Nava-Durga : The Nine forms of Goddess Durga
The festival of Navratri is dedicated to the nine forms of Goddess Durga known as the Nava-durga. Devi Durga is the form of Shakti or the Infinite Power. It is believed that she manifested herself into nine divine forms collectively known as Navadurga or nine Durgas.
The first day of the festival is dedicated to Goddess Shailaputri. On the first day of Navratri start your day with chanting this mantra and worship Maa Shailaputri whole heartedly.
वन्दे वांछितलाभाय चन्द्रर्धकृत शेखराम् ।
वृशारूढ़ा शूलधरां शैलपुत्री यशस्वनीम् ॥
Vande Vaanchhit Laabhaaya Chandrardha Krita Shekharaam,
Vrishaarudhaam Shuladharaam Shaila- Putrim Yashasviniim
“I pay my obeisance to the Divine Mother Shailaputri, who bestows upon the choicest boons to the devotees. The moon in the crescent form is adorned as the crown on her forehead. She is mounted on the bullock. She holds a lotus in her hand. She is Yashasvini -the Celebrated Mother Durga.”
On the first Navaratri, devotees wear bright red color and place red cloth on a chowki where the picture of Goddess would be placed. Further they write ‘Sh’ with kesar on it and place Gutika (herbal astringent & antiseptic), take red flowers and chant this mantra.
Shailaputri literally means the daughter (putri) of the mountains (shaila). She is also known to us as Sati, Bhavani, Parvati or Hemavati, the daughter of Hemavana – the king of the Himalayas. She is the first among Navadurgas. Maa Shailaputri is the absolute form of Mother Nature.
Her worship takes place on the first day of Navaratri . Maa Shailaputri is the embodiment of the power of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. She rides the Nandi bull and carries a trident and a lotus in her two hands.
She is worshipped on the second day of Navaratri and is the second form of Mother Goddess. Bharmacharini means one who practices devout austerity. She enlightens us in the magnificent embodiment of Durga with great powers and divine grace. In one hand she carries a Rudraksha mala and in the other hand she carries a Kamandal (water utensil). This form of the Goddess has two arms only. She is named so because She went through severe penance and lived a life of a hermit to get Lord Shiva as Her husband. The worship of this form of the Goddess is conducive to penance, renunciation and various other virtues. She is blissful and endows happiness, peace, prosperity and grace upon all devotees who worship her. Filled with bliss and happiness, she is the way to emancipation – Moksha.
On the second auspicious day of Navratri Pooja, Durga devotees worship Brahmacharini devi to acquire power of abstaining food and water till nine days of fasting. They chant mantras and offer Stuti (invocation) to Devi Brahmacharini to get her immense blessings and grace. By heartily worshipping Goddess Brahmacharini, devotees can enhance their metabolism, stamina and can live without meals without much effect on health. It is not just miraculous, but the grace and grandeur of Devi Brahmacharini who bestows her devotees the great strength to endure unexpected torment of nature. Second day of Navratri Pooja is solely dedicated to Devi Brahmacharini, so worship this almighty on this propitious day and obtain her enormous grace. Jai Devi Brahmacharini!
The third facet of Goddess Durga is Chandraghanta, who is worshipped on the third day of Navaratri, for peace, tranquility and prosperity in life. She has a ‘chandra’ or half moon in her forehead in the shape of a ‘ghanta’ or bell. That is why she is called Chandraghanta. She is charming, has a golden bright complexion and rides a lion. She has ten hands, three eyes and holds weapons in her hands. The lion signifies Dharma, eight of Her hands display weapons while the remaining two are respectively in the mudras of gestures of boon giving and stopping harm. Devi Maa is posed as to be ready for war.
By her blessings all the hindrances coming in way of a person are removed. Her pleasant looks clears all sorrows and sadness of her devotees. Her roaring voice alerts and makes the Demons to tremble.By purifying our mind, words, deeds and body through prescribed manner we should worship the mother Chandraghanta and take shelter under her feet. Through worshiping her we can get rid of all worldly sorrows, and attain the supreme goal spontaneously. We should always try to advance on the path of spiritual discipline by contemplating on the sacred image of the mother. Contemplating on her, we can attain the mundane perfection and ultimate good in the other world.
Kushmanda is the fourth form of the mother goddess and is worshipped on the fourth day of Navaratri. The meaning of the name ‘Ku-shm-anda’ is as follows: ‘Ku’ = a little; ‘ushma’ = ‘warmth’; ‘anda’ = ‘the cosmic egg’. Mother Goddess created the whole universe in shape of an egg called “Anda” with her little & light divine smile, so Maa Durga is named Kushmanda. She is considered the creator of the universe. The universe was no more than a void, full of darkness, until her light spreads in all directions like rays from the sun. Often she is depicted as having eight or ten hands.She holds weapons, glitter, rudraksha in her hands, and rides a lion.
Kushmanda Goddess is the only one who has the power & strength to live in the core of Suryaloka (Sun). The glow and radiance of her body is as luminous as that of the Sun. Maa Kushmanda is also named as “Adi Shakti”. The core of Suraymandala (Sun) is the residence of Devi Maa. Her body shines like the glowing Sun. All directions get light from Her Divine smile including the Sun God itself. Maa Kushmanda also known as “Ashtabhuja” as she is often depicted as having eight arms. In her seven hands she holds Kamandalu, Bow, Arrow, Lotus, a Jar of Nectar, Discus, and Mace. In her eighth hand she holds a jap mala capable of giving eight Siddhis and nine Niddhis. She rides a lion that represents “Dharma”. On worshiping Her, ailments and sorrows are eliminated and life span, name, strength and health are improved.
The fifth facet of the Mother Durga is known as Skanda Mata – the mother of Skanda or Lord Kartikeya, who was chosen by gods as their commander in chief in the war against the demons. Skanda is the leader of the army of Gods. Being the mother of powerful deity Kumar Karthikeya, She is glorified with the name Skanda Mata. She is the true Goddess of endurance. She is worshipped on the fifth day of Navaratri. She is accompanied by the Lord Skanda in his infant form. Skanda Mata has four arms and three eyes, holds the infant Skanda in her right upper arm and a lotus in her right hand which is slightly raised upwards.The left arm is in pose to grant boons with grace and in left lower hand which is raised also holds a lotus. She has a bright complexion and often depicted as seated on a lotus. because of this She is also called Goddess Padmasana.
By worshiping the goddess in the form of Skandamata, the devotee gets all his desires fulfilled. He starts tasting the Supreme joy even in this very mortal world. The gateway for salvation to him is spontaneously opened. Her worship automatically includes the worship of Lord Skanda in his child form. Only she has got this pride of place. So the sadhak should particularly be attentive to her worship. Being the presiding deity of sun god, she bestows an uncommon luster and radiance on her devotee. He is always surrounded by an invisible divine halo, which always maintains his ‘Yoga-Ksema’. Its said, by the mercy of Ma Skandmata, even the idiot becomes an ocean of knowledge.
Therefore, we should try very sincerely to take refuge under her. There is no better way to moksha from this world.
The sixth form of Mother Durga is known as Katyayani, who is worshipped on the sixth day of Navaratri. To destroy demon Mahishasura, Goddess Parvati took the form of Goddess Katyayani. It was the most violent form of Goddess Parvati. In this form Goddess Parvati is also known as Warrior Goddess. Goddess Katyayani rides on the magnificent lion and depicted with four hands. Goddess Katyayani carries lotus flower and sword in her left hands and keeps her right hands in Abhaya and Varada Mudras. The legend behind her name goes thus: Once upon a time, there was a great sage called Kata, who had a son named Katya. Kata was very famous and renowned in the lineage of saints. He underwent long austerities and penance in order to receive the grace of the Mother Goddess. He wished to have a daughter in the form of a goddess.According to his wish and desire the Mother Goddess granted his request. Katyayani was born to Kata as an avatar of Durga.
Sage Katyayana had the first privilege to worship her, so she was also named Katyayani.
Another myth goes by that she was born to Katyayana as his daughter on the 14th dark of the month Asvina. Katyayana worshiped her for three days, 7th, 8th and 9th of the bright fortnight in the same month and killed Mahishasur on Vijayadasami. Her worship done with devotion and faith leads to four objects – Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.
This is the daughter form of Durga. She is a loving daughter. She is epitome of love but won’t hesitate to rise up in anger to defend righteousness and Dharma. It is believed that Maa Katyayani persistently battles against the evil and deceitful entities.
Kaatyayani devi is very protective and grants boons and fulfils wishes–especially relating to obtaining the association of the Supreme Divine–Sri Krishna. A yellow light of satisfaction emnates from her eyes and spreading into the eyes of people and allowing one to be satisfied with what is being seen and received in life. She radiates crescent-shaped yellow energies, which descend at our finger tips, empowering us to do good and appropriate action. Offering: Offer six guavas in the morning and accept in the evening as prasadam and share with others. Offer candle/lamp morning-evening. Mentally offer all fragrant flowers, fruits, gems, clothing, sweets and payasam.
The most horrendous appearance of Durga is in the form of Kaalratri. Devi Kalratri is the seventh aspect of Durga and Worshiped among Navdurga. She is worshipped on the seventh day of Navaratri. She is believed to be the most violent Devi among Navdurga. She has dark Krishna (black) complexion and her appearance is extremely fearful. Her large red eyes, open red tongue, and saber in hand violently demolish devils and monsters. She is also glorified with the name ‘Kali Maa’. Devi Kalaratri has three round eyes, and scattered long black hair. She wears a bead that gleams like fire of electric power. Durga manifested herself to completely destroy the dirt and demons from existence. She is revered with name Kalratri, because she represents herself as a death of Kaal who appeared like a dark night of demons. Donkey is her procession, as she rides on gadarbh. Goddess Kalaratri also has four arms. She holds a saber in her upper left hand and thorn of iron in her lower left hand. Her upper right hand is in Var Mudra and lower right hand is in Abhay Mudra. Her splendor is limitless. She removes any kind of fear in life. She has a dark complexion, disheveled hair and a fearlessness posture. A necklace flashing lightning adorns her neck. She has three eyes that shine bright and terrible flames emanate from her breath. Her raised right hand always seems to grant boons to all worshippers and all her right lower hand is in the pose of allaying fears.
She is black like Goddess Kali and holds a sparkling sword in her right hand to battle all evil. Her gesture of protection assures us of freedom from fear and troubles. So she is also known as ‘Shubhamkari’ – one who does good.
It is believed that it is only Goddess Kalratri who could demolish the extreme agony of devil Raktabeej. No one could kill Raktabeej, as even one drop of his scattered blood was able to form another embodiment of Raktabeej. And that way, scattered blood of Raktabeej formed other billions of Raktabeej. Devi Bhagwati manifested herself in Kalaratri, and kept a Patra (vessel) to keep and imbibe entire blood of his body. Her extreme violent appearance while destroying Raktabeej and other demons hugely terrified all organisms of Universe. But still, she is a generous Goddess for her great devotees.
Although the appearance of Maa Kalratri is so dreadful, her grace is generous toward devotees. Worshipping Maa Kalaratri on the seventh day gives abundant fruitful result. With her grace, devotees get power, position and eminent status on earth. She protects her devotees against evil influence of demons and wrong people. Worshiping her devotees get complete protection and long life.Maa Kalratri is Worshiped to destroy agony of awry influence from life of mankind. On the seventh day of Navratri Pooja, Saptami fast is observed to please her. Seventh day of Navratri pooja is envisaged as one of the great days in Durga Pooja. Worship Maa Kalaratri on the seventh day of Navratri Pooja and obtain her enormous grace. Jai Maa Kalratri!
Spellbinding, mesmerizing whitish look of Durga is Maha Gauri. Goddess Maha Gauri is the eighth form of Devi Durga and one of the graceful Goddesses among Nav Durga. She is worshipped on the eighth day of Navaratri. Her power is unfailing and instantly fruitful. Her beauty glows like gleam of white Pearl. She denotes peace and endurance. As a result of her worship, all sins of past, present and future get washed away and devotees get purified in all aspects of life. Maha Gauri is intelligent, peaceful and calm. Due to her long austerities in the deep forests of the Himalayas, she developed a dark complexion. When Lord Shiva cleaned her with the water of the Ganges, her body regained its beauty and she came to be known as Maha Gauri, which mean extremely white.
She wears white clothes, has four arms, and rides on a Vrishabha(bull). Her right hand is in the pose of allaying fear and her right lower hand holds a trident. The left upper hand holds a ‘damaru’ (a small rattle drum) and the lower one is in the pose of granting boons to her devotees.
Worshipping Goddess Maha Gauri during eighth day of Navratra is immensely fruitful. With her grace, the entire dirt and dark scrum of soul get washed. She cleans dregs from heart of her worshippers and makes them pious. Offering invocation to this almighty makes worshipper sacred.Ashtami poojan is considered as Maha Pooja during Navratri. This auspicious day is vivaciously celebrated with whole of heart and devotion inclined toward Devi Maha Gauri. During Ashwin Shukla Ashtami, the Maha Gauri Poojan is performed. Maha Gauri Poojan is accomplished with worship of both Goddesses Gauri and Shankar (Lord Shiva). Adherence toward Maha Gauri is truly advantageous. Her worshippers are never returned with empty hands.
Grand worship, donations, customs and rituals are performed during Ashtami of Navratri Pooja to delight this deity. Variety of blessed foods are also offered to this Goddess. On the sacred occasion of Ashtami Pooja, Kanya Poojan (feeding of little girls) are also done to please Goddesses Maha Gauri. Nine little girls are invited at home of worshippers and are fed varieties of delicious sweet dishes. Devotees pay the best homage to nine little girls considering them nine forms of Navdurga. This ritual accomplishes their Pooja and gives blessings of Nav Durga.
By worshipping Maha Gauri, previous sin and influence of wrong deeds of worshippers get vanished. With Her blessing, the devotees gets the divine perfection of the Universe. She influences mankind towards the path of truth and purity. Illumination of her grace is infinite. She is the true Goddess of generosity and morality. Adhering toward her faith, devotees start believing on honesty, loyalty and life-long relationship. Observing fast and worshipping Goddess Mahagauri on the eight day of Navratri Pooja is immensely fruitful, especially for unmarried girls and married women. Worshipping her, unmarried girls get desired husband and married women enjoy peaceful, harmonious and long married life. Show your dedication, true devotion, and adherence toward glorified Goddess Maha Gauri and achieve divine happiness in life. Jai Maha Gauri!
Siddhidatri is the ninth form of Goddess. She is worshipped on the ninth day of Navaratri. Siddhidatri has supernatural healing powers. In the beginning of the universe Lord Rudra worshipped Adi-Parashakti for creation. It is believed that Goddess Adi-Parashakti had no form. The supreme Goddess of Power, Adi-Parashakti, appeared in the form of Siddhidatri from the left half of Lord Shiva.
She has four arms and she is always in a blissful happy enchanting pose. She sits on a Kamal(lotus). She blesses all Gods, saints, yogis, tantrics and all devotees as a manifestation of the Mother Goddess. In ‘Devi Bhagvata Purana’ it is mentioned that Lord Shiva worshipped her and was blessed with all Siddhis (supernatural powers). By her blessings his half body became female and other half body male in the avatar of Ardhnarishvara. All human beings should revere Goddess Siddhidatri to achieve absolute perfection. Siddhi makes the person highly eminent and glorified. After obtaining Siddhi, human beings observe enhancement in their charisma. And this is only possible if one pays heartily adherence toward Goddess Siddhi-datri.
Different scriptures mention different numbers of Siddhi. As per Markendey Puran, there are mainly eight types of Siddhi names as – Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakyamya, Inshitva, and Vashitva. But, in some other scripture numbers of siddhis are 18. Thus, by devoting prayers to Goddess Siddhidatri, worshippers certainly obtain all Siddhis.
Each day of Navratri has a significant importance, but ninth day is the most prominent, as this is the final and concluding day of Durga Pooja. After having worshipped the eight Durgas in an appropriate manner on the ninth day devotees undertake her worship. After the completion of Goddess Siddhidatri’s worship the devotees and strivers get their desires fulfilled. Dedicated to Goddess Siddhidatri form of Maa Durga the day is also observed as Mahanavami in many parts of the country. This form of Goddess Durga showers knowledge which makes each soul pure. People can wear Red, White color on this day. On the ninth day Pujan, Archan, Havan, etc of Mataji are performed. Ma Siddhidaatri can be pleased by chanting the Mantra ‘Om Devi Siddhidatryai Namah‘ as many times. The Conch shell, Chakra, Mace and lotus in the four hands of Maa Siddhidaatri signifies that she is always anxious to help us.
With her grace, all wishes are fulfilled. It is also believed that grace of Devi Siddhidatri satisfies and controls all desires of her worshippers. There is no any type of wish remain in heart after worshipping her solely. She ends greed and unnecessary temptation toward material comforts. Pray Goddess Siddhidatri and get her immense blessings. Jai Maa Siddhidatri!