The word “Navaratri” is a conjunction of two words “Nava” (meaning “nine”) and “ratri” (meaning “night”). Spread over 9 nights and 10 days, Navaratri is one of the most sacred festivals in Hinduism where we worship Goddess Durga or Shakti, which represents the energy of the universe, in her 9 beautiful forms with great reverence.

There are various reasons why Navaratri is celebrated, and each has its own significance in different parts of India.

South India
In TamilNadu, it is called Golu. People buy hundreds of idols and try to create various settings that portray our culture and heritage. These idols & dolls are arranged in wood/steel stair specially built for this purpose. It is like a mini-museum at home. Some of these settings will talk about mythology and others about the lives during ancient times. Few others get more creative and set more modern scenes (such as a Cricket field or contemporary Indian life).

On the 9th day, we stop all work and decorate the stuff that is essential for our professions. These are then put to use on the 10th and final day. Little kids begin their kindergarten at the end of this festival and in most south Indian homes you would find the kids from neighbors’ homes singing and getting a gift.

East India
In the east, this festival is celebrated as “Durga Pooja” where the goddess Durga wins over a demon. It celebrates both the victory of truth and the greatness of feminism. If you end up in the eastern city of Kolkata at this time, you will see swarms of Durga idols dotting all over the city and people of all walks celebrating in the street. It is a happy time.

West India 
In Western India, the festival is celebrated as the dance festival – Garba. This is absolutely fun and you will find people dancing in the streets with two decorated sticks. Many universities in the US organize this event in October and if you are around a major university, do take your time to attend this event.

 

Killing of Mahishasura

One of the fiercest daemons, Mahishasura undertook severe penance to obtain a boon that he cannot be killed by a male, underestimating at his own cost the power of the female form, and started creating havoc everywhere. To stop him, Shakti took a very beautiful form of Durga and told him that she would marry him if he defeats her in a battle. It is believed that they battled for 9 days, and on the 10th day, Durga killed Mahishasura. Therefore the 10th day is called Vijayadashmi, day of the victory. One of the most famous idols that you see in temples depicts this scene where Mahishasura, in the form of a half bull, is being slayed by Mother Durga.

 

Nine forms of Durga – Navdurga

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NavDurga - The Nine forms of Maa Durga

As the ten-armed Goddess, Goddess Durga presents a radiantly beautiful form that is bewitching to behold. The nine different forms of Devi are worshiped over the nine days. These are the most popular forms under which she is worshiped:

Durga Shailputri (Daughter of Mountain) 
She is a daughter of Himalaya and first among nine Durga’s. In previous birth she was the daughter of Daksha. Her name was Sati – Bhavani, the wife of Lord Shiva. Once Daksha had organized a big Yagna and did not invite Shiva. But Sati being obstinate, reached there. There upon Daksha insulted Shiva. Sati could not tolerate the insult of husband and burnt herself in the fire of Yagna. In other birth she became the daughter of Himalaya in the name of Parvati – Hemavati and got married with Shiva. As per Upanishad she had torn and the egotism of Indra, etc. Devtas. Being ashamed they bowed and prayed that, “In fact, thou are Shakti, we all – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are capable by getting Shakti from you.”

Brahmacharini

The second Durga Shakti is Brahmacharini. Brahma that is who observes penance (tapa) and good conduct. Here “Brahma” means “Tapa”. The idol of this Goddess is very gorgeous. There is rosary in her right hand and Kamandal in left hand. She is full with merriment. One story is famous about her. In previous birth she was Parvati Hemavati the daughter of Himavan. Once when she was busy in games with her friends. Narada ji came to her and predicted seeing her Palm-lines that, “You will get married with a naked-terrible ‘Bhole baba’ who was with you in the form of Sati, the daughter of Daksha in previous birth. But now you have to perform penance for him.” There upon Parvati told her mother Menaka that she would marry none except Shambhuh, otherwise she would remain unmarried. Saying this she went to observe penance. That is why her name is famous as Tapacharini – Brahmacharini. From that time her name Uma became familiar.

Chandraghanta 
The name of third Shakti is Chandraghanta. There is a half-circular moon in her forehead. She is charmful and bright. She is Golden color. She has three eyes and ten hands holding with ten types of swords – etc. weapons and arrows etc. She is seated on Lion and ready for going in war to fight. She is unprecedented image of bravery. The frightful sound of her bell terrifies all the villains, demons and Danavas.

Kushmanda
Name of fourth Durga is Kushmanda. The Shakti creates egg, i.e. Universe by mere laughing .She resides in solar systems. She shines brightly in all the ten directions like Sun. She has eight hands. Seven types of weapons are shining in her seven hands. Rosary is in her right hand. She seems brilliant riding on Lion. She likes the offerings of “Kumhde.” Therefore her name “Kushmanda” has become famous.

Skanda Mata
Fifth name of Durga is “Skanda Mata”. The daughter of Himalaya, after observing penance got married with Shiva. She had a son named “Skanda.” Skanda is a leader of the army of Gods. Skanda Mata is a deity of fire. Skanda is seated in her lap. She has three eyes and four hands. She is white and seated on a lotus.

Katyayani
Sixth form of Durga is Katyayani. The son of “Kat” as “Katya”. Rishi Katyayan born in this “Katya” lineage. Katyayan had observed penance with a desire to get paramba as his daughter. As a result she took birth as a daughter of Katyayan. Therefore her name is “Katyayani”. She has three eyes and eight hands. These are eight types of weapons missiles in her seven hands. Her vehicle is Lion.

Kalratri
Seventh form of Durga is Kalratri. She is black like night. Durga hairs are unlocked. She has put on necklaces shining like lightening. She has three eyes which are round like universe. Her eyes are bright. Thousands of flames of fire come out while respiring from nose. She rides on Shava (dead body). There is sharp sword in her right hand. Her lower hand is in blessing mood. The burning torch (mashal) is in her left hand and her lower left hand is in fearless style, by which she makes her devotees fearless. Being auspicious she is called “Shubhamkari.”

Maha Gauri 
The Eighth form of Durga is “Maha Gauri.” She is as white as a conch, moon and Jasmine. She is of eight years old. Her clothes and ornaments are white and clean. She has three eyes. She rides on bull She has four hands. The above left hand is in “Fearless – Mudra” and lower left hand holds “Trishul.” The above right hand has tambourine and lower right hand is in blessing style. She is calm and peaceful and exists in peaceful style. It is said that when the body of Gauri became dirty due to dust and earth while observing penance, Shiva makes it clean with the waters of Gangas. Then her body became bright like lightening. Therefore, she is known as “Maha Gauri”.

Siddhidatri 
Ninth form of Durga is Siddhidatri. There are eight Siddhis, they are- Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Iishitva & Vashitva. Maha Shakti gives all these Siddhis. It is said in “Devi Puran” that the Supreme God Shiv got all these Siddhis by worshipping Maha Shakti. With her gratitude the half body of Shiv has become of Goddess and therefore his name “Ardhanarishvar” has become famous. The Goddess drives on Lion. She has four hands and looks pleased. This form of Durga is worshiped by all Gods, Rishis-Munis, Siddhas, Yogis, Sadhakas and devotees for attaining the best religious asset.

Navdurga Stuti

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One thought on “Navdurga – The Nine Forms of Durga

  1. Aabha Poorey says:

    hello
    Thanks for inform us about the nine avtar’s of ambe maa and give full description about that and reason’s having to take these avtar

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