(‘the unconquered’)

Man casts God in his own mould. He cannot help doing it since it comes to him naturally. Again, if God is given a human form and conceived of as the Father, why not as the Mother? This seems to be the psychology behind the cult of the Śakti or the Devī, the Divine Mother.

Most of the forms of Śakti are associated with Pārvatī, the divine spouse of Lord Śiva. Aparājitā (literally, one who is unconquered and unconquerable) is one such aspect. Works on Hindu iconography describe her as a very strong woman with three eyes, with her hair made up as a crown and adorned with the crescent moon, and with four arms holding pināka (Śiva’s bow), arrow, sword and shield. The snake Vāsuki forms her wristlet. She rides a lion.

The Devīmāhātmya, which forms a part of the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa, contains a beautiful hymn titled ‘Aparājitā-stotra’ (5.8-82) sung by the gods led by Indra, to appease her so that she condescends to kill the demons Śumbha and Niśumbha. Kings were expected to worship her on the Vijayadaśamī day. They would then be assured of victory in battles.

The deity is known to Jaina mytho-logy also wherein she is pictured as a yakṣī (demi-goddess).

The seventh day in the bright fortnight of Bhādra (usually September) is observed as Aparājitā Saptamī vrata, fasting being an important part of the discipline.