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The Triyambake

Priyadarshini Ghosh Oct 26, 20162 Responses


"O Mother!

Thee, who is present everywhere,

Thee who is the embodiment of Power and Energy!

I Bow to Thee! I Bow to Thee! I Bow to Thee!"


Durga Puja 2016 in Kolkata was a blast! For the first time ever, the CM had organized a show on our very own Red Road where Durga idols from reputed pandals all over the city were displayed one by one with the members of respective pandals marching by with their idols. It was a grand display and was appreciated everywhere. I had the pleasure to be one of the guests and experience the whole event. All the idols of the Goddess Durga had three eyes, the third eye penetrating deep on Her forehead. What's the importance of this third eye, many wonder. Why is Durga so popular? Why is Durga Puja the most awaited festival in India and specially in West Bengal?


When Goddess Durga is projected having three eyes, she is referred to as Triyambake. These are similar to that of Lord Shiva and symbolizes knowledge that consumes ignorance. Symbolically, Her left eye portrays desire ( the moon ); the right eye portrays all actions ( the sun ) and the third eye on Her forehead portrays knowledge or Fire.


Mother Durga is a Shakti manifestation depicting the infinite power of the universe and the symbol of feminine dynamism and potency of Shiva. The manifestation of Durga is said to emerge from her formless essence and she is inseparable from the source. She is worshipped for her graciousness as well as terrifying aspects. Mother Durga stands for female power, female independence and female rights. Durga's story appears primarily in the Skanda Purana which is a part of the Markandeya Purana. It is believed Durga projects Kali out of her third eye. There are countless incarnations of Goddess Durga: Kali, Renuka, Bhagvati, Bhavani, Ambika,  Lalita, Kaushambi, Kandalini, Jaya, Rajeswari, and many more and has nine appellations: Skandamata, Kushmanda, Shailaputri, Kaalratri, Brahmachariani, Katyayani, Chandraghanta and Siddhidatri. Durga through all her apparitions encompasses the essence of salvation and sacrifice. She is the mother of bounty and wealth, as also of beauty and knowledge.


Ma Durga has been blessed with many powerful and significant weapons:

  • Chakra - Blessed by Narayana, the Sudarshan Chakra that spins in the little finger of   the Goddess symbolizes the righteousness or dharma. The Goddess uses this weapon to destroy evil and protect righteousness. 
  • Conch - Given by Varuna, this is stands for the cosmic sound of OM vibration. The sound destroys all evil negative forces and when one prays to her, it is believed the vibrations fill one with equanimity and tranquility.
  • Bow and Arrow - Blessed by Surya, She holds them to destroy the difficulties arising in one's path of life. All hindrances get removed by this powerful weapon 
  • Sword - The sword portrays knowledge and keen intellect. She bestows one with gift of knowledge to destroy ignorance that binds a soul to wrong deeds and karmic entanglements 
  • Spear - This weapon helps to destroy the negative and evil forces and grants auspiciousness. 
  • Club - This weapon destroys the power of the enemy, however strong he might be 
  • Trident - Given by Lord Shiva, Trident or Trishul symbolizes the three qualities - satwa, rajas and tamas in a human balanced to lead a peaceful life. Her grace will give the courage to fight the dark, evil qualities arising due to the imbalance of the three qualities. 
  • Thunderbolt - Given by Indra, This weapon epitomizes firmness of spirit. With this weapon, the Goddess empowers her devotee with unshakable confidence and will.
  • Lotus - This final weapon stands for the awakening of spiritual consciousness in a soul. Divine mother will help her devotees to understand the caducity of life and seek the ultimate truth.

She has also been blessed with the mighty lion to guard and protect her in her battles against the evil and Mahisashur. 


Goddess Durga renders the power of the Supreme Being that shields moral order and righteousness in the whole universe. She is the energy aspect of the Lord. Without Durga, Lord Shiva has no expression and without Shiva, Durga has no existence. Lord Shiva is the only silent witness. He is motionless, absolutely quiescent. The Sanskrit word "Durga" means a fort, a place that is protected and thus difficult to reach. Durga puja is celebrated with pomp and grandeur all over India. It is the most awaited festival in West Bengal where pandals all over the state are set up with various themes, all competiting with each other and various stalls are set up. Pandal hopping is the most favourite activity in the ten days of celebration. Prizes are given away to the best pandals in terms of themes, decoration,idol and facilities. It takes place in the month of Autumn. Durga Puja in Kolkata is infused with the aura, soul and spirit of the Bengali soul celebrating this festival for decades, the familiar nostalgic sound of the dhak and trumpet sounds. The dhunuchi nach are a visual treat. Many customs are carried out and anjali is given on Ashtami. It's worth an experience at least once in a lifetime. 


Over the years, Durga as an art has evolved as well. Artists around the world have tried their hands on recreating the art and form of Ma Durga in all her apparitions on all tangible objects possible. The most famous painting of Ma Durga is the Kalighat painting in Bengal, created in the 19th century. 

Kalighat Painting

The British were the patrons of this form of art. Over the years, artists have attempted at painting, sketching and sculpting the Goddess and her third eye. Researchers have delved deep into the study behind the third eye. Stories have been published, poems narrated, the legendary stories depicted on the stage and television for visual imbibing, bringing the Goddess alive into this fast-paced advanced century. One is still intrigued and in awe on beholding the image of the Goddess Durga with her serene pose and the weapons in her hands, all the three penetrating eyes intact.

  • Varun
    Varun Chawla

    Quite informative. I learnt many new things.

  • priyadarshini.g96709866001469649092
    Priyadarshini Ghosh