The Dasa Mahavidya are ten Hindu Goddesses, namely – Kali, Tara, Tripura Sundari, Bhuvaneshwari, Chhinnamasta, Bhairavi, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi and Kamala. Each Mahavidya is a form of the Adi Shakti.
Mother Goddess Durga: Maa Durga is one of the most revered Hindu goddesses. She is primarily worshipped in the states of India Bangladesh and Nepal. Maa Durga is also referred to by other names like Adi Shakti, Jagdamba and Mahakali. She is also called Triyambake because of her three eyes which represent fire, sun, and moon.
She killed a Demon named Durgasur due to which her name is Durga. The name Durga also means undefeated and the one which cannot be overcome. Maa Durga is represented sitting on a lion in idols as a representation of her strength. A trident in her hand reflects Tamas, Rajas and Sattva qualities.
According to Hindu mythology, god and goddesses are believed to appear on earth in the form of many deities and goddesses and Durga is one form of the Supreme. She is known as Mahishasura Mardhini the slayer of buffalo demon, Mahishasur. She is Kali the goddess of destruction. Another classification of the goddess is the form of Nava Durga which is a collection of nine female deities worshipped by devotees.
According to famous mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik, besides the standard offering to God, there is always something more to Goddess Durga like haldi kumkum kajal and a piece of cloth to serve as choli and chunri. The aim is to cover up the goddess so that she is less Kali and more Gauri.
The ever-so-enticing legend of Mother Goddess Durga
She is Brahma’s defiant daughter, protective sister, and Shiva’s affectionate wife. Her power is revered because she killed a very powerful demon named Mahishasur. The demon had pleased Lord Brahma and was blessed that he would not be killed in heaven, earth, or hell or by any god or human.
Misusing this boon, Mahishasur took control over the entire heaven and earth. As he could not be killed by any God, the Trinity using its supreme power created a goddess to fight him, thus Maa Durga was born.
Many gods presented her weapons and other articles for each of her ten hands. The ten arms of Goddess Durga symbolise protection from all ten directions. She holds Shiva’s Trishul, Vishnu gave her his Sudarshan Chakra, Bharama offered the goddess with his Kamandals which contains holy water symbol of purity, wisdom and life as he does not have any weapon, Indra gave his Vajra, Vayu God of wind gave his bow and quiver of infinite arrows, Varuna God of water offered his conch which symbolises victory, Agni gave his burning spear, Yama gave his undefeated sword and Vishwakarma offered his axe.
After obtaining offerings in the form of divine weapons and other divine objects goddess Durga rode on a lion’s back which was gifted by Himavan king of Himalayas and Challenged Mahishasur.
A huge war broke between Maa Durga and Mahishasura which lasted for nine days and on the tenth-day goddess destroyed Mahishasura.
This is the reason Dussehra or Vijayadashami is celebrated and this is why she got the name Mahishasura Mardini.