When you see the idol of Durga that Bengalis worship during the navratri you will notice that the goddess appears with three eyes. This is a common thing you will notice everywhere. The Bengalis worship goddess Durga in her Shakti form. She is worshipped for strength and wisdom.
Durga has many forms. During the Navratri she is worshipped as the goddess who killed the asuras to protect the humans and the gods. She is Ambika or Parvati who took the form of Kali and got into a fierce battle with the asuras. She is the representation of Shakti and the infinite power of the universe. She is the symbol of feminine dynamism and the potency of Shiva. Durga was created from the formless essence of the universe and she cannot be separated from the source no matter what. This is what makes her so powerful. She has both gracious as well as a fierce form and she is worshipped in both these forms.
Secret of third eye
As per Skanda Purana. Goddess Durga had two eyes. The right eye represents the sun or action. The left eye represents the moon and stands for desire. The forms of Durga are Uma, Chandi and many more. The third eye on her forehead represents the knowledge of fire.
When goddess Durga is in her fierce mood the third eye opens and it is the most powerful form of the goddess. Three eyes are common to Lord Shiva too. It is said that goddess Kali appeared from the third eye of goddess Durga and destroyed the demons during the Navratri. Durga is also called Triyambake or Trinoyoni as she has three eyes.
The common mantra that is recited by the Bengalis during the Durga Puja is –
“Sarva Mangala Mangalye, Shive Sarvartha Sadhike, Sharanye Tryambake Gauri Narayani Namostute, Narayani Namostute, Narayani Namostute”
In this shlok the goddess Durga is being referred to as the consort of Lord Shiva. She brings purity to the lives of all who worship her. She full fills the wishes of her devotees. The devotee is saying that he or she is completely surrendering to the goddess and is requesting the goddess to take the devotee in her care.
Goddess Durga is always worshipped as Shakti and Lord Shiva as the efficient cause of creation and Durga is the material cause of the creation. When both these forces combine only then there can be creation. By the combination of these two forces the whole universe was created.
These are the many reasons why goddess Durga is always shown with three eyes in the idols that are worshipped by the Bengalis. The traditional idols of Durga were simple but today they are made in different shapes and sizes. No matter how much the look of the idol has changed in the last years. The ten hands and the three eyes of the goddess continue to remain the same.
We hope we were able to explain well why these three eyes are considered to be so important for the Bengalis as they worship their maa Durga. We will try to discuss some more interesting aspects of Durga Puja and the Bengali traditions in the next few articles.