Goddess Durga represents the Divine Mother. She is the energy aspect of the Lord. Without Goddess Durga, Lord Shiva has no expression and without Lord Shiva, Goddess Durga has no existence. Lord Shiva is the soul of Goddess Durga; Goddess Durga is identical with Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is only the silent witness. He is motionless, absolutely changeless. He is not affected by the cosmic play. It is Goddess Durga who does everything.
Shakti is the omnipotent power of the Lord, or the Cosmic Energy. The Divine Mother is represented as having ten different weapons in Her hands. She sits on a lion. She keeps up the play of the Lord through the three attributes of Nature, namely, Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas. Knowledge, peace, lust, anger, greed, egoism and pride, are all Her forms.
Goddess Durga is a form of Sakti worshipped for her gracious as well as terrifying aspect. Mother of the Universe, she represents the infinite power of the universe and is a symbol of a female dynamism. The manifestation of Goddess Durga is said to emerge from Her formless essence and the two are inseparable.
She is also called by many other names, such as Parvati, Ambika, and Kali. In the form of Parvati, She is known as the divine spouse of Lord Shiva and is the mother of Her two sons, Ganesha and Karttikeya, and daughter Jyoti. Destroyer of demons, she is worshipped during an annual festival called Durga puja,
The Mother's Grace is boundless. Her mercy is illimitable; Her knowledge infinite; Her power immeasurable; Her glory ineffable; and Her splendour indescribable. She gives us material prosperity as well as spiritual freedom.
Approach Her with an open heart. Lay bare your heart to Her with frankness and humility. Be as simple as a child. Kill ruthlessly the enemies of egoism, cunningness, selfishness and contortion. Make a total, unreserved, and ungrudging self-surrender to Her. Sing Her praise. Repeat Her Name. Worship Her with faith and unflinching devotion. Perform special worship on the Navaratri days. Navaratri is the most suitable occasion for doing intense spiritual practices. These nine days are very sacred to the Divine Mother. Plunge yourself in Her worship. Practise intense repetition of the Divine Name, having a regular "quota" of repetitions per day, and the number of hours spent on it.
Sri Rama worshipped Goddess Durga at the time of the fight with Ravana, to invoke Her aid in the war. This was on the days preceding the Vijaya Dasami day. He fought and won through Her Grace.
Origin of Goddess Durga:
In the ancient times, a demon called 'Mahishasura' earned the favour of 'Lord Shiva' after a long meditation. Lord Shiva, pleased with the devotion of the demon, blessed him with a boon that no man or Deity would be able to kill him. Empowered with the boon, Mahishasura started his reign of terror over the World. People were killed mercilessly and even the Gods were driven out from heaven. The Gods went to Lord Shiva for relief and informed him about the atrocities caused by the demon. Lord Shiva became very angry after hearing all this. This anger came out in the form of an energy from Shiva's third eye and concentrated to form a woman. All the Gods who were present there contributed their share of energy to this Goddess and thus Goddess Durga, the eternal Mother, was born. Riding a lion, she attacked Mahishasura. After a fierce battle, Goddess Durga transformed into Devi Chandika, the most ferocious form of the Goddess, and beheaded Mahishasura.