Who Are the Nine Sisters of the Goddess Durga?

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    Masculine or Feminine

    • Although the masculine interpretation of the nine sisters demonstrates the process of creation from nothingness to ego, the female interpretation follows the path of a woman's life. Separately, each shows a reverence for the path of creation and the development of life. As a result of these interpretations, the sisters should always be listed in the correct order, to signify the individual phases of each interpretation.

    Shailputri and Brahmacharini

    • From a male perspective, Shailputri represents unrefined matter or the undeveloped element of creation, and Brahmacharini signifies water. A female perspective holds that Shailputri represents the infant female, pure and new, and Brahmacharini represents a young girl who has not yet menstruated. Essentially these two sisters signify a beginning, either for the creation of the universe or for the beginning of a woman.

    Chandraghanta and Kushmanda

    • The male perspective holds Chandraghanta to represent fire and Kushmanda to identify air. From a female perspective, Chandraghanta represents a girl who has begun menstruating, a formative period of cycles and phases in the Hindu religion, not unlike the cycles of the season or phases of the moon. Kushmanda represents a pregnant woman, fertile and healthy and the beginning of a new cycle of creation as the mother creates a new child.

    Skandamata and Katyayani

    • Skandamata, from a male perspective, represents the shapeless ether, and Katyayani signifies intelligence or the ability to think. From a female perspective, Skandamata represents a mother in transition, just after giving birth, and Katyayani signifies a strong, independent middle-age woman. This representation of Katyayani, considering both perspectives, signifies the rising significance of the female perspective in the religion, identifying strong and independent women as a source of intellect and knowledge.

    Kaalratri and Mahagauri

    • From the male view, Kaalratri represents an aspect of time, and Mahagauri signifies consciousness. Kaalratri, from a female perspective, represents the woman as she enters menopause, and Mahagauri signifies the woman after menopause, when she is returned to her pure and virginal state.


    • Siddhidatri, the final aspect, represents ego and the idea of self, from a masculine perspective. The female view interprets Siddhidatri as an aspect of spiritual perfection who gives wisdom and guidance to others.

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