What do the 10 hands of Goddess Durga symbolize?
In the Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga is considered as one of the most powerful sacred figures. The prowess of Durga is depicted with her 10 hands holding different weapons and symbolizing various shaktis that humans possess. Her three eyes, signifying sun, moon and fire and the lion as her vehicle showcase her strength further.
The form of Goddess Durga assures protection and safety to the devotees. Goddess Durga is ferocious to the demons and at the same time benevolent to her devotees. The ten arms of Goddess Durga symbolize that she protects her devotees from all directions - the eight corners and from the sky and the earth. The symbolisms of these weapons are as follows –
1. Conch - The sound emanated from the conch shell is believed to be the most pure and sacred of all the sounds in the universe. The conch emanates the root sound of the universe "Om". Therefore, the conch symbolises that the sound of God is dominant among all the sounds of this universe.
2. Bow and Arrow - The bow and arrow are the symbols of energy. While the bow represents potential energy, the arrow represents the kinetic energy. As Goddess Durga holds both the bow and arrows in Her hands, it shows that She is the one who controls all the sources of energy in the universe.
3. Thunderbolt - The thunderbolt in the hands of the Goddess symbolises firmness. It inspires the devotees that when faced with challenges, one must have the conviction of the thunderbolt to strike it without being affected. The Goddess empowers her devotee with unshaken confidence and will.
4. Half bloomed lotus - The lotus in half bloom in the hand of Goddess Durga symbolises that though success is certain, yet it is not final. It also symbolises that as the lotus grows amidst mud, humans need to learn to evolve their mind spiritually even in the mud of the materialistic pleasures of the universe.
5. Sword - Sword symbolises knowledge and keen intellect. The glittering and shining power of the sword represents knowledge which is the most potent part of human existence and the fact that knowledge never gets rusted. You can win all the battles of the universe with the sword called knowledge.
6. Sudarshan Chakra - The beautiful Sudarshan Chakra (discus) which spins on the index finger of the Goddess symbolises righteousness or dharma. It is believed that the world is controlled by Goddess Durga and She uses this unfailing weapon to destroy evil and protect righteousness.
7. Trishul (trident) - The 'Trishul' or the trident is the symbol of three qualities – Satva (salvation), Rajas (peace) and Tamas (serenity). One must have a perfect balance of all the three qualities in order to attain peace and salvation. It is believed that if any imbalance arises between the three, Her grace will give one the courage to fight the dark qualities.
8. Abhaya Mudra - Abhaya Mudra means that one of the ten hands of Goddess Durga is always in the position of blessing her devotees. It emphasizes on the fact that She will always keep an eye on her devotees and never let them get trapped in fear.
9. Mace - It symbolises that humans should be loyal to the devotion of Goddess Durga and should make love, loyalty and devotion the touchstones of their lives. Whatever we do in our life we should put love and devotion to it and let go of the outcome as almighty’s will.
10. Snake – The Snake is symbolic of moving from the lower state of consciousness to the higher state with an urge to experiencing bliss.
Goddess Durga’s depiction in itself is the explanation of how humans should act in their lives in every situation. The presence of various weapons in her hands teaches us the way of life. From knowledge to wisdom to love and loyalty, she provides her benevolent assistance in every aspect of life. The celebration of Durga Puja is not merely limited to the gigantic stalls and statues of Goddess Durga. One needs to understand and implement the path that she urges to follow in the walk of life.
The prowess of Durga is depicted with her 10 hands