Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Jan 13 21:35:13 CST 2003

On Mon, 13 Jan 2003, Shrinivas Gadkari wrote:

> Namaste,
> In the durgA gAyatrI, the devI is referred to by three
> titles: kAtyAyanI, kanyakumArI, dugrA.
> Does anyone have information about how these three titles
> are related. Any legend associated with them ?

The latter two are relatvely easy.

Durga = 'fortress.' Like a fortress She is unassailable.  Either this
refers to how even powerful warriors like Mahishasura were unable to
defeat Her or when She announced Her wish to do tapa to marry Shiva
Bhagawan, all the tricks Her parents used to try and dissuade her were for

Kanyakumari = 'a virgin girl'  This is the form of Devi as a little girl
(bAla) As Jagadamba Durga She is the Mother of the universe, its' creator
maintainer, and regenerator.  But as Bala she is the universe in its'
potential form.

This is more difficult.

Katyayani - 'daughter or descendent of Katyayana'  Katyayana itself means
one who belongs to Kati gotra.  Vararuchi Katyayana is an important early
acharya who wrote several vedangas.  What connection he has to Mataji I
don't know.  The commentary on the Amarakosha quotes this definition from
Medinikosha: kaShAyavastravidhavArdhajaratyubhayoh strIyAm.  which if I
have translated correctly is: "an old widow or middle-aged woman dressed
in dark-red clothes."

So the three names would indicate the child (Kanyakumari,) adult (Durga,)
and old (Katyayani) forms of Mataji.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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