Who is the killer of Mahishasura? Is it Durga or Lakshmi? My confusion arises after finding out that Lakshmi killed Mahishsura in the Devi Mahatmaya.

Goddess Mahalakshmi is the presiding Goddess of the middle episode. Here she is depicted as Devi in her universal form as Shakti. The world was under attack by Mahishasura the most evil demon in the world, who took many different forms, including that of a buffalo. The male Gods, fearing total annihilation endowed Durga with their powers. The Goddess is described as eighteen- armed bearing string of beads, battle axe, maze, arrow, thunderbolt, lotus, bow, water-pot, cudgel, lance, sword, shield, conch, bell, wine-cup, trident, noose and the discus sudarsana. She has a complexion of coral and is seated on a lotus. She is known as Ashta Dasa Bhuja Mahalakshmi. Riding a lion into battle, she slew the buffalo by cutting off its head and then she destroyed the spirit of the demon as it emerged from the buffalo’s severed neck. It is through this act that order was established in the world”.

link: https://hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/8940/who-is-vaishno-devi-is-it-goddess-laxmi-or-goddess-durga

I also found out about this.

MahaSaraswati is the first incarnation of Goddess Adi Para Shakti. She represents the Sattva Guna and is the shakti(consort) of Lord Brahma. She is the goddess of wisdom, creation, and learning. She is the source of all of the arts. It is she who slew Sumbha and Nisumbha, who are symbols of ignorance. She was created from the body of Mother Parvati and is the embodiment of her hard work, spirituality and devotion. She is also known as Ambika Devi as per Durga Saptashati. She wears yellow clothes when she takes form. When she is without form, she becomes the Primordial Sound.

link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adi_Parashakti#Adi-Parashakti_forms

What is this? In Devi Mahatmaya, Lakshmi is Durga (killer of Mahisasur) and Saraswati is Ambika(killer of Shumb and Nishumbh). Kali, or Parvati is merely helps Vishnu kill Madhu and Kathiba (she doesn't actually participate in the slaying). Normally however, Parvati is Durga (killer of Mahisasur) and Saraswati is Ambika (killer of Shumb and Nishumbh) while the other two hardly kill anybody.

Please clear my doubts.


Firstly,I used the Wiki link in the question because I could not find any other texts that describe Lakshmi killing Mahishasura(apart from the text in the Devi Mahatmaya).However,I have found another Shakta text,the Devi Bhagvata Purana,which sates that it is Lakshmi,and not Durga,who killed Mahishasura:

33-46. Vyâsa said :– On Visnu, the Lord of the Devas, saying thus, came out spontaneously, at once, of the face of Brahmâ, the brilliant fiery energy, very difficult to conceive. That energy looked red like gems and pearls, hot, at the same time, a little cool, having a beautiful form, and encircled by a halo of light. O King! The high-souled Hari and Hara, of mighty valor, were astonished to see this Fire, emitted from Brahmâ. Next came out of the body of S’ankara, His fiery spirit, quite in abundance and very wonderful to behold; it was silvery white, terrible, unbearable, and incapable of being seen even with difficulty. It extended like a mountain and looked horrible as if the incarnation of the Tamo Guna like another Tamo Guna (S’iva is the incarnation of Tamo Guna that destroys everything). It was very surprising to the Devas and very fearful to the Daityas. Next a dazzling light of blue colour emanated from the body of Visnu. The light that came out of the body of Indra was hardly bearable, of a beautiful variegated colour, and comprised in itself the three qualities. Thus masses of lights came out respectively from Kuvera, Yama, Fire and Varuna. The other Devas, too, gave their shares of fiery lights, very lustrous and splendid. Then these all united into a great Mass of Fire and Light. Like another Himalayan mountain shone full their lustrous Divine light; Visnu and the other Devas were all extremely surprised to see this. While the Devas were thus looking steadfastly on that Fire, an exquisitely handsome Lady was born out of it, causing excitement and wonder to all. This Lady was Mahâ Laksmî; composed of the three qualities of the three colours, beautiful, and fascinating to the universe. Her face was white, eyes were black, her lips were red and the palms of her hands were copper-red. She was adorned with divine ornaments. The Goddess was now manifest with eighteen hands, though She had a thousand hands (in Her unmanifested state). Now She became manifest out of the mass of fire, for the destruction of the Asuras.

47-52. Janamejaya said :– O Best of the Munis! O Krisna! You are highly fortunate and you are all-knowing. Kindly describe, in detail the birth of Her body. O Deva! Please say whether the energies of all the gods united into one or remained separate? Whether Her body and Her limbs were all luminous. Was it that Her face, nose, eyes, etc., and all other parts of Her body were created out of the different fires respectively or whether was it that those limbs were fashioned when the different fires blended into one huge mass? Describe, in detail, the origin of the body and the several limbs thereof; also inform me the limbs that were produced out of the corresponding Deva’s fiery part; as well tell me the several ornaments and several weapons given by the several Devas respectively. I am very desirous to hear all these from your lotus-like mouth. O Brahmân! Hearing from your lotus-like mouth the life and doings of Mahâ Laksmî, the sweet juice as they are, I am as yet not satiated (and am desirous to hear more).

Secondly,I changed the question from "Who is Mahishasura Mardini?" to "Is Mahishasura Mardini Lakshmi or Durga?" to avoid confusion as to waht I am asking for.

  • 1
    From your wiki link :"Lalita Tripura Sundari and her incarnations Parvati is the original manifested form of Mother Adi-Para Shakti. She is Adi-Shakti who is Energy of ultimate GOD .[14]The Devi Gita declares her to be the greatest Goddess.She is seated on a chair constituted by Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Maheswara and Sadashiva.Lakshmi and Saraswati is always fanning her."The first & the last lines in the quote above should settle all your doubts.
    – Rickross
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 6:21
  • okay so you are saying that durag is mahishasuramardini.Well,waht about the story on saraswati?
    – user4627
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 9:21
  • Well,It is stated in the wiki link that 1)Lalita Tripura Sundari and her incarnations Parvati is the original manifested form of Mother Adi-Para Shakti. She is Adi-Shakti who is Energy of ultimate GOD . 2) She is every other goddess. She is Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati in her mild form;3)MahaSaraswati is the first incarnation of Goddess Adi Para Shakti......She was created from the body of Mother Parvati 4)Mahalakshmi is the second incarnation of Goddess Adi Para Shakti.So ,everything is quite clear i guess.
    – Rickross
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 18:01
  • Durga, Laxmi, Saraswati are basically the incarnations of Shakti. And we worship Mahishasur Mardini to Goddess Durga
    – Eesha
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 13:40
  • She is mahalaksmi (not the same as lakshmi , the consort of vishnu). mahalakshmi is a form of durga.
    – user1195
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 4:43

8 Answers 8


Godesses Ambika who is also known by the name Godesses Durga is the Mahisasura Mardini (slayer of Mahisasura). Precisely speaking it is Chandika form of Godesses Ambika who slays Mahisasura:

Chaptet 81 to Chapter 93 of Markandeya Purana is called Devi Mahatmyam and it sings the Glory of Devi.

First of all Mahisasura defeats all gods and take their position as described in chapter 82:

देवासुरमभूद्युद्धं पूर्णमब्दशतं पुरा।
महिषेऽसुराणामधिपे देवानां च पुरन्दरे॥२॥
तत्रासुरैर्महावीर्यैर्देवसैन्यं पराजितम्।
जित्वा च सकलान् देवानिन्द्रोऽभून्महिषासुरः॥३॥

In former times war was waged between the deities and demons for the full space of one hundred years; also between Mahisha-sura, the greatest of demons, and Purandara (Indra). The Asura of ample heroism repulsed the army of the Devas; Mahishasura vanquished all the gods and became as Indra.

Then in the same chapter Gods go to Brahma and pray him to give him relief from Mahisasura. Then from the combined energy of Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, Indra and etc... all Gods Godesses Ambika/ Durga manifest as:

इत्थं निशम्य देवानां वचांसि मधुसूदनः।
चकार कोपं शम्भुश्च भ्रुकुटीकुटिलाननौ॥९॥
ततोऽतिकोपपूर्णस्य चक्रिणो वदनात्ततः।
निश्‍चक्राम महत्तेजो ब्रह्मणः शंकरस्य च॥१०॥
अन्येषां चैव देवानां शक्रादीनां शरीरतः।
निर्गतं सुमहत्तेजस्तच्चैक्यं समगच्छत॥११॥
अतीव तेजसः कूटं ज्वलन्तमिव पर्वतम्।
ददृशुस्ते सुरास्तत्र ज्वालाव्याप्तदिगन्तरम्॥१२॥
अतुलं तत्र तत्तेजः सर्वदेवशरीरजम्।
एकस्थं तदभून्नारी व्याप्तलोकत्रयं त्विषा॥१३॥

Madhusudana hearkened to the words of the deities; Sambhu was wroth contracting his brows with furious ire. Afterwards, Chakrini's face was transported with rage, abundance of light issued from Bramha and Sankara. An immense mass of light proceeded from the bodies of Sakra and all the other Devas, and conglomerated. This effulgent lustre appeared as a flaming mountain: the Suras having seen the flame receded to the extremities of regions. The peerless light issued from the bodies of all the Devas and the phenomenon was transfigured as a woman extending through the three worlds.

Then all Gods give their respective weapons, Himavat gives Lion and so on.. Then Godesses Ambika marches to slay Mahisasura. Then the slaying of Mahisasura is described in chapter 83:

एवं संक्षीयमाणे तु स्वसैन्ये महिषासुरः।
माहिषेण स्वरूपेण त्रासयामास तान् गणान्॥२१॥
कांश्‍चित्तुण्डप्रहारेण खुरक्षेपैस्तथापरान्।
लाङ्‌गूलताडितांश्‍चान्याञ्छृङ्‌गाभ्यां च विदारितान्॥२२॥
वेगेन कांश्‍चिदपरान्नादेन भ्रमणेन च।
निःश्वासपवनेनान्यान् पातयामास भूतले॥२३॥
निपात्य प्रमथानीकमभ्यधावत सोऽसुरः।
सिंहं हन्तुं महादेव्याः कोपं चक्रे ततोऽम्बिका॥२४॥
सोऽपि कोपान्महावीर्यः खुरक्षुण्णमहीतलः।
श्रृङ्‌गाभ्यां पर्वतानुच्चांश्चिक्षेप च ननाद च॥२५॥
वेगभ्रमणविक्षुण्णा मही तस्य व्यशीर्यत।
लाङ्‌गूलेनाहतश्‍चाब्धिः प्लावयामास सर्वतः॥२६॥
धुतश्रृङ्‌गविभिन्नाश्‍च खण्डं* खण्डं ययुर्घनाः।
श्‍वासानिलास्ताः शतशो निपेतुर्नभसोऽचलाः॥२७॥
इति क्रोधसमाध्मातमापतन्तं महासुरम्।
दृष्ट्‌वा सा चण्डिका कोपं तद्वधाय तदाकरोत्॥२८॥
सा क्षिप्त्वा तस्य वै पाशं तं बबन्ध महासुरम्।
तत्याज माहिषं रूपं सोऽपि बद्धो महामृधे॥२९॥
ततः सिंहोऽभवत्सद्यो यावत्तस्याम्बिका शिरः।
छिनत्ति तावत्पुरुषः खड्‌गपाणिरदृश्यत॥३०॥
तत एवाशु पुरुषं देवी चिच्छेद सायकैः।
तं खड्‌गचर्मणा सार्धं ततः सोऽभून्महागजः॥३१॥
करेण च महासिंहं तं चकर्ष जगर्ज च।
कर्षतस्तु करं देवी खड्‌गेन निरकृन्तत॥३२॥
ततो महासुरो भूयो माहिषं वपुरास्थितः।
तथैव क्षोभयामास त्रैलोक्यं सचराचरम्॥३३॥
ततः क्रुद्धा जगन्माता चण्डिका पानमुत्तमम्।
पपौ पुनः पुनश्‍चैव जहासारुणलोचना॥३४॥
ननर्द चासुरः सोऽपि बलवीर्यमदोद्‌धतः।
विषाणाभ्यां च चिक्षेप चण्डिकां प्रति भूधरान्॥३५॥
सा च तान् प्रहितांस्तेन चूर्णयन्ती शरोत्करैः।
उवाच तं मदोद्‌धूतमुखरागाकुलाक्षरम्॥३६॥

While she was thus destroying his army, Mahishasura impeded those Ganas in the form of Mahisha. Some by biting with his mouth, and others by kicking with his hoofs, some by the lashes of his tail and by the goring of his horns. Some of them by the loudness of his bellow, by his burning breath he made them to fall to the ground. The Asura having caused Pramadas to fall, angrily ran to kill the lion of the goddess. The great hero enraged, tore up the earth with his hoofs and cast down the highest hills. He speedily turned about, cracked the earth, lashed the ocean with his tail, and made it to overflow everywhere. The clouds were dispersed by his long horns, the mountains and sky were blown into hundred pieces by his breath and sighs. The great Asura wrathfully bellowed! Chandika looked, highly enraged and endeavoured to lay hold on him. She threw out a Pasa to bind him, he was tied, and relinquished his buffaloe's form in this great combat. He instantly turned into a lion, within the time that Ambika cut of this head; he then converted himself into a man, held a sword and disappeared. Afterwards the goddess pierced him with her arrows, he with his sword and shield turned into a mighty elephant. The elephant pulled the lion with his trunk, and made a terrific noise, the goddess cut his proboscis with her sword. Afterwards the great Asura assumed the form of a buffaloe, and terrified the three Lokas of animates and inanimates. The passionate Chandika, matron of the world, frequently drank excellent liquor, bearing wrathful redness in her eyes. The Asura being highly endowed with bravery and lust, furiously hurled mountains with his horns on Chandika. She pulverized them with her strong arrows, and with increased intoxication and angry looking face.

गर्ज गर्ज क्षणं मूढ मधु यावत्पिबाम्यहम्।
मया त्वयि हतेऽत्रैव गर्जिष्यन्त्याशु देवताः॥३८

Devi cried "Oh! vain noise! noise! wait a moment until I perfectly drink this madhu; when you are slain by me here, all the gods will exclaim."

एवमुक्त्वा समुत्पत्य साऽऽरूढा तं महासुरम्।
पादेनाक्रम्य कण्ठे च शूलेनैनमताडयत्॥४०॥
ततः सोऽपि पदाऽऽक्रान्तस्तया निजमुखात्ततः।
अर्धनिष्क्रान्त एवासीद् देव्या वीर्येण संवृतः॥४१॥
अर्धनिष्क्रान्त एवासौ युध्यमानो महासुरः।
तया महासिना देव्या शिरश्छित्त्वा निपातितः॥४२॥
ततो हाहाकृतं सर्वं दैत्यसैन्यं ननाश तत्।
प्रहर्षं च परं जग्मुः सकला देवतागणाः॥४३॥
तुष्टुवुस्तां सुरा देवीं सह दिव्यैर्महर्षिभिः।
जगुर्गन्धर्वपतयो ननृतुश्‍चाप्सरोगणाः॥

The Rishi said, she laid hold on the great Asura, (who advanced towards her conveyance), with her feet, she struck him with her Sula. When he was caught hold on by her feet, his half real form from his face became manifest; the goddess was surrounded by a blaze of glory. The great Asura being half issued and fighting with her, the goddess cut off his head with her ample sword. Afterwards every one exclaimed, that the army of the Daitya was annihilated; then a multitude of deities were highly delighted. The band of deities, with the magnificient sages applauded the goddess, the kings of Gandharvas sung, Apsaras danced.

Thus from above description, it is clear it is Godesses Chandika (a form of Ambika), who slayed Mahisasura. Then, Gods pray with Godesses Ambika in chapter 84, after she slays Mahisasura. There is a beautiful long prayer. The prayer goes as:

देव्या यया ततमिदं जगदात्मशक्त्या
भक्त्या नताः स्म विदधातु शुभानि सा नः॥३॥
 O Goddess! by thy power this world was created with spirits and gods of different and numerous forms. O Ambika! thou art revered by all the deities; the magnificent sages faithfully prostrate themselves to thee: mayest thou give us prosperity.

As a Side note, from the chapter 85, story of Sumbha and Nisumbha begins, and at that time there is no need for Gods, to manifest Ambika from their powers. At this time Ambika directly come from body of Parvati and goes to slay Sumbha, Nisumbha and other Daityas:

एवं स्तवादियुक्तानां देवानां तत्र पार्वती।
स्नातुमभ्याययौ तोये जाह्नव्या नृपनन्दन॥८४॥
साब्रवीत्तान् सुरान् सुभ्रूर्भवद्भिः स्तूयतेऽत्र का।
शरीरकोशतश्‍चास्याः समुद्भूताब्रवीच्छिवा॥८५॥
स्तोत्रं ममैतत् क्रियते शुम्भदैत्यनिराकृतैः।
देवैः समेतैः समरे निशुम्भेन पराजितैः॥८६॥
शरीर कोशाद्यत्तस्याः पार्वत्या निःसृताम्बिका।
कौशिकीति समस्तेषु ततो लोकेषु गीयते॥

The Rishi said, when the deities applauded Parvati, O prince! she went to perform ablution in the water of Janhavi. She asked them, "Whom did you greet there." The resplendent Shiva emanated from her body, and spoke thus to her. "They recited my praises, because they were expelled by the giant Sumbha, all the deities retreated before Nisumbha in the war." From the body of Parvati, Ambika issued, and was denominated Kouciki throughout the universe. When she had emanated from Parvati, (who turned black), she was called Kouciki and resorted about Himachala.

What I speculate is at the time of Mahisasura slaying event, Parvati was not born yet (she was born only after Chakshusha Manvanatara, ) while Sati already died in Pitri Kalpa and there was no physical form of Shakti whom Devas could evoke to kill Mahisasura. So, it was necessary that all use their Shakti and manifest from there (as Shakti is pervaded in power of all), and thus Ambika/Durga issued from there at that time. While in case of Sumbha and Nisumbha, Parvati was already there and Devas simply go and pray to Parvati and then Godesses Ambika manifested from Parvati.

Edit Update:

As mentioned in question Devi Bhagvatam quotes:

This Lady was Mahâ Laksmî; composed of the three qualities of the three colours, beautiful, and fascinating to the universe.

MahaLakshmi mentioned here is not consort of Lord Vishnu. I explain it in my answer here. Quoting from that answer:

ततोऽम्बिकां परां शक्तिं महालक्ष्मीस्वरुपिणीम् । तुष्टुवुस्ते सुराः सर्वे भक्तिगद्गदया गिरा ।।

The Gods then prayed to the Supreme Godesses Ambika in the form of MahaLakshmi with choked voice in devotion. .
एवं ते कथितो राजन्महालक्ष्म्याः समुद्भवः । सरस्वत्यास्त्तथोत्त्पत्तिं श्रृणु सुस्थेन चेतसा ।।

O King in this way the origin of MahaLakshmi has been spoken to you. Now with a cool mind listen to origin of (Maha)Saraswati.

So, MahaLakshmi described here is just form of Godesses Ambika and not consort of Lord Vishnu.


Here is two difference Sources May it will be helpful to know who killed Mahishasura both sources refer to Mahadevi Shakti so first we should know Who is Maha Devi Shakti?

The Shakta tradition glorifies Devi, the consort of Shiva, as the World Mother who, as Shakti, is the energy giving power behind all creation. Shakti is shown in many forms. As Uma or Parvati, she is the gentle consort of Shiva. As Kamakshi or Rajarajeshwari she is the Great Mother. In the form of Durga she rides a tiger, the ego and arrogance that man must subdue. In her angry form she is Kali.The earliest term applied to the divine feminine, which still retains its popular usage, is Shakti.The word Shakti is used in a variety of ways ranging from its use as a way to illustrate the ultimate primordial creative power, to expressing the capacity or power of words to convey meaning. The word 'Shakti' is derived from the root 'shak,' meaning potency or the potential to produce, an assertion of Her inherent creative aptitude. All interpretations of the word 'Shakti' hold common one parameter, Power. Specifically, Shakti means Power, Force and Feminine Energy. She represents the fundamental creative instinct underlying the cosmos, and is the energizing force of all divinity, of every being and every thing. Devotees believe the whole universe to be a manifestation of Shakti, who is also known by her general name Devi, from the Sanskrit root 'div' which means to shine.

According to Markandeya Purana The Form of Maha Devi so materialised created a luminous face with combined Shaktis in a formidal feminine form: while Yama’s powers created her hair, Vishnu’s power provided both her arms, Chandra’s radiance gave sparkling jewels, Indra contributed the belly, Varuna’s powers created thighs, Prithvi the rear, Brahma contribruted the feet, Surya provided the fingers of the feet; Vasuganas contributed hand fingers; Kubera’s ‘Tejas’ created the nose, Prajapati’s energy provided the teeth, Pavaka created all her three eyes, both the ‘Sandhyas’ gave away ‘bhrukutis’ (mid-portion of eye brows) and Vayu supplied the Devi’s ears. Maha Deva then contributed his Shula from his own, Narayana gave away a Chakra born out of his Chakra, Varuna gave a Shankha, Hutashana / Agni his Shakti, Vayu the Dhanus with powerful arrows, Indra gave his Vajra and a bell from Iravata, Yama gave his ‘Kaladanda’, Varuna a ‘Pasha’, Daksha Prajapati his Akshaya Maala (Rosary), Brahma his Kamanadalu (water vessel), Surya supplied his rays into Maha Devi’s skin pores; Kaal gave away his ‘Khadga’ (sword); Samudra Deva contributed pure pearls, shining clothes, valuable chudamani, precious ear-rings, and bangles; Moon gave away ‘Bhuja Kirtis’ (Shouder-Ornaments), neck laces, and finger rings; Vishwakarma donated ‘Astras’, ‘Kavacha’ (Body Secure); Himalaya provided the carrier Simha (Lion); and like wise all the various Devas gifted various items of their valuable possessions.

Now, Mahishasura led a fresh reserve of army, assuming his original form of a Mahisha or a buffalo, made several offensive gestures by way of forcefully pulling up his powerful horns high, by taking speedy circlings, by throwing up his mighty tail and by thumping his hooves making sounds like earth-quakes. The Asura jumped forward towards the Lion who created havoc and killed many of his warriors, whereby Maha Devi became livid with rage but Mahisha too got enraged and dug deep into the Earth and threw mountains by braying with frightful reverberation. The Asura’s breathing was so heavy that mountains shivered and sand storms got into motion with high velocity. Chandi Devi desired to kill Mahishasura in one go, but Maha Devi restrained Chandi and threw a powerful rope around the buffallo neck; She then assumed the form of a roaring lion, then as a huge elephant, and like a mammoth ‘Veera Purusha’. Meanwhile Chandika Devi consumed a huge cup of wine, got drunk with a resounding laugh with blood red eyes and said like a drunkard; ‘Oh miserable Stupid! Keep on with your roar as long as my wine is swallowed; your last moments have now started ticking and you should soon leave this World as your ignominous life would get terminated.’ By so saying, Chandi jumped up and strangled Mahishasura’s mighty neck and sliced it open; soon Rishi ganas performed ‘Veda Parayana’, Gandharvas sang sonorous hymns of praise for Devi Chandi who was but a shadow of Maha Devi, Apsaras danced to their glory and Devas headed by Indra went into deep raptures in great jubilation with unreserved gratitude to Parama Maha Devi.

According to Devibhagwatpurana

The entire Universe and the Pancha Bhutas ( The Five Elements) were dislocated from their axis as the duel was in progress. The Danava tied up his tail to mountains and whirled them against Maha Devi, who was enjoying cups of Grape juice meanwhile. The Demon kept on transforming his body forms in such quick succession that one could hardly realise what was happening and each time there was a change, he was striking from various angles with different kinds of arms like arrows, swords, Trisulas (Tridents), clubs, and maces. Charged then with red eyes looking like torrential balls of fire, Devi Bhagavati finally lost Her cool and commanded Her Chakra ( discus) which broke Mahisha’s body split into two, each part jumping one over another and the Greatest menace on Earth had thus been terminated; there were hysteric shriekings and reverberations of earsplitting sounds of high volume drummings spread across the entire Universe to the utmost relief and ecstasy of all Devas, Gandharvas, Kinnaras, Kimpurushas, Apsaras and world wide congregations of Sages all rejoicing with celebrations.



Trace everything honestly and join the dots : Devi Mahatmya, MarkanDeya Puran, Devi Bhagwat, Rahasya-TrayaM (the three-fold secret).

The secret: MahaLakshmi = Adi ParA Shakti who becomes the various Goddesses. EDIT: REF: Please see quotes added at the end of this answer from Rahasya TrayaM I - Pradhanika Rahasya

DurgA is a manifestation of MahA Lakshmi at a later point in time for a purpose - to kill MahishAsur. DurgA = Result of collective energy of all Devas as initiated by BhagvAn VishNu/MahaVishNu. So, starting with base = MahALakshmi - His own shakti, add-on Devas' shaktis - remember Devas are aspects / parts of ParaBramha'

MahALakshmi is none other than ardhAngini of MahAVishNu , and it is She who expands into all.

Now to understand how MahaLakshmi "created" the other 2 mahas and the tridev-pairs, we have to look at it as the Shakti of Shaktiman manifested forms. That's all there is to it.

CONCLUSION: YES, DurgA IS none other than MahaLakshmi's manifestation for a purpose, formed by the collective shakti of Devas. Maha is honorific. MahaGaNapati, MahaVishNu... it also means that the Devis without Maha appended are not manifesting the full power but present as peaceful and loving mothers. Devas in turn are aspects of ParaBramha' and Devis are their Shaktis.

  • Is Adi Shakti "mother of" Tridev pairs ? yes and no. It means that for the Purush-ShaktimAn to manifest , Prakruti-Shakti has to be invoked. As long as Shakti is dormant, Purush stays in samAdhi - turIya.

  • One can never truly separate Prakruti from Purush or Shakti from ShaktiMAn (ParaBramha') - like whiteness of milk, slipperiness of ghee, sweetness of sugar. but that does not stop ParaBramha' from manifesting forms that are aspects of the whole.

  • People ask - which Dev of the Tridev is ParaBramha'. My understanding is all are expressions of the original ParamAtmA ParaBramha'. Is Adi Shakti ParaBramha'? Yes, because it is ParaBramha that expresses Itself as Her. VishNu is an expression. Rudra is an expression. MahaDevi MahaLakshmi is an expression AND becomes Shri i.e. Lakshmi playing the role of VishNu's consort. At the same time, VishNu's inherent nature is of Lakshmi - all-auspicious, and there are bhajans that address Vishnu or Dwarkadheesh like this "Lakshmi re!"

  • Devi wants us to know that Devi is ONE who takes forms.


REFERENCE Rahasya Thrayam - 1 Rahasya Thrayam 1 - Pradhanika Rahasyam The Triad of Secrets - The Important Secrets Translated by P. R. Ramachander

[Devi Mahatmyam also called as Chandi /Durga Sapthasathi, is possibly the greatest book of prayers addressed to the goddess. This prayer is an appendix of that great book. In Devi Mahatmya after the sage completely relates the story of the Goddess, the king wants to know, who and what is the Goddess. Seeing his great devotion the sage tells him this secret of secrets...]

Rajo uvacha:- The king said

1. Bhagavannavathara Chandikaya sthwayoditha, Yethosham prakruthim Brahman pradhaanaam vakthumarhasi.

You have told me about the different incarnations of Chandika, Oh great among Brahmins, it is only proper that you tell me, About the basic nature of the Goddess who is behind these.

2. AaradhyAm yanmayaa devyaa swaroopam yena thadwija, Vidhunaa broohi sakalam yadhavath praNathasyame.

Hey Brahmin, kindly tell me, who salutes and worships the Goddess, About that form of the Goddess which is fit to be worshipped as per rule.

Rishir Uvacha:- The saint said:-

  1. Idham rahasyam parama manakhyeyam prachakshathe, Bhakthoseethi na may kinchith vaavaachyam Naradhipa.

Oh king, this is a great secret which should not be told, But since you are a devotee, there in nothing. That should not be told you.

  1. Sarvasyaadhyaa Maha Lakshmi sthree gunaa Parameswari, Lakshyaa lakshya swaroopa saaavyaapya kruthsnam vyavasthidhaa.

She who is primeval became the form of the three fold characters, And is the supreme Goddess who is called Maha Lakshmi, And she has a form that should and should not be seen, And she exists spreading out herself in all places.

**{NOTE: Adi ParA Shakti == MahALakshmi == formless, omnipresent and with form(s)}

  1. Mathulingam gadhaam Khedam panapathra cha bhibrathi, Nagam, lingam cha yonim cha bhibrathi nrupa moordhani

  2. Thaptha kanchana varnaabha, Thaptha kanchanca bhooshanam, Soonyam thadakilam swena poorayamasa thejasa.

Oh king, Mahalakshmi who wears pomegranate, mace, shield and drinking goblet, Who wears on her head, the serpent (Brahma), the linga (Shiva) and Yoni (Vishnu) Who is of the colour of highly purified gold, And who wears ornaments made of purest gold, Is filling the entire world which is empty with her power.

{NOTE: This verse tells us "Shri" of Shri Vidya == "Shri" of Shri Sukta-Purusha Sukta Rg Veda (suvarNavarNAm hariNim) == MahaLakshmi the original Shakti of all 3 principles - creation nurturing and dessolution}

**Verses 7,8,9 say that this Supreme Goddess MahaLakshmi saw emptiness and hence took up tAmas to manifest KAli-form. So KAli originates from her and says thus:

  1. Saa provacha Mahalakshmi thaamasi pramadhothama, Namakarma cha may mathardehi thubhyam namo nama.

She who is of base nature and is the best among the pramadha Ganas (i.e. KAli) Requested Mahalakshmi, "Mother, give me a name."

  1. Thaam pravocha Mahalakshmi sthamasim pramadothama a, Dadami thava naamani yaani karmani thaani they.

Mahalakshmi then told her who was of base nature, And who was the chief of Pramada Ganas, "I would give you a name and also duties to you."

{Verse 12 says Mahalakshmi named the "base nature" Goddess the names of Mahamaya MahaKAli, Mahamari, KshudhA, Nidra, KAlarAtri etc. Verse 13 = duties}

{Verse 14 to 17 say that Mahalakshmi then manifested MahaSaraswati with beads and ViNa musical instrument and gave her names like VANi, Vak Saraswati, Bhadra... and duties.

After this the rahasya describes how MahaLakshmi instructed MahaKAli and MahaSaraswati to create the Tridev brother-sister pairs i.e. KamalA-BramhA (lotus, red-pink, creative-oppulent), Shiv-Saraswati (white, knowledge), Krishna-Kali (dark, power-vAtsalya-sustenance-intelligence), and pair them - BramhA Saraswati, Shri-VAsudev, Shiv-Gauri. NOTE: Shri = KamalA = Lakshmi, and VAsudev = omnipresent VishNu. om namo bhagavate VAsudevAya}

... 26. Brahmane pradhadhou pathnem, Mahalakshmir nrupa thrayeem, Rudraya gowrim varadhaam, Vasudevaya Sriyaam.

Oh king then that great(Maha) Lakshmi, made Saraswathi the wife of Brahma, The boon giver Gowri as wife of Rudra and Sri as the wife of Vishnu.

{Note that ardhAngini of VishNu is called Shri here, and MahaLakshmi facilitated all these pairs. In verse 6 above, form of MahaLakshmi - pomegranete, goad, et al aligns with the Lalita Sahasranama which points to Shri Vidya , note the word SHRI in Shri Vidya.
It is very convenient for many to dismiss the connection. Shri Sukta : suvarNa varNAM && pingalAM ! sarasija nilaye saroja haste dhavalakar
Ankusha** gandha-mAlya shobe ...
NOTE golden complexion, pink complexion and ankush! How come Shri of Shri sukta holds an ankush like the Shri of Shri Vidya, and how is it that Verse 6 above describes Mahalakshmi just like the Shri of Shri Vidya in complexion? Pink = red + white blood corpuscles = life-giving Why are both wearing a red saree? Is it not because MahaLakshmi == Shri ?

Finally... 30. Mahalakshmeereva mathaa rajan sarveswewareswari, Nirakaraa cha sakaaraa saiva naanaabhi dhanabhooth.

  1. Naamantharair niroopyaishaa naamnaa naanyena kena chith.

Oh King, it is the general opinion that only Goddess Mahalakshmi, Is the chief goddess of all other gods and Goddesses, And she along with her form or without form, Has adopted names such as Mahakali and that Mahalakshmi herself, Has already been proved by various other names and is it not true, That she has been proved by all the names that we use.

Pradhanika Rahasyam samaptham Thus ends the important secret.

NOTE in verse 30 - raja sarveshwari! and it says MahaLakshmi eva

|| Shri KRshNArpaNamastu ||

  • Welcome to Hinduism Stackechange! Answers posted here must be backed up by authentic sources. Please add valid source like verse number with English translation.
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Commented Aug 29, 2020 at 1:56
  • Thank You TheLittleNaruto. I will be back with reference shlokas from the rahasya text but many have quoted it already. I am a bit surprised that the key piece of info is circumvented, bypassed or sidetracked during Shakti threads.
    – ameyAtmA
    Commented Aug 29, 2020 at 13:20
  • Namaste. I have added reference shlokas from Rahasya TrayaM I Pradhanika Rahasya section at the end of my original answer. It only tells the ultimate secret after the seeker asks and prods and requests. Before that, all the outer stories are being told. The Rshi reveals that the ultimate AdiParaShakti is MahaLakshmi and is formless but also with form, and takes many other forms, is omnipresent - which is no surprise.
    – ameyAtmA
    Commented Aug 29, 2020 at 19:57
  • So except for the rahasya are there other tantric texts which speaks of this Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 2:20
  • Yes. Devi Bhagwat, Devi Mahatmya , but they are so full of the paurANic stories that the truth gets buried in it. Rahasya reveals it. This is why most people discuss origin + 1 or origin + 2 but not origin. Further, why do you want to brush the rahasya aside? Why "except for "this" rahasya"? Rahasya is a central piece of the ShAkta texts. It is the inner circle wisdom that is not commonly told to the masses.
    – ameyAtmA
    Commented Sep 7, 2020 at 17:34

Parvati Being Mahisasura Mardini has shAstric evidences even outside the Devi mahatmyam.

Then, the Goddess who tormented Mahiṣa, cut off his head with a sharp-edged sword and stood on his head and danced.

Siddhas, Gandharvas and great sages praised Durgā. A great shower of flowers was released by Devas all round. The Lord of Devas bowed down to the Goddess and eulogized her with palms joined in reverence. Indra said:

Obeisance to you, to the mother of all the worlds, to the seed-consciousness of all living beings.

O Aṃbikā, you are the devotion, faith and Śakti (‘energy’) of those who worship you. You are the cause, the supreme fame, peace, control, skill and forbearance (incarnate). You are the only one having the universe as your form (i.e. omnipresent) though you are called by different names.

You have employed us in the various offices according to the achievements befitting our Tapas (‘penance’). You have split the enemy. You shone as Śiva, worthy of being known. O Spouse of Śaṃbhu, this wicked demon Mahiṣa has been cut down and killed.

~ Skanda Purana 1.3a.11.27-32

Here, Mahishasura Mardini is explicitly stated to be The wife of Shiva viz. Parvati


Lakshmi is also Durga because she is a Shakti. All the Shaktis are Durga so that means Durga killed Mahisasura but then Lakshmi, Parvati, and Saraswati all killed Mahisasura too by collecting their powers and making a form who is Durga. Durga is a incarnation of Lakshmi, Parvati, and Saraswati. Just how all the Gods form Bramhan, all the Goddesses form Durga and a Shakti. But it is Mahalakshmi who is basically Lakshmi, but in a more powerful form. Actually Parvati is Durga, But technically Lakshmi is also Durga so that means that Lakshmi also killed Durga. This is the link that proves it.

  • Good answer, but please site this from reliable sources. We cannot know if this is true.
    – 10 Rep
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 2:45
  • okay @10Rep i just did. Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 3:38
  • 1
    It’s a citation from wikipedia. Wikipedia is not allowed, since anyone can edit it. Please find a reliable source.
    – 10 Rep
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 4:07
  • We insist on citing some sources (preferably scriptures) while answering questions. It would be more useful if some reliable sources are cited in addition to Wikipedia. Visit this meta discussion for more information
    – Pandya
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 8:24
  • @Pandya can you please tell me a site that you can use to cite Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 19:22

Sorry, I don't have the sources and citations. Because what I share here is something that has been transferred through word-of-mouth tradition for eons. I belong to a family of priests who've studied Vedas for ages. Therefore, there's a lot of information that has been passed on orally in my family.

The complexity of Durga versus Lakshmi arises because of the combining of multiple sub-traditions within Sanatana Dharma.

Devi Mahatmya is a text of the Shakta tradition. Specifically, it belongs to the Sri Vidya Tantra tradition. Sri Vidya Tantra believes in one Goddess named Adi Parashakti, also called Sri Mata or Sri Devi. She represents the combined form of all energies (Parvati/Uma, Lakshmi, and Sarasvati). That's why in the Dasa Mahavidya of the Shakta tradition, Kali (Parvati) is another form of Kamala (Lakshmi). Sometimes, the same Sri Mata also gets addressed as Goddess Durga and Param Ambika. In that Sri Vidya tradition, Goddes Lakshmi killed Mahishasura Mardini.

In Shaiva tradition, Durga is another name for Lord Shiva's wife. Uma or Parvati is also known as Durga, Chandi, and so on. When we confuse Shaiva tradition with the Shakta tradition, the cofusion of who killed Mahishasura occurs.

Further, the confusion intensifies when we introduce the concept of the Vaishnava tradition. In this culture, only Goddess Lakshmi is Sri Devi. But, that's not true in the Shakta tradition.

In essence, the Lakshmi revered by Shakta tradition killed Mahishasura. She is yet another form of the combined energy called Sri Devi or Durga. Durga of Shaivism and Lakshmi of Vaishnavism are different from this Sri Devi.


Mata Mahishasura Mardini is the wife of Bhagawan Shiva viz Maa Uma.

The Pradhānika Rahasya of Durgā Saptaśati, which describes Her.

“That Trigunātmikā Mahālakśmi is the Supreme Goddess and the source of all creation. Only She pervades and holds the creation in visible or invisible form.” ( Pradhānika Rahasya Verse 4).

“ Wielding in Her four arms, Mātulinga (citron), Gadā (Mace),Kheta(shield) and Pānpātram (drinking vessel) while having the emblems of snake, Lingam and Yoni on Her crown"

So the above verses verily says that Mahālakśmi of Dēvi Māhatmyam is Maa Uma, but but but before you say She's Sri Lakśmi.

“Thus saying, Mahālakśmi created a pair of male-female, they were beautiful as Hiranyagarbh , and were seated on Lotus. Mahālakśmi addressed The male as Brahmā, Vidhe, Virinci and Dhāta, while She gave names like Śri ,Padmā, and Lakśmi to the female."

"The boon giving Gaūri was bethroded to Rudra, while Śri Lakśmi was given to Viśnū."

Further more this Moola Prakriti Mahalakshmi is worshipped woth meat and wine which are completely ban in case of Vishnu Patni Lakshmi.

"Worship Her with bloodful sacrifice, meat and wine."(Vaikritika Rahasya Verse 28)

According to Uma Samhita of Sri Shiva Mahā Puranam.:

"Satī and Pārvatī are Umā's direct incarnations (Rudranī). The first primordial Śakti of Śiva the great Brahman, who is called Umā, is the great mother of the three worlds. Her two incarnations — Satī and Haimavatī, have been heard, O intelligent Sūta. Please mention Her other incarnations (Mahākālikā; Mahālakṣmī; Mahāsarasvatī) too. (Umā Saṁhitā: 45:3-4)" "Mahākālikā; Mahālakṣmī; Mahāsarasvatī are Umā's incarnation as warrior goddess. According to Śiva Purāṇa, Bhavānī Umā is the source of these three forms Navārṇa Caṇḍikā of Devī Māhātmyam, hence both Aṣṭādaśabhujā Mahālakṣmī (not to be confused with Viṣṇupatni Lakṣmī) as well as Bhavānī Umā are identified with one another by Śiva Purāṇa. (Umā Saṁhitā: Chapter 45-48)"

Brahmanda Purana refers Acyuta as the brother of Sridevi . Sridevi here refers to Lalita i.e. Parvati.

"After bowing down to the lotus-eyed Acyuta, the brother of Śridevī, he earnestly pleaded for his prepctual residence at Kāñcī."

Further more, the very 1st verse if Sri Mahishasura Mardini Strotam by Jagat Guru Sri Adi Shankaracharya Maharaj ji starts with.:

"Ayi giri nandini" means "Oh Daughter of the Mountain."

And, again ends with.:

"Shaila Suthe" which again means "The daughter of the Mountain'.

I hope this clarifies all your queries. Prd..



However,I have found another Shakta text,the Devi Bhagvata Purana,which sates that it is Lakshmi,and not Durga,who killed Mahishasura:

This Assumption is based on the Partial reading of the Devi Bhagavatam.

Mahisasura mardini mahalakshmi is different from Visnu patni Lakshmi. This is clarified by Devi herself that her husband is not Vishnu.

Devi Bhagavata Book 5 Chapter 12

2-13. The Devī spoke :-- “O Tāmra! Go and say to your Lord Mahiṣa who, it seems, is stupid, whose end is nigh, who has become very passionate, and who is void of knowledge what is proper and what is improper. I am not like your grown up mother, the she-buffalo, having horns, eating grass, with a long tail and a big-belly. I do not like to have Viṣṇu, the god Śaṅkara, Brahmā, Kuvera, Varuṇa, or Fire. How then can I select a beast? If I do so, I will be an object of much censure amongst the several worlds. I am not desirous of any more husband; my Husband is existing; though He is the Lord of all, Witness of All, yet He is not the Actor; He is without any desires and He is calm and tranquil. He, the Śiva, is devoid of any Prakritic qualities, without any attachment, the Great Infinite, without anyone to rely on, without any refuge, omniscient, omnipresent, the Great Witness, the Full, and the seat of the Full, the Auspicious

It is further Said that This Devi left To Mani Dvipa After Killing Mahisasaura (and not Vaikuntha).

Devi Bhagavata book 5 Chapter 20

12-15. Therefore O Son of Satyavatī! As you are kind-hearted, kindly narrate before me the excellent deeds of the Devī. O best of Munis! Where did the Goddess, Mahā Lakṣmī, created out of the energies of all the gods, depart after She had slain the Mahiṣāsura and had been worshipped and praised by the Devas? O highly Fortunate one! You told me that She vanished from the sight of the Devas; now I like to know where is She staying now, whether in the Heavens or in the Land of Mortals? Did She melt away then and there or did She descend to Vaikuṇṭha or did She go to the mountain Sumeru? O Muni! Narrate all these duly before me.

16-50. Vyāsa said :-- O King! I told you before about the beautiful Maṇi Dvīpa; that island is the place of sport to the Devī and very dear to Her. In that place Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Mahādeva were transformed into females; they afterwards became males and were engaged in their respective duties. That place is grand and splendid and is in the centre of the ocean of Nectar; the Devī Ambikā assumes various forms there as She likes; and She sports there. To that Maṇi Dvīpa the auspicious Devī departed after She had been praised by the Gods, to that place where sports always the eternal Bhagavatī Bhuvaneśvarī, the incarnate of Para Brahmā. When the Highest Goddess vanished, the Devas installed, on the throne of Mahiṣāsura, the powerful King Śatrughna, endowed with all auspicious qualities, the Lord of Ajodhyā and descended from the Solar line.

The Same Devi Bhagavatam in the Later Chapters describes the Husband of this Devi whom she sports with in the Mani Dvipa.

Devi Bhagavatam Book 12 Chapter 12

The nine Pīṭha Śaktis, Jayā, Vijayā, Ajitā, Aparājitā, Nityā, Vilāsinī, Dogdhrī, Aghorā, and Mangalā reside here always and are in the service of the Devī Bhuvaneśvarī. On the side of the Devī are the two oceans of treasures; from these streams of Navaratna, gold, and seven Dhātus (elements) go out and assume the forms of rivers and fall into the ocean Sudhā Sindhu. Because such a Devī Bhuvaneśvarī, resplendent with all powers and prosperities, sits on the left lap of Bhuvaneśvara, that He has, no doubt acquired His omnipotence.

The Description of this Bhuvanesvara Mahadeva from the same chapter amply makes his identity amply clear.

Over this Śrī Bhuvaneśvara Mahā Deva or the Supreme Architect of the Universe is reigning. Now hear something about this Bhuvaneśvara. Before creation while intending to sport, the Devī Bhagavatī divided Her Body into two parts and from the right part created Bhuvaneśvara. He has five faces and each face has three eyes. He has four hands and He is holding in each hand speer, signs indicating do not fear, axe, and signs granting boons. He looks sixteen years old. The lustre of of His Body is more beautiful then Koṭi Kandarpas and more fiery than thousand Suns; and at the same time cool like Koṭi Suns. His colour is crystal white, and on His left lap Śrī Bhuvaneśvarī Devī is always sitting.

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