Navdurga – 9 Forms of Durga

Navratri which means nine nights is a festival dedicated to Goddess Durga. In Hinduism, the goddess is looked upon as a mother; the way a mother takes care and protects her children, similarly Durga is believed to shield her devotees. This Divine Mother also called as Devi is known as the deity of strength and power. Therefore Navratri is celebrated to pay veneration to ‘Navdurga’ (nine forms of Goddess Durga). Each day different forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped. Each manifestation of the Goddess has a special significance and generates divine energy. The different forms of this mother bestow wisdom, strength, wealth and eradicate all impurities and defects from her disciple’s life.

durgaHere we will explore the 9 forms of Durga, the characteristics associated with each form and their importance:

Shailaputri:
The first among the Navdurga is Shailaputri which means daughter (putri) of mountain (Shaila). The first day of Navratri is dedicated to this form of Goddess. Shailaputri is also known as Parvati, Hemavati or Sati Bhavani. The idol of this goddess is represented with a lotus in one hand and trident in the other hand, on her forehead there is a half moon. The Goddess rides a bull which is said to be Nandi which serves as mount of Lord Shiva. Shailaputri was reincarnated as Goddess Parvati and got married to Lord Shiva.

Brahmacharini:
Brahmacharini, the one who practices religious austerity is worshipped on the second day of Navratri. This second form of Goddess Durga is emblematic of the severe sacrament carried out by Goddess Parvati and Sati. She is the epitome of love and loyalty and is worshipped by her devotees for happy and peaceful life. Brahmacharini is draped is white attire, holds rudraksha (rosary) in right hand and karmandala (water utensil) in left hand. This goddess is said to take you to the way of Moksha (emancipation). She enlightens us in the glorious embodiment of Durga with great powers and heavenly grace.

Chandraghanta:
The charming goddess with 10 arms, sitting on a lion, Chandraghanta is the third form of Navdurga. She is named Chandraghanta as she has a Chandra (moon) on her forehead which is in shape of ghanta (bell). The sound of the bell drove away all the demons. This devi is worshipped on third day of Navratri for peace and prosperity in life. This goddess signifies fearlessness and courage. She possesses great power to fight against the demons. Eight of her hands hold weapons. The goddess is said to have three eyes.

Kushmanda:
Known as the creator of Universe, Goddess Kushmanda is worshipped on the fourth day of Navratri and is fourth manifestation of Navdurga. This deity lives in the abode of Sun god hence it is said that her smile bought light in the dark universe. She is the only divine deity who has the power to reside in the sun and resist the immense heat of this burning planet. She has eight hands which hold weapons and a rosary. She mounts on tiger. Devotees who observe fast on the fourth day of Navratri are blessed by the goddess and are showered with prosperity and happiness.

Skanda Mata:
Mother of Lord Karthik who is also known as Skanda, is the fifth form of Goddess Durga. Skanda Mata was chosen by all the gods as the leader who will fight against the demons. It is said that whoever worships the goddess, they are showered by Lord Karthik’s blessings too. You can spot, the infant form of Lord Karthik sitting on her lap. The goddess has 4 hands and 3 eyes and mounts on lion. She holds lotus in two hands. The mercy of this goddess can change a dumb person into wise one like Kalidas.

Katyayani:
The sixth form of Navdurga, Katyayani is worshipped on the sixth day of Navratri. Once there was a great sage called Kata who had a son named Katya. The sage wished to have a daughter in the form Durga therefore he went through lot of penance to receive the grace of the goddess. Durga granted his wish and this is how Katyani was born. The goddess carries a sword, lotus and shield. She has 18 arms, 3 eyes and rides a lion. The goddess forgives the sins of the people who worship her with full devotion.

Kalaratri:
The most aggressive and destructive form of Durga, Kalaratri is worshipped on the seventh day of Navratri. The fearless goddess who is blue in complexion with scruffy hair looks fiery from outside but she is soft from within. The goddess grants all the wishes of her devotees who pay her respect. She rides a donkey and wears a sparkling necklace. Her right hand is always raised to bless her worshippers; one of her left hand has a thorn like weapon while other holds a shining sword. The goddess removes all the obstacles and brings happiness in the disciple’s life. This form of goddess is widely worshipped in Kolkata. Kalaratri is also known as Shubhamkari (the one who does good to others).

Mahagauri:
The pure and divine goddess draped in white saree, Mahagauri is said to be the incarnate form Goddess Parvati. The goddess sacrificed her luxurious life for austerity. Mahagauri is the goddess of peace, calm and intelligence. The goddess developed a dark complexion due to austerities, once when Lord Shiva washed her with the pure water of Ganga, she regained her beauty. She has four hands and holds a trident in one hand and dumroo (rattle drum) in other hand and rides a bull. The goddess washes away all the sins of her worshippers and bestows them with success, peace and prosperity. Mahagauri is worshipped on the eight day of Navratri.

Siddhidayini:
The last form of Goddess Durga who is worshipped on Navratri (ninth night), Siddhidayini is goddess of wisdom and intelligence. The divine deity has supernatural healing powers. Siddhidayini is believed to be the creator of universe. Not only her devotees, but she blesses all the gods, saints, yogis and tantric. According to mythology, Lord Shiva had worshipped this goddess and was blessed with all her supernatural powers. This is how Lord Shiva acquired the Ardhanarishvar form (half body of men and half body of woman). Her devotees are blessed with prosperous life and all their wishes are granted. She has four arms and mounts on a lotus. The famous temple of Siddhidayini is located in Nanda Parvat, Himalayas.

Some of the devotees observe 9 day fast during this festival or sacrifice some comforts of life during Navratri to get blessed by the divine powers of Goddess Durga. This year Navratri will start on 5th October and will last till 13th October.

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