Durga Chalisa is a prayer dedicated to Goddess Durga. This prayer is usually recited in groups and invokes the blessings of the Goddess. Literally translated, Durga Chalisa describes the acts and deeds of Goddess Durga and addresses the different forms of Maa Durga.
Some of the salient features of Durga Chalisa are explained below.
The prayer starts with salutations to the Goddess. In this salutation, the Goddess is addresses as the bestower of happiness and destroyer of negatives and evil.
The prayer goes on to describe the beautiful and radiant appearance of Goddess Durga. This prayer describes Durga’s stern and yet radiant face. The glow on the face of Goddess Durga is said to spread to the three Worlds (Earth, heaven and the nether world).
The devotees then go on to thank the Goddess for providing them food and wealth. The different forms of the Goddess are responsible for nurturing the World with her limitless resources and as well spread compassion.
The prayer addresses Goddess Durga as Gauri, the wife of Lord Shiva. Along with this, the devotees accept the fact the Durga is the culmination of the energies derived from Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Goddess Durga is also acknowledged as taking the form of Goddess Saraswati, the bestower of knowledge and wisdom.
As Goddess Amba, Goddess Durga took the form of Narasimha in order to protect her devotee Prahlad.
Goddess Durga is also worshipped in the form of Goddess Lakshmi, consort of Lord Vishnu. The devotees pray to Goddess Lakshmi so that all their desires can be fulfilled by her generosity.
Goddess Durga is also invoked in the form of Goddess Bhavani, associated with infinite glory and radiance. The other forms of the Goddess, namely Goddess Matangi, Dhoomavati, Bhairavi, Tara and Chinamasta Devi are also invoked in this prayer.
The devotees also acknowledge Goddess Dura’s ferocious form Kali that can even frighten Time away.
The prayer goes on to mention that the Goddess holds a trident in her hand to fend off enemies.
The Goddess has been known to slay the demons Shumbhu and Nishumbhu and thousand others in the form of the demon Rakta-beeja.
The Goddess has been said to come to the rescue of Mother Earth when burdened with the tyranny of Mahisasura and is thanked for her help at other troubled times.
It is claimed that devotes who pray to Mother Goddess are blessed with the light of her wisdom and blessings and absolved of al sadness and poverty.
Those yearning to attain ‘moksha’ or nirvana turn towards praying to Goddess Durga and escape from the continual cycle of birth and death.
Praying to Goddess Durga is said to be the path of enlightenment for one and all. Only by praying to Maa Durga was Acharya Shankar able to conquer his desires and gain control over his anger.
In the last few verses, the devotees ask the Goddess to help them out of their sorrows and miseries. The devotees yearn to be free from all sins and negativities and ask the Goddess to shower upon them the riches and powers that are essential to attain happiness.
The devotees also promise to praise Goddess Durga and keep asking for her shelter and blessings for all times to come.