By Swami Harshananda
Navadurgās literally means ‘the nine Durgās’.
Significance of Durgā
Durgā is one of the most popular and widely worshiped aspects of the Divine Mother, Pārvatī. According to the famous work Devīmāhātmya, she is the personification of the essence and powers of all the gods. Works on the Devī-sect sometimes put forward several varieties of Durgā. Nine of these are often grouped together and called ‘Navadurgās’.
According to the Kavacastotra of the Devīmāhātmya, they are:
As per the Brahmāndapurāṇa, the list includes:
Iconographically, the main deity is shown with 18 arms and the other eight with 16 hands. The various objects shown in the hands are more or less the same as those of the main goddess. Some of them are:
- Akṣamālā - rosary
- Kheṭaka - shield
- Khaḍga - sword
- Darpaṇa - mirror
- Dhanus - bow
- Bāṇa - arrow
- Dhvaja - banner
- Tarjanī-mudra - pose of warning
- Śakti - spear
- Mudgara - hatchet
- Śula - lance
- Cakra - discus
- Śaṅkha - conch
These different aspects may be invoked for different purposes.
- It is approximately 18 hands.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore