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The grand and glorious festival propitiating the nine forms of Goddess Shakti in all her beautiful feminine resplendence is called the Navaratri. Here the Devi (Goddess) is not only invoked in her three main manifestations – Durga, Lakshmi & Saraswati, but also as Bharat Mata (Mother of India), Bhoomi Devi (Mother earth), and Jagat Janani (Mother of Universe).
In Hindu tradition about a fortnight is reserved for paying homage to the ancestors every year, mainly through food offerings and prayers for their well – being and peace, wherever and however they are. This 16–day period is known as Pitru Paksha. Pitru Paksha marks the start of the Krishna Paksha – waning phase of the lunar cycle and begins after Purnima Tithi (full moon day) in Ashwin month (September – October).
The culmination of the Pitru Paksha called as Mahalaya Amavasya (no Moon Day) heralds the beginning of the Devi Paksha – welcoming the descent of Devi Ma. It is considered to be the most significant day during the period.
In the Vedic tradition, the moon is associated with feminine energy. Nine phases of the moon are associated with the nine forms of Devi. This marks the celebration of Navaratri! The first nine nights that mark the Shukla Paksha – the waxing phase of the moon during Navaratri, are very receptive to the energies, the electromagnetic forces, the pranas and all the shakti of the Universe, the Divine Devi wields.
Corresponding to the phases of moon of each progressing night, the Devi is worshipped with different names and different beautiful forms. There are mantras, shlokas and their associated siddhis (attainments) unique to each day and form.
Prathama – Day 1 – to obtain protection and begin the sadhana
ॐ देवी शैलपुत्र्यै नमः॥
ॐ Devi Shailaputryai Namah॥
Salutations to Devi Shailaputri
वन्दे वाञ्छितलाभाय चन्द्रार्ध कृतशेखराम् ।
वृषारूढाम् शूलधराम् शैलपुत्रीम् यशस्विनीम् ॥
Vande Vanchhitalabhaya Chandrardhakritashekharam।
Vrisharudham Shuladharam Shailaputrim Yashasvinim॥
I bow to the radiant Shailaputri- who wears a crescent moon, is surmounted on a bull and carrying a trident; in order to acquire boons.
Dwithiya – Day 2 – to know the right path to enlightenment
ॐ देवी ब्रह्मचारिण्यै नमः11
ॐ Devi Brahmacharinyai Namah॥
Salutations to Devi Brahmacharini.
देवी प्रसीदतु मयि ब्रह्मचारिण्यनुत्तमा ||
Dadhana Kara Padmabhyamakshamala Kamandalu।
Devi Prasidatu Mayi Brahmacharinyanuttama॥
Oh, unparalleled Devi Brahmacharini, who holds in her lotus like hands the Japa mala and Kamandalu, may She be pleased, and shower Her Grace upon me.
Trithiya – Day 3 – for overcoming the hurdles and winning over the enemies
ॐ देवी चन्द्रघण्टायै नमः॥
ॐ Devi Chandragantayai Namah॥
Salutations to Devi Chandraganta
By the 3rd day the moon looks like a bell that gives Devi the name Chandraghanta
पिण्डज प्रवरारूढा चण्डकोपास्त्रकैर्युता।
प्रसादं तनुते मह्यम् चन्द्रघण्टेति विश्रुता॥
Pindaja Pravararudha Chandakopastrakairyuta।
Prasadam Tanute Mahyam Chandraghanteti Vishruta॥
I bow to Devi Chandraganta, mounted on the ferocious tiger & carrying deadly weapons, may She embrace me with Her grace.
Chaturthi – Day 4 – to obtain material wealth and pleasures
ॐ देवी कूष्माण्डायै नमः॥
ॐ Devi Kushmandayai Namah॥
सुरासम्पूर्ण कलशं रुधिराप्लुतमेव च।
दधाना हस्तपद्माभ्यां कूष्माण्डा शुभदास्तु मे॥
Surasampurna Kalasham Rudhiraplutameva Cha।
Dadhana Hastapadmabhyam Kushmanda Shubhadastu Me॥
I bow to Devi Kushmanda, who holds the vessel of divine nectar red in color and filled to the brim, may She provide me with great successes.
Kushmanda means a warm egg, the primordial form from which the creation sprang forth. Devi is Kushmanda, Jagat mate – Mother of Universe!
Panchami – Day 5 – for mastery over the mind and senses
ॐ देवी स्कन्दमात्रै नम:
ऊँ Devi Skandamatre Namaha ll
सिंहासनगता नित्यं पद्माञ्चित करद्वया।
शुभदास्तु सदा देवी स्कन्दमाता यशस्विनी॥
Simhasanagata Nityam Padmanchita Karadvaya।
Shubhadastu Sada Devi Skandamata Yashasvini॥
Riding a lion, holding 2 lotuses in Her hands, May Skandamata bless us with everything
Shashti – Day 6 – Born to destroy demon Mahishasura, and to encourage Sadhakas to rise above materialistic pleasures.
ॐ देवी कात्यायन्यै नमःll
ॐ Devi Katyayanyai Namaha ll
कात्यायनी शुभं दद्याद् देवी दानवघातिनी॥
Katyayani Shubham Dadyad Devi Danavaghatini॥
Devi whose hands shine with the sword called Chandrahasa, who destroys the demon and riding the tiger, may She give us good fortune.
Saptami – Day 7 – to remove all negative forces and dark aspects of life, to understand the fleeting nature of existence
ॐ देवी कालरात्र्यै नमः॥ –
ॐDevi Kalaratrai Namaha ll
वर्धन मूर्धध्वजा कृष्णा कालरात्रिर्भयङ्करी॥
Vardhana Murdhadhwaja Krishna Kalaratrirbhayankari॥
The terrifying Devi, whose left foot shines with a jewel made of a metal, who is dark as Krishna and adorned with thorns, is born out of an evolved mind.
Ashtami – Day 8 – to be fearless and alleviate sufferings
ॐ देवी महागौर्यै नमः॥
ॐ Devi Mahagouryai Namaha ll
श्वेते वृषेसमारूढा श्वेताम्बरधरा शुचिः।
महागौरी शुभं दद्यान्महादेव प्रमोददा॥
Shwete Vrishesamarudha Shwetambaradhara Shuchih।
Mahagauri Shubham Dadyanmahadeva Pramodada॥
Goddess who is Pure, wearing white, one who rides a white bull, & gives joy to Mahadeva – May she make our lives bright.
Navami – Day 9 – to provide all siddhis, spectacular skills for victory
ॐ देवी सिद्धिदात्र्यै नमः॥
ॐ Devi Siddhidatrai Namaha ll
सिद्ध गन्धर्व यक्षाद्यैरसुरैरमरैरपि।
सेव्यमाना सदा भूयात् सिद्धिदा सिद्धिदायिनी॥
Siddha Gandharva Yakshadyairasurairamarairapi।
Sevyamana Sada Bhuyat Siddhida Siddhidayini॥
One who is worshipped by all gods, demons, men, siddhas, gandharvas, yakshas and all kinds of beings; who bestows all 8 siddhis, May She always uplift and fulfill our aspirations and attainments.
Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraganta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagouri and Siddhadatri are thus the Navadurgas, the 9 Devis , that corresponds to the 9 nights of the Navaratri.
In South India, the 9th day of the Navaratri is also celebrated by worshipping Devi Saraswati – Goddess of speech, learning & wisdom. Books, music and dance instruments, stationery items, and tools representing various skills are placed in the altar. Automobiles and artisan tools are anointed with haldi & kumkum, observed as “Ayudha Puja” day. Students, artistes, scholars, performing artistes, and professionals from various disciplines invoke Devi Saraswati for knowledge and excellence. No learning or study is done that day.
In West Bengal, Durga Devi is venerated on all days with grand decorations and processions. It is honored as the biggest and most magnificent cultural, social and religious event of the country!
The nine days of glorifying Goddess Shakti culminates with the celebration on the 10th day of Vijayadasami . Vijayadasami is the victory of knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, vibrance and joy over inertia and sorrow, of Devi Durga over demon Mahisasura who terrorized the world and could not be defeated by anyone except Mahashasuramardhini(Durga Devi).
Devi represents the all-pervading cosmic Shakti. The whole creation is permeated by this Shakti that makes even the tiniest atom to the largest element, function. The prayers, chanting, meditation, fasting helps is purifying the self and connecting to this limitless radiating source of Yogic energy. Navaratri is a beautiful and systematic journey to connect with the higher aspect of self and be absolved of all inner and outer enemies in the process. The pathway of this journey is transformational.
May the Divine Mother Devi, who has made her abode in the highest peaks of the Himalayas, nourish the entire world and beings, vanquish obstacles & sorrows and ever bestow on us great health, wealth, pleasure and prosperity.
Source for Shlokas:- https://www.drikpanchang.com, Sanskrit Channel.