The word Navratri is made of two words ‘Nava’ which means nine and ‘Ratri’ means night. As the name suggests, the festival is celebrated for nine nights. It is one of the most sacred festivals in the Hindu religion.
During this auspicious festival of 9 days, people worship Goddess Durga and her nine avatars (various forms). As per the Hindu scriptures, these NavaDurga (9 forms of Goddess Durga) were the source of supremacy who were able to defeat the dangerous demon, which could not be defeated by any of the other superpowers. These forms of the Goddess are believed to be the epitome of spiritual power. Each of this form of Devi has its own significant story and meaning.
Devis are given the highest pedestal in Hindu scripture which adds to the strong beliefs attached to this festival. People across India religiously worship to the 9 forms of Devi during this festival.
There is another interesting meaning associated with Navratri.
Our Spirit: The Source of Deep Rest
In common parlance, the night is meant for sleeping which provides rest and rejuvenation to our body and mind. Similarly, through our prayers, meditation, fasting, poojas and other spiritual practices during these nine nights, our body and mind receive the cosmic energy, and thereby deep rest.
These spiritual rituals aid one in connecting with their spirit which is considered to be the supreme form of cosmic energy. Many saints have preached that the positive qualities which get invoked during such days can destroy negative emotions like pride, aversions, laziness and cravings and can lead to the liberation of a human. This all adds to the celebration of this festival.
The present time due to the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most heinous ones this race will ever experience. There is stress and tension 24*7. Each one has one – meaning each and every human is facing a problem unique to him/her. It is more imperative now than ever to soak into the spiritual practices that can bring a sense of relief during this auspicious.
Knowing the 9 forms of Navadurga
When we talk about the form of Navadurga, each form of Devi has its significance.
To comprehend this festival better here is a brief about the forms of Devis and the brief story associated with each day of Navratri:
SHAILAPUTRI – 1st Day
‘Shaila’ means mountain and ‘Putri’ means daughter and so Shailaputri means Daughter of Mountains.
On the first day, Devi Shailaputri is worshipped.
The Devi in this form took birth in the house of Himalaya Raja, the King of Mountains. The Devi is believed to be the ultimate form of Mother Nature.
BRAHMACHARINI – 2nd Day
‘Brahma’ means absolute consciousness and ‘achar’ means behaviour.
Devi Brahmacharini, who is worshipped on the second day, is the Sati form of Devi Parvati. In her Sati form, the Goddess had undertaken penance to have Lord Shiva. Ergo, she became the symbol of penance and asceticism.
On this day people resort to meditation in order to explore their inner divinity.
CHANDRAGHANTA – 3rd Day
‘Chandra’ means moon and ‘Ghanta’ meaning bell.
Devi Chandraghanta is the presiding Devi on the third day.
After marrying Lord Shiva, Devi Parvati took the avatar of Chandraghanta in which she adorned her forehead with a half-moon shaped like a bell that justifies the name.
This form is always on the toes to fight against demons and at the same time invokes courage to defeat the evil.
KUSHMANDA – 4th Day
‘Ku’ means a little, ‘Ushma’ means energy and Anda is taken from the last three words of the Sanskrit word ‘Brahmand’, which means Universe.
After taking the form of Siddhidatri, the Devi started residing inside of the Sun. And therefore, for her capability and power, she came to be known as Kushmanda. The glow and radiance of her body are as luminous as that of the Sun.
SKANDAMATA – 5th Day
Skandamata means Mother of Skanda.
In this form, she is the mother of Lord Karthikeya, the brother of Lord Ganesha, representing motherly affection. She is also known as The Goddess of Fire. This Devi is worshipped on the 5th day. It is believed that surrendering to this form of Devi brings an abundance of power, prosperity, wisdom, wealth and liberation.
KATYAYANI – 6th Day
On the 6th day, we worship Devi Katyayani.
Devi Parvati took the form of Katyayani, the daughter of sage Katyayana, to slay the asura named Mahishasura.
It is a form that Mother Divine assumed to annihilate the demonic forces in the universe. She was born from the anger of the gods.
KALARATRI – 7th Day
‘Kala’ means black and ‘Ratri’ means night. She is known as the night of death.
In this form, Devi Parvati is seen in her most ferocious form wherein she destroys the demons Sumbha and Nisumbha. Hindu mythology describes her as the death of time.
MAHAGAURI – 8th Day
‘Maha’ means too much and ‘Gauri’ means fair. Due to her fair complexion, this form of Devi is known as Mahagauri.
She is known as a Devi of cleanliness and purity. Any man who prays to her diligently, the Devi redeems him/her by burning off his life-long flaws, mistakes and wrong deeds.
SIDDHIDATRI – 9th Day
‘Siddhi’ means perfection.
The story is that Lord Rudra at the beginning of universe worshipped Adi Shakti. And as Adi Shakti has no form, she appeared from the left half of Lord Shiva as Siddhidatri.
The Devi Siddhidhatri who is worshipped on the last day removes ignorance and provides the knowledge to realize true reality.
May this year, all the Devis bestows her blessing on one and all.