Candidasa was a devoted worshipper of Goddess Durga while his brother was a pure Vaisnava who would worship Shaligram. Candidasa was rich but his brother was poor. Candidasa had a very big and beautiful garden, he used to offer the flowers from the garden to Durga Devi. His brother too desired to offer these beautiful flowers to his Shaligram. And once he mentally offered a beautiful and colourful flower of the garden to his Shaligram. And it so happened that on that day Candidasa offered the same flower to Goddess Durga. As soon as the flower was offered Durga Devi appeared in front of Candidasa. “I am extremely pleased with you Candidasa. What benediction you want?” Candidas was surprised, “I worship you daily but why are you so pleased with me today.” “It is because you have offered me the flower which has been offered to Shaligram i.e. Lord’s maha prasadam. By seeing that prasadam flower I became pleased, so I appeared before you.”

Candidasa immediately inquired, “Is it that you get pleased when one worships the Supreme Lord Krishna.” Goddess Durga in a compassionate voice said, “Yes, the Supreme Lord is the cause of all causes and He is the original source of all creation. I get extremely pleased when anyone worships the Supreme Lord Krishna. So if you want to please me worship the Supreme Lord, Krishna.” Candidasa understood the ultimate truth and he became a great devotee of Krishna and this pleased Goddess Durga, the consort of Lord Shiva. Candidasa later composed many songs in which he described the transcendental feelings of separation of Srimati Radharani and Krishna. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would love to hear the composition of Candidasa.

Who is Goddess Durga?

In the spiritual world, there are three potencies – samvit, sandhini and hladini. Samvit potency helps the residents of the spiritual world to recognize their relationship with Krishna. Sandhini potency ensures variegatedness in the spiritual world. Hladini potency provides ultimate pleasure to Krishna. Srimati Radharani is the hladini potency, she is the source of all the pleasures.

The hladini potency transforms into the personality of Goddess Durga in this material world. Here she has the responsibility of reforming those souls who have rebelled against the laws of the spiritual land and have come to this mortal material world.

This world which we call wonderful and delight to live in is compared to a prison. Here life is uncertain, misery is inevitable, relationship is temporary and death a certainty. As prisoners are given a uniform, similarly we have been given a uniform – uniform of a human body, animal body, plant body etc. And as long as we have this ephemeral body made of flesh, bones, mucus, blood etc. and we are in this material world we are under the jurisdiction of Durga devi. She on behalf of the Supreme Lord takes complete charge of this material world, she acts under the direction of the Supreme Lord just as shadow follows the substance.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura explains, “Durgā is the presiding deity of this entire material universe. She is ten-armed, representing the tenfold fruitive activities. She rides on the lion, representing her heroic prowess. She tramples down Mahiṣasura, representing the subduer of vices. She is the mother of two sons, Karttikeya and Gaṇesa, representing beauty and success. She is placed between Lakshmi and Sarasvati, representing mundane opulence and mundane knowledge. She is armed with the twenty weapons, representing the various pious activities enjoined by the Vedas for suppression of vices. She holds the snake, representing the beauty of destructive time.” (Brahma Samhita 5.44 purport)

Prisoners of Choice

The unwillingness to live amicably with the family and friends of the spiritual world make us unfit to be part of the spiritual world. Once imprisoned in this mortal material world, we forget our original constitutional position and start considering ourselves as one of the material products. So, we suffer terribly under the influence of the material modes owing to this unholy contact. The vicious cycle of birth, old age, disease and death perpetuates our miseries.

In fact the more we identify ourselves with this material world and the material body, and the more we endeavour to enjoy in this ephemeral world the more we suffer. The Supreme Lord never wants any of His children to get illusioned by the external energy and suffer in this world. The Supreme Lord is compelled to sentence the spiritual beings to the material prison house so that he learns his lessons and get reformed. A doting father sometimes has to put his disobedient child under the care of a strict teacher so that his child gets disciplined. Even the external energy who is a devotee of the Lord does not like to inflict suffering upon us. It’s a thankless task for the external energy but she happily assists the Supreme Lord so that the rebellious souls get reformed. The actual disease which is the cause of all the sufferings for all the living beings in this world is because of being illusioned by the external energy of the Lord.

Carrying her trident she looks for the rebellious souls

Like a loving mother, Goddess Durga continuously gives a clarion call to all the forgetful souls to return back to the kingdom of Krishna. But the stubborn souls who desire to enjoy independent of the supreme Lord and loves to disobey the laws of Krishna needs to be punished. And Durga carrying her trident looks for such rebellious souls to punish them. The trident which she always carries with her represents the threefold material miseries-adhytamika (miseries due to our body and mind), adibautika (miseries due to other living entities) and adidaivika (miseries due to natural calamities). Without any exception everyone at every moment suffers due to one, two or all the three of these miseries.

One of the most celebrated incidents related to Goddess Durga is her killing the demon Mahisasura with her trident. Mahisasura also symbolically represents our demoniac mentality and Durga through the sharp edges of her trident strikes hard to vanquish our evil mentality. The purpose is not to punish us but to make us understand that the more we go away from Krishna’s spiritual care the more we suffer in this world. She always tries to tell us, “This isn’t your home. Go back to your original home. Krishna is waiting for you.”

Her chastisement forces a soul to eventually think, ‘Although I explored all means to enjoy but why suffering always follows me like a shadow. Why am I forced to be in a womb for nine months in an upside-down position in complete darkness? Why I get diseased? Why I am growing old? Why every moment someone is dying? Although I don’t want to die but why I am not allowed to live here forever.”

Once awakened the living entity immediately wants to get out of this horrendous world and immediately wants to be part of the spiritual world.

The best way to please Goddess Durga

Durga being the energy of the Supreme Lord can never be conquered or fooled. She is extremely powerful and when she strikes with her trident then nothing can save us. Durga Devi can give us material benediction but with it comes tons of sufferings. The only way to escape from Durga’s powerful trident is by promising her that we don’t want earthly pleasures but we seriously want spiritual happiness. And as soon as we start endeavoring for it by practicing loving devotional service to Krishna, Goddess Durga is delighted, she immediately withdraws her trident and showers her love upon us. She doesn’t want to imprison us in this world forever. And those who are imprisoned she wants to release them as soon as possible.

She tests our dedication to the Supreme Lord, she checks if our heart has been thoroughly purified of all material diseases such as lust, greed, pride, anger, envy, illusion and false ego. and when she finds that our heart has developed deep love for Krishna then she immediately releases us from this prison house. It is explained that in this age of Kali Yuga, the Supreme Lord incarnates with all His powers and all His opulence in the sound vibration of the Holy Name, “Kali kale Naam rupe Krishna Avatar.” So the best way to practice devotional life is by chanting the holy names of Krishna like the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. We should chant this mantra with love, with devotion and with determination. Goddess Durga, the guardian of this world, will assess our dedication and our intention regularly. She even tested Haridasa Thakura’s devotion to Krishna. And Haridasa Thakura passed the test with flying colours because he used to be completely absorbed in chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra, in fact he had taken a vow to chant the mantra 3 lakh times a day. If we too want to please mother Durga then we have to become serious in our devotion to Krishna.

Durga Puja is not about playing movie songs and dancing on those songs. It is not about eating delicious foods and having fun. The best way to celebrate Durga Puja is to understand who goddess Durga is and how she could be pleased. And the best way to please her is to follow the footsteps of Candidasa.

(Purushottam Nitai Das is a member of congregation at Iskcon Kolkata. He works in IBM as an Advisory Consultant.)

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  • Namo Nārāyaṇaḥ 🙏

    𝗤𝘂𝗲 1 - 𝗜𝘀 𝗗𝘂𝗿𝗴𝗮 𝗮 𝗦𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗸𝗮 𝗼𝗳 𝗦𝗿𝗶 𝗛𝗮𝗿𝗶 𝗼𝗿 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗵𝗻𝘂𝘁𝗮𝘁𝘁𝘃𝗮 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀 ?


    𝐋𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐟𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐞 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐌𝐚𝐲𝐚 ( 𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐲 )-

    ◉ऋतेऽर्थं यत्प्रतीयेत न प्रतीयेत चात्मनि ।
    तद्विद्यादात्मनो मायां यथाभासो यथा तमः ॥३४॥
    (Śrimad Bhāgavatam 2:9:34)

    Translitration :
    ṛte 'rthaṃ yat pratīyeta na pratīyeta cātmani
    tad vidyād ātmano māyāṃ yathābhāso yathā tamaḥ

    English translation: O Brahmā, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My māyā, My illusory energy that reflection which appears in darkness.

    Hindi Translation : हे ब्रह्मा, जो भी सारयुक्त प्रतीत होता है, यदि वह मुझसे सम्बन्धित नहीं है, तो उसमें कोई वास्तविकता नहीं है। इसे मेरी माया जानो, इसे ऐसा प्रतिबिम्ब मानो जो अन्धकार में प्रकट होता है।

    𝗠𝗮𝘆𝗮 /𝗗𝗲𝘃𝗶 𝗗𝘂𝗿𝗴𝗮 𝗶𝘀 𝗟𝗼𝗿𝗱 𝗦𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗸𝗮 -

    छायेव यस्य भुवनानि विभर्ति दुर्गा ।
    इच्छानुरूपमपि यस्य च चेष्टते सा
    गोविन्दमादि-पुरुषं तमहं भजामि ॥
    (Brahmā-Saṃhitā 5:44)

    chāyeva yasya bhuvanāni vibharti durgā
    icchānurūpam api yasya ca ceṣṭate sā
    govindam ādi puruṣaṃ tam ahaṃ bhajāmi

    English Translation : The external energy, māyā, is of the nature of the shadow of the cit potency. She is worshiped as Durgā the agent of the Lord who is responsible for creating, preserving, and destroying the mundane world. I adore the primeval Lord Govinda, in accordance with whose will Durgā conducts herself.

    Hindi Translation : बाह्य शक्ति माया, सित् शक्ति की छाया के समान है। वह प्रभु की कार्यकारी अधिकारी दुर्गा के रूप में पूजित होती है । जो प्रभु सृष्टि, स्थिति और प्रलय की जिम्मेदार है। मैं मूल प्रभु गोविन्द/श्रीहरि को नमन करता हूं, जिसकी इच्छा के अनुसार दुर्गा अपने कार्य को निभाती है।

    𝐌𝐲 𝐋𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐟 𝐌𝐚𝐲𝐚 (𝐃𝐞𝐯𝐢 𝐃𝐮𝐫𝐠𝐚)-

    ◉ अत्रैव मायाधमनावतारे ह्यस्य प्रपञ्चस्य बहि: स्फुटस्य।
    कृत्‍स्‍नस्य चान्तर्जठरे जनन्या मायात्वमेव प्रकटीकृतं ते ॥ १६ ॥
    (Śrimad Bhagvatam 10:14:16)

    Transliteration :
    atraiva māyā-dhamanāvatāre
    hy asya prapañcasya bahiḥ sphuṭasya
    kṛtsnasya cāntar jaṭhare jananyā
    māyātvam eva prakaṭī-kṛtaṁ te

    English Translation: My dear Lord, in this incarnation You have proved that You are the supreme controller of Māyā. Although You are now within this universe, the whole universal creation is within Your transcendental body — a fact You demonstrated by exhibiting the universe within Your abdomen before Your mother, Yaśodā.

    Hindi Translation: हे प्रभु, आपने इसी अवतार में यह सिद्ध कर दिया है कि आप माया के परम नियंत्रक हैं। यद्यपि आप अब इस ब्रह्माण्ड के भीतर हैं किन्तु सारा ब्रह्माण्ड आपके दिव्य शरीर के भीतर है—आपने इस तथ्य को माता यशोदा के समक्ष अपने उदर के भीतर ब्रह्माण्ड दिखलाकर प्रदर्शित कर दिया है।

    ʘ There is only 10 primal Upnishad among 108 which is considered as Shruti Shastra , Swetasvara Upnishada is from them , So the Shruti Shastra claim the same -

    ◉ मायां तु प्रकृतिं विद्यान्मायिनं च महेश्वरम्।
    (Swetasvara Upnishada 4:10)

    Transliteration: māyāṁ tu prakṛtiṁ vidyānmāyinaṁ ca maheśvaram |

    Translation : Maya is the Prakriti and know the Supreme Lord as the master of Prakruti .

    Hindi Translation: माया प्रकृति है और वह महान ईश्वर प्रकृति का स्वामी हैं।

    𝐁𝐡𝐚𝐠𝐯𝐚𝐭 𝐆𝐢𝐭𝐚 𝐜𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐟 𝐌ā𝐲ā 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐡𝐚𝐤𝐭𝐢 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩 𝐭𝐨 𝐞𝐬𝐜𝐚𝐩𝐞 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐢𝐭-

    ◉ दैवी ह्येषा गुणमयी मम माया दुरत्यया।
    मामेव ये प्रपद्यन्ते मायामेतां तरन्ति ते।।
    (Bhagvad Gita 7:14)

    Transliteration: Daivī hyeṣā guṇamayī mama māyā duratyayā.
    Mām-eva ye prapadyante māyāmetāṃ taranti te.

    English Translation : This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.

    Hindi Translation : मेरी यह त्रिगुणमयी दैवी माया बड़ी दुरत्यय है अर्थात् इससे पार पाना बड़ा कठिन है। जो केवल मेरे ही शरण होते हैं, वे इस माया को तर जाते हैं।

    𝗟𝗼𝗿𝗱 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝗱𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗠𝗮𝘆𝗮

    प्रवर्तते यत्र रजस्तमस्तयोः सत्त्वं च मिश्रं न च कालविक्रमः ।
    न यत्र माया किमुतापरे हरेरनुव्रता यत्र सुरासुरार्चिताः ॥१०॥
    (Śrimad Bhāgavatam 2:9:10)

    pravartate yatra rajas tamas tayoḥ
    sattvaṁ ca miśraṁ na ca kāla-vikramaḥ
    na yatra māyā kim utāpare harer
    anuvratā yatra surāsurārcitāḥ

    English Translation : There is no influence of the mode of passion, ignorance, or even the mixed mode of goodness in that place. Time does not make any mistakes there, and Maya cannot even step there , then how Maya illusion entered that place ? That not possible. The associates of the Lord reside there, and both the gods and demons worship them.

    Hindi Translation : वहाँ रजोगुण, तमोगुण और इनसे मिला हुआ सत्त्वगुण भी नहीं है। वहाँ न काल की दाल गलती है और न माया ही कदम रख सकती है; फिर माया के बाल-बच्चे तो जा ही कैसे सकते हैं। वहाँ भगवान्‌के वे पार्षद निवास करते हैं, जिनका पूजन देवता और दैत्य दोनों ही करते हैं ॥ १० ॥

    𝗠𝗮𝘆𝗮 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵

    Brahmavaivarta Purana : Brahma Khanda, Sauti and Shaunaka conversasation : Third chapter -

    अहं प्रकृतिरीशाना सर्वेशा सर्वरूपिणी।
    सर्वशक्तिस्वरूपा च मया च शक्तिमज्जगत्॥
    त्वया सृष्टान स्वतन्त्रा त्वमेव जगतां पतिः।
    गतिश्च पाता स्रष्टा च संहर्त्ता च पुनर्विधिः॥
    चराचरांश्च विश्वेषु देवान्ब्रह्मपुरोगमान्।
    मद्विधाः कति वा देवीः स्रष्टुं शक्तश्च लीलया॥
    वेदाश्च विदुषां श्रेष्ठाः स्तोतुं शक्ताश्च न क्षमाः।
    निर्लक्ष्यं कः क्षमः स्तोतुंतं निरीहं नमाम्यहम्॥
    इत्येवमुक्त्वा सा दुर्गा रत्नसिंहासने वरे।
    उवास नत्वा श्रीकृष्णं तुष्टुवुस्तां सुरेश्वराः॥

    Translation - "Devi Durga said - I am Prakriti, the controller of all, the embodiment of all forms, and the supreme power. Through my power alone, this world is sustained. Yet I am not independent, for you are the creator, protector, destroyer, and recreator of the three worlds.You can create countless deities like me and animate and inanimate beings in this universe. Even the Vedas and the most knowledgeable scholars cannot praise you properly, but I, the insignificant one, offer my humble obeisance to you, the Supreme Being. Saying thus, Durga Devi bowed to Lord Krishna and sat on the throne of precious stones, as the gods looked on with satisfaction."

    𝗤𝘂𝗲 2 - 𝗜𝘀 𝗗𝗲𝘃𝗶 𝗗𝘂𝗿𝗴𝗮 𝗮 𝗗𝗲𝗺𝗶𝗚𝗼𝗱𝗱𝗲𝘀𝘀 ?

    𝗔𝗻𝘀- I already answered this question many times, Swami Prabhupad uses Demigod for Devas and Demigoddess for Devi as Durga is a Devi so she is Demigoddess as per Swami Prabhupad English translation word for Devi .
    He also uses airplane for vimana as there is no exact word in English for that....

    English don't have separate words for Bhagvan and Devta so God and Demigod is best for better understanding for those who don't know anything about Sanskrit and you have to explain them ....
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