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Lord Shiva and Durga
Lord Shiva is always accompanied by his material energy. The material energy - goddess Durga, or goddess Kali - is always under his control. Goddess Kali or Durga serves him by killing all the asuras, or demons. Sometimes Kali becomes so infuriated that she indiscriminately kills all kinds of asuras. There is a popular picture of goddess Kali in which she wears a garland composed of the heads of the asuras and holds in her left hand a captured head and in her right hand a great khadga (chopper) for killing asuras. Great wars are symbolic representations of Kali's devastation of the asuras and are actually conducted by the goddess Kali. Asuras try to pacify the goddess Kali or Durga, by worshiping her in material opulence, but when the asuras become too intolerable, goddess Kali does not discriminate in killing them wholesale. Asuras do not know the secret of the energy of Lord Shiva, and they prefer to worship goddess Kali or Durga or Lord Shiva for material benefit. Due to their demoniac character, they are reluctant to surrender to Lord Krishna, as indicated in the Bhagavad-gita (7.15)
na mam dushkrtino mudhah prapadyante naradhamah
mayayapahrita-jnana asuram bhavam ashritah
"Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons, do not surrender unto Me."
Lord Shiva's duty is very dangerous because he has to employ the energy of goddess Kali (or Durga). In another popular picture the goddess Kali is sometimes seen standing on the prostrate body of Lord Shiva, which indicates that sometimes Lord Shiva has to fall down flat in order to stop goddess Kali from killing the asuras.Since Lord Shiva controls the powerful material energy (goddess Durga), worshipers of Lord Shiva attain very opulent positions within this material world. Under Lord Shiva's direction, a worshiper of Lord Shiva gets all kinds of material facilities. In contrast, a Vaishnava, or a worshiper of Lord Vishnu may not become materially opulent, but receives divine intelligence from the Lord Himself to make progress on the path back home, back to Godhead. Since a devotee has nothing to do with any kind of material possession, he does not come under the control of goddess Kali, or the goddess Durga.
Lord Shiva is also in charge of the tamo-guna, or the mode of ignorance in this material world. His potency, the goddess Durga, is described as keeping all living entities in the darkness of ignorance (yaa devi sarva bhuteshu nidra-rupam samsthita).