New Delhi, September 29, 2017 : The last eight days have witnessed immense zeal and fervor among devotees who got together to celebrate Sharad Navratri and honor the nine auspicious nights of goddess Durga. According to the Hindu dharma, there are four Navratris in one year; however, only two of them are celebrated in a magnificent way, one of them being Sharad Navratri. This year, the festival was observed from September 21– 29. Throughout the nine day festival, devotees observe ritualistic fasts, perform several pujas and offer bhog (holy food) to Goddess Durga in an attempt to gratify her.
Why do we celebrate Navratri?
‘Nav’ means ‘nine’ and ‘ratri’ means ‘night’. Thus, ‘Navratri’ means the festival of the ‘nine nights’.
Navratri is celebrated to honor and glorify the spirit of Goddess Durga, also known as the Devi Shakti inside us. It is popularly believed that this spirit alone can help us destroy all negative traits like obsession, pride and aversions.
By turning to the Devi during Navratri, and getting in touch with her spirit in us, devotees attempt to overcome these negative qualities and invoke positive tendencies.
Celebration of the Devi Shakti
Shakti translates to energy and the Devi (goddess) of Shakti in the Hindu dharma is revered as the primitive source of energy that maintains and sustains all forms on creation of the earth.
The Devi Shakti, or the feminine spirit, manifests itself in multiple forms, nine of which are worshiped during the Navratri.
Each form of the goddess encompasses and supplements traits such as strength, beauty, compassion, , power, fear and transformation. Thus, during Navratri celebrations, devout Hindus honor the existence, presence and power of the Devi Shakti.
The Different Avatars of Durga
The nine nights of Navratri celebrate and honor the nine different aspects of Mother Divine on each day, known as Nava Durga. These are,
- Maa Shailaputri
- Maa Brahmacharini
- Maa Chandraghanta
- Maa Kushmanda
- Maa Skandamata
- Maa Kathyayini
- Maa Kaalaratri
- Maa Maha Gauri
- Maa Siddhidhatri
Day 9 of Navratri : Maha Navmi
The ninth and the final day of worship before Vijaya Dashami is known as Navmi, also known as Maha Navmi. This marks the end of the Sharad Navratri.
Spiritual Significance of Maha Navmi
According to the Hindu mythology, goddess Durga fought the king of demons, Mahishasur for nine consecutive days. The ninth day is the absolute day when the goddess’ power, righteousness, and wisdom won over the evil forces.
On this day, the ninth avatar of goddess Durga is worshiped – Maa Siddhidhatri.
Ninth form of Durga – Maa Siddhidhatri
It is believed that goddess Durga’s manifestation in his form happened upon entering the body of Lord Shiva and assuming the left half of it.
Maa Siddhidhatri sits on a red lotus and is also seen riding a lion at times. The goddess has a mace, conch, and a lotus in her four hands.
Ruling over the planet Ketu, Maa Siddhidhatri governs the minds of people and motivates them towards a disciplined and spiritual life. Devotees believe worshiping this avatar of goddess Durga leads them on a path of self-exploration and higher spiritual knowledge.
Goddess Siddhidhatri is believed to bring fulfillment and totality in every sphere of life, which is why devout Hindus celebrate the last day of Navratri to please and pray to the goddess.
Rituals of Maha Navmi
- In many parts of North and East India, Kanya Puja or Kanjak is observed on Maha Navmi. Following the rituals, nine young girls are worshiped as the nine avatars of goddess Durga. Following the puja which includes chanting various mantras and lighting incense sticks, the kanjaks are fed food specially prepared for them. They are also presented with gifts as tokens of respect and love.
- In eastern India, Maha Navmi is synonymous with the third day of Durga Puja. The celebrations begin with a holy bath and are followed by the Shodhasopachar puja. On this day, the goddess is worshipped in the avatar of the goddess who killed Mahishasur, Mahishasuramardini.
- In several parts of Southern India, many children begin preparing for their academic year from this day.
Color for the day : Purple
Navratri Ninth Day Maa Siddhidhatri Mantras
“Om Devi Siddhidatryai Namah”
“Om Devi Siddhidatryayi Namah Siddha Gandharva Yakshdyairasurairamarairapi
Sevyamaanaa Sadabhuyaat Siddhida Siddhidayini”