Durga Chalisa

An ode to the Mother Goddess, Durga, this chalisa, if chanted with faith, brings all sorts of blessing from Durga Maa to the devotee.

Maa Durga is associated with the energies of life which is required for a good life.

In the form of Lakshmi, she is abundance in all forms. She symbolises the requirement of having a life of abundance. Abundant wealth, happiness and health.

In the form of Saraswati, she symbolises the arts and music. She symbolises the synthesis of learning.

In the form of Parvati, she symbolises the role of a woman. As a mother, she fought with her husband for her son Ganesha. As a wife, she fought with her father for her husbands respect. I have always seen pictures of Parvati with Shiva and Ganesh, but never her picture alone, unlike Lakshmi and Saraswati. She symbolises the force that keeps a family together.

In the form of Kali, she symbolises the power of destruction. She symbolises the destruction that is wrought when evil needs to be vanquished.

And in Durga, she symbolises all this and more. There are many forms of Durga, and I have but named a few. In essence, she is the feminine force of nature. Some feel that she is the prana of the universe, sustaining the worlds and the beings that live in it. I have read that she is God’s own energy, and that the Lord is a part of her as much as she is a part of the Lord.

In my own humble way, I have tried to explain this prayer to her in English, and if I have made any mistakes, please forgive me, as I know the Mother Goddess, forgives me, her child.

Durga Chalisa – The Prayer

Namo namo Durge sukh karani,
Namo namo Ambe dukh harani.
Chant the name of Durga, the giver of happiness,
Chant the name of Ambe,  the destroyer of sadness.
Nirankar hai jyoti tumhari
Tihun lok pheli ujayari.
Your light is infinite,
And it spreads in all the three realms  (Heaven, Earth and the netherworld)
Shashi lalat mukh maha vishala,
Netra lal brikuti vikrala.
You have the beauty of the moon and your mouth s wonderful,
Your eyes have a red glow and a stern frown
Roop  matu ko adhika suhave,
Daras karat jan ati sukh pave.
This image of your is very beautiful,
Which gives the devotee ultimate happiness to see.
Tum sansar shakti laya kina,
Palan hetu anna dhan dina.
All the powers of the world are in you,
And you look after the world by giving grain (food) and money (wealth).
Annapurna hui jag pala,
Tumhi adi sundari bala.
As Annapurna, the feeding mother, you nurture the universe,
And you are also the timeless young girl of extreme beauty.
Pralaya kal sab nashan hari,
Tum Gauri Shiv Shankar pyari.
You are the destroyer of everything at the end of time,
As Gauri, you are the beloved wife of Lord Shiva.
Shiv yogi tumhare gun gave,
Brahma Vishnu tumhe nit dhyaven.
The God Shiv and all the yogis chant your praise,
Brahma and Vishnu meditate on you. 
Roop Saraswati ko tum dhara,
De subudhi rishi munin ubara
You take the form of Goddess Saraswati,
To grant wisdom to the rishis (sages) thus look after them
Dharyo roop Narsimha ko Amba,
Pragat bhayin phar kar kamba.
Goddess Amba, you took the form of Narsimha,
And you broke the pillar.
Raksha kari Prahalad bachayo,
Hiranakush ko swarg pathayo.
You protected Prahalad and saved him,
And Hiranakush (the demon) was granted access to heaven
Lakshmii roop dharo jag mahi,
Shree Narayan ang samahi
You appear in this world in the form of Goddess Lakshmi,
And you are by the side of Lord Narayan.
Ksheree Sindhu karat vilasa,
Daya Sindhu deejay man aasa
Residing on the Sea of Milk
With Lord Vishnu, O Goddess, please fulfill my wishes.
Hingalaj mein tumhi Bhavani,
Mahima amit na jaat bakhani
You are Goddess Bhavani in Hingalaj,
Your glory is brilliant, beyond description.
Matangi Dhoomavati Mata,
Bhuvneshwari Bagala Sukhdata
You are the Goddess Matangi and Dhoomavati,
You are the giver of happiness in the form of Bhuvneshwari and Bagala
Shree Bairav Tara jog tarani,
Chin-na Bhala bhav dukh nivarani.
You end the sorrows of this world,
By appearing in the forms of  Bhairavi, Tara & Chinamasta Devi
Kehari Vahan soh Bhavani,
Langur veer chalat agavani
Oh Goddess Bhavani, ever graceful on your steed, the lion,
The brave monkey always welcomes you.
Kar men khappar khadag viraje,
Jako dekh kal dar bhaje.
When you appear in anger with your sword and cupel drawn,
Looking at you, even Time flees in fear
Sohe astra aur trishoola,
Jase uthata shatru hiya shoola
Seeing you with your trident and your magics,
Withen your enemy arises the pangs of fear
Nagarkot mein tumhi virajat,
Tihun lok mein danka bajat
You are there in Nagarkot,
Thus your presence is there in all the three realms.
Shumbhu Nishumbhu Danuja tum mare,
Rakta-beeja shankhan samhare.
You slayed the demons Shumbhu & Nishumbhu,
And killed the thousand forms of the demon Rakta-beeja
Mahishasur nripa ati abhimani,
Jehi agha bhar mahi akulani
When Mother Earth was burdened with the sins
of Mahishasur..…..
Roop kaaral Kalika dhara,
Sen sahita tum tin samhara
You assumed the dreaded form of Goddess Kali
And killed him and his army.
Pari garha santan par jab jab,
Bhayi sahaya Matu tum tab tab
Whenever the saints were troubled,
You, O Mother, always came to their rescue
Amarpuri aru basava loka,
Tava mahima sab rahen asoka
Amarpuri (divine realm) and all the other worlds,
Under your grace remain forever happy
Jwala mein hai jyoti tumhari,
Tumhen sada pujan nar nari
In Jwala it is your light that burns,
Men and women always pray to you.
Prem bhakti se jo yash gaye,
Dukh-daridra nikat nahin ave
Whoever sings your praise with love and devotion,
Sadness and poverty cannot come near them
Dhyave tumhen jo nar man laee,
Janam-maran tako chuti jaee.
Whoever meditates upon you with his heart and concentration,
Is able to escape this cycle of birth and death.
Jogi sur-muni kahat pukari,
Jog na ho bin shakti tumhari
All the yogis and saints openly say,
That without your power, one cannot merge with the Lord
Shankar Aacharaj tap keenhon,
Kam, krodh jeet sab leenhon
Acharya Shankar performed a penance,
And was able to conquer his desires and anger
Nisidhin dhyan dharo Shanker ko,
Kahu kal nahin sumiron tum ko
Perpetually in meditation of Lord Shiva,
He did not even pray to you for a moment
Shakti roop ko maram na payo,
Shakti gayi tab man pachitayo
He did not understand the power that you are,
And only when his powers vanished, did he severely regret not praying to you
Sharnagat hui keerti bakhani,
Jai jai jai Jagdamb Bhavani
He too refuge in your fold singing your praises, saying,
Always Victorious, victorious, victorious, Universal Goddess Bhavani 
Bhayi prasanna Aadi Jagdamba,
Dayi shakti nahin keen vilamba
Then you were happy with him, O Supreme Goddess,
And you gave him back his powers without any hesitation
Mokun Matu kashta ati ghero,
Tum bin kaun hare dukh mero
O Mother, I am surrounded by lots of problems,
Apart from you, there is no one else who can destroy my sorrows
Asha trishna nipat sataven,
Moh madadik sab binsaven
Hopes and wants keeps on troubling me,
Desires and passions also make me sad
Shatru nash keeje Maharani,
Sumiron ekachita tumhen Bhavani
Oh, Queen of Queens, please destroy my enemies (referring to desires and passions)
I meditate on you with a fixed mind, O Bhavani
Karo kripa hey Matu dayala
Riddhi-Siddhi de karahu nihala
Please forgive us, O Forgiving Mother,
And shower us with riches and powers which keep us happy
Jab lagi jiyoon daya phal paoon,
Tumro yash mein sada sunaoon,
Whilst I live, may I always be in your grace,
And may I always praise you to all
Durga chalisa jo gaye,
Sab sukh bhog parampad pave
Whoever sings the Durga Chalisa,
Will enjoy all happiness and will attain the highest state upon death
Devidas sharan nij jani,
Karahu kripa Jagdamb Bhavani
I, your slave, ask you for shelter,
Oh Universal Goddess, have mercy on me!

This is the Durga Chalisa. May it bring happiness, joy and enlightenment to all who read it.

With the blessings of Our Divine Mother,

Her devotee,


Below are some notes and points of mine in context to the Chalisa. They are linked to various parts of the prayer.

1) As per stories we have heard, Prahalad was rescued by Vishnu who took the form of Narsimha, the half-lion half-man. Yet this Chalisa attributes this feat to Durga. The point being that Durga and Vishnu are one, and she is God.  Prahalad prayed to God to come to his help, and God did so. Hence this part of the prayer acknowledges her as the Supreme Lord. (back)

2) The brave Langur (monkey) refers to the Lord Hanuman. (back)

3) Shumbhu and Nishumbhu were two demons who had captured all the heavens and earth. The Gods then prayed to Parvati Maa to help them.  Parvati Maa agreed to help them, and split into two beings, Ambika and Kali. Ambika was the most beautiful feminine form to be created, and Kali was the dark personage of the Goddess.  When the demons heard of Ambika’s beauty, they were enamoured by her and desired her. They sent their emissary, Sugreeva to petition her on thier behalf.  She told them that she made a promise to marry the person who could defeat her in battle, so if his masters wanted her, they would have to defeat her. The Demons sent their general, Dhoomralochan, but she killed him with but one look from her eyes. Then the demons sent their second most powerful demons, ChandaMunda with an army of demons, to go and defeat her. Durga Ma showed her form of Kali Maa and killed them all. Kali Maa chopped off the heads of ChandaMunda, thus earning another name of Chamunda Devi. Then Shumbhu, Nishumbhu and Raktabeeja went to fight with her. Raktabeeja had a unique power. Wherever his blood drops would fall, they would become demons themselves. In order to defeat this demon, Kali Maa opened her mouth wide and swallowed all the blood drops, the forms of Raktabeeja and Raktabeeja himself, thus destroying that demon. Durga Maa then proceeded to kill Nishumbhu and last Shumbhu. Shumbhu challenged Durga to fight with her own power only, and not the powers of others, to which Durga replied that all the Gods were within her and part of her, and she was Supreme, hence all the powers were hers only. She then killed Shumbhu and restored the heavens to the Gods. (back)

4) Mahishasur was another demon in the form of half bull and half man, who also overran the Heavens. Durga Maa, in the visage of Kali Maa, also defeated him and his army in a fierce battle. (back)

5) These are my own thoughts on this part of the prayer. Our physical body exists within an energy body. The energy body consists of seven main chakras, and the top most chakra, the crown chakra, is our connection with God. At the base chakra is the Kundalini energy, which is our life energy. Most mediations in India teach of reaching God by awakening the Kundalini energy, which is feminine in nature, and raising it slowly to the crown chakra, which is considered masculine in nature. It is when these two energies meet, that one is able to experience God. The feminine energy is referred to as Shakti and the masculine energy is referred to as Shiv. When both the energies merge at the top after long meditations, the duality of nature ceases and one realises the singularity of nature, which is God, and then one partakes on a journey to God through this singularity.  The reference in the Chalisa is to Acharya Shankar, a well known saint, who instead of meditating on the Shakti (kundalini), only chose to meditate on the Shiv (the masculine energy). And when the Shakti energy was not meditated on, it withdrew, and with it, all the powers and life energy also waned. Thus Shankar acharya realised his mistake, and started meditating on the kundalini, which then blossomed and rose, enabling him to realise the Lord. This showed that without realising that the feminine energies are as important as the masculine energies, one is unable to realise God. Like I said earlier, these are my thoughts, and I could be wrong.