Another name for Maa Durga is Durgatinashini which means ‘the one who eliminates suffering’. Her name thus indicates her role as the one who protects her devotees and removes evil from the world.
Maa Durga is depicted as having ten arms. These represent the ten directions in Hinduism; she protects her devotees in all directions. In each of her hands, the goddess wields a different weapon gifted by the gods for her to fight against evil beings such as Mahishasura. In one hand she holds the conch-shell gifted to her by Varuna, God of the Sea. In two other hands, she holds the bow and the arrow given to her 104 by Vayu, the Wind God. In another hand, she holds the thunderbolt of Indra, which can destroy anything it strikes without being affected. In yet another hand she holds the lotus, a symbol of spirituality and steadfastness. In another hand, she holds the Sudarshan chakra, or the discus of Vishnu, which can destroy evil forces no matter how powerful they are. In her other hands, she carries a longsword, and Brahma’s kamandalu or a pot to carry holy water in. In her forearms, she carries Shiva’s all-powerful trident which is the weapon that provides the final death blow to Mahishasura.
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