power of consciousness. The great Goddess Durga is born of the light and power of all the gods and goddesses at a time when all the worlds were in deep despair. There once was a demon named Mahisha who was a powerful yogi. He practiced yoga ceaselessly trying to impress and gain favor of the gods in order to receive a boon.
He was so fiercely devoted to his practices and he began to blaze so brightly that eventually, Lord Brahma took notice and finally asked the demon, “What is it that you are requesting?” Mahisha replied, “There is just one thing. I want to be all powerful, invincible, and entirely immortal.” Brahma said to Mahisha, “Well, I can only grant you that to a certain extent because everything that is created must at some point come to its death. So the boon I can give you is that you may choose who you would like to be slain by. Who shall be the cause of your demise?”
Mahisha, in his arrogance and total disdain for the Feminine laughed and replied, “Oh easy! Let it be a woman. What woman could ever slay me?”
Now, this was his first great mistake. Nothing is more powerful than the great feminine power of the Maha Devi! But so it was that his boon was granted and Mahisha went about destroying the 3 worlds and sending all the realms into darkness. Without respect for anything, Mahisha caused such destruction that the world became very dismal. The world was without color. The grass stopped growing. Agni, the god of Fire, lost his desire to burn and became shivering cold. Chandra, the Moon, became dull and lost her lustrous, inspirational force. Surya, the Sun, no longer felt like pushing his chariot of light through the sky. Vayu, the god of Wind, didn’t want to breathe life into the world.
The gods and goddesses became so distraught in their despair that they finally decided something must be done. Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva – the great powers of Creation, Sustenance and Destruction- stood together in community and began to ignite the power of their practices. They concentrated their strength and energy between them and blazed it through their third-eye centers. From the collective third-eye, they beamed this light into the center and as it intensified, the most lustrous form of Devi began to rise up from the light.
Durga, born of this light, began to emerge and her body was the most radiant vessel of strength, radiance and beauty. Her toes were made of the light of the sun. Her feet formed from Lord of Creation. She had legs of the power of water, hips formed of the earth. Her waist was the thunderbolt and her breasts of the moon. She waved her arms - thousands of arms made of the sustaining power. Her fingers formed from the children of creativity. The light of her face was from Shiva himself. One of her eyebrows was made of the sunrise, the other of the sunset. Her dark, intoxicating hair from the Lord of Death. Her radiance was so blinding that even the gods had to close their eyes because they could not bear her immense light. The gods and goddesses offered their weapons to her that wielded an identical, yet even stronger form of their own power.
Although Durga "appeared" out of this force field of light and intention of the deities, in truth, She was already the essence of everything and everyone. With her emergence, all the grass became green again, the tail feathers of peacocks lifted to reveal their color, the birds sang beautifully and color was restored to the world.
In some versions of the story, Durga retreated to a cave in the center of a mountain where she was attended to by 4 priestesses while she turned to her inner strength and power for the inevitable battle to come. As Durga committed to her own sadhana, the world began to blaze even brighter until Mahisha took notice. Outraged, he demanded to know “Who dares to make my world beautiful? Who dares to do something I did not command?”
Mahisha sent his armies to destroy Durga. She sat perfectly poised upon her great lion, wrapped in a red silk sari, and simply sighed "Hum" from which an infinite league of warriors emerged and defeated everyone. Finally, Mahisha had to face the Great Devi himself. When he asked her who she was, she simply responded: "Mahisha, you rush faster to your own death than a moth to a flame. I am the one who is the cause of your demise." He roared in laughter. She sat in stillness with the smile of Grace and composure in her eyes and the epic battle began.
Mahisha was a trickster and shape-shifter, who used his power to control and manipulate. With each shape-shifting form, Durga always matched him until finally she had enough. In that moment, she took a sip of the sacred elixir, rose up into the sky and descended down upon him as he was about to shape-shift yet again. She landed upon him with the soft underside of her foot across his neck. The moment before his death, Mahisha looked to the Goddess and saw her True Form of Infinite Love. He cried out "MA" with recognition and she slayed him with her trident. With his last breath, all the demon armies sighed and disappeared from the world. Upon slaying the great demon, the Goddess Durga put down her weapons and held only lotus flowers.
The Priestess as Warrioress wields the weapons of truth, love and justice. She rises within us and keeps us on the course of our path. Ultimately, she is the Power of Love that defeats stubborn, limiting beliefs and injustice in the world at large.
- Power of Love
- Grace under pressure
- Strength to face our fears
- Inner strength and protection
- Primal instinct and regal beauty
- The power of the collective whole
- The eye in the middle of the storm
- Composure in the midst of any challenge
- Remembrance to carry the fortress in ourselves
- Justice in the world and righteousness for humanity
- Bravery to come out of hiding with our voices, gifts and power
- Courage in the midst of fear and remembering what is truly possible
- Feminine embrace of community and leadership that exalts all of humanity
- How to fortify our boundaries emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually