Hindu Deities – All About the Goddesses
Hinduism as a religion is called as `apauruseya` which means of impersonal origin. Hindu Gods are also known as such, they are eternal deities appearing to be sovereign and different, but in reality are aspects of the same ‘Supreme God’. A Hindu deity (god or goddess; note small g) represents a particular aspect of the Supreme Being. Within Hinduism a large number of personalities, or ‘forms’ of this Being, are worshiped as deities or incarnations. Read more about the Hindu Gods
Goddess Durga represents the power of the Supreme Being that preserves moral order and righteousness in the creation. The Sanskrit word Durga means a fort or a place that is protected and thus difficult to reach. Durga, also called Divine Mother, protects mankind from evil and misery by destroying evil forces such as selfishness, jealousy, prejudice, hatred, anger, and ego.
The worship of Goddess Durga is very popular among Hindus. She is also called by many other names, such as Parvati, Ambika, and Kali In the form of Parvati, She is known as the divine spouse of Lord Shiva and is the mother of Her two sons, Ganesha and Karttikeya, and daughter Jyoti. There are many temples dedicated to Durga’s worship in India.
Durga is depicted as a warrior aspect of Devi Parvati with 10 arms who rides a lion or a tiger, carries weapons and assumes mudras, or symbolic hand gestures. This form of the Goddess is the embodiment of feminine and creative energy (Shakti). Each god also gave her their own most powerful weapons, Rudra’s trident, Vishnu’s discus, Indra’s thunderbolt, Brahma’s kamandal, Kuber’s gada, etc.
Kali, also known as Kalika, is a Hindu goddess associated with death and destruction. Despite her negative connotations, she is not actually the goddess of death, but rather of Time and Change. Although sometimes presented as black and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilation still has some influence.
Kali is represented as the consort of god Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing.
Kali is portrayed mostly in two forms: the popular four-armed form and the ten-armed Mahakali form. In both of her forms, she is described as being black in color but is most often depicted as blue in popular Indian art. Her eyes are described as red with intoxication and in absolute rage, Her hair is shown disheveled, small fangs sometimes protrude out of Her mouth and Her tongue is lolling. She is often shown naked or just wearing a skirt made of human arms and a garland of human heads.
Sarasvati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music and the creative arts. The Sanskrit word sara means “essence” and swa means “self.” Thus Saraswati means “the essence of the self.” Saraswati is represented in Hindu mythology as the divine consort of Lord Brahma, the Creator of the universe. Since knowledge is necessary for creation, Saraswati symbolizes the creative power of Brahma. Goddess Saraswati is worshipped by all persons interested in knowledge, especially students, teachers, scholars, and scientists.
The Goddess Saraswati is often depicted as a beautiful, white-skinned woman dressed in pure white often seated on a white Nelumbo nucifera lotus (although Her actual vahana is believed to be a swan), which symbolizes that she is founded in the experience of the Absolute Truth. She is generally shown to have four arms, which represent the four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness, and ego. Alternatively, these four arms also represent the 4 vedas, the primary sacred books for hindus. The vedas, in turn, represent the 3 forms of literature:
* Poetry — the Rigveda contains hymns, representing poetry
* Prose — Yajurveda contains prose
* Music — Samaveda represents music.
The four hands also depict this thusly — prose is represented by the book in one hand, poetry by the garland of crystal, music by the veena. The pot of sacred water represents purity in all of these three, or their power to purify human thought.
Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual. The word ”Lakshmi” is derived from the Sanskrit word Laksme, meaning “goal.” Lakshmi, therefore, represents the goal of life, which includes worldly as well as spiritual prosperity. In Hindu mythology, Goddess Lakshmi, also called Shri, is the divine spouse of Lord Vishnu and provides Him with wealth for the maintenance and preservation of the creation.
She is the consort of Vishnu and married Rama (in her incarnation as Sita) and Krishna (as Rukmini and Radha.
In Her images and pictures, Lakshmi is depicted in a female form with four arms and four hands. She wears red clothes with a golden lining and is standing on a lotus. She has golden coins and lotuses in her hands. Two elephants (some pictures show four) are shown next to the Goddess.
Parvati, sometimes spelled Parvathi or Parvathy, is a Hindu goddess and nominally the second consort of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and rejuvenation. She is the Kali in her unmarried state, who is known by the names of Maya, Sati and so on. She is described as beautiful and magnificent in her disposition.
Parvati when depicted alongside Shiva appears with two arms, but when alone, she is shown having four arms, and astride a tiger or lion. Sometimes, Parvati is considered as the supreme Divine Mother and all other goddesses are referred to as her incarnations or manifestations.
Parvati symbolises many noble virtues esteemed by Hindu tradition. Just as Shiva is at once the presiding deity of destruction and regeneration, the couple jointly symbolize at once both the power of renunciation and asceticism and the blessings of marital felicity.