Durgā exemplifies the power of righteousness, sublime beauty, and fiery vigor in the form of wrathful action. She emerged from a sacred fire formed by the combined wrath of the gods, who gave her all their weapons. She was invoked to conquer Mahiṣāsura, a lustful demon who could not be defeated by any man or god.
In Hindu culture, power alone is a minor accomplishment. Being powerful while cool, calm, and collected is a far superior skill. The name Durgā in Sanskrit means “fort” or “inaccessible,” an epithet to describe her unshakable composure and the unassailable beauty of manifestation itself.
Some myths associate Durgā with Śiva’s consort Pārvatī. Others call her Mahā Lakṣmī, savioress of the universe. She is power personified, always ready to defend cosmic harmony. Popular across Nepal and India, Durgā is invoked as the supreme caring and protective mother.
This illustration of her killing the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha first appeared in Sally Kempton’s book, Awakening Shakti.