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How is Masik Durga Ashtami Vrat Observed?

Posted By ServDharm

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Posted on April 08 2022

Masik Durga Ashtami is a monthly festival celebrated in honour of Goddess Durga. As the name indicates, the festival occurs on the eighth day of the Shukla Paksha every month. The occasion is also referred to as Maas Durga Ashtami by devotees of the goddess. The festival is marked to celebrate various aspects such as feminine strength, triumph of good over evil and victory of positivity over negativity.

There is an interesting story associated with the celebration of Masik Durga Ashtami. According to Hindu mythology, there was once a demon named Mahishasura who lost no opportunity that he got to torture and terrorise humans and gods alike. He meditated to Lord Brahma and requested the god to grant him the boon of immortality when He appeared before the demon. When Brahma said that this was not possible, the demon asked for a boon that no man, beast or god could slay him. Lord Brahma granted the demon his boon.

With his new powers, the atrocities of the demon increased and he began to trouble the gods and he defeated Lord Indra. The Trinity used their combined powers to create a female entity called Durga with 10 hands and riding on a lion. They also bestowed her with weapons to kill the demon and restore peace and harmony to the universe. Mahishasura was conceited about his boon and thought that a woman would be powerless against him. After a long battle, the demon king was finally slayed.

Masik Durga Ashtami Rituals

The rituals begin early in the morning on Masik Durga Ashtami day. Devotees have a bath and wear clean clothes. Following this, they light a lamp called Akhand Jyoti in front of the photo of Maa Durga and make several offerings like dhoop, incense, sandalwood, kumkum and flowers. Worshippers proceed to read the Durga chalisa and/or Durga Ashtami vrat katha as well as recite Durga mantras. They offer bhog to the Goddess Durga and perform an arti.

In the evening, the devotees visit a Shakti temple and offer dakshina to brahmins after performing a pooja in the temple as well.

Hindus celebrating this festival have a customary practice of making sure that the house is not empty on the day of Masik Durga Ashtami. People from a few parts West India have a unique practice of sowing barley or wheat seeds in an earthen pot on this day. When the plants grow three to five inches tall, they are offered to Goddess Durga and later shared among family members. The plants are believed to represent growth and prosperity.

Masik Durga Ashtami Vrat

The most important aspect in celebrating the Masik Durga Ashtami festival is observing a fast. The fast is majorly observed by devotees in the western and northern parts of the country. The fast typically starts early in the morning and ends in the evening after a pooja for the goddess.

Worshippers believe that observing this fast will help them to get the blessings of the goddess and also acquire spiritual gains. Devotees who are unable to undertake a stringent fast due to reasons such as health issue have only light food such as fruit or milk. Meat and alcohol are avoided completely on this day.

Devotees observing this fast abstain from any form of luxury during the fasting period. They sleep on the floor or the mat without a pillow on the day of the fast.

It is said that a person who undertakes the Durga Ashtami vrat with utmost devotion is safeguarded by the goddess against misery and evil. He/she will also be freed of barriers and suffering in life along with negative traits like selfishness, anger and ego in his/her life. The devotee also believes that the goddess will shower him/her with love, peace, prosperity, success and growth.

 

Written by  Deepthi K

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