The Different Manifestations of the Divine Shakthi during Sharad Navaratri•
Posted on September 21 2022
Sharad Navaratri is an important festival of the Hindus that is celebrated all over India during the Sharad or autumn season. The celebrations take place over a period of ten days in the Ashwini lunar month and starts on bright fortnight on the very first day. It is believed that the divine shakti assumes a different form on each of these nights. The tenth day after the nine nights is known as Dussera.
The celebration marks the victory of goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura who could assume any shape he wished to after a duel of nine days. The nine-day celebration marks the triumph of good over evil. The festival concludes on the tenth day known as Dussehra or Vijaya Dashami.
The first three nights focus on various forms of Durga or Parvathi while the next three nights emphasise on different aspects of Lakshmi. The last three nights signify the manifestations of Saraswathi. Each of the nine days is associated with a specific colour.
Read on to know the various forms in which the divine shakthi is represented during the Sharad Navaratri festival.
Day 1 – Maa Shailputri (Paratipada - White)
On this day, Goddess Parvathi is represented as the daughter of the Himalayas and is hence known as Shailaputri. The term shail denotes mountain in Sanskrit. She is believed to have a lotus in one hand and a trishul in the other.
Her devotees pour pure ghee on her feet as they pray to her to bestowed with a healthy life free of any form of sickness and diseases.
Mantra: Om Devi Shaliaputryai Namah
Day 2 – Maa Brahmacharini (Dwitiya – Red)
On this day, the goddess is bare footed and in meditative form. She has a holy kamandalu or water pot in one hand and a rudraksha in the other. It is said that she is trying to win over lord Shiva with her deep meditation.
On this day, her worshippers offer fruits and sugar as prasad and pray for their beloved ones to be blessed with long life. It is also said that the worshipper is blessed with nobility and virtue.
Mantra: Om Devi Brahmacharinyai Namah
Day 3 – Maa Chandraghanta (Triitiya – Royal Blue)
The deity takes the form of an angry goddess with ten arms and three eyes. She has a weapon in each hand and adorns a crescent moon on her forhead. She rides a tiger and is ready to combat any evil. The booming sound from her bell is said to have killed various demons in a fight between the gods and the demons.
The deity is offered kheer, sweets and milk. Her worshippers are said to be relived of pain if they pray to her with full devotion.
Mantra: Om Devi Chandraghantayai Namah
Day 4 – Maa Kushmanda (Chaturthi – Yellow)
The name Kushmanda denotes creator of the universe and originates from three words ku, ushma and amnda that mean little, energy or warmth and egg respectively. It is believed that the universe was totally dark and she lit it with her smile.
Devotees observe fast and offer malpua as bhog to the goddess. They pray to her to bless them with the ability to make wise decisions and improve their intellect.
Mantra: Om Devi Kushmandayai Namah
Day 5 – Maa Skandamata (Panchami – Green)
On day 5, the goddess is manifested as the mother of Skanda or Kartikeya. She has four hands and has a lotus in each of her upper hands. She has bell in one of the lower hands and a kamandalu in the other hand. The deity also carries infant Skanda in her lap and is seated on a lotus.
She is offered bananas as prasad on this day and her followers pray to be blessed with good health.
Mantra: Om Devi Skandamatayi Namah
Day 6 – Maa Katyayani (Shasthi – Grey)
The goddess is worshipped as Katyayani on this day. The deity is said to be the most violent in this form and is said to be the daughter of rishi Katyayan. She has four arms and a sword in one hand. Her followers believe that she can be pleased easily with true devotion.
Her followers offer honey as prasad and pray for bitterness to be removed from their lives. The devi is also said to bless her devotees with inner peace and a sense of calmness.
Mantra: Om Devi Katyayanyai Namah
Day 7 – Maa Kaalratri (Saptami – Orange)
The goddess is said to have given up her fair complexion for a dark skin in order to kill several demons. She takes the form of fearsome Durga on this day with four arms and three eyes. She rides a donkey and has a noose, trident and a sword in her hands.
Devotees offer her jaggery or sweets made of jaggery and pray to be relieved of their fears, obstacles and pains. The goddess also protects them from evil spirits and powers.
Mantra: Om Devi Kaalaratryai Namah
Day 8 – Maa Mahagauri (Ashtami – Peacock Green)
The eighth day or ashtami is dedicated to goddess Mahagauri. She is four-armed with a damru and a trishul in her hands. It is said that the goddess went into deep meditation to win lord Shiva as her better half. The lord was impressed with her and showered her with the gangajal that helped her regain her beauty and earned her the name Mahagauri. She rides a white elephant or a bull.
Devotees offer coconut as prasad to this deity. It is said that childless couples who offer coconuts to brahmans on this day will be blessed with an offspring.
Mantra: Om Devi Mahagauryai Namah
Day 9 – Maa Siddhidatri (Maha Navami – Pink)
This is the final or ninth day known as Navaratri. She signifies perfection and the ushering of wisdom and knowledge over ignorance. The goddess is manifested as a calm deity with four arms. She sits on a lotus and has a book, lotus, mace and discus in her hands.
Worshippers observe a fast and offer her sesame seeds to be blessed with safety and security as well as to be protected from mishaps.
Mantra: Om Devi Siddhidatryai Namah
Maa Shakti’s followers firmly believe that the simplest and best way to be blessed by the goddess is to recite the Durga chalisa with full devotion on all the nine days. In some states like West Bengal, Karnataka and Gujarat, the Sharad Navaratri festival is celebrated with more fervour than other parts of the country.