In the fourth form, the Goddess Durga is worshipped as Mother ‘Kushmanda’. Kushmanda consists of three words, ‘Ku’ meaning little, ‘ushma’ meaning energy and ‘anda’ meaning egg. The name literally means a ‘cosmic egg’. The goddess is depicted to be very happy in this form and it is said that she created the universe and worlds in it with just a smile.
Legend: As the legend goes, it is Mother Kushmanda who existed when nothing but darkness existed and it was her smile that lead to the origin of the universe and worlds as we know it. She is known to reside at the centre of the Sun and providing it with all the energy it emits. And it is the reason that she appears to be as radiant as the Sun itself and her skin illuminates as the sunshine. It is only her energy that resurrects through every creature and every creation in the world. She is known to be the starting point of the universe. When there was just nothingness, she smiled and illuminated the ten quarters, giving birth to the cosmic galaxies and hence, the universe. She controls the solar system and resides with in the Sun.
Depiction: Mother Kushmanda is depicted to be extremely happy and radiant as sun. She is embodied with eight arms. Seven of her hands hold a kamandalu, a bow, an arrow, a lotus, a jar of nectar, mace and a divine discus. Her eighth hand holds a rosary in which she carries the eight ‘siddhis’ (super natural powers) and nine ‘niddhis’ (treasures). She rides a lion or a tiger at some places which represents ‘dharma’ (religion).
A similar concept of origin of universe can be seen in many religions, Islam being one of them. In fact the theory of big bang, the universe exploding from a single atomic particle somehow reflects the legend of Kushmanda. Her worship on the 4th day of navratras brings good health, progress, fame and inner strength.