Navaratri – Some Beliefs & Practices

Mata Shailputri : First Avatara of Durga

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Mata Shailputri is a daughter of ‘Parvata Raj’ (mountain king) – Himalaya / Himvanth. She is the first among nine avatars of Durga and worshiped on the First day of Navaratri . In her previous birth, she was ‘Sati Bhavani Mata’, the daughter of King Daksha. Mata Shailputri, also known as Parvati got married with Lord Shiva. On the first day of Durga Navratri, Paravathi Devi she is worshipped. Mata Shailputri holds a ‘Trishul’, a weapon, in her right hand and a lotus in her left hand. She rides on bull. She has pleasant smile and blissful looks.

Mata Brahmacharini : Second Avatara of Durga

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Mata Brahmacharini is worshipped on second day of Navarathri. Brahmacharini is the goddess who performed ‘Tapa’ (penance) (Brahma – Tapa , Charini – Performer ). Mata personifies love and loyalty. She holds japa mala in her right hand and Kamandal in left hand. She is also called as ‘Uma’ and ‘Tapacharini’ and provides knowledge and wisdom to her devotees.

Mata Chandraghanta : Third Avatara of Durga

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Mata Chadraghanta is worshipped on the thrid day of Navratri. She is very bright and charming. Durga Maa is astride a tiger, displays a golden hue to HER skin, possesses ten hands and 3 eyes. Eight of HER hands display weapons while the remaining two are respectively in the mudras of gestures of boon giving and stopping harm. Chandra + Ghanta, meaning supreme bliss and knowledge, showering peace and serenity, like cool breeze in a moonlit night.

Mata Kushmanda : Fourth Avatara of Durga

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Mata Kushmanda is worshipped on the fourth day of Navrathri. She shines brightly with a laughing face in all ten directions as the Sun. She controls whole Solar system. In her eight hands, she holds several types of weapons in six hands and a rosary and a lotus in remaining hands. She rides on Lion. She likes offerings of ‘Kumhde (Pumpkin) ’, hence her name ‘Kushmanda’ has become popular.

Ma SkandaMata : 5th Avatara of Durga

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Skanda Mata is worshipped on the fifth Day of Navratri. She had a son ‘Skandaa and holds him on her lap . She has three eyes and four hands; two hands hold lotuses while the other 2 hands respectively display defending and granting gestures. Its said, by the mercy of Skandmata, even the idiot becomes an ocean of knowledge. The great and legendary Sanskrit Scholar Kalidas created his two masterpieces works “Raghuvansh Maha Kavya” and “Meghdoot” by the grace of Skandmata. Mata is considered as a deity of fire. She rides on Lion.

Mata Katyayani : Sixth Avatara of Durga

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Mata Katyayani is worshippedon the the Sixth Day of Navratri. Rishi Katyayan observed a penance to get Jaganmata as his daughter. She blessed him and took birth as his daughter on the bank of river Jamuna for getting Lord Krishna as a husband. She is considered as prime deity of Vraj mandal. Ma Katyayani has three eyes and four hands. . One left hand holds a weapon and the other a lotus She rides on Lion.

Mata Kalratri : Seventh Avatara of Durga

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Mata Kalaratri is worshipped on the Seventh Day of Navratri . She is dark and black like night, hence she is called as ‘Kalratri’. Her hairs are unlocked and has three eyes and four hands.while the remaining 2 are in the mudras of “giving” and “protecting”. HER vahana is a faithful donkey. The destroyer of darkness and ignorance. She spills out fire from her nostrils. She holds a sharp Sword in her right hand and blesses her devotees with her lower hand. As she blesses her devotees with prosperity, she is also called as ‘Shubhamkari

Mata MahaGauri : 8th Avatara of Durga

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Mata Maha Gowri is worshipped on the Eight Day of Navratri. Maha Gauri looks as white as moon and jasmine. She has three Eyes and four hands. Peace and compassion radiate from HER being and SHE is often dressed in a white or green sari. SHE holds a drum and a trident and is often depicted riding a bull . Her above left hand is in fearless pose and she holds ‘Trishul’ in her lower left hand. Her above right hand has tambourine and lower right hand is in blessing mudra.

Mata Siddhidatri : 9th Avatar of Durga

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Mata Siddhidatri is the worshipped on the Ninth Day of Navratri. Maha Shakti gives all the eight siddhis – Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Iishitva and Vashitva. According to ‘Devi Puran’, the supreme God Shiva got all these siddhis by worshipping the supreme Goddess Maha Shakti. With her gratitude, his half body has become of Goddess, hence Lord Shiva’s name ‘Ardhanarishvar’ has become famous. According to some sources she drives on Lion. Other sources say, she is seated on lotus. Siddhidatri Devi is worshipped by all Gods, Rushis, Muniswaras, Siddha yogis, and all common devotees who want to attain the religious asset.
The ninth day is the culmination of the entire Navratri celebrations. This day is referred to as ‘Mahanavami’. On this day, a Kanya pooja is performed. Nine young girls, who have not yet attained puberty, are worshipped during this pooja. Each one of them symbolises one of the nine forms of goddess Durga. Each girl’s feet are washed as a mark of respect for the goddess. At the end of the pooja, each girl is given a set of new clothes as a gift from the devotees.

Vijayadasami or Dasara falls on the tenth day of Navratri.

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Navratri festivities culminate with Vijayadasami. Vijayadasami is the day when the victory of the good over the evil after nine days of worship is cherished.

Dasha Hara is a Sanskrit word which means removal of ten negative qualities within you
🎆 Kama vasana (Lust)
🎆 Krodha (Anger)
🎆 Moha (Attachment)
🎆 Lobha (Greed)
🎆 Mada (Over Pride)
🎆 Matsara (Jealousy)
🎆 Swartha (Selfishness)
🎆 Anyaaya (Injustice)
🎆 Amanavta (Cruelty)
🎆 Ahankara (Ego)

It’s also known as ‘Vijaydashami’ which means Vijaya over these ten bad qualities

On this day in the Treta Yug, Shri Ram (7th incarnation of Vishnu), killed the Demon Ravan.
Durga with weapons in her ten hands, riding on Lion, who assisted her in the fight, took on Mahishasur. The battle raged for nine days and nights. Finally on the tenth day of Ashwin shukla paksha, the evil demon Mahishasur was defeated & killed by Durga.
In Dwapar Yuga, after Pandavas lost to Kauravas in the game of Dice, they had to proceed to 12 years of “Vanwas” followed by one year of Adnyatwas. Pandavas spent 12 years in forest and hid their weapons in a hole on a “Shami” tree before entering the Kingdom of Virat to complete the last one year of Ajnyatwas. After the completion of that year on Vijayadashmi they took the weapons from the Shami tree, declared their true identity & defeated Kauravas, who had attacked King Virat to steal his cattle wealth.

Ayudha Pooja
The eighth or ninth day is celebrated as Ayudha Pooja, Machines, equipments and tools are worshipped. These are cleaned and smeared with sandalwood paste (Chandanam) and  vermilion (KumKum) and adorned with flowers.

The information above was shared by Sri Chethan Kumar of Bengaluru who can be reached on Twitter and Facebook (Click on the respective links for his profile)

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