Nava – Durga (नवदुर्गा) – The Nine Forms of Goddess Durga

navadurga

The festival of navratri is celebrated by Hindus with great devotion for 10 days.An Idol of Goddess Durga is worshiped during the 10 days time of Navratri. People stay awake the whole night during the nine days of Navratri and play Dandiya and Garba. This festival is celebrated by all Hindus and has special significance in Gujarati community. This festival is celebrated for 10 days and navadurga is worshiped during this 10 days time. Navadurga literally means the nine forms of Goddess Durga. According to the Vedic scriptures,navadurga is a manifestation of Durgā

Goddess DurgaThe Symbol Of Power

Goddess Durga

With her golden body blazing with splendor of a thousand suns, seated on her lion,goddess Durga is one of the most spectacular personifications of Cosmic energy. Goddess Durga, in her ‘Saumya’ or benevolent form, looks serene and powerful. In her numerous hands, she holds a disc, mace, a sword, lotus, bow and an arrow, a trident, and a conch shell. Her weapons underscore the idea that the goddess durga incorporates the power of all the deities and rituals. Dressed in a green blouse and a red saree, adorned in jewelry and an elaborate crown, she is beautiful. Her crown and jewelry are studded with precious stones which signify her supreme status among the Vedic gods and goddesses.

The word ‘Durga’, means insurmountable, and this is why most of the Devi’s temples are built atop hills in mountain areas.Durga (the goddess of power) is seated on a lion in a fearless pose (Abhay Mudra) signifying assurance and freedom from fear. Her lion represents power, will, and determination.  She uses her weapons to destroy evil elements and to produce an environment conducive to the growth of righteousness.

Navadurga literally means the nine forms of Goddess Durga. According to the Vedic scriptures,navadurga is a manifestation of Durgā. The nine forms of Navadurga manifestation are

  • Śhailaputrī
  • Brahmachāriṇī
  • Chandrakaṇṭā
  • Kuṣhmāṇḍā
  • Skandamātā
  • Kātyāyanī
  • Kālarātrī
  • Mahāgaurī
  • Siddhidātrī 

All these 9 forms of navadurga are together worshiped during the Navrātri Vrata (Nine Divine Nights). Each goddess has a different form and a special significance. Nava also means ‘nine’.Indian sages and hermits have attached a special significance to the digit 9. It is because of this that, we have

  • Nava-rātri (9 nights)
  • Nava-Patrika (9 leaves/herbs/plants)
  • Nava-Graha (9 planets)
  • NavaDurga (9 forms of Durga).

According to Vedic scriptures, Goddess Durgā is a symbol of power. She is worshipped in nine different forms and is therefore termed Navadurga

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नव-दुर्गा स्तोत्र
॥ navadurga stotra ॥

ब्रह्मोवाच ।
brahmovāca ।


Lord Brahma said:

प्रथमं शैलपुत्रीति द्वितीयं ब्रह्मचारिणी ।
तृतीयं चन्द्रघण्टेति कूष्माण्डेति चतुर्थकम् ॥ ३ ॥

prathamaṁ śailaputrīti dvitīyaṁ brahmacāriṇī ।
tr̥tīyaṁ candraghaṇṭeti  kūṣmāṇḍeti caturthakam ॥ 3॥

“First is the Goddess of Inspiration

Second is the Goddess of Sacred Study

Third is the Goddess of the Delight of Practice

The Goddess of Purifying Austerity is fourth.”


पञ्चमं स्कन्दमातेति षष्ठं कात्यायनी तथा ।
सप्तमं कालरात्रिश्च महागौरीति चाष्टमम् ॥ ४ ॥

pañcamaṁ skandamāteti ṣaṣṭhaṁ kātyāyanī tathā ।
saptamaṁ kālarātriśca mahāgaurīti cāṣṭamam ॥ 4॥

“Fifth is the Goddess who Nurtures Divinity,

Sixth is the One Who is Ever Pure

Seventh is the Goddess of the Dark Night to Overcome Egotism

The Goddess of the Great Radiant Light is eighth.”


नवमं सिद्धिदात्री च नवदुर्गाः प्रकीर्तिताः ।
उक्तान्येतानि नामानि ब्रह्मणैव महात्मना ॥ ५ ॥

navamaṁ siddhidātrī ca navadurgāḥ prakīrtitāḥ ।
uktānyetāni nāmāni brahmaṇaiva mahātmanā ॥ 5॥

“Ninth is the Goddess who Grants Perfection,

The Nine Durgas,

Relievers of Difficulties,

have been enumerated,

and these names have been revealed by the great soul of the Supreme himself.”


He who remembers these nine mothers will not suffer in any case war,death or loss. Anyone who remembers these names with devotion is also free from these fears and sorrows.Each of the following nine manifestations of Durgā are worshiped with full devotion during Navarātri.

Sailaputrī

(Daughter of the Himalayas)

माँ शैलपुत्री

Shail” means mountains, “Putri” means daughter.Variously known as Sati BhavaniParvati or Hemavati, the daughter of the King of the Mountains Himavan, is called ‘Shailputri“. The first among nine Durgas and her worship takes place on the first day of Navaratri – the nine divine nights.She rides a bull and carries a trident and a lotus in her two hands. Devotees offer pure desi ghee on the foot of Shailputri. An offering of pure ghee is said to bless the devotee with a life free of diseases and illness.


Brahmachāriṇī

माता ब्रह्मचारिणी

(One who Observes the State of Celibacy doing Penance)

माता ब्रह्मचारिणी 

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 her left-hand, she holds a “Kumbha” or water pot, and her right-hand holds a rosary. She personifies love and loyalty. Bhramcharini is the storehouse of knowledge and wisdom. Rudraksha beads are her most adored ornaments. 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. Goddess Brahmacharini is a lover of simple food and offerings. Devotees serve, bhog of sugar and fruits to Goddess Brahmacharini.


Chandraghaṇṭā

माता चंद्रघंटा

( One who bears the Moon in her Necklace )

माता चंद्रघंटा

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 on her forehead in the shape of a ‘ghanta’ or bell. That is why she is called ‘Chandraghanta‘. She is Golden in color, possesses ten hands and 3 eyes. Eight of her hands display weapons while the remaining two are in the mudras. She is charming, has a golden bright complexion and rides a lion. This ferocious Goddess is pleased by offering milk, sweets or kheer.


Kūṣmāṇḍa

माता कूष्मांडा

(The Creator of Universe)

माता कूष्मांडा

Kushmanda is the fourth form of the mother goddess and is worshiped on the fourth day of Navaratri. She possessed of eight arms, holding weapons and a mala ( rosary), her mount is the tiger and She emanates a solar aura.The meaning of the name ‘Ku-shm-anda’ is as follows: ‘Ku‘ = a little; ‘ushma‘ = ‘warmth’; ‘anda‘ = ‘the cosmic egg’. So 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.Devotees worship the Goddess by observing fasts and offering Malpua as bhog.


Skanda-Mātā

माता स्कंदमाता

(The Mother of Skanda, Kārttikeya, born out of her Powers)

माता स्कंदमाता

The fifth aspect of the Mother Durga is known as ‘Skanda Mata‘ – the mother of Skanda or Lord Kartikeya, skanda mata was chosen by gods as their commander in chief in the war against the demons. She is worshiped on the fifth day of Navaratri. She is accompanied by Lord Skanda in his infant form. Riding a lion, She holds Her son skanda on her lap. She has three eyes and four hands. Two hands holds lotuses while the other two hands are used to display, defend and grant mudras.With the blessings of Skandmata, even a fool becomes an ocean of knowledge.  A bhog of bananas is offered to the goddess and it is said to keep her devotees in good health


Kātyāyanī

देवी कात्यायनी

(The Daughter of Sage Kātyāyana, who was Incarnated to help the Devas)

देवी कात्यायनी

The sixth form of Mother Durga is known as ‘Katyayani’, who is worshiped on the six day of Navaratri. The legend behind her name is that 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. Devotees offer honey as prasad to Goddess Katyayani. Her blessings fill their lives with sweetness and help them get rid of bitter troubles.


Kālarātrī

माता कालरात्रि

(Black as night, Destroyer of Kālī)

माता कालरात्रि

This is the seventh form of Mother Durga and is worshiped on the seventh day of Navaratri. She has a dark complexion, disheveled hair and a fearless posture. She has three eyes that shine bright and terrible flames emanate from her breath. Black (or blue ) skin with bountiful hair and 4 hands, 2 clutching a cleaver and a torch, while the remaining 2 are in the mudras of “giving” and “protecting“. Her left upper hand holds a thorn-like weapon, made of iron and there is a dagger in the lower left hand. Her vehicle is a faithful donkey. She is the destroyer of darkness and ignorance.Devotees offer jaggery or sweets made with jaggery. The prasad is also given to Brahmins along with Dakshina.


Mahāgaurī

माता महागौरी

(The Wife of Lord Shiva, doing great Penance)

माता महागौरी 

She is worshiped on the eighth day of Navaratri. Her power is unfailing and instantly fruitful. 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. MahaGauri is intelligent, peaceful and calm. Due to her long austerities in the deep forests of the Himalayas, she has 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 MahaGauri, which means extremely white. Her left upper hand holds a thorn-like weapon, made of iron and there is a dagger in the lower left hand. She is as white as a conch, moon and Jasmine. She has the fairest complexion of all the Durga Shaktis.Mahagauri radiates peace and compassion. She is often dressed in a white or green sari. She holds a drum and a trident and is often depicted riding a bull. Goddess Mahagauri  is offered coconut as bhog by devotees.  It is widely believed that donating coconuts to the Brahmans on Ashtami, blesses a childless couple with a child.


Siddhidātrī

माता सिद्धिदात्री

(Provider of Siddhis, giver of Mystic Powers)

माता सिद्धिदात्री

Siddhidatri is the ninth form of Goddess. She is worshipped on the ninth day of Navaratri. There are eight Siddhis , they are- Anima,Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Iishitva and VashitvaSiddhidatri has supernatural healing powers. She has four arms and she is always in a blissful happy enchanting pose. She rides on the lion as her vehicle. She blesses all Gods, saints, yogis, tantrics and all devotees as a manifestation of the Mother Goddess. It is said in “Devipuran” that the Supreme God Shiv got all these Siddhies by worshipping Maha Shakti. With her gratitude half body of Shiv has became a Goddess and therefore he is also called “Ardhanarishvar” . She is ensconced a lotus with four arms.She is the grantor of 26 different wishes to Her Bhaktas.  On the ninth day of Navrartris, devotees observe a fast and offer til or sesame seeds as bhog. This is believed to protect the devotee and his family from unfortunate mishaps.


Navadurga 

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