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J.K. Dasgupta

Many years back once I was searching books in Collage Street of Calcutta-which is a treasure
house of old books. I suddenly stumbled upon a book written in bengali which explained the
various Chandi Shloka (Goddess Durga in her fighting form killing demon Mahisasura), a spiritual
scripture. It was so fascinating and changed my idea completely about forms of deities and later
as I read more works of Swami Chinmayanandaji and Swami Dayananda Saraswati-I was
gradually convinced that Hinduism is more a absolute philosophy of life and universe rather than
a "religion". In Hindu deities, ultimate power or the shakti behind evrything is worshipped as

I shall try to convey my little knowledge that I have received from various sources about the form
of Godess Durga.
There are great philosophies behind each Hindu deity. The concept is
whole to part. In Geeta Srikrishna tells I am immovable like mountain.
Many western scholar have misinterpreted the shloka but the concept is
as we cannot move from one part of our body to other part (because
we are everywhere in our body), in the same manner Almighty cannot
move because He is everywhere. We are part of it just like our houses
are part of the space (break the walls and roof-we are standing in the
space). Likewise all the powers-good or bad are universal, whatever
good or bad we see around us is only a part of that universal power.
Our power to see, our power to hear, our power to understand, our anger, our greed everything is
part of those universal power. (This concept has been elaborately dealt with in Mandyukya
These good powers each have been assigned a Devata (Deva means to illuminate and Devata
means who illuminates) and each evil powers like anger, greed etc. are assigned as Asura. Our
Puranas tell very deep philosophy in the form of simple story so that common human being can
Form of Godess Durga which is worshipped is having 10 hands with various weapons, riding on
a lion and killing Mahisasura, the king of Asura. She is flanked by Kartikeya-the chief warrior of
Devatas, Saraswati-the godess of learning, Lakshmi-the Godess of wealth and Ganapati-the
siddhidata. All are said to be her children.
Story about Godess Durga briefly goes like this. Mahisasura captured heaven and defeated
Indra, king of Devatas and other Devatas repeatedly. All Devatas went to Bramha, Vishnu and
Shiva who are creator of the universe, sustainer of the universe and destroyer of the universe
respectively. They advised Davatas to go to Himalaya to request Parvati, daughter of the king
Himalaya to save them. When approached, hearing about the distress of the davatas Parvati
became furious. She took a terrible form of Durga. All Devatas gave their respective weapons to
her. King Himalaya, her father gave her lion to ride. Thus Durga asked Mahisasura to fight with
her. First Mahisasura sent his generals-but all were killed by Durga. Then Mahisasura came to
fight and during the fight he started taking various forms to dupe the Godess. But the Godess
ultimately killed him.
A very deep philosophy has been described here about the process through which a sadhaka
goes during his last stage of sadhana (meditation). Actually Mahisasura is the condition of the
sadhaka at a very high stage. With our conscious actions it is not possible for anybody to get rid
of the bad powers like anger, greed etc. A sadhaka can perform great tapasya and attain powers
but he cannot get rid of his I-sense (sense that it is my body, my name etc.) and other related
gunas. This I-sense is Mahisasura and his generals are anger, greed, lust etc. Even at very
higher stage of realisation all these are present in a sadhaka (tapasyi) in a very subtle form. He
gets worried when he realises that these senses (asuras) still try to defeat his higher intelligence
(asuras capture heaven, here higher intelligence is Indra-the king of Devatas).
Sadhaka sees that he cannot overcome the power of his senses (at subtle stage it is not possible
to get rid of earthly senses with own effort), he prays to Godess Durga. Another name of Durga is
Shruti (meaning-which has been memorized by hearing). Earlier days there was no book or
instrument for writing. All philosophies and scriptures were tranfered from guru to his disciples
through words and disciples used to memorize the verses. So these knowledge is the Godess
herself. As these knowledge were received by the sages through meditation (sadhana) in the
himalaya, She is also called daughter of himalaya. When the sadhaka surrenders to the
knowledge leaving all his weapons to fight (all indriyas handover their weapons to the Godess),
the Godess-riding on the Lion (symbolic to the dharma i.e religion, king who is capable of
controling the animal senses within us) removes the I-sense (kills Mahisasura) along with its other
generals. At the last stage also the I-sense try to reside inside taking various shapes (Mahisasura
takes various shapes to dupe the Godess). The sadhaka thus gets moksha.
Ganapati, Kartikeya, Saraswati and Lakshmi are Her children. Because She is everywhere, the
ultimate truth, the nature in this universe. She fights as Kartikeya, She gives sidhhi as Ganapati,
She is Saraswati - the knowledge of creation in Brahma (Saraswati is called wife of Brahma-the
creator. Without knowledge no creation is possible) and She herself is Lakshmi transfering her
power to Vishnu for sustainance of this universe (without finance no sustainance is possible-so
Lakshmi is described as wife of Vishnu).