The Goddess Durga

Durga1

This morning, the above picture of the Goddess Durga crossed my desk, so I thought I would do a short post on Her. After some research in Srila Prabhupada’s books it is described: “Following the orders of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the goddess Durgā creates, maintains and annihilates…Because the goddess Durgā satisfies Kṛṣṇa, we should therefore offer respects to goddess Durgā.” As devotees there is no need to worship the demigods, but because the demigods are also servants of Lord Krishna, we offer them our respect.

…Durgā—the goddess Pārvatī, the wife of Lord Śiva—is extremely powerful. She can create, maintain and annihilate any number of universes by her sweet will, but she acts under the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, not independently. Kṛṣṇa is impartial, but because this is the material world of duality, such relative terms as happiness and distress, curses and favors, are created by the will of the Supreme. Those who are not nārāyaṇa-para, pure devotees, must be disturbed by this duality of the material world, whereas devotees who are simply attached to the service of the Lord are not at all disturbed by it. For example, Haridāsa Ṭhākura was beaten with cane in twenty-two bazaars, but he was never disturbed; instead, he smilingly tolerated the beating. Despite the disturbing dualities of the material world, devotees are not disturbed at all. Because they fix their minds on the lotus feet of the Lord and concentrate on the holy name of the Lord, they do not feel the so-called pains and pleasures caused by the dualities of this material world. (from purport SB 6.17.29)

This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kuntī, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings. By its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again. (Bg 9.10)

Srimad-Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 6, Chapter 17, Text 29

dehināṁ deha-saṁyogād
dvandvānīśvara-līlayā
sukhaṁ duḥkhaṁ mṛtir janma
śāpo ’nugraha eva ca

dehinām—of all those who have accepted material bodies; deha-saṁyogāt—because of contact with the material body; dvandvāni—dualities; īśvara-līlayā—by the supreme will of the Lord; sukham—happiness; duḥkham—distress; mṛtiḥ—death; janma—birth; śāpaḥ—curse; anugrahaḥ—favor; eva—certainly; ca—and.

TRANSLATION

Because of the actions of the Supreme Lord’s external energy, the living entities are conditioned in contact with material bodies. The dualities of happiness and distress, birth and death, curses and favors, are natural by-products of this contact in the material world.

PURPORT

In Bhagavad-gītā we find, mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram: [Bg. 9.10] the material world works under the direction of the goddess Durgā, the material energy of the Lord, but she acts under the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is also confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.44):

sṛṣṭi-sthiti-pralaya-sādhana-śaktir ekā
chāyeva yasya bhuvanāni bibharti durgā

Durgā—the goddess Pārvatī, the wife of Lord Śiva—is extremely powerful. She can create, maintain and annihilate any number of universes by her sweet will, but she acts under the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, not independently. Kṛṣṇa is impartial, but because this is the material world of duality, such relative terms as happiness and distress, curses and favors, are created by the will of the Supreme. Those who are not nārāyaṇa-para, pure devotees, must be disturbed by this duality of the material world, whereas devotees who are simply attached to the service of the Lord are not at all disturbed by it. For example, Haridāsa Ṭhākura was beaten with cane in twenty-two bazaars, but he was never disturbed; instead, he smilingly tolerated the beating. Despite the disturbing dualities of the material world, devotees are not disturbed at all. Because they fix their minds on the lotus feet of the Lord and concentrate on the holy name of the Lord, they do not feel the so-called pains and pleasures caused by the dualities of this material world.

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition
By A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 9, Text 10

mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ
sūyate sa-carācaram
hetunānena kaunteya
jagad viparivartate

mayā—by Me; adhyakṣeṇa—by superintendence; prakṛtiḥ—material nature; sūyate—manifest; sa—with; carācaram—moving and nonmoving; hetunā—for this reason; anena—this; kaunteya—O son of Kuntī; jagat—the cosmic manifestation; viparivartate—is working.

TRANSLATION

This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kuntī, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings. By its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.

PURPORT

It is clearly stated here that the Supreme Lord, although aloof from all the activities of the material world, remains the supreme director. The Supreme Lord is the supreme will and the background of this material manifestation, but the management is being conducted by material nature. Kṛṣṇa also states in Bhagavad-gītā that of all the living entities in different forms and species, “I am the Father.” The father gives seeds to the womb of the mother for the child, and similarly the Supreme Lord by His mere glance injects all the living entities into the womb of material nature, and they come out in their different forms and species, according to their last desires and activities. All these living entities, although born under the glance of the Supreme Lord, still take their different bodies according to their past deeds and desires. So the Lord is not directly attached to this material creation. He simply glances over material nature; material nature is thus activated, and everything is created immediately. Because He glances over material nature, there is undoubtedly activity on the part of the Supreme Lord, but He has nothing to do with the manifestation of the material world directly. This example is given in the smṛti: when there is a fragrant flower before someone, the fragrance is touched by the smelling power of the person, yet the smelling and the flower are detached from one another. There is a similar connection between the material world and the Supreme Personality of Godhead; actually He has nothing to do with this material world, but He creates by His glance and ordains. In summary, material nature, without the superintendence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, cannot do anything. Yet the Supreme Personality is detached from all material activities.

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