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Is Goddess Durga the supreme universal mother
Posted By Sarin on Oct 21, 2012     RSS Feeds     Latest Hinduism news

In my previous article, we tried to know if the supreme god is female or why it is necessary to venerate the feminine aspect of god. If you haven’t read that article then please go through the below link:
Is God Female-Yes or No
  In this article, we will try to analyze if Goddess Durga is the supreme divine mother of the whole mankind as it is the general perception among the Shaktism and Smartism sects of Hinduism.
Goddess in the Vedas  
From the invisible, sacchidananda ever-pervading ParaBrahman, ever blissful mother durga is born.
Many great scholars tried to establish the origin of Mother/Goddess worship starting from the vedic period. Out of all the goddesses mentioned in Vedic verses, Aditi or better known as Adi shakti is said to be the mother of all Living beings. Well known British scholar Max Muller said Aditi, an ancient Indian god may be in reality the earliest name used to define infinity. One of the reasons for this conception is that the Sanskrit word aditi means infinity.  
Earliest mention of aditi is found in the Rig Veda verse (1.89.10) and verse 1.14.3. In these verses, Sage Gautama prays to many deities for protection, health, longevity, wealth, etc and finally prays Aditi as the mother of all deities. Exact verse is:
Aditi is space. Aditi is Heaven. Aditi is father, children and everything we have. Aditi is the five elements of nature and source 0f everything that exist.

Aditi-The supreme Divine Mother
In mantras of other texts, Aditi is said to be the mother of all gods and goddesses. Aditi is not only the mother of all gods but also mother of Rudras (i.e lord shiva & others).  
Upanisad verse 2.1.7 states:
Aditi, giver of life, is the soul of all gods (i.e devatamayi). Entering the sacred chamber of heart, she remains with the newborn.
This verse clearly states that Aditi is both the soul of the gods as well as all living beings. She is the mode to eternal joy and happiness.
How Mother Aditi is Goddess Durga?
A metaphoric confusing hymn of rigveda deals with the birth of the gods. In this mystical verse, Aditi is called as Daksa mother and also his daughter.  
This verse initially baffled me and made me completely confused. How can one be the mother and a daughter both? After thinking a while, I finally got the meaning as “Initially everything is born from Aditi. So, she is the mother of all. Then she enters into heart chamber of every new born. So, she is the daughter of all fathers.”  
Daksa is also known as Aditya since he is born to Aditi and Aditi is called as Daksayani since she is daughter of Daksa.
I think this also answers the most famous twisting question: “what came first? Egg or Hen”
Vedas further states “Before the birth of the gods, beings came into existence from non-being. From the desire of creation, earth and the various lokas (Celestial planets) came into existence. Aditi gave birth to Daksa, and Aditi was born to Daksa again. O Daksa, Aditi is your daughter and all the deities came later. “

Adi Shaki Mata-The mother of all deities
As I have said and illustrated many times before, this verse fits the theory of scientific big bang that says initially there was nothing and then something like big bang happened which led to the formation of this universe.
In above verse, Aditi is symbolized as energy (shakti) aspect of Para Brahman. Aditi is the mother of all creation and under the influence of Maya (illusion) becomes the creator, maintainer and destroyer of this universe.  
Who is Daksa? ‘
Daksa means Prajapati i.e the father of all humans. Even in the Bhagavad verse (4.6.17-8), Daksa, is called Prajapati, the creator of all humans. In Hinduism, Prajapati is better known as Brahma subordinate involved in creation of mankind though some scripture suggest holy trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh as forms or manifestation of Prajapati.  Prajapati is the first born and is also known called as Hiranyagarbha. In short, Daksa or Prajapati is responsible for the gross creation of this universe and constantly engage in creative thinking. While Daksa is involved in creation, Rudra (which is known as Shiva post vedic age) is associated with destruction. This process of creation and destruction happens continuously like day and night i.e only one process happens at a time and they can never do their activity of creation and destruction simultaneously.  
Daksa daughter sati dies
You must be aware of the story of sati, which later became the basis of sati system in India. According to the story, Daksa invited all deities in his sacrificial ceremony but left out lord Shiva and sati invited. Unable to bear the insult of her husband, sati went to the sacrifice uninvited. On reaching Daksha sacred ceremony uninvited, Daksha became furious and started insulting Lord shiva. Unable to bear the humiliation, Sati decided to renounce her life by burning herself in the fire

Sati burning in fire
 Death of his beloved enraged lord Shiva. He decided to seek revenge, destroyed Daksa sacrifice and roamed across the earth carrying dead body of sati on his shoulders, destroying everything on his path. Seeing lord Shiva terrible anger, lord Vishnu with the help of other deities cut body of sati into pieces and made them fall on different parts of the earth. This created 51 spiritual centers, vibrant and famous for spiritually even today.  

Lord shiva carrying dead body of sati while Brahma, Vishnu and other gods coming to the rescue
Sati is reborn as Uma/Durga/Parvati
Menaka , friend of sati was very much interested in having the divine mother as her daughter. So, she performed severe austerities in the Himalayas and the divine mother was born as Uma after the sati episode. Uma was also called as Haimavati (because her father name was Himavan), and Gauri(because of fair complexion). This Uma, aka haimavati taught Indra and other deities the knowledge of creation and this knowledge were then used by these deities to create Durga to destroy evil demon Mahisasur, story of which I have said in my previous article. Thus Uma is Durga, the goddess of knowledge and ignorance. Aditi is Sati, Sati is uma and uma is durga. So the divine mother Aditi is Durga.
This is very similar to Adi purusha (Supreme God) is Vishnu, Vishnu is Krishna and so krishna is Adi-Purusha. In short, all Gods are manifestation of same supreme Soul ‘Adi-Purusha’ or his shakti (Energy) aspect (Adi-Shakti, Shortly known as Aditi)

How Uma became Durga?
Uma destroys sorrow born of ignorance. Sorrow is called Dukha in Sanskrit. ‘Removing sorrow’ is translated in Sanskrit as
‘durduhkhena gamyate’. By combining the initial of these two words, name durga was derived. However, the better known reason for name Durga is that she is the destroyer of fate (durgati).
Vedas declares repeatedly ‘Aditi’ as the protector of whole mankind. Sage Vasistha prays to Aditi as: ‘O Mother Aditi, please see that the gods Varuna, Mitra and Aryama, who hold the returns of our sacrifices in their hands, do not become hurdles to us; so protect us from sins.

Mother Aditi-The protector of three worlds
 Another sage declares: ‘O Goddess Aditi You are loved in all the worlds. If you protect us, none can harm us. Please come to us along with the brilliant gods.’
So Durga is clearly a Vedic goddess and while Vedic sages adored Aditi through hymns, sacrifices and prayers, Lord Krishna is said to be the first to worship her in the Durga form.  
Durga is also known by many other names. For example, two demons named ‘Sumbha’ and ‘Nisumbha’ began troubling gods, they went to Himalayas and prayed to ‘Gauri’ or ‘Parvati’. She saved the deities by killing all the demons and got several names like Camunda (for slaying demons Canda and Munda) etc.

Is Aditi mother of Holy trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh?
If you are the follower of Vedas or Belong to Smartism or shaktism sects, then the answer would be yes but if you are a Vaishnaite or shaivite, then the answer would be ‘No’. Instead of directly deriving the conclusion, i would better go with what the scriptures says:
By combining abstract Supreme soul (Adi purusha) and Abstract supreme energy (Adi shakti or Aditi), three shapes Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are born and from the supreme energy, three shapes created are Maha Saraswati, Maha Laxmi and Mahakali. Maha  Saraswati is well  known as Brahmani,  Mahalaxmi as Vaishnavi  and Mahakali  as Maheswari.  

Holy female trinity Maha Saraswati, Maha Laxmi and Mahakali  
This Adi-Purusha or ishwar is the supreme god and is described in yajurveda as Rudrastadhayayaee -  Sahasrapat. All other scriptures talk about the manifestations of this Adi-purusha, with some claiming a particular aspect of this Adi-purusha as supreme god. For example, follower of vaishnism treats Lord Vishnu as supreme god while follower of shaivism treats shiva as supreme god.
According to Vedas, Adi purusha is pure, divine and his delusion is energy (Shakti). From this divine power, comes the knowledge of the three worlds which is accepted widely as the cause of creation, existence and destruction bestowed to three shapes called Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Even the English word God can be decoded to represent the same. 'G' means generator (Brahma), ‘O’ means organizer (Vishnu) and D means Destroyer (Shiva).
Shiva's power is sati or Shakti, the creative mother aspect of Aditi who creates and at the time of dissolutions swallows all her creation.  
Lord krishna said in the bhagavad gita: "This current form is my lower nature. Beyond this is my higher nature, the life-principle which sustains the universe".
Upanishad says: "God supreme power is manifested in various ways like knowledge, strength and activity".
Beside the above verse, Vedas repeatedly says that there is only one god called ishwar or Adi-Purusha and all others are his manifestation. So, Lord Vishnu, lord brahma and lord shiva are manifestations or part of the same supreme god but are supreme in their own aspect. Brahma is Supreme in creation, Vishnu is supreme in preservation and Shiva is supreme in destruction and none can interfere in each other supremacy.
Energies of supreme mother is everywhere in this universe

Holy trinity
 MahaMaya(supreme power) plays a vital role in the creation of this universe and so is usually referred as the unmanifested, latent manifest or in science as potential or kinetic energy. She controls two powers: Natutral and General. Natural power also known as Atma Shakti, Prakrutika Shakti, Pancha Mahabhuta Shakti etc, creates and controls the General Energy. The Pancha Mahabhuta Shakti or Prakrutika  Shakti represents the energies of natural entities like earth, sun, water, fire and air. Earth represent creative energy, water expressive energy, sphere preservative energy, Air serpentine energy and fire represent destructive energy.  All these energies are known as natural energy.  General energies also known as Jada shakti or Tamashakti are based on the natural energy and is more used during the process of destruction. Without Natural energy, there can be no general energy. Kinetic energy, Potential energy, electrical energy, magnetic energy, sound and atomic energy are all examples of general energy.
So, all these energies are produced and controlled by supreme mother Aditi which is none other than Goddess Durga. Knowledge, anger, greed, peace, lust, egoism and pride, are all her forms. Maha Saraswati represents her power of equilibrium (Sattviki Shakti). Maha Lakshmi represents her power of activity (Rajasik Shakti) while Maha Kali represents her power of destruction (Tamsik Shakti).  

Maha shakti and her various forms
Goddess Durga post vedic Period
In Ramayana
Beside Vedas, Direct evidence of Goddess Durga worship is found in Ramayana where Lord Rama worshipped her as the primordial energy of the entire universe before going on a final fight with mighty demon Ravana. He won the battle with the grace of goddess Durga and this day is celebrated every year as Vijaya Dasami day which this year falls on 24 October.  
In Mahabharata
Then Durga is mentioned multiple times in the Mahabharata and in bhagavad gita itself where lord Krishna says goddess durga as divine mother. In story of Mahabharata, before entering the kingdom of Virata for one year disguise, pandavas propitiated Durga and asked for boons. Again, before the commencement of great battle of Kurukshetra, ord Krishna asked arjuna to worship goddess Durga to ensure victory.
In modern times, goddess Durga got great following among the tribal areas where Durga was associated with agriculture which may be because she is thought to be the power behind the growth of crops and vegetation
In other cultures
However, strangely enough, Mesopotamian(Presently Iraq) Goddess Ishtar, is strikingly similar to Goddess Durga and was worshipped by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Sumerians, and even Egyptians and Romans. Goddess Ishtar is traced back to 2000 BC and probably even much before that. Goddess Ishtar is describes as an independent goddess having multiple arms, riding a lion and holding many weapons. She was beautiful, loved people of all background & social classes and travelled across forest, deserts, water etc.  

Goddess Ishtar
Beside Mesopotamia, Durga is also found in other region and cultures like Buddhism, Jainism etc. She is the only female deity to have an entire Upanisad after her.  
Indus valley period
Worship of goddess was very prominent in the ancient Indus Valley civilization since many figures and seals depicting the epithet of divine mother to Female deities have been found. After the vedic period, There was a rise in goddess worship with Durga and Kali being the most prominent of them. Around 4th  century A.D, many images of Durga killing buffalo demon mahisasur were common throughout Indian sub-continent.

Animated story of Durga killing mahisasur
After the sixth century, many classical texts were written depicting Devi Durga mythological exploits. Devibhagavatam is an entire purana dedicated to durga and other being Markandeya Purana, also called as Devi Mahatmya, which later became known as Durgasaptasati or Chandi Mahatmya. This text is so sacred that every verse is considered as the sacred mantra of the goddess Durga and is widely used today during the nine day long festival of navratri.
The Devimahatmya states that Durga is the universe. "As immanent in the world Durga is equated with the earth. As transcendent, she is the heavenly queen who descends from time to time to maintain harmony on earth." (Kinsley 1986, 105)
Everyone of us worship Goddess
Truly speaking, all beings of this Kaliyuga are actually Goddess Worshippers, but they are not aware of that. Everyone today desires power and dominance in one form or the other. Every country desires to become the most powerful nation. Even physicists and scientists proved that everything of this universe is pure, imperishable energy.  Scientists continuously strive to create some technology to make their nation the powerful of all nation. Nuclear bombs, Atomic bomb, War weapons, Fighter planes etc are example of demonstrating power which in one sense can be called as energy (Shakti) worship i.e Goddess worship.

Devi-Supreme Divine mother
The Reason for Mother Durga Worship
We saw how Aditi, the source of all creation became durga and how she destroyed all terrible enemies of the gods.
Goddess Durga is worshipped because she is source of all creation and represents the feminine aspect of the supreme god.  One who worships her indirectly worships all the other deities because all other deities are his manifestations. Goddess durga is the giver of wealth, health, happiness, knowledge, spiritual wisdom and freedom. Rig Veda says Aditi is sarvamangala (Giver of all happiness) and the Atharva Veda says Aditi is samriddhi dayini. Goddess Durga is very beautiful, fair and golden in complexion and one who worships her gets divine face and materialistic happiness. Mahabharata verse (1.1.209-10) says Kala or time Creates, preserves and destroys everything. Kala is other name of Shiva wife Sati and represent goddess durga in Kali form. She will be the one whose power will be used at the end of this kaliyuga to destroy this universe. Thus, Goddess durga is the supreme universal mother and one who worships hers worships everything including all other deities.
Well known Sage Ramakrishna said the same as “one who is Brahman is also shakti. When inactive, he is called as Brahman but when thought of Creation, he is called as brahma with shakti as saraswati, when thought of maintainer, he is called as Vishnu with shakti as ‘Laxmi’ and when thought of destruction, he is called as Shiva with shakti as ‘Kali’.  
Worship the supreme divine mother in a right way
Devi (Goddess) worship is actually venerating supreme god greatness and supremacy. Unfortunately, many ignorantly believes that Goddess ask for sacrifice. If we go by the scriptures, then goddess don’t ask for animal sacrifice, instead it ask for sacrifice of demon-like humans, it ask to sacrifice your ego, fear and materialistic desires.
Just like the child has more love for mother than father and mother love child more than father, Humans should have more love and respect to our divine mother ‘Aditi’ aka Durga because she is kind, affectionate, tender and loving.  Her power is immeasurable, mercy illimitable, knowledge infinite, splendor indescribable. Only she can give you materialistic joy, prosperity and spiritual freedom.
She is permanent, invincible, indestructible, and kind because she is mother of all. Because of her grace and blessings, man is able to indulge and enjoy these materialistic pleasures.  
Invincible, indestructible and ever loving goddess Durga
Hinduism is the only religion that claims the supreme divine energy to be feminine and hence is the only religion to have elevated status of women.  
So, this navaratri, Worship goddess Durga and Give your respect and love with an open heart by removing your enemies of egoism, crookedness and selfishness.  
A short poem from my side for Goddess Durga
O Divine Mother, Source of all creation
I bow to you and all your manifestation
O mother, you are present everywhere
Bless me with your knowledge and care
O mother, you are the conquerer over all
You answer to every sincere devotee call
O mother, the Excellent One beyond Time, 
Beside you, nobody is mine!! Nobody is mine!!

O All-Auspicious, the remover of Darkness, 
Please bless me with spiritual wisdom & happiness
O the reliever of all difficulties, ever forgiving & loving,
You are the source and protector of every living being

O mother you are embodiment of energy
Offering worship, I bow to thee, I bow to thee
Jai Mata Di !! Jai Mata Di!! Jai Mata Di
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