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Navdurga-Nine Forms Of Goddess Durga

The description of Durga given by Sage Vyasa in his ‘Markandeya Purana’ is available in the form of ‘Durga Saptashati’. Durga is the symbol of the force which is the reflection of Power Supreme. Durga inspires humans into labour, work, endeavour, adventure and industry. The worship of this force give birth to ‘Shakti‘ sect in Hinduism. Durga concepts springs from the knowledge of Vedas and Upanishads. In a nutshell, for the destruction of evil forces and non-believers, God’s power took birth in the form of Durga. The most widely accepted account of the nine forms of Durga is the one found in the Devi Mahatmya– Sailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Maha Gowri and Siddhidayini. The nine forms of Durga are worshipped during the nine days of Navratri.


1) Shailputri:

In this form Durga is two-armed and carries a trident and lotus. Her mount is an ox or bull. Shailputri means the daughter of the mountain, Himalaya. In this form we see the divine Mother holding a trident in her right hand and a lotus on her left. She is seen seated on an ox.
In her previous birth, she was called Sati, Bhavani and was the daughter of King Daksha. After a lot of penance, she married Lord Shiva. But her father King Daksha was not too happy. He had arranged for a Yagya/Yagna (Ritual done around the sacrificial fire) where he invited everyone except his son-in-law, Lord Shiva. Upset and feeling humiliated, Sati decided to attend the event uninvited. There, her father insulted Lord Shiva and in fury she stood on the sacrificial fire and burnt herself alive.
Lord Shiva enraged, ordered his followers to demolish the Yagya. Sati was reborn as the daughter of the king of the mountains, Himalaya in the name of Parvati – Hemvati and got married with Lord Shiva again. This form of her is worshipped on the first day of the Navratri celebrations.


2) Brahmacharini:


In this form Durga is two-armed and carries a rosary and sacred water pot (Kamandal). She is in a highly pious and peaceful form or is in meditation. This form of Durga is related to the severe penance undertaken by Sati and Parvati in their respective births to attain Lord Shiva as husband. Some of the most important Vratas observed in different parts of India by women is based on the strict austerities followed by Brahmacharini. She is also known as Tapasyacharini and is worshipped on the second day of Navrathri.


3) Chandraghanta:

Goddess Durga’s third form is known as Chandraghanta or Shakti. Chandra means moon and Ghanta is the bell. This name finds its explanation in the half-circular moon on the temple of the Goddess that resembles a bell. She is three eyed with ten hands. Each hand holds ten different weapons. She is seated on lion and is worshipped on the third day of the Navratri celebration. Her hue is golden and her appearance always spreads a calm and eternal peace all round. She is unprecedented image of bravery. The frightful sound of her bell terrifies all the evil and demon. Worship of this deity helps to eliminate the sorrow, hazards and dangers in ones life.


4) Kushmanda:

In this form Durga is eight-armed and rides on a tiger. She holds kamandalu, bow, arrow, lotus, pot containing wine, disc, rosary and a club. She is very happy in this form and it is believed that the eternal darkness ended when she smiled. And this led to the beginning of creation. Kushmanda form of Durga is worshipped on fourth day of Navratri.


5) Skanda Mata:

Lord Kartik/Kartikeyan/Karthikeyan is also known as Skanda. As Goddess Durga is his mother, she is referred to as Skanda Mata. She is a deity of fire with four arms. She holds her son Skanda with the top right hand and lotus in her lower hand. The top left hand is positioned in a blessing gesture or Abhaya Mudra. She is fair complexioned, seated on a lotus and so also referred to as Padmasana.


6) Katyayani:

Sage Katyaayan was the son of the great sage Kat. He observed rigorous penance and worship of Bhagavati Paramba with a desire to get Paramba as his daughter. His wish was granted. The daughter born was named Katyayani. She has four hands. The top right hand is positioned in a gesture of providing courage while the other hand is positioned in a gesture of rendering a boon. The top left hand holds a sword and the other a lotus. The goddess rides a lion and worshiped on the sixth day of the Durga puja.


7) Kalratri:

Ratri means night so her complexion is as dark as the night. She has long, unmated hair with her three eyes that are shiny and bright. She has four arms and is seen mounted on a Shav/Shava or dead body. Her right hand holds a sword, while her lower hand is in a blessing stance. The left hand holds a burning torch and the lower left hand is in fearless position. She is known as Shubhamkari or the auspicious one. Her form encourages her devotees to be fearless.


8 ) Maha Gauri:

It is said that when the body of Goddess Gauri got dirty due to dust and earth while she was observing penance to attain Lord Shiva. So he cleansed her with the holy waters of Ganges. Her body transformed into bright and luminous like lightening and so her eighth form is known as “Maha Gauri” .Her clothes and ornaments are also white. Her visage is calm and peaceful and she is three eyed. She rides on a bull. Her four hands denote different meanings, like the left hand is in the fearless gesture and the lower on holds a trident. The above right hand has tambourine and lower right hand is in blessing style.

9) Siddhidatri:

The ninth form is Siddhidatri. There are eight Siddhis (Special powers which can only be attained from severe penance and meditation)-Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Iishitva & Vashitva. Maha Shakti gives all these Siddhies. It is mentioned in the Devi Puran” that Lord Shiva got all these Siddhis by worshipping Maha Shakti.
With her gratitude, Lord Shiva’s body also contains the Goddess and so he has the form and name of Ardha Narishvar. Ardha means half. The goddess rides on a lion. The Siddhidatri form is worshipped by all gods, rishis, munis (Saints and Sages), siddhas, yogis, sadhakas (Devotees) for attaining merit and boons of their severe penances.

 
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