In the Hindu mythological literature, energy, as different from matter, is always pictured as a female deity, Shakti. Durga, is, perhaps, the most widely worshipped aspect of Shakti. An entire purana, Devibhagavatam is dedicated to her. Yet another well-known work is Devi-mahathmyam, which is specially chanted during navaratri. It is also known as Durga saptasati or chandipat. It is a part of the great Markandeyapurana. This is held in such high respect that every verse is considered a mantra of the Devi. The literal meaning of Durga is, one who is difficult to approach or to know. It is true because she is the personification of the totality of the powers of gods. But she is the benovalent Mother of the Universe and the personification of love. Some aspects of the Shakti are Yoganidra – the mysterious power, the very personification of knowledge, wisdom and memory. She is the power of sleep, taking recourse to which, Vishnu rests between two cycles of creation. Mahishasuramardini - the deity who took shape as a result of the pooling together of all the powers of gods who were oppressed by the demon Mahishasura. Devi was born out of the wrath of Vishnu, Siva and Brahma who were incensed by hearing the accounts of the misdeeds of Mahishasura. Armed with formidable weapons, Devi challenged him, riding on a fierce lion and destroyed him. She is the inscrutable power, energizing the entire Universe. She personifies, wealth, power, beauty and all virtues. Parvati – the power and consort of Shiva. Some aspects of Parvati are Annapurna, Aparajitha, Bala, Bhadrakali, Bhutamata, Chamunda, and Gayatri, Savitri and Sarasvati the presiding deieties of the famous Gayatri Mantra, Indrakshi, Jagad-dhatri, Kameswari, Katyayani, Manonmani, Rajarajeswari, Sivaduti Vindhyavasini - one who lives in the Vindhyas Raktadanta – having red teeth Satakshi - one with hundred eyes Shakambari – sustainer of vegetables Durga – slayer of a demon called Durgama Bhramari – having the form of bees Kali – the power of time (kala); she is the power of God in all His aspects. We always abhor at the Kali imagery found in scriptures, pictures and icons. Since she is the supreme energy responsible for the dissolution of the created universe, her form as depicted naturally strikes awe and fear. But then She is the Creatrix, the mother also. Images of Durga can have four or eight or ten or eighteen or even twenty hands. The eyes are usually three. She is gorgeously dressed with red cloth and several ornaments. Some of the common objects, she holds in hand are conch, trident, bow, arrow sword, dagger, rosary, wine-cup and bell. She may be shown as standing on a lotus or on a buffalo’s head or as riding a lion, when she is called Simhavahini. The lesson we draw from this is, to become divine one should keep one’s animal instincts under complete control. Some important shlokas for Durga are: http://www.indusladies.com/forums/12167-post21.html http://www.indusladies.com/forums/pujas-prayers-and-slokas/1999-special-shlokas-for-specific-purposes-7.html#post13296 Navarathri Shlokas (daily chanting) Navaratri Shlokas (Durga) Rahukala Durga Ashtakam & Dukha Nivarana Ashtakam Mahishasuramardhini Shlokam Devimahatmiyam 21 shlokas Love, Chithra.