Navratras: Nine Days of Worship of the Nine Appellations of Goddess Durga

Goddess Mahishasur Mardani - Maa Durga

 

 

The Mother Goddess is one of the most revered icons in Indian Mythology. In the Hindu pantheon, the Mother Goddess is ‘Shakti’, the consort of ‘Shiva’, the Supreme God. ‘Shakti’ is the source of feminine energy, which when combines with the masculine energy symbolized by Shiva, completes the cyclic requirement of creativity.  From the most ancient pre-Vedic and pre-Dravidian Indus Valley culture, Indians have identified Mother Earth as the female form of the divinity. The Mother Goddess symbolizes love, compassion, care and also determination and the capability to destroy evil. She is also the female aspect of the creator.

 

 

The Mother Goddess is one of the most revered icons in Indian Mythology. In the Hindu pantheon, the Mother Goddess is ‘Shakti’, the consort of ‘Shiva’, the Supreme God. ‘Shakti’ is the source of feminine energy, which when combines with the masculine energy symbolized by Shiva, completes the cyclic requirement of creativity.

 

From the most ancient pre-Vedic and pre-Dravidian Indus Valley culture, Indians have identified Mother Earth as the female form of the divinity. The Mother Goddess symbolizes love, compassion, care and also determination and the capability to destroy evil. She is also the female aspect of the creator.

 

When Lord Shiva assumes a particular role or form from the various ones He has, the consort too changes Her nature into a suitable one. As Her role changes, so changes Her name as it is. She is variously known as ‘Sati’, ‘Parvati’, ‘Durga’ or ‘Kali’. In either manifestation, the consorts of Shiva are worshipped as Mother Goddesses and are addressed as ‘Devis’.

 

The following is an oft-chanted shloka to pay obeisance to Mother Goddess:

|| Sarva mangala mangalye shive sarvartha sadhike |
Sharanye trayambake gauri, Narayani namostute ||

[English translation] O’ Mother! You are the epitome of everything that confers happiness. You are Lord Shiva’s gentle and compassionate form who bestows Divine energy and aids people attain purity, riches, fulfilled desires and liberation. You are worth submitting to; three eyes embellish You; O’ Narayani Devi, I bow before You! 

 

  • Navratras – Understanding the phenomenon

Although the ‘Navratras’ are celebrated four times a year, it is the ones just at the beginning of spring and at the beginning of autumn that are the most pompously celebrated. These are the two very important turning points of climatic and solar change as well. ‘Nav-ratra’ literally means nine nights; and nine forms of ‘Shakti’ - ‘Nav-durga’ are worshipped during the period.


 

 

Each manifestation of the Goddess Durga has a distinct form, iconography, mythology, lore and sets of boons She grants. Each day of the Navartras is consecrated to each manifestation to be meditated and hallowed that day and invite related munificence. The nine days of fasting and feasting herald the birth of the Goddess in Her complete form (combining all Her aspects) on the ninth day.

 

By Team Ganges Inda

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