Navratri is very auspecious festival celebarted in India to worship Goddess Durga. Navratri comes four times in a year. It is celebrated from Pratipada to Navami in the month of Magha, Chaitra, Ashadh, Ashwin/Shardiya. In these four Navratri, Chaitra and Shardiya Navratri are considered as Pratyaksha Navratri and Magha and Ashadh Navratri are considered as Gupta Navratri. The tenth day is known as Dussehra.
Nine forms of Adishakti Durga are worshiped during the 9 days of Navratri festival in India. These 9 forms of Mother are known as ‘Navdurga‘. The 9 forms of Maa Durga that are worshiped during the 9 days of Navratri has different swaroops and significance –
First Form of Durga Maa is Shailputri
Mother Shailputri is worshiped on the first day of Navratri. Goddess was born as a daughter in the house of Parvatraj Himalaya and hence she was named Shailputri. Mother Shailputri, the symbol of nature, gives the highest peak of success in every field of life. Shailputri holds a trishul in her right hand and a lotus flower in her left hand and her vehicle is Vrishabha (bull). Because this form of mother likes red and white things, she is offered red and white flowers and vermilion on her day and she enjoy milk sweets. Worship of Maa Shailputri cures the diseases of all the members of the house and removes poverty from the house and brings prosperity.
Second Form of Durga Maa is Brahmacharini
That supreme Brahma which has no beginning and no end, Mother Brahmacharini is the form of the same Brahma Sarupa consciousness. These goddesses are worshiped on the second day of Navratri. At the behest of Narada Muni, this goddess had done severe penance to get Lord Shiva as her husband and had attained the knowledge of Brahman, that is why she was named Brahmacharini. The devotees who worship the form of Brahmacharini, they get the boon of unlimited and infinite powers.
Mother Brahmacharini holds a kamandal in one hand and a rosary of chanting in the other hand. This form of Goddess Durga inspires us to walk on the right path without getting distracted by the struggle. Lotus and hibiscus flowers should be offered to Maa Brahmacharini and sugar, sugar candy and panchamrit should be offered. Goddess is pleased with this and gives us longevity and good luck.
Third Form of Durga Maa is Chandraghanta
On the third day of Navratri, Maa Chandraghanta is worshipped, who has an hourglass-shaped crescent moon on her forehead. Maa Chandraghanta has ten hands which hold lotus flower, kamandal, trishul, mace, sword, bow and arrow. One hand blesses and the other remains in Abhaya Mudra, remaining one hand she keeps on her heart. This symbol of Mother is adorned with jewels studded with gems and a garland of white flowers adorns her neck. The vehicle of this goddess is a Tiger. Mother’s bell is supposed to give fear to the demons and on the other hand it gives freedom to the devotees from worldly sufferings. This form of Mother controls our mind. Milk and milk products should be offered to this form of mother during Navratri.
Fourth Form of Durga Maa is Kushmanda
This is the fourth form out of the nine forms of Goddess Durga. ‘Ku’ means small, ‘Usma’ means energy and ‘Anda’ symbolizes the cosmic sphere. According to the belief of Hindu religion, when there was darkness in the universe, then this goddess created the universe by lighting up the whole world with her dim smile and since then she was called Kushmanda. It is believed that the abode of these goddesses is in Suryaloka as only she has the ability to reside in that loka. Maa Kushmanda has 8 arms, out of which she holds kamandal, bow, arrow, lotus flower, nectar pot, chakra and mace in 7 arms and in the eighth hand, the rosary that gives all accomplishments and all wealth is adorned. You can get her blessings by offering Malpua to Goddess Kushmanda on the fourth day of Navratri. This form of mother is beneficial for intellectual development.
Fifth Form of Durga Maa is Skandamata
Goddess Skandamata is worshiped on the fifth day of Navratri. Skanda is born when the Shiva element pervading the universe meets with Goddess Shakti. Because of being her mother, she is called as Skandamata. Mother’s complexion is completely white and her form is quadrilateral. In the upper right arm, she is holding Shadanan Balrupa Skanda and blesses with the upper left arm. The mother is holding a lotus flower in both the lower arms. The lion is his conveyance. This form is also known as Padmasana. There is no weapon in this form of the mother because of being a vatsalya deity. By worshiping them, the devotees can attain ultimate peace and happiness even in the world of death. This form of Goddess is the symbol of knowledge. On this day, after worshiping the mother, offering banana brings happiness and peace in the family.
Sixth Form of Durga Maa is Katyayani
Being born in the gotra of sage Katyayan, this goddess was named Katyayani, who is worshiped on the sixth day of Navratri. Symbol of purity and secret of divinity, this goddess destroys negativity from the inner subtle world of man and gives positivity. The character of this form of the four-armed goddess is golden and bright. Adorned with gems, the vehicle of Goddess Katyayani is a ferocious lion whose posture is about to pounce immediately. From the upper right arm, the upper arm of the mother is in Abhaya Mudra and the lower one is in Vara Mudra. She is holding the Chandrahas sword from the upper left arm, while she is holding a lotus flower in the lower hand. One who worships the mother with concentration gets religion, meaning, work and salvation. Worship the mother and offer honey, so that happiness, youth and prosperity remain in ones life.
Seventh Form of Durga Maa is Kalaratri
We worship Goddess Kalaratri who gives freedom from fear on the seventh day of Navratri. Worshiping them also destroys the side effects and obstacles created by adverse planets. This form of Mata is fierce and fearful, but despite her frightening form, she gives auspicious results to the devotees. This goddess is also going to win over time. Maa Kalaratri’s complexion is black like pitch darkness, her hair is disheveled and she has three very bright eyes.
There is also a garland like lightning around their neck. Out of the four hands of the mother, two hands are in Abhaya Mudra and Vara Mudra and the remaining two hands have Chandrahas Khadag or sickle and Vajra (barbed dagger) towards the bottom. The upper part of the mother’s body is covered with red blood cloth and the lower part is covered with tiger’s skin. Her vehicle is a donkey. Offering jaggery to this form of Goddess on the seventh day gives freedom from obstacles.
Eight Form of Durga Maa is Mahagauri
Mother Mahagauri is worshiped on the eighth day of Navratri. It is believed that when Mother Parvati did severe penance to get Lord Shiva as her husband, her body became emaciated and her complexion black. When Lord Shiva, being pleased, accepted her in the form of a better half, then offered the water stream of the holy Ganga coming out of his hair to the mother, then her complexion became visible. Mahagauri has a white bull to ride on. This eighth form of the Goddess is of a calm nature and gives happiness to the married women. Coconut should be offered to them as bhog prasad.
Ninth Form of Durga Maa is Siddhidatri
Goddess Siddhidatri is worshiped on the last day of Navratri. This goddess is the giver of all achievements. It has even been told in the Puranas that even Lord Shiva got his achievements by worshiping this goddess. Ardhanarishwar was born because of Mother Siddhidatri. The lion is his conveyance. Chaturbhuj Devi holds mace in her right and upper hand and chakra in her lower hand. Mekmal’s flower is kept in the left and upper hand and conch shell in the lower hand. On the day of Navami, she should be worshiped and a girl childs are worshipped, by which the Goddess is most pleased. Worship them and offer halwa, chana, puri, kheer etc with havan and pooja.