Durga, aka: Durgā, Dur-ga; 24 Definition(s)


Durga means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism


Durgā (दुर्गा).—Name of a river originating from Vindhya, a holy mountain (kulaparvata) in Bhārata, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 85. There are settlements (janapada) where Āryas and Mlecchas dwell who drink water from these rivers.

Bhārata is a region south of Hemādri, once ruled over by Bharata (son of Ṛṣabha), whose ancestral lineage can be traced back to Svāyambhuva Manu, who was created by Brahmā, who was in turn created by Nārāyaṇa, the unknowable all-pervasive primordial being.

The Varāhapurāṇa is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, and was originally composed of 24,000 metrical verses, possibly originating from before the 10th century. It is composed of two parts and Sūta is the main narrator.

Source: Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa

Durga (दुर्ग, “protector”) refers to one of the fifty-six vināyakas located at Kāśī (Vārāṇasī), and forms part of a sacred pilgrimage (yātrā), described in the Kāśīkhaṇḍa (Skanda-purāṇa 4.2.57). He is also known as Durgavināyaka, Durgagaṇeśa and Durgavighneśa. These fifty-six vināyakas are positioned at the eight cardinal points in seven concentric circles (8x7). They center around a deity named Ḍhuṇḍhirāja (or Ḍhuṇḍhi-vināyaka) positioned near the Viśvanātha temple, which lies at the heart of Kāśī, near the Gaṅges. This arrangement symbolises the interconnecting relationship of the macrocosmos, the mesocosmos and the microcosmos.

Durga is positioned in the Southern corner of the first circle of the kāśī-maṇḍala. According to Rana Singh (source), his shrine is located at “South-Eastern corner of the Durga Kund, B 27 / 1”. Worshippers of Durga will benefit from his quality, which is defined as “the remover of all types of grieves”. His coordinates are: Lat. 25.17320, Lon. 82.59978 (or, 25°10'23.5"N, 82°35'59.2"E) (Google maps)

Kāśī (Vārāṇasī) is a holy city in India and represents the personified form of the universe deluded by the Māyā of Viṣṇu. It is described as a fascinating city which is beyond the range of vision of Giriśa (Śiva) having both the power to destroy great delusion, as well as creating it.

Durga, and the other vināyakas, are described in the Skandapurāṇa (the largest of the eighteen mahāpurāṇas). This book narrates the details and legends surrounding numerous holy pilgrimages (tīrtha-māhātmya) throughout India. It is composed of over 81,000 metrical verses with the core text dating from the before the 4th-century CE.

Source: Wisdom Library: Skanda-purāṇa

A fort or durga is perhaps surrounded by a ditch, always filled with water. There are four kinds of durgas. the first three kinds of durgas are protected by hills and ditches. The fourth kind of durga is called the Kṛtrima, i.e., artificial. It is distinguished by a rampart that runs round it. It has only one gate known as the svastika and has a Kumārīpura in it. The ditch in front of the gate is about 8 x 10 hastas deep and wide (according to some 8 x 9 hastas). River-fort (nadī-durga) is also mentioned.

Source: Google Books: Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna

1) Durgā (दुर्गा).—The goddess of the universe, Durgā possesses different forms and aspects. Pārvatī, spouse of Śiva is a form of Durgā. According to the prayer of devotees this Devī assumes diverse forms. She is worshipped in 64 forms as Āryadurgā, Vedagarbhā, Ambikā, Bhadrakālī, Bhadrā, Kṣemākṣemakarī, Naikabāhu, Devī etc. In south India she is worshipped more in her fierce and terrible forms. Devī in her gentle aspects and moods assumes the forms of Kanyā, Kāmākṣī and Mūkāmbā. In Kerala the Devī is called Bhagavatī also, in Andhra Jokulāmbikā and in Tamilnadu Kaṇṇakī. Worship of the Devī is supposed to be more than 4000 years old in India. In religious literature from Vedic times up to date Devī occupies an important place. In modern India Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa Paramahaṃsa, guru of Svāmī Vivekānanda, was a great devotee of Durgā.

In the Mahābhārata there are various references to the Devī. When the Pāṇḍavas entered the capital of Virāṭa for their life incognito they worshiped Durgā, who appeared to them and granted them certain boons. (Virāṭa Parva, Chapter 6). At the commencement of the great war Arjuna, at the instance of Kṛṣṇa prayed to Durgā, who appeared in the sky and granted him boons, for victory in War. (Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 23). See Pañcadevīs and Prakṛti).

2) Durgā (दुर्गा).—A river famous in ancient India. The Pāṇḍavas drank water from this river. (Bhīṣma Parva. Chapter 9, Verse 33).

3) Durga (दुर्ग).—Fort. There are six kinds of forts, viz. Marudurgam, Jaladurgam, Pṛthvīdurgam Vanadurgam, Parvatadurgam, and Manuṣy adurgam. Among the above six Manuṣya durga is the most important (Mahābhārata Śānti Parva, Chapter 56, 35).

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Durgā (दुर्गा) is the name of a Goddess that was once worshipped in ancient Kashmir (Kaśmīra) as mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—These Goddesses (eg., Durgā) form the shining galaxy of female deities worshipped by the people of Kaśmīra.

Source: archive.org: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

1) Durga (दुर्ग).—Fortified places unknown under Pṛthu; six kinds of: Giridurga is the best; described.1 also four kinds of; three natural and one artificial; contain different outways; Kumāripuram, villages, towns surrounded by a moat, also mountains and rivers;2 desert, mountain and water; man left the tree home for this; last was artificial; made by man with ramparts, moats and Kumāripuram;3 of the southern country.4

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 10. 32; 217. 6-87; V. I. 6. 18.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 8. 98, 108 ff.
  • 3) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 7. 92, 101 ff.
  • 4) Vāyu-purāṇa 45. 128.

2a) Durgā (दुर्गा).—One of the names of Yogamāya propitiated by Devakī and others for Kṛṣṇa's safe return from the cave of Jāmbavān;1 worship of;2 a Śakti;3 worshipped in the grahabali Icon of.4

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 2. 11; 56. 35.
  • 2) Ib. XI. 27. 29.
  • 3) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 32. 24, 48 and 59; IV. 19. 81; 39. 57.; 44. 76.
  • 4) Matsya-purāṇa 93. 16; 260. 55-66.

2b) A R. originating from the Vindhya Mountains.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 16. 33; Vāyu-purāṇa 45. 103.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
context information

The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Durgā (दुर्गा, “invincible”):—Name of one of the sixty-four mātṛs to be worshipped during Āvaraṇapūjā (“Worship of the Circuit of Goddesses”, or “Durgā’s Retinue”), according to the Durgāpūjātattva. They should be worshipped with either the five upācāras or perfume and flowers.

Her mantra is as follows:

ॐ दुर्गायै नमः
oṃ durgāyai namaḥ.

A similar mantra is mentioned by the same text, prefixed with ह्रीं (hrīṃ), to be worshipped at the goddess’s right.

Source: Wisdom Library: Śāktism

Durgā (दुर्गा).—According to vedic scriptures, Goddess Durgā is a symbol of power. She is worshipped in nine different forms and is therefore termed Nava-durgā. Each of the nine manifestation of Durgā is worshipped with full devotion during Navarātri.

  1. Śailaputrī (Daughter of the Himālayas)
  2. Brahmachāriṇī (One who observes the state of celibacy doing penance)
  3. Chandraghaṇṭā ( One who bears the moon in her necklace )
  4. Kūṣmāṇḍa (the creator of the universe)
  5. Skanda-Mātā (The mother of Skanda, Kārttikeya, born out of her powers)
  6. Kātyāyanī (The daughter of sage Kātyāyana, who incarnated to help the Devas)
  7. Kālarātrī (black as night, destroyer of Kālī)
  8. Mahāgaurī (the wife of Lord Shiva, doing great penance)
  9. Siddhidātrī (Provider of Siddhis, giver of mystic powers)
Source: Hare-Krsna: Nava-Durgā
Shaktism book cover
context information

Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Durgā’s feminine power contains the combined energies of all the gods. Each of her weapons was given to her by the various gods: Rudra’s trident, Vishnu’s discus, Indra’s thunderbolt, Brahma’s Kamaṇḍalu, etc. etc. According to a narrative in the Devi Māhātmya, Durgā appeared as a warrior goddess to fight an Asura (an anti-god) named Mahiṣāsura or ‘buffalo-demon’.

Source: Red Zambala: Hindu Icons and Symbols | Devi
Shilpashastra book cover
context information

Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Durga (दुर्ग) refers to “fort”. It is used throughout Dharmaśāstra literature such as the Manusmṛti and the Baudhāyana-dharmasūtra.

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra

Durga (दुर्ग):—The setting up of fort is another duty of king. While discussing on the suitable place for royal resident, the concept of fort is introduced. This is very much important for the security of not only the king himself but also the capital itself. There are six kinds of forts.

These are named thus:

  1. Dhānvadurga (surrounded by desert),
  2. Mahīdurga (built with stone or bricks),
  3. Abdurga (surrounded by water),
  4. Vārkṣadurga (surrounded by forest),
  5. Nṛdurga (surrounded by elephants, horses chariots and army)
  6. and Giridurga (on a mountain)

The king is supposed to occupy any kind of these f orts. From the security view point, these forts are very much reliable. If the king reside in any one of these forts enemy cannot assail him.

The Śāntiparva of Mahābhārata recognizes that among these six forts, Nṛdurga is the best because this type of Durga is very tough for enemies to capture.

But Kautilya recognizes only four types of durgas. These are—

  1. Audakdurga (water fort),
  2. Pārvatadurga (mountain fort),
  3. Dhānvadurga (desert fort)
  4. and Vanadurga (forest fort).
Source: Shodhganga: Facts of society in the Manusamhita
Dharmashastra book cover
context information

Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Arthashastra (politics and welfare)

Durga (दुर्ग).—The Nīti and Śāstra literature elaborately deals with the forts and its organisation. Nītisāra meantions four types of forts:

  1. sthala-durga (fort constructed on land),
  2. jala-durga (forts surrounded by water),
  3. vana-durga (forts amidst the forests),
  4. giri-durga (forts build on the tops of slopes of hills).

All these forts to which ever category belong must have special attālakas (rooms) over the gopuras (getes) fitted with sundry wooden contrivances (machines) guarded by warriors adepts in military exercises and the use of sundry missiles and weapons of warfare and well stocked with money and grain. They should have several extensive open grounds inside to facilitate free movement of large bodies of men and they should be provided with plentiful supplies of grain, fuel and water and have passages for the entry and the exit of the people without obstruction.

Source: Shodhganga: Kakati Ganapatideva and his times (artha)
Arthashastra book cover
context information

Arthashastra (अर्थशास्त्र, arthaśāstra) literature concerns itself with the teachings (shastra) of economic prosperity (artha) statecraft, politics and military tactics. The term arthashastra refers to both the name of these scientific teachings, as well as the name of a Sanskrit work included in such literature. This book was written (3rd century BCE) by by Kautilya, who flourished in the 4th century BCE.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Durga (दुर्ग) refers to one of the twenty prakāras: rules used in the playing of drums (puṣkara) [with reference to Mṛdaṅga, Paṇava and Dardura] according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 33. Accordingly, “the playing which being irregular in its movement, develops all the mārgas and is done with undivided syllables, is called Durga”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Itihasa (narrative history)

Durgā (दुर्गा) refers to the name of a River mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. VI.10.32). Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Durgā) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
context information

Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

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Katha (narrative stories)

Durgā (दुर्गा) is one of the epithets of Durgā, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 53. Accordingly, as Vīravara praised Durgā: “... thou art the principle of life in creatures; by thee this world moves. In the beginning of creation Śiva beheld thee self-produced, blazing and illuminating the world with brightness hard to behold, like ten million orbs of fiery suddenly produced infant suns rising at once, filling the whole horizon with the circle of thy arms, bearing a sword, a club, a bow, arrows and a spear. And thou wast praised by that god Śiva in the following words ... [Durgā, etc...]”.

Also, “... when Skanda, and Vasiṣṭha, and Brahmā, and the others heard thee praised, under these [eg., Durgā] and other titles, by Śiva well skilled in praising, they also praised thee. And by praising thee, O adorable one, immortals, Ṛṣis and men obtained, and do now obtain, boons above their desire. ”

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Durgā, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha book cover
context information

Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Durga (दुर्ग, ‘hard to approach’) occurs in the Rigveda as a neuter substantive only, sometimes in the sense of ‘fort’, ‘stronghold’.

Source: archive.org: Vedic index of Names and Subjects

The Goddess who is known as the ultimate reality is the adi-parashakti, Goddess Durga . In Shaktism, She is, was and will be only owner and source of this universe and all other universes and is regarded as dynamic form of ultimate reality, Param-Brahman. Shaktas consider her dynamic Param Brahman and Param Brahman is considered as Static Adi parashakti. When there is no universe, they both unite from which universe is created and when Universe is created, Adi parashakti manifests herself as dynamic in feminine form like Goddess Parvati, Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati. She is tridevi - the eternal beloved consort of trimurti (Godhead - the three aspects of God)

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

India history and geogprahy

Durga (दुर्ग) is another name for the varṣaparvata (mountain range) named Himavat.—The Himavat range is said to have stretched along, on the north of Bhārata, like the string of a bow.

Source: archive.org: Geography in Ancient Indian inscriptions

Durga (“fort”) is one of the gotras (clans) among the Kurnis (a tribe of South India). Kurni is, according to the Census Report 1901, “a corruption of kuri (sheep) and vanni (wool), the caste having been originally weavers of wool”. The gotras (viz., Durga) are described as being of the Brāhman, Kshatriya, and Vaisya sub-divisions of the caste, and of Shanmukha’s Sudra caste.

Source: Project Gutenberg: Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Volume 1
India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

durga (दुर्ग).—n m (S) A fort, fortress, strong hold.

--- OR ---

durgā (दुर्गा).—f (S) The goddess Durga, the wife of Shiva.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

durga (दुर्ग).—n m A fort, fortress, strong-hold.

--- OR ---

durgā (दुर्गा).—f The goddess Durga, the wife of Shiva.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Durga (दुर्ग).—

1) difficult of access, inaccessible, impervious, impassable; दुर्गस्त्वेष महापन्थाः (durgastveṣa mahāpanthāḥ) Mb.12.3. 5; दुर्गं पथस्तत्कवयो वदन्ति (durgaṃ pathastatkavayo vadanti) Kaṭh.1.3.14.

2) unattainable.

3) incomprehensible.

4) following wicked path, vicious; Rām.2.39.22. (-gaḥ, -gam) 1 a difficult or narrow passage through a wood or over a stream, mountain &c., a defile, narrow pass.

2) a citadel. fortress, castle; न दुर्गं दुर्गमित्येव दुर्गमं मन्यते जनः । तस्य दुर्गमता सैव यत्प्रभुस्तस्य दुर्गमः (na durgaṃ durgamityeva durgamaṃ manyate janaḥ | tasya durgamatā saiva yatprabhustasya durgamaḥ) || Śiva. B.16.61.

3) rough ground.

4) difficulty, adversity, calamity, distress, danger; निस्तारयतिं दुर्गाच्च (nistārayatiṃ durgācca) Ms.3.98;11.43; मच्चित्तः सर्व- दुर्गाणि मत्प्रसादात्तरिष्यसि (maccittaḥ sarva- durgāṇi matprasādāttariṣyasi); Bg.18.58. (-gaḥ) 1 bdellium.

2) the Supreme Being.

3) Name of an Asura slain by Durgā (thus receiving her name from him). °अध्यक्षः, °पतिः, °पालः (adhyakṣaḥ, °patiḥ, °pālaḥ) the commandant or governor of a castle. °अन्तः (antaḥ) The suburb of a fort; दुर्गान्ते सिद्धतापसाः (durgānte siddhatāpasāḥ) Kau. A. 1.12. °कर्मन् (karman) n. fortification. °कारक (kāraka) a. making difficult.

-kaḥ the birch tree. °घ्नी (ghnī) Name of Durgā. °तरणी (taraṇī) an epithet of Sāvitrī. सावित्री दुर्गतरणी वीणा सप्तविधा तथा (sāvitrī durgataraṇī vīṇā saptavidhā tathā) Mb. °मार्गः (mārgaḥ) a defile, gorge. °लङ्घनम् (laṅghanam) surmounting difficulties.

-naḥ a camel. °संचरः (saṃcaraḥ)

Durga is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms dur and ga (ग).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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