The Goddess comes to earth to meet her parents and stay here for nine days — making this one of the most auspicious periods of the year
According to Hindu mythology, Uma, daughter of King Daksha of Himalayas, married Lord Shiva against her father’s will. To take revenge, King Daksha organised a yagna for which he invited all the deities except Lord Shiva. The story goes that when Uma visited her parents to take part in the yagna with her husband, her father offended him. Unable to bear the insult, Uma jumped into the agnikund, which is why she is also known as Sati. After her rebirth, she married Lord Shiva and made peace with her parents. It is said that Sati comes to stay with her parents for nine days, which are celebrated as Navratri. These nine days are very auspicious during which people fast and pray to welcome the Goddess, Maa Durga.
This time is considered to be very auspicious for starting business ventures and buying property (homes, offices and factories) as the blessings of Maa Durga are with the people.
Maa Durga is worshipped for nine days in all her nine forms. On day one, we worship Shailaputri, the first form of Maa Durga and the daughter of Himalaya. In her previous birth she was the daughter of Daksha. She was also called Bhavani, that is, wife of Lord Shiva.
On the second day, we worship Maa Brahmacharini. Here ‘Brahma’ means ‘tapa’. The idol of the Goddess in this form is very gorgeous. There is a rosary in her right hand and kamandal in her left.
The third day is dedicated to Maa Chandraghanta: She is the third Shakti of Maa Durga. There is a half-circular moon on her forehead. She has three eyes and 10 hands holding 10 types of swords, weapons and arrows.
The fourth day is dedicated to Maa Kushmanda. She shines brightly in all the 10 directions like the sun. She has eight hands. Seven types of weapons are shin- ing in her seven hands and one hand holds a rosary.
The fifth form of Durga is Skanda Mata. The daughter of Himalaya, after a period of penance, got married to Shiva. She had a son named ‘Skanda’ who was the leader of the army of Gods. Skanda Mata is a deity of fire. Skanda is seated in her lap.
Maa Katyayani is the sixth form of Maa Durga. She has three eyes and eight hands and is seated on a lion. Devotees seek her blessings on the sixth day of the Navratras
Maa Kaalratri is worshipped on the seventh day of the Navratras and the eighth day is dedicated to Maa Mahagauri. She is as fair as the moon, the conch and jasmine. She has three eyes and rides a bull.
The ninth and the final form of Durga is Siddhidatri. There are eight Siddhis (accomplishments): Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Iishitva and Vashitva. Maha Shakti creates all these Siddhis. This form of Durga is worshipped by all Gods, rishi-munis, siddhas, yogis, sadhakas and devotees for attaining Maa’s blessings.
People undergo rigorous fasts on all the nine days of Navratri. The festival culminates with Mahanavami. On this day, Kanya Puja is performed. Nine young girls representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped. Their feet are washed as a mark of respect for the Goddess and then they are offered new clothes and gifts by the devotees. On all nine days, dandia and garba dances, entertainment programmes etc are organised at various places to celebrate the homecoming of Maa Durga.
May the blessings of Goddess Durga and her divine blessings protect all her devotees this Navratras!
Maa Durga is worshipped for nine days in all her nine forms