Durga Sahasranamam: ‘Navratri’ word formulates from the Sanskrit words. It is made of Nav+ Ratri, Nav means nine and Ratri means night .So ‘Navratri’ means nine nights. In these nine nights people worship Goddess Maa Durga, Maa Lakshmi and Maa Saraswati to receive the blessings of all three. The nine-day period starts from the new moon day to the ninth day of Ashvina month in Hindu calendar. This time is considered as the most auspicious time and so commemorated with great joy and devotion. The nine different Devi’s (Goddess) are worshiped over the nine days. These are in the sequence of Durga Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Maha Gauri and Siddhidatri. These nine Devi’s are worshipped on different days of Navratri.
Nine Goddesses: The first Devi is Shailputri. She is a daughter of Himalaya and first among nine Durga’s. In her previous birth Daksha was her father and Shailputri was named Sati – Bhavani, the wife of Lord Shiva. Once Daksha, her father had organized a grand Yagna and did not invite her husband Lord Shiva. But Sati being self -willed reached at the place of Yagna. At there Daksha insulted Lord Shiva. Sati being ‘Pati- Varta’ could not tolerate the insult of her husband and burnt herself in the fire of Yagna. In her other birth Shailputri takes birth in the house of Himalaya in the name of Parvati – Hemvati. She was married with Lord Shiva. Upanishad states that she had crushed the vanity of Indra and other Devta’s. Being ashamed they bowed their head in front of ‘Maa’ and prayed that you are Shakti. We all – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Shiva) are capable only by getting Shakti from you. The second Devi is Brahmacharini. Here ‘Brahma’ means ‘Tapa’. There is rosary in Devi’s right hand and Kamandal in left hand. Once in her previous birth she was busy in games with her friends then Naradaji came to her and foretell the future of ‘Parvati Maa’ by seeing her Palm-lines. Narad ji said that she will get married with a naked-frightful ‘Bhole baba’ who was your husband in previous birth. But now you have to perform ‘Tapa’ (penance) for him. Saying this ‘Parvati Maa’ went to observe penance. That is the reason why her name is famous as ‘Tapacharini’ or ‘Brahmacharini’. The third Devi or Shakti is Chandraghanta. Chandraghanta Maa has 3 eyes and 10 hands and a half-circular moon in her forehead. Devi is very charmful and bright. She shines with Golden colour. She is beautiful image of bravery riding on Lion. ‘Kushmanda’ is the name of fourth Durga. She shines brightly with 8 hands, weapons in 7 hands and Rose in one hand. She is seated on Lion and looks like offering “Kumhde”. Therefore her name “Kushmanda” has become familiar. ‘Sakanda Mata’ is the fifth Durga. Himalaya daughter after getting married with Lord Shiva gave birth to ‘Skanda’. So Devi is called Skanda Mata. She has 3 eyes and 4 hands. Sakanda Mata is seated on a lotus and white in colour. The sixth Devi is the daughter of Rishi Katyayan. Rishi Katyayan had observed penance (Tapa) with a desire to get ‘paramba’ as his daughter. As a result Shakti took birth as a daughter of Katyayan. Therefore she is named as “Katyayani”. She has 3 eyes and e8 hands. Like other Devi’s, she is also seated on the Lion. Seventh Devi is Kalratri. She is dark black like night. Maa Kali hairs are not tied. She has 3 eyes which are very bright. She rides on the dead body. There is sharp sword in her right hand and in her lower hand is blessing by which she makes her devotees fearless. The Eighth Durga is “Maha Gauri.” She looks like a moon and Jasmine. Maha Gauri is just of 8 years old. She is white in her appearance. She wears white clothes and ornaments. She is riding on a bull. It is believed that when the body of Gauri Maa became dirty due to dust while observing penance, Lord Shiva makes it clean with the waters of Ganga. Then her body shines like lightening. That’s why she is known as “Maha Gauri”. Ninth Shakti is named as ‘Siddhidatri’. In “Devipuran” it is stated that the Lord Shiva got many Siddhies by worshipping Maha Shakti. Ninth Devi is worshiped by all Rishis-Munis, Siddhas, Yogis and devotees for attaining the best Siddhies. ‘Siddhidatri Maa’ rides on the Lion with 4 hands. Hindu flock looks upon the Goddess Durga as ‘Maa’ or ‘Mother of all’. To seek the divine blessings of Durga Mata, all the devotees observe fast on all nine days on the occasion of ‘Navratri’. The feast of Navratri is commemorated every year with full faith and sincerity. Hindus sincerely believe that fasting helps in establishing a sound coordination between body and soul. Scientifically, fasting is also considered to be good for our body. By fasting we can keep our body healthy by giving digestive organs some rest and cleansing the body of toxic materials.
Navratri-a special occasions: In ‘Navratri’ three Goddess are worshipped named Mata Durga, Mata Lakshmi and Mata Saraswati. We worship Durga Mata because she is Shakti. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped because she gives wealth and prosperity. Saraswati Mata is the store house of knowledge. To worship Saraswati Maa we put our musical instruments, books and anything that gives us knowledge before God to show our respect for these tools of knowledge. The main importance of this kind of worship is that you should not let your bad things win.. Then increase you positives traits by worshiping Lakshmi. We can gain knowledge from Maa Saraswati only when we are able to increase our positive side. These are the different steps for attaining Moksha. By celebrating this festival we remind ourselves of this process. We know there are nine days in ‘Navratri’ festival’. On first three days (1st, 2nd, 3rd) we worship Mata Durga also known as Maa Kali to destroy all the impurities. On next three days (4th, 5th, 6th navratri) Maa Lakshmi is worshipped for getting inexhaustible wealth. On last three days (7th, 8th, 9h navratri) Saraswati Maa is worshipped for getting wisdom and knowledge. In all we can say that to get all round success in life and to seek blessings of all three Devi’s , we worship all
the nine days by chanting ‘Shri Durga Sahasranamam’ with full faith and sincerity .