King Suratha and wealthy merchant Samadhi were in the same boat. Due to the betrayal by his subjects, King Suratha had lost his kingdom. Samadhi had lost his business empire because of the conspiracy of his family. Both came to Rishi Medha to seek his counsel.
Rishi Medha told them that the entire Universe is the divine play of the Mother Goddess. If anyone surrenders to Her and prays to Her, all problems will be solved. The sage then tells them three stories about the divine play of the Mother Goddess, recounted in the Chandi.
At the beginning of Creation, the Creator Brahma emerges from the vel of lord Vishnu. At the same time, two demons Madhu and Kaitabha came out from his ear. Both prayed to the Divine Mother and performed great pences. They maged to secure the boon that they would die only when they wished for it. Emboldened, these demons then tried to slay Brahma, who prayed to the Mother Goddess to raise Vishnu from slumber to fight the demons. Vishnu began the battle but could not slay them. He then prayed to the Mother Goddess who advised him what to do. Praising Madhu and Kaitabha for their valour and martial skills, Vishnu asked them what boon they wished for. However, Madhu and Kaitabha proudly said that since they had defeated Vishnu, he could receive any boon of his choice. Vishnu then asked for their death, which boon Madhu and Kaitabha had to grant. Thus the two demons became their own worst enemies — ego being their downfall.
In his second story, Rishi Medha recounted the origin of Mother Goddess Durga. The demon Mahisashur had secured the boon that no man or god could defeat him in battle. He believed himself invincible since no woman went to battle as it was not their dharma. After Mahisashur conquered Heaven, the defeated devas prayed to the Trinity of Creator Brahma, Preserver Vishnu and destroyer Mahadeva. All three Godheads then united to create Devi Durga to vanquish Mahisashura.
Durga symbolizes the united power of all divine beings, the ultimate symbol of victory of good over evil. For spiritual development, the devotee must get control over the ten sense organs to subdue both animal instincts and evil thoughts. Her grace is absolutely necessary to fight the battle of life. Rama propitiated Devi Durga before going to war against demon king Rava. Arju worshipped the Mother before the battle of Mahabharata.
Durga represents Mother ture herself, whose ten hands protect the devotees from all ten directions. Of her three eyes, the left eye represents desire (the moon), the right eye action (the sun) and the central eye knowledge (fire). She rides the lion which represents power, will and determition — qualities a devotee must possess to defeat the demon of ego. The lotus in Durga’s hand is not in fully bloomed, symbolizing certainty of success but not fility. Born of mud, the lotus stands for the continuous evolution of spiritual quality of devotees amidst the worldly mud of lust and greed.
With her conch shell, Durga holds on to God through divine sound. Her bow and arrows represent potential and kinetic energy. The sudarshan chakra or discus signifies that the entire world is subservient to Her will, the unfailing weapon in defence of righteousness. The sword Durga holds symbolizes knowledge, whose sharpness frees the devotee from all doubts. The trishul or trident is a symbol of three qualities — satwa (ictivity), rajas (activity) and tamas (non-activity). She is the remover of all the three types of miseries — physical, mental and spiritual. The thunderbolt in her hand signifies firmness of conviction with which the devotee needs to attack a challenge.
The third story is the battle between Kali and the demons Shumbha-Nishumbha and their followers. The Mother Goddess symbolizes Time and within Her body, the cycles of creation, preservation and destruction are going on. She stands upon the body of Siva, who is the transcendental aspect while She is the immanent aspect of pure consciousness. With the right hand, Mother Kali gives and with the left hand, She takes it away. She liberates her devotees from desire (like Raktabij), as well as the cycle of birth and rebirth, if prayed for it.
King Suratha worshipped Mother Durga and got back his kingdom. The merchant Samadhi prayed for liberation and achieved it due to the grace of Mother Kali.