views updated May 23 2018

Durgā. The one who is difficult to approach, among Hindus the fearsomely protective aspect of Śiva's consort (see Mahādevī in Devī), a slayer of demons who threaten the dharma of creation. Notable among these was the buffalo-demon Mahiṣa, who could not be slain by man or beast. Durgā being both a woman and divine, slew the creature easily (hence her name, Mahiṣāsuramardiṇī), using weapons given her by the gods.

Durgā, the ten-armed, is shown carrying a variety of weapons, and accompanied by her vehicle, a lion or tiger, symbolic of her ferocity and aggression. She is supported by eight demonesses (yoginī), whose task it is to finish the destruction. Durgā is considered as another aspect of Kālī, and, like her, is a popular deity in Bengal, where Durga-pūja, celebrated Oct.–Nov., is a major festival. Unlike Kālī, Durgā is shown as beautiful, though warlike. See also ŚAKTI; DAŚAHRĀ.


views updated May 14 2018

Durga In the Hindu pantheon, one of the names of the wife of Shiva. Depicted as a 10-armed goddess, she is both destructive and beneficent but is worshipped today as a warrior against evil. Her festival, the Durga-puja, which occurs in September or October, is an occasion for family reunions.


views updated May 17 2018

Durga in Hindu mythology, a fierce goddess, wife of Shiva, often identified with Kali. She is usually depicted riding a tiger or lion and slaying the buffalo demon, and with eight or ten arms.