Sri Durga

“You remove all fears, misery and poverty and your heart bleeds for the devotees.”

The idol of Durga Devi was installed at Sri Ganesha Temple on August 19, 2007, during an elaborate prathishtapana program. Durga Devi is a powerful form of Sri Parvathi (wife of Lord Shiva). She is represented with many arms with a weapon in each hand, shown sitting astride the lion, holding celestial weapons. This form of the Goddess is seen as a symbol of feminine and creative energy (Shakthi). Durga Devi is also known as Mahishasura Mardhini (Goddess Killer of the Buffalo Demon). As per Skanda Purana, she is Parvathi who took on the role of a warrior at Lord Shiva’s request to kill the giant demon. The demon cannot be killed by any of the gods because he is protected against the torments of any male by a special boon. Parvathi was able to kill him; hence the Goddess is named Durga.

Durga Pooja is the one of the biggest annual festivals in India. The day of Sri Durga’s victory is celebrated as Vijaya Dasami or Dussehra. Durga Pooja also signifies the beginning of formal education for every child aged 3-5 years in many parts of India. Though the pooja goes on in the temple for all ten days, the last three days are most important. Ashtami is the day of Ayudha Pooja, when all the tools at home are worshipped. Custom dictates that no tools be used on this day. On Maha Navami day, devotees honor Goddess Saraswathi, by worshipping the books and records at home.

Goddess Durga is possibly one of the most powerful of all Indian Goddesses. She is worshipped in numerous forms and viewed by her devotees to be the supreme deity, as powerful as the supreme male deity. Durga arrives on earth with four different powers essential for the existence of a state – the powers of knowledge representing intellectuals, chivalry indicating soldiers, wealth denoting businessmen, and physical strength representing both agricultural and industrial workers. In southern parts of India Sri Durga is worshiped in HER peaceful form as Shaanta Durga. In this form, SHE sits on a lion, and has fewer hands and weapons. SHE is called Amman to signify HER form as the Mother, and also as Bhaghavathi.

At Sri Ganesha temple, Navarathri celebrations span nine days and includes the worship of Devi in Her many forms: as Goddess Durga the first three days, as Goddess Lakshmi for the next three days and as Goddess Saraswathi over the last three days. On the final day, Vijaya Dasami is celebrated and children start their formal education or Vidyarambham. On the fourth Friday of every month, a special Durga Pooja is conducted. Every Friday evening devotees pray to Goddess with the recitation of Lalitha Sahasranamam, Mahishasura Mardhini Sthotram and offering obeisance to the Goddess with the recitation of Devi Namaskaram shlokas.

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