Born to sage Katyayana, Katyayani is an incarnation of Durga and is shown to exhibit courage. Known as the warrior goddess, she is considered one of the most violent forms of Devi. In this avatar, Katyayani rides a lion and has four hands. The lion is the symbol of Dharma, just like Shiva’s bull. Devi fights with Mahishasur casually until the Asura dares to harm her lion. Upon seeing her lion harmed, and hence symbolically, the Dharma wounded, it is then that anger actually dawns in her red eyes and she impales him and slices off his head.
Katyayani’s association or identification with sakti, maya, and prakriti lends to the great demon-slaying goddess an immediate, tangible dimension. As an expression of these ideas she is identified with the creation itself. Her presence is affirmed to pervade and underlie the actual world in which people live, and her power and strength are affirmed to imbue all creatures with the will to prosper and multiply, in Dharma.