Tag Archives: mahishasurmardhini


With my special dedication to

Amitabh Ghosh

the Bengali Tiger ūüėČ



Durga is a Hindu warrior goddess, an incarnation of feminine force of creation, preservation and destruction.

Her name means The Inaccessible.¬† According to myths she appeared when Hindu gods were exhausted by the war with demons led by Mahishasura (‘Buffalo’). He caused chaos and terror in the worlds and he could have been defeated neither by god nor man. A shiny orb propellant flames arose from the anger of Vishnu, Shiva and other gods. The light infiltrated three worlds, concentrated and took the feminine shape. The lady who introduced herself as the form of Brahma, the creator of all gods* had three eyes (left one was associated with the moon and desire, right one – with the sun and activity while the central one was connected with fire and wisdom) and ten or eight arms to be able to carry more weapons. Durga was riding a tiger** and started to slay the demons immediately with the deadly gifts from gods: a club, a loop, a lance, a bow, a disk, a sword, a trident and even a lightning.

When she annihilated all of the demons and stood in front of Mahishasura himself, he initially neglected her saying, How can a woman kill me who has already defeated gods? Durga laughed so mightily that she caused an earthquake and this made the demon realize how dangerous his enemy was. Mahishasura attacked her tiger which infuriated the goddess so much that she caught him with a lasso but he transformed into a lion. Durga beheaded him and yet a clever demon managed to turn into a man with a sword. When she tried to pierce him with her weapon, he took the shape of an elephant, when she cut his trunk down, he changed back to a buffalo and so lasted the duel until Durga’s patience ran out. She blinded him with the light emanating from her body, jumped close to the demon, pinned him to the wall with her trident and beheaded once and for all. Their duel is shown beautifully on this picture:

Durga fighting Mahisasura

According to a Hindu mythology the world is influenced by two forces: the Devs (deities) and the Asurs (demons) who are balanced and cannot win one another. Durga is born from the rage of Devs and their frustration that they cannot defeat the Asurs.¬† To show the nature of their war I’d like to quote this site,¬† This personification of cosmic energy is one of the most wonderful and the richest in meanings. Durga’s battle shows an eternal fight between wisdom and ignorance, truth and untruth, Dev’s noble activity maintaining the balance in the world and Asurs’ destructive ego. She defeats the last and the most powerful demon Mahishasura who attacks her under the form of buffalo representing the power of chaos. Durga must also face the¬† male charm which the Asurs use to seize her power and weapon and she keeps her female dignity and the ability of self-determination.

Durga is self-sufficient and independent from male Hindu gods (they did not create her therefore they have no power over her). She is considered to be an aspect of Goddess Mother and all the other Hindu goddesses are perceived as the emanation of Durga. It must be mentioned that the notion of energy is crucial in Hinduism and the main female energy is Shakti, the feminine element reflected in inspiration, passion, charisma, intensive activity and vitality. Shakti is always paired with Shiva, the male element, and these two create the balance and build the basis of the world. Durga is an emanation of Shakti along with Parvati, Kali and Uma. Durga herself appears in nine forms called Navdurga: Skondamata, Kusumanda, Shailaputri, Kaalratri, Brahmacharini, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, Chandraghanta and Siddhidatri (you can see them here). She knows no fear, she is patient and she never loses the sense of humour even during the battle. Her name is called upon in the cases which seem to be lost.

The main celebration is famous Durga Puja, very popular especially in Bengal, India’s Himalayan regions, Bangladesh and Nepal in late¬†September and October. The holiday lasts ten days because according to the myth the goddess was fighting demons that long. The altars are being built, the figures of Durga are being created, painted, decorated and carried around and finally drowned in the river. Read more about the festival here.


When it comes to pictures she is usually portayed very dynamically while battling Mahishasura, presented in a side profile pose, riding a tiger and holding weapons in all her hands (in this form she is called Mahishasurmardhini – ‘Mahishasura’s Killer’).

However,¬† in sculptures and figures she is presented statically as a peaceful woman with a gentle and often smiling face.¬† She holds flower garlands, pearl necklaces, shells and the lotus flowers in her hands or she places fingers in mudras or symbolic gestures.¬† In this milder form she is called Maha Gauri (‘The Fair Lady’).

The animal mostly associated with her is tiger.



The card of Durga shows a woman who is independent, ambitious and courageous. She is often a boss or she runs her own business.When she wants to achieve something, she does not give up until she gets it and she is able to move heaven and earth for an important purpose. She can also be quarrelsome, requiring, intolerant to different opinions and stubborn. A workaholic. This card represents a boss, a soldier, a police officer, a judge, a social worker, a craftsman (according to one of the legends Durga was leading her own army against demons and after the victory she thanked the warriors by teaching them how to make jewellery).


The problem which you are inquiring about can be resolved by various means (as the proverb says ‘if they don’t let you in through the door, get in through the window’) just like the duel with¬†Mahishasura shows.

Situation requires courage, intransigence, concentration and patience.

Key words: Transformation.  Solitude.  Counting on yourself only. Concentration. Independence. A success gained thanks to patience, ambition and determination.


If you’re single: You have an independent nature and it is difficult for you to compromise. It is possible that your work means more than a relationship. Lack of trust to men caused by bad experiences or bringing up without a father. Men may feel respect to you but not necessairly attraction.

If you’re in a relationship: This card may show tension in a relationship, quarrels, claims, etc. Perhaps one of the partners is dominated by the other. Lack of communication. Transformation.


It is a good time to start your own business or to change the job. If you do not have a job, this card suggests searching for something different than what you used to do. In your resume mention all your diplomas, certificates, skills and abilities even if you consider some of them to be less important, you need to use versatile methods.


Beware of injuries and accidents. Too much stress. Lack of energy or too much energy. Possible imbalance in the body. A disease difficult to diagnose or a long and difficult therapy. With other alarming cards it can signify changes caused by multiplying cells. Endangered parts of the body: limbs, eyes and brain.


Durga in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthewss.

Durga in The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky

Durga in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Durga in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Durga in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Based on English and Polish Wikipedia and the following pages:   http://www.indiaguide.pl/india/devi_durga_kali.html

*Fire is the male element required to perform an action but when incarnated in the body of a woman it creates peace and harmony.

** According to another version it was a lion.