In temples around Udupi and Mangalore, there are many Durga Parameshwari temples in which Goddess Durga is portrayed in different forms and types.

Forms include :

  1. Mahisha Mardini (killing the bull - Tamasic form)
  2. Mahishasura Mardini(killing the asura - Tamasic form)
  3. Mahishasura Mardini(After killing the asura - Sattvic form)

Types include:

  1. Jaya Durga
  2. Jala Durga
  3. Vana Durga
  4. Pancha Durga and so on...

What is the basis for above types and forms?


1 Answer 1


The notion that there are many Durga Parmeshwari Temples where mostly devis are Mahishasur Mardini is wrong.

Firstly, only two durgas are known to be precisely Mahishasur Mardinis. One is Dwibhuja Durga(one with 2 hands) and second is Ashtabhuja (one with 8 hands where Mahaisha's head is in her feet).
Rest forms of Mahishamardini maybe Ashtabhuja or Shodashbhuja Bhadrakali, Ashtadashbhuja Mahalaxmi, Ugrachanda, Katyayani, Amba, etc from various Kalpas. Now coming to various Durgas named here, these Durgas are Mahavidyas in Various Kulas, says Shreekula, Kalikula etc. And none of them like, JayaDurga, Jal Durga have any connection to Mahishasur. These Durgas are purely either Agamic or Vedic forms.

Now, the reason why each devi is called durga is because,

"दुर्गतिनाशिनिति दुर्गा"
The one who destorys Durgati is Durga.

And, going by that shastra pramana all devi forms surely destorys Durgati of their bhaktas. Thus, commonly called Durga. But, remember not each Devi is Durga as said. (except like Deepadurga, Jaldurga, Vanadurga, etc)

'' What is the basis for above? ''

The basis is derived from Shastras, Shakta agams, Vedas and the Achara followed, etc.
For, example even if one knows Jaganmatha Kamakshi is ever compassionate and Shanta murti but the Adi-Kamakshi in Kamakoti peetham of Kanchipuram is Ugramurti for she is Kalashankarshini Kali. The logic is very same here, it depends upon the agams used and the sadhaka who installed the deity there.
To explain better, I will give example of a very short instance of Triguni Tara worship here.
Take the example of Tamoguni Tara, the part of dhyana goes as,

संहारास्त्रं वज्रपाशौ खट्वाङ्गम् गदया सहा ।
रक्ताम्भोदौ स्थितां ध्यायेत्संहार ध्यान मीदृशम् ॥ ३ ॥
She is situated in the midst of red clouds and dons Her role as the Destroyer and becomes its very cause, at the time of dissolution of the Creation.

Thus, here her quality of destruction is mentioned and invoked, likewise here her Ugra swaroop is worshipped with great care and Raktabalis. Likewise, if you see at Ahobilam, where Ugra Narsimha is stationed. Thus, the natives visit Ahobilam and do Bali for Narsimha prityartham. Even if Ahobilam is the Kshtera of Vaishnavas but the Agams can't be defied.
So, it depends upon what nature of deity is infused into vigraha, and what Agams have prescribe in the puja.

Likewise, there can even be difference in puja prakara. For say,Lalitamba is worshipped in both Vamamarga and Dakshinamarga. In Vamamarga complete Panchmakar (mudra, meat, etc) are used even though she is Shaumya murti. But, in Dakshinachar the substitutes of it are used. So, here there is no difference in deity or her form. But difference arises in the Achara used. This is clearly from the Guru Parampara one belongs too.
And even Satwik forms of Bhagwati too are worshipped with Bali at many places. So, we can't make out just by seeing puja that what form of devi is she. Remember example at Kanchipuram, even if Adi-Kamakshi is ugramurti and Kalashankarshini Kali, still not Blood sacrifice happens for her, while even if Brahmani is Satvik yet in Joganiya temple in Rajasthan, Bali is offered to her.

'So, how can one know true nature of the deity infused?'

One must ask the upsakas of Bhagwati there in temple, regarding what form is it of devi and what is her puja vidhana. If they grace us, we can know what is the real form of devi and the agama followed there otherwise there is no other way, until Devi herself appears in our dreams ;)

कालिकार्पणमस्तु 🌺|

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