chāyeva yasya bhuvanāni bibharti durgā
icchānurūpam api yasya ca ceṣṭate sā
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
(The aforesaid presiding deity of Devī-dhāma is being described.) The world, in which Brahmā takes his stand and hymns the Lord of Goloka, 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. Such is Durgā possessing all these manifold forms. 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, luckily. 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. The mundane psychical jubilations of daśa-mahā-vidyā, the ten goddesses or forms of Durgā, are elaborated for the delusion of the fettered souls of this world. 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. Besides this, there is a subtle body. consisting of the mind, intelligence and ego, inside the gross body. By means of the subtle body. the jīva forsakes one gross body and takes recourse to another. The jīva cannot get rid of the subtle body. full of nescience and evil desires, unless and until he is liberated. On getting rid of the subtle body he bathes in the Virajā and goes up to Hari-dhāma. Such are the duties performed by Durgā in accordance with the will of Govinda. In the Bhāgavata śloka, vilajyamānayā... durdhiyaḥ—the relationship between Durgā and the conditioned souls has been described.
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 maidservant. (Vide the purport of