Durga and Chamunda

Durga Puja close up

Through my three and a half years or more of chanting the mantra of Green Tara, Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha, I have always felt I have something good by my side. 

Green Tara is known as Great Protectress, Incomparable Saviouress.  As not one day has gone past when I haven’t chanted her mantra at least once (one round of 108) in nearly 1,300 days, my sense of her benevolent, patient, compassionate, funny, magical, mischievous, no-nonsense spirit has grown inside me.

Green Tara is one expression or representation of the Great Feminine.  She has so many names over so many cultures.  Here in the West most of us see her in The Virgin Mary.  In Norse mythology she appears as Freyja.  Pachamama is her name in the Andes region.  She’s in the Mediterranean, she’s in Africa, she’s in Siberia, she’s everywhere.  Within the Hindu approach she has many different faces and many qualities.  One of those is Durga, known for her victories over a variety of demons.

If you look Durga up, you’ll find that she looks pretty similar to Kali, who looks pretty similar to the Hindu goddess Tara.  Different sources will give different accounts of the narratives of these deities.  You might also come across mention of Chamunda, who is often said to be Durga by a different name.  I have experience of chanting mantras to both these goddesses.

I chanted the mantra of Durga, Om Dum Durgayei Namaha for a few days a couple of years back.  The first time I chanted it, it left me feeling like I had a suit of armour on.  It felt good.  But after about five days or so I noticed that people were reacting to me  a little as if I was war-ready.  Not helpful at the time so I stopped it.  On occasion, however, I have done more extended practices of the mantra of Chamunda:

Om Eim Hrim Klim Chamundaye Vicche Namaha

(Om and salutations to she who is radiant with power and wisdom)

The ‘Eim, Hrim and Klim’ seed sounds evoke the knowledge and wisdom of Saraswati, the abundance of Lakshmi and the abiding nature of Kali.  I have not been able to find out about the ‘Vicche’ part.  For me, the effect of this mantra is very different from the Durga mantra.  Rather than protected from the outside, encased in armour, I feel fortified from the inside, like my bones have been strengthened.

Some mantras I take on as a forty day practice, some I pick up and put down to suit.  How I decide what to chant and when to stop is down to how a mantra is making me feel, and I can’t be any more specific than that.  The last time I chanted the Chamunda mantra, for about three weeks, I decided to stop when I realised that it was actually making me feel like I had something to fear.  Not the mantra itself, but the situation for which I had requested Chamunda’s help.  When I stepped back I realised that the matter in question, the heart of it, had been dealt with during those three weeks, and that whatever came as a result of it with was not something I needed to fear, at least not in the same way.

In the end, for me, Green Tara covers the lot, but from time to time it is good to get a bit of extra help, from another manifestation of the Great Woman.

Thank you for reading

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha

2 thoughts on “Durga and Chamunda

  1. The composer John Tavener wrote: ‘I went for a walk one evening, during one of those wonderful winter sunsets that you get in Greece, and suddenly had, I suppose, what they call an out-of-body experience. I suddenly thought, I’m not a person, I’m just a piece of music. I could only see myself as music. It remains a total mystery to me’. Well Emily, you show that, to be a piece of music, can be life itself !

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