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nine appellations or forms: Skondamata, Kusumanda, Shailaputri, Kaalratri, Brahmacharini, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, Chandraghanta, and Siddhidatri. Collectively known as the Navadurga, each of these deities have their own holidays in the Hindu calendar and special prayers and songs of praise.
Shiva, the goddess Durga is also referred to as Triyambake (the three-eyed goddess). Her left eye represents desire, symbolized by the moon; her right eye represents action, symbolized by the sun; and her middle eye stands for knowledge, symbolized by fire.
Om, which indicates her holding on to God in the form of sound.
- The sword that Durga holds in one of her hands symbolizes knowledge, which has the sharpness of a sword. Knowledge free from all doubts is symbolized by the shine of the sword.
- The trident or Trishul is a symbol of three qualities: Satwa (inactivity), Rajas (activity), and Tamas (nonactivity). Deva uses these to alleviate physical, mental, and spiritual suffering.
Hindu art and iconography, Durga is frequently depicted standing atop or riding a tiger or lion, which represents power, will, and determination. In riding this fearsome beast, Durga symbolizes her mastery over all these qualities. Her bold pose is called Abhay Mudra, which means "freedom from fear." Just as the mother goddess confronts evil without fear, Hindu scripture teaches, so too should Hindu faithful conduct themselves in a righteous, courageous way.