We begin the nine day celebration of Navratri with the worship of the Mother Goddess Durga. She is the wife of Lord Shiva and is considered the mother of the universe and is thus believed to be the power behind the work of creation, preservation, and destruction of the world. The goddess Durga was manifested when the forces of evil threatened to take over the universe. In order to destroy the demons, the gods each offered some of their own powerful attributes for her creation.
In Sanskrit the word “Durga” means “invincible.” She is the destroyer of evil and thus represents the power of good over evil. She is worshiped in order to remove suffering and misery from the lives of her devotees. Mother Durga is also very wise. Like her husband Shiva, Mother Durga has a third eye. Her left eye represents desire, her right eye represents action, and her central eye knowledge.
Durga’s faithful vehicle is the lion, which represents power, will, and determination. Mother Durga riding a lion represents her mastery over all these qualities and suggests to anyone who sees her that one must possess these qualities in order to defeat the demon of their ego.
When you witness Durga standing on a lion it signifies the assurance of freedom from fear. It’s as if the Universal Mother is saying “Surrender all actions and duties onto me and I shall release thee from all fears”.