Navratri -

Navratri - The festival of Goddess Devi

Navratri, (Sanskrit: “nine nights”) in full Sharad Navratri, is one of the most significant and ancient Hindu festival celebrated across the world. The word ‘Navratri’ stands for ‘nine nights’ where ‘Nava’ means ‘nine’, and ‘ratri’ means ‘night’. Navratri honours the Devi, the great Goddess and divine Mother, symbolizing the divine positive forces also known as divine shakti. This festival is celebrated for 9 nights and 10 days during the month of ‘Ashvina’, which is usually in the months of September – October according to the Gregorian Calendar. Nine forms of the Goddess are worshipped throughout the nine nights, and the 10Th day of Navratri ends with Dusshera (also called as Vijayadashami, which means ‘triumph on the tenth’), where people celebrate by burning huge effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghanada, to mark the win of good over evil. This also marks the beginning of preparations for Diwali, which is celebrated 20 days after Dussehra.


Story & Significance

Legends and Mythology

‘Rambha’ and ‘Karambha’ were the two Asura brothers, who practised extreme self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgences, to gain power and establish the rule of Danavas in the universe. Ramba was penancing inside burning fire to please Agni Deva and Karamba was penancing inside water to please Varuna Deva. This threatened Indra and he decided to kill both, but could only kill Karambha, since Agni Deva saved Ramba, and gave him a boon that Ramba would not be killed by any God, human or a demon. Once, Rama fell and love with a female water buffalo and started living with her as a water buffalo. After the female buffalo was pregnant, another male buffalo was attracted to her, and killed Rambha. Rambha was killed since the boon from Agni Deva did not state that he could not be killed by an animal. Then, the female buffalo wanted to die and jumped into fire, but soon she came out in the form of a half buffalo and half human - ‘Mahisasura’, Mahisasura became extremely powerful and captured heaven. Then the Gods led by Brahma approached Vishnu and Shiva regarding the situation. The destructive nature of Mahisasura angered the Trimurti.

The Trimurti then brought all their energies together and formed ‘NavaDurga’. All the Gods bestowed all their powers and characteristics weapons such as the trident, the discus, the conch, the spear, the cudgel, the bow, the arrows, the vajra, the mace, the water pot, the sword, the axe, and the lion, on NavaDurga. Thus, NavaDurga (nine Durga) means the manifestation of Durga in nine different forms. Mahisasura fell in love with Goddess Durga and asked her to marry him. Goddess Durga said that she would marry Mahisasura only on a condition that if she could defeat the demon. A battle then took place for 9 days after which Durga killed Mahisasura in the form of ‘Chandika’ by piercing his neck with her spear and then cutting of his head with her sword.

This defeat of Mahisasura is described in Markandeya Purana as ‘Devimahatmya’, which is usually recited by people during Navratri puja to worship the power of NavaDurga.

9 Goddesses of Navratri

The 9 different forms of NavaDurga representing nine different qualities are worshipped during Navratri on each of the nine days. The Devi Shakti encompasses qualities such as power, anger, compassion, fear, strength, beauty, and transformation.

  1. Shailputri

Mata Shailputri is worshipped on the first day of Navaratri. Shailputri means the daughter (putri) of mountains (shaila) and is an embodiment of the collective powers of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Mata Shailputri rides a bull with a trident and lotus in her hands. The colour for the first day of Navratri is red, which depicts actions and strength.

  1. Brahmacharini

Mata Brahmacharini is worshipped on the second day of Navaratri. Brahmacharini means the one who practises penance, where the word ‘Brahma’ stands for penance and ‘Charing’ stands for female follower. Mata Brahmacharini is an embodiment of happiness and prosperity. She is the way to emancipation (moksha). Mata Brahmacharini has a water utensil in her left hand and rosary beads in her right. The colour for the second day of Navratri is royal blue, which depicts a powerful calm energy.

  1. Chandraghanta

Mata Chandraghanta is worshipped on the third day of Navaratri. ‘Chandraghanta’ means the one who owns a crescent moon in the shape of a bell, and is an embodiment of bravery, strength, and grace. She is believed to ease the sufferings and abolish the sins of her devotees. The colour for the third day of Navratri is yellow which depicts elegance, peace, and prosperity.

  1. Kushmanda

Mata Kushmanda is worshipped on the fourth day of Navaratri. ‘Ku’ in Kushmanda means little, ‘Ushman’ means warmth and ‘Anda’ means cosmic egg. Kushmanda is an embodiment of good health, laughter, and strength. It is believed that she blesses all her devotees with good health and prosperity. The colour for the fourth day of Navratri is green.

  1. Skandamata

Mata Skandamata is worshipped on the fifth day of Navaratri. Brahmacharini means - the mother of Karthikeya, where ‘Skanda’ is another name for Karthikeya and ‘Mata’ stands for mother. She is an embodiment of wisdom, salvation, and power. Mata Skandamata was accompanied by an infant Karthikeya and was chosen by the Gods during the war against demons. The colour for the fifth day of Navratri is grey which, depicts the resilience and wisdom of Skandamata.

  1. Katyayani

Mata Katyayani is worshipped on the sixth day of Navaratri. Mata Katyayani also called as Bhadrakali or Chandika, who was born to a great sage is considered as one of the most ferocious forms of Durga. She is an embodiment of courage. The colour for the sixth day of Navratri is orange, which depicts spirit and tenacity, and the primal form of Durga.

  1. Kalaratri

Mata Kalaratri is worshipped on the seventh day of Navaratri. Kalaratri who is dark skinned, with unkempt hair and a brave posture, is also considered as one of the fiercest forms of Goddess Durga. Kalaratri who represents the darker side of life, has three eyes with fire emerging from her breath. Mata Kalaratri is believed to eliminate darkness and ignorance from the lives of her devotees. The colour for the seventh day of Navratri is white, which represents prayer and tranquillity.

  1. Mahagauri

Mata Mahagauri is worshipped on the eighth day of Navaratri. It is believed that worshipping Mata Mahagauri will wash away all the sins of her devotees. She is an embodiment of peace, calm and intelligence. The colour for the eighth day of Navratri is pink, which depicts new beginnings and hope.

  1. Siddhidatri

Mata Siddhidatri is worshipped on the ninth day of Navaratri. Siddhidatri Devi is worshipped by all the Gods, Siddha Yogis, Muniswaras, Tantriks, Rushis and all devotees. She has supernatural healing powers. According to scriptures, Siddhidatri Devi has four arms and is depicted as either riding a lion or sitting on a lotus in a blissful state. The colour for the ninth day of Navratri is sky blue, which depicts the beauty and bliss of nature.

Happy Navratri to all from India Sajawat & Puja Hut