Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakhur, one of our most powerful Gurus in the Brahma Madhava Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya, the founder of the Gaudiya Math and the spiritual master of Srila Prabhupada, explains this clearly and brilliantly in Sri Brahma Samhita.
This book contains the hymns of Lord Brahma. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu rediscovered a part of the work, the 62 verses of chapter five, which had previously been lost for a few centuries, at the Adikesava Perumal Temple, Kanyakumari in South India.
Here is the verse and translation:
The external potency Māyā who is of the nature of the shadow of the cit potency, is worshiped by all people as Durgā, the creating, preserving and destroying agency of this mundane world. I adore the primeval Lord Govinda in accordance with whose will Durgā conducts herself.
In the purport Srila Bhaktisiddhanta makes the following points (I cite):
- The aforesaid presiding deity of Devī-dhāma is being described.
- This world, is Devī-dhāma consisting of the fourteen worlds and Durgā is its presiding deity. She is ten-armed, representing the tenfold fruitive activities. She rides on the lion, representing her heroic prowess. She tramples down Mahīṣāsura, representing the subduer of vices. She is the mother of two sons, Kārttikeya and Gaṇeśa, representing beauty and success. She is placed between Lakṣmī and Sarasvatī, representing mundane opulence and mundane knowledge. She is armed with the twenty weapons, representing the various pious activities enjoined by the Vedas for suppression of vices. She holds the snake, representing the beauty of destructive time.
- Durgā is possessed of durga, which means a prison house. When jīvas begotten of the marginal potency (taṭasthā śakti) forget the service of Kṛṣṇa they are confined in the mundane prison house, the citadel of Durgā. The wheel of karma is the instrument of punishment at this place. The work of purifying these penalized jīvas is the duty devolved upon Durgā. She is incessantly engaged in discharging the same by the will of Govinda.
- When, the forgetfulness of Govinda on the part of imprisoned jīvas is remarked by them by coming in contact with self-realized souls and their natural aptitude for the loving service of Kṛṣṇa is aroused, Durgā herself then becomes the agency of their deliverance by the will of Govinda.
- So it behooves everybody to obtain the guileless grace of Durgā, the mistress of this prison house, by propitiating her with the selfless service of Kṛṣṇa.
- The boons received from Durgā in the shape of wealth, property, recovery from illness, of wife and sons, should be realized as the deluding kindness of Durgā.
- Jīva is a spiritual atomic part of Kṛṣṇa. When he forgets his service of Kṛṣṇa he is at once deflected by the attracting power of Māyā in this world, who throws him into the whirlpool of mundane fruitive activity (karma) by confining him in a gross body constituted by the five material elements, their five attributes and eleven senses, resembling the garb of a prisoner. In this whirlpool jīva has experience of happiness and miseries, heaven and hell.
- Durgā, worshiped by the people of this mundane world, is the Durgā described above. But the spiritual Durgā, mentioned in the mantra which is the outer covering of the spiritual realm of the Supreme Lord, is the eternal maidservant of Kṛṣṇa and is, therefore, the transcendental reality whose shadow, the Durgā of this world, functions in this mundane world as her maids.
So Durga is the material energy (Maha maya) a shadow of Krsna’s Yoga maya. She is a devotee of Krsna who does her duty only on accordance with Krsnas will. We offer her respects and ask her to allow us to engage in the devotional service of her Lord, Sri Krsna.
We offer respects to all demigods. However we dont make any separate endeavour to worship them.
As devotees though we dont make any special arrangements during this time….when we offer Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Radhanath bhoga, Durga devi is included in her original form as Yoga maya.
In Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 12 it is stated:
“Whoever fully engages himself in the service of the Lord, O King, is no longer indebted to the demigods, the sages, other living entities, his relatives, the forefathers or to any man”.Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 12
It is obvious that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakhur dissuades the materialistc worship of Durga devi or any other demigods.
As Lord Krsna says in Bhagavad gita:
अन्तवत्तु फलं तेषां तद्भवत्यल्पमेधसाम् ।
देवान्देवयजो यान्ति मद्भक्ता यान्ति मामपि ॥ २३ ॥
antavat tu phalaṁ teṣāṁ
tad bhavaty alpa-medhasām
devān deva-yajo yānti
mad-bhaktā yānti mām api
Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet.
Smita Krsna das