According to the Vedas, the Divine, the reason and sustainer of existence, is the absolute spiritual source from which everyone and everything derives. Devi, which means “goddess” in Sanskrit, represents Shakti, the creative and energising power of the Divine. The Hindu festival of Navaratri honours not only the different female incarnations (such as Lakshmi, Parvati, and Saraswati) who play essential roles in Hinduism, but also the loving, compassionate, and gentle feminine energy, which can also be strong and ferocious.
What is Navratri?
Navratri is one of the most pious times of the year. In the word “Navratri”, Nav means nine, and Ratri means night. It is said that during these nine days, maa Durga stays on earth, leaving her heavenly abode to bless its people and devotees. The nine-day festival begins on the first day of the bright half of Ashwayuja or Ashwin (September-October) as per the traditional Hindu lunar calendar. It is a festival of worshipping nine forms of maa Durga for nine nights. There are four Navratri in the Vedic calendar: Chaitra Navratri, Sharad Navratri, Magha Gupta Navratri, and Ashadha Gupta Navratri.
Nine forms Of Maa Durga
Durga is called the Mother Goddess, as she protects the subjugated and needy with a caring warmth and punishes the guilty with her wrath. During Navratri, devotees honour nine avatars of maa Durga, all of which display specific attributes and qualities. If you want to know which goddess is worshiped each day of Navratri, see below:
1. Goddess Shailputri
The Navaratri begins with worshipping Goddess Shailaputri, the daughter of the Himalayas. She is always shown riding a bull and holding a trident in one hand and a lotus flower in the other.
2. Goddess Brahmacharini
During Navratri, the goddess Brahmacharini is worshipped on the second day. She is depicted holding prayer beads in one hand and a water pot in her other hand, representing the practice of repentance, virtue, and renunciation for achieving a good goal.
3. Goddess Chandraghanta
The third night is devoted to Goddess Chandraghanta, who has a bell-shaped half-moon on her forehead. Chandraghanta stands for justice and gives her devotees bravery and courage.
4. Goddess Kushmanda
The fourth night is about Goddess Kushmanda. It is said that she is the creator of the universe. She is depicted riding a lion with eight arms and is known to provide light to the world.
5. Goddess Skandamata
The fifth night is dedicated to Skandamata, who is known for being the mother of Kartikeya, a deity of yoga and spiritual growth. Skandamata is shown sitting on a lotus with a small Kartikeya on her lap.
6. Goddess Katyanai
She is touted as the fiercest form of maa Durga and is revered on the sixth day of Navratri.
7. Goddess Kalaratri
On The seventh night of Navratri, maa Kalaratri is worshipped. She is known for bestowing a sense of fearlessness to her devotees.
8. Goddess Mahagauri
The eighth night of Navratri is about Goddess Mahagauri. She symbolises tranquillity and piousness, lessening the pains and problems of her devotees.
9. Goddess Siddhidatri
The last night of the Navratri festival is dedicated to Goddess Siddhidatri. She is the symbol of devotion and implants the same into the hearts of devotees, granting them happiness and wisdom.
Why is Navratri celebrated?
To know the same, we need to know about the Navratri story.
Navratri is when Hindus worship the Goddess Durga for killing Mahishasura, the demon. It is said that Lord Brahma blessed Mahishasura with the gift of immortality. However, one condition was associated with this “vardan”: a woman would only defeat him. Over the years, Mahishasura became powerful and started atrocities on the weak people of earth. Finally, Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma, and Lord Shiva decided to club their powers and created Goddess Durga to kill Mahishasura. The war lasted for ten days, and Durga fought the demon for ten days and defeated him last. This festival is known for celebrating the victory of good over evil – Dharma over Adharma.
Through Navaratri, we understand and respect feminine energy’s multifaceted aspects and benefit from them. May the nine avatars of maa Durga shower love, happiness, and prosperity in your life.
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Navratri marks the assassination of the demon Mahishasura by maa Durga.
“Navratri” means “nine nights”. The word Nav stands for nine, and Ratri means nights.
We worship nine forms of maa Durga.
During these nine days, we worship the nine avatars of Maa Durga.
Goddess Shailputri is revered on the first day of Navratri.