VASANTA NAVARATRI IS ALSO CALLED AS CHAITRA NAVARATRI AND RAM NAVARATRI DURING WHICH WE WORSHIP THE NINE FORMS OF GODDESS DURGA
Vasanta Navaratri is celebrated during springtime in the lunar month of Chaitra (March-April) and ends with Ram Navami. Lord Rama who was born on Ram Navami is the ideal concept of human perfection and is called ‘Maryadapurshottam’ with a perfect sense of duty, sacrifice, discipline, equanimity, love and kindness. Sarvesh Pundit the chief priest of a temple in Aligarh says, “He is believed to be the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu.” That is the reason Vasanta Navaratri is also called Ram Navaratri. Vasanta Navaratri and Ram Navami are widely celebrated in Northern India.
Navaratri are the nine auspicious nights dedicated to worship Goddess Durga and her nine forms. Prof. Madhu Datar a learned spiritualist says, “She is a form of ‘Shakti’ who is the omnipresent power in the entire universe. She is the primordial or primeval energy of nature but the devotee of her positive qualities finds her most benign, kind, merciful and she blesses with grace and enlightenment.” According to ancient scripts, Goddess Durga manifested herself into three major forms namely, Maha Saraswati, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Kali who are the active energies of the divine trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh respectively. These three forms of the Goddesses further manifested themselves into three more forms each, thus leading to the nine forms of Goddess Durga. These nine forms are termed as Navadurga. These forms are the life phases of Ma Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva (Mahesh).
The nine forms of Goddess Durga are:
- Shailputri is the First Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 1st day of Navaratri. Sati the daughter of King Daksha immolated herself and was born to King Himavan as his daughter Parvati. He was the King of the Mountains so his daughter came to be known as ‘Shailputri’.
- Brahmacharini is the Second Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 2nd day of Navaratri. When she took birth as the daughter of Daksha, she was a great Sati and her unmarried form is known as Brahmacharini. Brahmacharini means one who practices devout austerity. She is the magnificent embodiment of Goddess Durga with great powers and divine grace. She is blissful and endows happiness, peace, prosperity and grace upon all devotees who worship her. She is the path to emancipation (Moksha).
- Chandraghanta is the Third Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 3rd day of Navaratri. When she got married to Lord Shiva, she wore a ‘Chandra’ or half moon on her forehead in the shape of a ‘Ghanta’ or bell and came to be called as Chandraghanta. She is worshipped for peace, tranquility and prosperity in life.
- Kushmanda is the Fourth Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 4th day of Navaratri. She is considered the creator of the universe and is believed to reside at the centre of the Sun as the principal source of all energy.
- Skandamata is the Fifth Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 5th day of Navaratri. She came to be known as Skandamata when she became the mother of ‘Skanda’ or Lord Kartikeya, who was chosen by the gods as their commander in chief in the war against the demons.
- Katyayani is the Sixth Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 6th day of Navaratri. When she destroyed ‘Mahishasura’ the demon, she came to be known as Katyayani.
- Kaalratri is the Seventh Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 7th day of Navaratri. She is the fiercest Goddess among all the forms of the Navadurga. When she removed her outer golden skin to fight the demons Shumbh and Nishumbh, she became very dark and came to be known as Kaalratri. Her gesture of protection assures us of freedom from fear and troubles. She is also known as ‘Shubhamkari’ – one who all auspicious.
- Mahagauri is the Eighth Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 8th day of Navaratri. She was extremely beautiful, very fair complexioned at the age of sixteen, and that is why she is known as Mahagauri. Her power is unfailing and instantly fruitful. Her worship is believed to redeem her devotees of all sins of the past and present and are purify them.
- Siddhidatri is the ninth and the last Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 9th day of Navaratri. She has supernatural healing powers. When Lord Shiva worshipped Maa Adi Parashakti for creation, he cleared different levels of Shakti and the Goddess appeared in ‘Saguna’ form (with virtuous qualities) from the left half of Lord Shiva and was called Siddhidatri.
NOTE: The article has been published in The Times of Aligarh (The Times of India) on April 14, 2013. Hence, the copyright of the article is owned by The Times of India. Anyone who tries to copy, use or reproduce the article in any way will be liable to legal action.