EVOKING DIVINITY TWICE OVER
The Navratras, which begin from March 31, are considered an auspicious period for property transactions
Hindus celebrate Navratras twice a year because both the beginning of summer and the onset of winter bring about changes in the climate and solar influence. It’s during these two seasons that Maa Durga is worshipped as it is believed that she provides energy to the earth to move around the sun, causing changes in nature. This divine power should also be thanked for maintaining the correct balance of the universe.
Due to changes in nature, the bodies and minds of people undergo a transformation, too, and hence we pray to the divine power to bestow upon us potent powers to maintain our physical and mental well-being.
The number nine
The number nine has a special place in Hindu numerology. Nava - that also means new - denotes the number nine. Hence, we have nava- ratri ( nine nights), nava- patrika (nine leaves / herbs /plants), nava-graha (nine planets), and nava-Durga (nine forms of Maa Durga). Hindus worship Maa Durga in all her nine forms for nine days and nine nights. Devotees fast on all nine days and welcome the goddess with dances such as the garba and dandia. Each goddess has a different form and a special significance. All the nine names of the goddess are mentioned in Devi Kavacha of the Chandipatha scripture.
Shailaputri literally means the daughter (putri) of the mountains (shaila). Also known as Sati Bhavani, Parvati or Hemavati, the daughter of Hemavana – the king of the Himalayas, she is the first among Navadurgas. She is worshipped on the first day of the Navratras - the nine divine nights. The embodiment of the power of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, she rides a bull and car- ries a trident and a lotus in her two hands.
Maa Bharmacharini is worshipped on the second day of the Navratras and is the second form of the mother goddess. Bhar macharini means one who practises devout austerity. She enlightens us through the embodiment of Durga with great powers and divine grace. She holds a rosary in her right hand and a water utensil in the left. She is blissful and endows happiness and peace.
The third f acet of goddess Durga is Chandraghanta, who is worshipped on the third day of Navratras for tranquility and prosperity in life. She has a chandra or half moon on her forehead in the shape of a ghanta or bell. That is why she is called Chandraghanta. She is charming, has a bright golden complexion and rides a lion. She has ten hands, three eyes and holds weapons in her hands.
Maa Kushmanda is the fourth form of the goddess and is worshipped on the fourth day. The word ku means a little; ushma means warmth; anda refers to the cosmic egg. She is, therefore, considered the creator of the universe. The universe is no more than a void full of darkness, until her light spreads in all directions. Often she is depicted as having eight or ten hands. She holds weapons, glitter, rosary, etc, in her hands, and rides a lion.
The fifth aspect of the Durga is known as Skanda Mata or the mother of Skanda or Lord Kartikeya, who was chosen by the gods as their commanderin-chief in the war against the demons. She is worshipped on the fifth day of Navratras and is accompanied by Lord Skanda in his infant form. Skanda Mata has four arms and three eyes and holds the infant Skanda in her right upper arm and a lotus in her right hand.
The sixth form of Mother Durga is known as Katyayani, who is worshipped on the sixth day of the Navratras. The legend is that there was once a great sage called Kata who had a son named Katya. Kata took up penance in order to receive the grace of the mother goddess and wished to have a daughter in the form of a goddess. The goddess granted his request and Katyayani was born to Kata as an avatar of Durga.
Maa Kalratri is the seventh form of Durga and is worshipped on the seventh day of the Navratras. She has a dark complexion, dishevelled hair and is completely without fear. A necklace flashing lights adorns her neck. She has three eyes and her vehicle is a donkey. Her raised right hand grants boons to worshippers. She is dark like the goddess Kali and holds a sparkling sword in her right hand to battle evil.
Maha Gauri is worshipped on the eighth day of the Navratras. All sins of past, present and future get washed away on worshipping her and devotees get purified.
Maha Gauri is intelligent, peaceful and calm.
After her long penance in the deep forests of the Himalayas, Lord Shiva cleaned her with water from the Ganges and she became very beautiful. Which is why she came to be known as Maha Gauri. She wears white clothes, has four arms, and rides a bull.
Maa Siddhidatri i s worshipped on the ninth day of the Navratras. Siddhidatri Maa has supernatural healing powers and bestows her blessings on all those who worship her with faith and love. Hindus consider the Navratras auspicious for starting new ventures and buying property.
These nine days of Navratra are considered lucky for new projects as the blessings of Maa Lakshmi, Saraswati and Durga are generously bestowed on the devotees.