Knowing the importance of the different forms of Durga Maa will help you to perform Navaratri worship with ultimate devotion and dedication.
This understanding will keep you focused on a different aspect of Mother every day, as it outlines a path of sadhana to enrich and elevate the spiritual aspirant. An easy sadhana to perform is Nava Durga Stotram. Chanting this will help you attain perfection in all endeavors.
Understand, follow, and implement this process which is not just limited to Navaratri time, but also can serve as the journey to be taken over your lifetime as your soul progresses toward union with God.
ॐ देवी सिद्धिदात्र्यै नमः॥
Om Devi Siddhidatryai Namah॥
On the journey to Perfect Attainment, we arrive at the ninth and final form of the Goddess, Siddhidatri, She who Grants Perfection.
Each day of Navaratri has a significant importance, but ninth day is the most prominent, as this is the final and concluding day of Durga puja.
Siddhi means accomplishment, fulfillment, complete attainment, and success. It relates to the successful achieving one‘s goal.
It also can mean readiness or maturity, having attaining the right age or the right mindset.
But in the context of spirituality, Siddhi is said to be the attainment of unusual capacities, such as supernatural powers, psychic powers, and intuition, often associated with eight supernatural powers, but not limited to them.
The word “datri” means giver. So She is the grantor of attainment (siddhi daan) and achievements to sincere devotees and spiritual aspirants, especially if they worship Her on the ninth day of Navaratri.
She helps us spiritually when other aspects of life are accomplished. She represents the burning of past karmas and the ability to move forward unimpeded.
This beautiful Goddess is worshiped by all those desiring the Ultimate Perfection.
Dressed in red, She sits on a lotus flower. In her four arms She holds a club, discus, conch, and lotus.
She is surrounded on all sides by sadhus, sages, rishis, and Gods, who worship Her as Jaya-Victory. Here is the significance of Her form:
- lotus: fully bloomed means she completes the blossoming of the spiritual aspirant. The kundalini which was just awakening (budding lotus) in the first chakra as Shailaputri Devi, has now traveled to the crown and fully bloomed above the head, as Siddhidatri Devi
- worshipers: great sages and even demons go to her for the final attainment
- club: power, removes ignorance, final blow to ego
- discus: cuts through final karma
- conch: victory, the sound takes us back to the source and the real Siddhi that she provides is the realization that only she exists. She is the mistress of all achievements and perfections
- red dress: symbolizes action; She is always busy destroying evil, protecting, and gracing devotees
How do we please Siddhidatri Devi and achieve the Ultimate Perfection? It is done by methodically following the nine step path – step by step!
There is no way to skip a step, and everyone progresses at their own natural pace. To quicken the process – start now!
Get inspired to live in dharma (your ideal of perfection), increase your sadhana, and perform tapasya.
As you increase in purity, you will become more receptive to the abundance of Goddess Durga’s blessings.
Above all, have faith that the fruits will come to you when the time is right.
Path to Perfect Attainment:
As a reminder of the process, first we became inspired (Shailaputri Devi) to learn the sacred scriptures (Brahmacharini Devi), and to practice sadhana (Chandraghanta Devi) in an effort to purify ourselves in such a way that all of our actions become tapasya (Kushmanda Devi).
Upon performing tapasya, support comes our way to nurture our divinity (Skandamata Devi), so that we are enabled to experience the purity of our true nature (Katyayani Devi).
Then, at the right time in our spiritual journey, when we are ripened and ready, our selfish ego is destroyed (Kalaratri Devi) and replaced with radiant divine light (Mahagauri Devi).
Finally, when our minds are completely matured, and we are ready to shoulder additional responsibilities, we experience perfection (Siddhidatri Devi).
When we reach the ninth step, our responsibilities naturally increase. Up until now we have been solely focused on elevating ourselves on the spiritual path.
With the blessings of perfection, we are now called upon and compelled to help others in the same way that we have been helped.
On the final day of Navaratri, chant her mantra and ask Her for an attainment that will help you on your path, be it the removal of a negative tendency like anger or fear, or the addition of a positive quality, like more compassion and humility.
May Siddhidāyinī (the giver of perfection) who is always served by masters (siddhas), celestial musicians (gandharvas), tree spirits (yakṣas), demons, and gods, grant us with perfection in all we do!
(8) Mahagauri Devi
ॐ देवी महागौर्यै नमः॥
Om Devi Mahagauryai Namah॥
Mother Durga’s eighth form is Mahagauri, the Goddess of the Great Radiant Light.
On the Path to Perfect Attainment, recall that the seventh Goddess, Kalaratri Devi, slays our ego, opening up space for the Divine Light. Ushering in this Divine Light is the role of the most radiant Goddess, Mahagauri, who resides in the crown (sahasrara) chakra.
Therefore, Kalaratri Devi and Mahaguari Devi work as a team – they are “two sides of the same coin,” so to speak.
The root “Maha” means great, and the word “Gauri” means white or light. So Mahagauri is the Goddess who is extremely white or the great radiant light.
The story is told that Mahadeva would call Parvati Devi “Kaalike” because She was dark in color. Once, after Parvati Devi did intense tapasya, Mahadeva was so pleased with Her that He showered Her with Ganga water. After that, She became a pure white color, totally illuminated.
Not only is Her complexion very fair, but also both Her clothing and her vehicle, the bull, are white.
Looking at the depiction of this great Goddess, Her purity and calm nature come to life. Here is the meaning behind her form:
- white: brilliant, pure, and shinIng; it also means the absence of all color, meaning no opinions but rather pure objectivity; white also refers to shuddha sattva, which is transcendent purity that is untainted by the qualities of material nature
- right hand mudra: grants boons and blessings of fortune (śubhaṁ)
- trident (trishul): represents the dissolution of past, present, and future karmas and sins
- left hand mudra: bestows fearlessness
- drum (damaru): infinity, the sounds from the damaru beats the rhythm of the cosmic vibrations and the energy is activated by the divine Mother or Shakti
In Her essence, Mahagauri is the pure, stainless shakti that vibrates the entire universe into manifestation.
As a Mother, she takes care of Her children‘s karma and sins, fulfills their desires, and removes fear and sorrow, leading them to the path of virtue and self realization.
Shailaputri and Mahaguari
If you recall, Goddess Shailaputri, the first Goddess, was extremely beautiful and fair. Because of Her extreme fair complexion she became known as Mahagauri. She also adorns Herself in white clothes. The vehicle of Maa Mahagauri as well as Shailaputri is a bull. What is the connection?
In the human body, Shailaputri Devi resides in the first chakra, and offers inspiration while pointing her attention upwards (kundalini rising) toward Lord ShIva.
The Mahagauri Devi who resides in the Sahasrara crown chakra is the result of this Navadurga process (inspiration, learning, practice sadhana, clear out negativities, etc).
The crown is the target chakra of the most important energy channel in the human body – the Sushumna nadi. This is the nadi that the Kundalini energy, symbolized by a snake, ascends and causes the awakening of power and the realization of our full human potential.
So Shailaputri and Mahaguari (and all the Devis in between) are connected in the human body through the Sushumna Nadi. These Goddesses are just different expressions of the one Goddess Durga.
Navaratri worship: the eighth day is a very important day to perform sadhana, for the energy has now lifted to the crown and results are quick.
Focus on Her attitude, which is calm and peaceful. Chant Her mantra. Sadhana today has the power to wash away all previous bad karmas. She takes care of the future too, and you will begin to feel fearless.
Ask Mother for something today, you will feel taken care of and satisfied. Not sure what to ask for? Ask for Her devotion, She will point you in the direction of Lord ShIva!
ॐ देवी कालरात्र्यै नमः॥
Om Devi Kalaratryai Namah॥
Inevitably on the spiritual path we become acutely aware of our egoistic tendencies.
We witness the ideas of “me, mine, and I,” which are so conditioned in our thinking process that we blindly, yet ambitiously, go through life, trying to get more and more for ourselves.
Unfortunately, unless we get help, these thoughts are an endless succession in a perpetual cycle. What do we do?
To the rescue is the seventh form of Durga, Kalaratri Devi, the fiercest form of Durga who we worship on the seventh night of Navaratri.
Rātri means night. Kāla means time, death, black or dark. So Kalaratri is She who is beyond time, the darkness of night. Kalaratri Devi is the great Dark Night Mother of overcoming egotism.
She represents the unfolding of time: the time on the clock that keeps moving forward, making us older, leading us to our death (hence it also means death- your time has come). It is a heavy crushing energy that makes even the greatest nations fall one day.
Kālarātri can be translated as Dark-night goddess, or Death-night goddess. Death is similar to sleep, you let go from your body and enter the dark realm where you have no body but just the thought forms within you.
She is a fierce form of Durga, who burns our egoistic tendencies in the fire of sacrifice.
Though Her appearance appears fearful to the eye, She is not to be feared, because when She is pleased, She grants very auspicious fruits to spiritual aspirants. She takes aspirants beyond the darkness of attachment into the illumination of wisdom.
For a spiritual aspirant this process of surrendering the ego can feel painful. Ultimately though, the removal of the darkness opens up space for the Divine Light to penetrate our awareness, moving us into wisdom.
Kālarātri is black and naked except for her ear-ornaments on her large ears. Her lips hang open (lamba-oṣṭhī), her body is covered in oil, and she sits on a donkey.
She has a single braid in her hair. The rest of Her hair is unbound and flies wildly in all directions. She wears a garland of lightning, and from her body emanates a light, that is as bright as fire.
She holds an iron scimitar in her upper left hand and a lightning bolt in her lower left hand. Her other hands are granting blessings and protection. Here is the significance of her form:
- black: takes away darkness from mind
- donkey: strong and sure-footed
- iron scimitar: sharp cut to negative forces
- lightning: diamond hard shakti
- upper right hand: grants boons
- lower right hand: blesses with fearlessness
- braid: single braid representing mourning
- unbound hair: fierce, wild, untamed
This energy of lightning has a very special significance. Lord Shiva gave Rishi Dadhici the boon that his bones would be indestructible. Indra needed a very strong weapon with which to fight the asuras, and so he asked the rishi for his bones. Rishi Dadhici gladly gave up his life so that his bones could be fashioned into Indra’s weapon.
The weapon had so much energy and shined with the radiance of tapasya, and it was that weapon which was used to slay many of the asuras. For that reason it is often called shakti (energy), vajra (lightning or diamond hard), or parigham (fashioned like an iron bar).
Kalaratri is also known as Shubhankari (शुभंकरी) – meaning auspicious/doing good in Sanskrit, due to the belief that she always provides auspicious results to her devotees. Hence, it is believed that she makes her devotees fearless.
She is also associated with the crown chakra, thereby giving the invoker siddhis (perfection in qualities).
Today, chant Her mantra and pray for Kalaratri Devi to destroy the darkeness in our minds, to let go of attachments, and to open the mind to the light.
(6) Katyayani Devi
ॐ देवी कात्यायन्यै नमः॥
Om Devi Katyayanyai Namah॥
The sixth form of Durga represents the Mother who blesses Her children with ultimate purity, because She destroys our negativeness.
She is Katyayani Devi, and She is a pure reflection of the divine radiance of all of the Gods.
Riding on the most excellent lion, Kātyāyaṇi holds a flaming scimitar (curved sword), destroying demons. We pray for her to bless us with fortune (śubhaṁ).
Mother Katyayani is depicted as having four hands with the following significance:
- upper-right hand she bestows boons
- lower-right hand She grants freedom from fear
- upper-left hand she holds a lotus flower of peace
- sword in her lower-left hand to cut negativities
- lion of dharma is the vehicle
Kātyāyaṇī is one of the more famous forms of the Navadurga and is mentioned in many different texts and has many temples in India.
The story is told that when the Gods were troubled by the demons, they gathered together at the ashram of Maharishi Katyayana to enlist his help.
In their anger over the situation with the demons, the Gods, including Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara, concentrated their light and energy into a united form of pure radiance. This radiance was so powerful that from it, an ever pure form of the Goddess Durga was manifest.
As Maharishi Katyayana was the first to worship Her, and She became manifest in the Katyayana Ashram, She was named Katyayani, the Goddess who is eternally pure.
Maharishi Katyayana worshiped Her during the last three days of Ashwin (Fall Navaratri). On the tenth day, known as Vijayadashmi (the day of Victory), this captivating form of Durga vanquished the demon Mahishasura, who we know as the Great Ruler of Duality, otherwise called the Great Ego.
She is also associated with Kanya Kumāri as seen in her Gāyātrī mantra in the Taittirīya Āraṇyaka:
Kātyāyanāya vidmahe kanyakumāri dhīmahi |
tanno durgiḥ pracodayāt | 10.1.6
Kātyāyaṇi’s worship is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purāṇa. During the first month of hemanta season unmarried girls do a vow (vrata) to get a husband. They eat only unspiced kitcheri and worship the goddess Kātyāyaṇī (10.22.1).
They wake before sunrise to bathe in a sacred river and for one month they worship their handmade clay image of the goddess with sandalwood paste, flowers, decorations (jewelry, clothe, etc), the fresh tips of plants, fruit, flower garlands, lights (dīpa) and incense as they pray to the Goddess for the perfect husband.
Kātyāyaṇī is listed as a synonym for Parvati in the Amarkoṣa (an ancient Sanskrit Thesaurus). This name is also used interchangably with Durgā. The specific form of Kātyāyaṇī is known to reside in the sixth chakra, the Ajna or Third eye chakra, between the eye brows. Her blessings bring focus and intellect.
Seeing with the third eye allows us to experience clear thoughts, spiritual contemplation, self reflection, inner guidance and deeper truths.
Kātyāyaṇī’s grace helps us to experience the purity of our true nature by destroying all of our negative selfishness. Particularly, She helps us to overcome shame. This was seen by the gopis who had their clothing stolen by Kṛṣṇa, and then had to reveal themselves and overcome the shadow of shame.
Kātyāyaṇī removes the hindrances to the inner child, and allows us to find humour in our life so that we act young and playful no matter what our age.
Devotees who worship Mother Katyayani are blessed with child-like innocence, pure devotion, and their requirements for dharma (ideal of perfection), artha (necessary resources), kama (fulfillment of desires), and moksha (liberation) are granted.
On Navaratri, chant her mantra and focus on the third eye. Pray for Her to return you to your original innocent nature by removing all negative blockages. Surrender to Her and let Her take care of all of your worldly needs, as well as bestow greater clarity and deeper wisdom.
ॐ देवी स्कन्दमातायै नमः॥
Om Devi Skandamatayai
On this Path to Perfect Attainment given to us by the nine forms of the compassionate Durga, we now learn about Skandamata Devi, the Goddess who Nurtures Divinity.
She is the fifth Goddess worshipped on the fifth day of Navaratri.
But, before we get too far, let’s step back and calibrate the steps we have taken so far and summarize the Path.
First we became inspired (Shailaputri Devi) to learn the sacred scriptures (Brahmacharini Devi), and to practice sadhana (Chandraghanta Devi) in an effort to purify ourselves in such a way that all of our actions become tapasya (Kushmanda Devi). The fifth Goddess, Skandamata Devi, supports and nurtures our divinity, enabling our spirituality to blossom as it envelopes everything we touch.
It is believed that Mother Durga married Lord Shiva for the purpose of blessing the Devas with a commander-in-chief to lead the forces of unity in the war between the forces of duality (asuras) and the forces of unity (devas).
Lord Shiva and Parvati’s son, Kartikeya (also called “Skanda”), became the General of the Armies of the Gods.
The word “Mata” means Mother. Skandamata Devi is the Mother of Skanda, Parvati’s son, Kartikeya, the Commander of the forces of Divine Light.
She represents our dearly Beloved Mother, who tenderly guides us on the path – just like our very own Mother.
Skandamata Devi is depicted as the gentle, compassionate Mother, who inspires, nurtures, exemplifies, and cultivates in such a way so that all of our actions become divine.
Eternally the illustrious Skandamata moves about on a lion, holding lotuses in her hands granting auspiciousness, but the baby on Her lap is actually the god of war, Skanda! He is most dangerous deity in the universe- anger, strength, tactical knowledge, destruction, war.
So She represents the energy of self-restraint and discipline, as a warrior’s strict and rigorous life. A warrior knows how to utilize anger for positive results.
Anger and rage exist within all of us. Anger arises when there is a need to protect our boundaries. It is important that we use anger properly in the correct space and time.
Skandamata is the form of the Mother that can move from a calm restrained state to intense anger. She contains both extremes: peace and aggressive fighting.
In the human body, she resides in the Vissudhi chakra (throat). When this Chakra is balanced we have open communication, speak in truth and listen well. When it is under active our emotions are suppressed and we don’t communucate. When over active we talk aggressively, don’t listen and gossip.
With the grace of Skandamata Devi, we come to experience divinity in everything – everything becomes an expression of the divine. Our offerings (through actions and worship) are divine, the divine accepts our offerings, because who are making the offering are the sons of Shiva, divine beings!”
Skandamata upholds herself with complete self-control. This form of the Mother removes aggressive tendencies, fighting, problems with the police and also issues with rashes and skin disorders.
This precious form of Durga has four arms and rides on a lion, depicted with the following significance:
- Baby Skanda: holding the baby child Skanda in Her lap, she is the Mother of an extraordinary child; praying to her will reach her son Kartikeya too; self restraint
- Lotus: The upper hands each hold a lotus.
- Blessing: One of the hands used to grant blessings.
- Lion: She sits on the lion of dharma
During Navaratri, chant her mantra and pray for self restraint and discipline, for anger and harsh emotions can destroy your sadhana in a second.
Swamiji has shared two mantras for Skandamata Devi from the Nava Durga Puja in the Samasti Upasana (Cosmic Puja):
As an alternative, you may chant to all nine forms of Durga using the Nava Durga Stotram.
May the the loving Mother known as Skandamata nurture your soul and propel you on this path to perfect attainment!
 Devī Kūṣmāṇḍā
ॐ देवी कूष्माण्डायै नमः॥
Om Devi Kushmandayai Namah॥
Maa Kushmanda is the fourth manifestation of Goddess Durga. On the fourth day of Navaratri, worship of Devi Kushmanda is performed.
Her divine spark, characterized in her physical depiction as a smile, is what created the light that flooded what was once vast darkness. She is known as the One who created the universe.
Considered by some to be the Mother of the Sun, she brings the Sun’s warmth, light, and clarity to Earth. She resides in the sun and so provides the energy that creates tremendous heat.
The name Kushmanda is a compound word that consists of three Sanskrit words ‘ku’ (meaning-little), ‘ushma’(meaning-warmth) and ‘anda’(meaning-egg); which combined together means a little warm cosmic-egg.
Ku-ushma-anda may be thought of as the “Egg of Light in the World,” illuminating all things, making all things known, and is the source of energy for life.
Her role is to add heat and light to the cosmic egg, the egg or bija which gives the essence of all the possibilities for creation. So, Kushmanda Devi cooks the Cosmic egg.
For spiritual aspirants, She is the Goddess of Purification, of Tapasya – adding heat and light to purify all of the actions we perform.
As we become inspired to learn the sacred studies and commit to practicing our chosen sadhana, grace falls upon us in the form of Kushmanda Devi.
This illumined Goddess of Purification elevates us on our Path by purifing all of our actions, making everything we do a form of puja.
She bestows brightness, clarity, and profound peace to her adorers. Her radiance is eternal. Maa brings light into darkness and establishes harmony in our life. She is a form of “Adi Shakti” and worshipping Maa Kushmanda lets us enter into the heart chakra.
Her warm nature nurtures the entire universe. Grace and dignity of Maa Kushmanda is truly incredible. Her beauty is boundless.
Upon obtaining the grace of Goddess Kushmanda, all of our actions are continuously purified so that they become the most expressive demonstration of the sincerity of our love!
Ultimately, with Her purifying grace, all actions become sadhana, a sacrificial offering, leaving no separation between the spiritual life and worldly life. It all becomes “one” and we enjoy the highest illumination, contentment, and peace with no room for conflict and strife. Such is the grace of this revered Goddess.
She is a beautful Goddess with a pleasant, nurturing smile, and is represented with eight-arms with the following significance:
- chakra: divine weapon which is constantly in motion; to ward off negative energy
- gada (mace): symbol of power and strength packing a powerful concentrated blow
- japa mala (rosary): offers all types of Siddhi (perfection) and Nidhi (treasure) to her devotee
- holy immortal nectar: the essence left after distillation
- lotus-flower: peace
- bow and arrow: focus of potential and kinetic energies
- kamandula: water pot, self sufficient
- rides a lion: vehicle of dharma
- golden and radiant in color: like the sun, she lights up the world
Worshiping Her is believed to bestow spiritual fulfillment and harmony in the lives of all devotees.
According to the legend, there was no light anywhere. It was null and void. It was Devi Kushmanda who created the world as we see it today.
The sun gives life to the world and Goddess Kushmanda herself is the power of the sun and is the source of all energy when she resides within the core of the Sun God. She is the Shakti which gives the sun its capability to give life to everyone, to create a balance in the universe by providing life to all living beings.
(3) Chandraghaṇṭa Devi
ॐ देवी चन्द्रघण्टायै नमः॥
Om Devi Chandraghaṇṭayai Namah॥
Chandraghaṇṭa Devi is the third archetype of Goddess Durga, and we worship Her on the third day of Navaratri.
(3) Chandra means moon, which represents the mind. Ghanta means bell. Her name Chandra-Ghanta means “one who has a half-moon shaped like a bell.”
There are many theories for her name:
- She has a half-moon the shape of a bell on her forehead
- She is the wake-up call/bell for the mind (moon)
- She is the bell of time, like the church bell which strikes every hour- ticking away time (consciousness unfolding)
- the Moon also represents the mind, and the bell represents the inner sound (nāda) calling the mind back to its source.
So Chandraghaṇṭa is the bell of the Moon, or the bell that calls our minds back to the Goddess (Source). She does this by blessing us with devotion (quality of the moon) for spiritual practices (delight for the mind) and protecting us (warrior goddess with several weapons) from distraction.
In the Chandi Path, during the battle between the Goddess and the demons, the horrible sound produced by her bell sent thousands of demons to their death, such is the sound of her bell. So the bell here is actually a weapon that stops negative thoughts in their tracks. It is a tool for the peace of mind. It is also a tool used in ritual worships (pujas, homas), but its aim is always to focus the mind.
The ringing of the bell is a call to awaken to the present.To leave the past, our attachments, to something that was and to be with what is right now.
Chandraghaṇṭa Devi is She who rings the bell of devotion. She keeps you on the spiritual path by charming the mind with the supreme bliss, wisdom, peace, and contentment that comes through spiritual practice (sadhana). Her blessings remove all hindrances coming in the way of a person’s spiritual advancement.
When She is pleased, She compels devotees to demonstrate their devotion through spiritual practices, such as ringing the bell, doing the pujas, reciting the scriptures, and singing bhajans.
Chandraghanta protects the mind from wrong thoughts. She also protects us from thieves, deceit, anxiety, and false accusations. She gives clarity, is important for removing depression, and keeps us on our path, even when things disturb us.
So stepping back for a moment to take note of the progression, we have the first Goddess, Shailaputri, who blesses us with inspiration. Goddess Brahmacharini, the second form, graces us with knowledge. The blessings of the third archetype, Goddess Chandraghaṇṭa, endows us with the devotion (and protection) to perform spiritual practices. Beautiful, isn’t it?
Chandraghaṇṭa is depicted surrounded by gold, riding on a tiger that is roaring in anger.
Look at her face – her attitude can be interpreted as potentially angry or perturbed, but her demeanor is also sweet, tranquil and peaceful. She carries all sorts of weapons, all the while exuding radiant light. So she symbolizes both beauty and courage, both sweetness and fierceness.
To her devotees she is a sweet, protective Mother, but to a devotee’s enemies, she can turn fierce.
Here is the significance of her depiction, starting with her ten hands:
- trishula (trident): three gunas (create, maintain, destroy)
- gada (mace): can deliver concentrated blow to the enemy
- khadga: sword of wisdom, discrimination
- gyan mudra: moving from ignorance to wisdom
- kamandal (waterpot): self sufficient, lives self contained
- lotus flower: peace, wisdom
- baan (bow-arrow): potential and kinetic energy
- snake: kundalini shakti
- mudra: freedom from fear
- tiger (or lion): represents dharma, bravery, and courage,
- half moon on forehead: infinite consciousness, devotion
- ghanta (bell): brings mind back to the present, to the Source
Chandraghaṇṭa Maa is posed to be ready for war against the demons, showing her eagerness to destroy the foes of her devotees so that they may live in peace and continue their spiritual practices.
Invoke this Goddess and she will not only protect you, but you will also develop protective qualities. You will build strength and courage to fight challenges – eternal power, strength, discipline, and a sense of dharma will be the fruit of your worship.
By Her grace all sins, distresses, sufferings, and mental tribulations will be dissolved and negative forces will be removed – and the results are quick! She is always ready to proceed to the battlefield to remove our difficulties. As soon as we invoke her, her bell immediately becomes active and starts to protect the devotee.
How does She move so quickly? How can She transform from sweet to fierce? In the human anatomy, Chandraghaṇṭa Devi resides in the third chakra, just above the navel. The third chakra contains fire energy (for digestion), so by Her nature She is reactive or explosive under the right conditions. She is a powerhouse of prana, attracting it from the cosmos when required.
Chanting her mantra and meditating on the Manipura Chakra, can bring clarity of mind, self-confidence, empowerment, confidence, discrimination and wisdom.
Navaratri: The third day of Navaratri is important to the sadaka, for on this day you can super-charge the sankalpa (spiritual goal) and get protection to stay focused. Let the mind focus on the Manipura Chakra (third chakra, just above navel).
Perform the cosmic puja (samasti upasana) first, then a simple puja to Chandraghaṇṭa Devi. Pray to Her for supreme devotion so that the mind stays focused on sadhana. Ask her for protection from distractions and be aware when the mind wanders. When it does, just bring it back with Her mantra: Om Devi Chandraghaṇṭayai Namah. She surely will respond!
(2) Devī Brahmacāriṇī
ॐ देवी ब्रह्मचारिण्यै नमः॥
Om Devī Brahmacāriṇyai Namah॥
The second archetype of Durga Maa is Devī Brahmacāriṇī. We worship Her on the second day.
The word “Brahma” here represents Supreme Divinity. The root “charini” means the female who is moving in, moving with, or going after something.
So in this case, Brahmacāriṇī Devī is She who moves with God, moves towards God.
Recall that the first Navadurga is Śailaputrī Devī, the Goddess of Inspiration, who awakens the energy in the root chakra and focuses our attention toward Shiva (God).
Her inspiration is the foundation for our next step – the learning of sadhana and the study of sacred scriptures, as depicted by the example of Brahmacāriṇī Devī and the flowchart below.
Brahmacāriṇī Devī is unsurpassed in what she can accomplish. She is visualized as a celibate female practitioner who performs penances (tapasya). She is the revered Goddess of Learning and Sacred Studies.
Legend has it that Goddess Brahmacāriṇī performed severe austerities for thousands of years to obtain Lord Shiva as Her husband. Her penance included sacrificing personal comforts, maintaining a strict diet, sleeping on the floor and going barefoot.
Such was Her penance that Sages, Rishis, and Munis all had great respect for Her.
In this austere form of Durga, She wears a basic white saree with an orange or red border, holds a rosary (akṣamālā) and sacred water vessel (kamaṇḍalu) in her gentle hands (lotus like hands).
She is barefoot and has yellow aura of radiance around her head from her penance.
Here is the symbolic significance of each:
- White Saree: purity, simplistic and unadorned
- Japa Mala: performance of non-stop severe austerities; knowledge of sacred mantras and scriptures
- Water Pot: represents a simple and self-contained life, no frills
- Barefoot: willingness to undergo suffering and renounce comforts for the achievement of Her goals
- Yellow/Orange Light: Her radiance from intense tapasya
In Vedic texts the word brahmacāriṇī means a female who pursues the sacred religious knowledge.
A brahmacārin is one who is focusing their mind on the Supreme, taking actions with the Supreme One in their mind.
Doing all acts while keeping the Supreme Source in mind leads One to reside in the Supreme Beingness. This form of the Mother, represents our spiritual aspirations and the effort and practice we need to put in to realize them.
Goddess Brahmacharini has strength of mind, immense resolve, and rock solid determination no matter what the suffering is, she will endure it. Worshiping Her will bring these attributes while increasing knowledge, and support in renouncing the world.
But though She is disciplined, She is also an epitome of love, wisdom, and loyalty. Worship her with a pure heart and you will get great emotional support and a boost of confidence.
The blessing of Brahmacharini Devi will grace you with the ability to perform great austerities as you calmly detach from worldly affairs. If the Goddess is pleased, She will grant the ultimate in sacred wisdom – the wisdom of the Supreme (Brahma Gyaan; knowledge of Brahman).
Through sadhana practices, Brahmacharini Devi will raise the energy from the Muladhara Root Chakra (1st chakra) to the Swadhisthana Sacral Chakra (2nd chakra), giving the devotee a feeling of wellness, abundance, and joy, while taking away fear, depression and emotional instability.
Navaratri Worship (Day 2): Perform simple pujas today and pray to Goddess Brahmacāriṇī for blessings of knowledge, determination in your spiritual practices, and dispassion in worldly affairs.
If you fast today and chant mantras with full devotion while focusing on the Swadhisthaan Chakra (just under belly button), Devi will bless with success, wisdom and knowledge.
Sadhana:Swamiji has shared two mantras for Brahmacharini Devi from the Nava Durga Puja in the Samasti Upasana (Cosmic Puja):
As an alternative, you may chant to all nine forms of Durga using the Nava Durga Stotram.
May we all be inspired to worship Goddess Brahamacharini and become full of the divine light of wisdom!
(1) Devī Śailaputrī
ॐ देवी शैलपुत्र्यै नमः॥Om Devi Shailaputryai Namah॥
The first form of Goddess Durga is Śailaputrī. She is the Goddess of Inspiration.
She is the daughter of the King of Mountains – Himalaya. King Himalaya and his wife Menaka performed many austerities and Divine Mother was pleased with them and descended onto Earth as their daughter. The root “Shaila” means mountain and “putri” is daughter.
She represents the one-pointed attention on the “Oneness” (God, Source Divinity). She is the face focusing on the Oneness and thus resembles the Supreme Mother in Her essence.
Śailaputrī Devī rides on a bull (Nandi) while holding a trident in Her right hand and a lotus in the left hand. She has a half/quarter-moon on her forehead (ardha-chandra), located on her crown. Here is the symbolic significance of each:
- Nandi (bull): Nandi’s attention is always focused on Lord Shiva (God). Go to any Hindu Temple and you will see Nandi always looking directly at Lord Shiva. Similarly, Śailaputrī too has her focus turned toward God. In addition the bull is symbolic of determination, which is needed particularly at the start of our spiritual journey.
- Trident: The trident is representative of past, present, future, which are qualities of the mind. It is also symbolic of three gunas (natures) which provide multiplicity in manifestation: creation (sattva), maintenance (rajas), and destruction (tamas). Mother protects Her devotional children with the Trident.
- Lotus Flower: The Lotus Flower in her hand is half bloomed, meaning it is in the process of blooming, or newly awakened. It symbolizes the awakening of kundalini and represents peace and purity. The flower blooms in the muckiest of water and yet is spared from entanglement in it. Similarly, tapping into Śailaputrī Devī ‘s energy will bring purity and keep the devotee free from maya, selfishness, and worldliness, which helps to keep us focused on the spiritual path.
- Half/Quarter-moon: The moon signifies the infinity of Nature, the contentment of being in union with the Bindu, which is infinite consciousness.
Śailaputrī Devī goes by many different names which describe her attributes. By worshiping Her, the spiritual aspirant attains these qualities:
- Parvati: is known as the daughter of the mountains (parvatī)- a rugged mountain woman. Because of Her residence in Mt. Kailas, She also goes by the name of Gauri, which means white, shining, and brilliant like the snow-caps of the mountains.
- Sati: This from of the Mother is purifying, and specifically brings clarity in a sometimes chaotic world. Purity and clarity provide a one-two punch to spark the seed of inspiration, and it is this inspiration that creates a yearning to be on the spiritual path.
- Bhavani is the giver of life and has power over nature. She sustains the cycles, routines, and natural order of the universe. In this sense, Śailaputrī Devī manifests as Mother Nature herself.
In the human body, Shailputri is likened to the Muladhara Chakra (root chakra which is grounded to Mother Earth). Upon initial awakening of the kundalini energy (half bloomed lotus) in the root chakra, it begins its journey upwards.
Symbolically this is shown by Śailaputrī Devī sitting on Nandi (with complete focus on Shiva) as Her energy makes the journey from the root chakra to to the Ajna Chakra (third eye) where Lord Shiva resides.
Interestingly, the story of Sati Maa symbolically represents this “awakening” as She transitioned from her father to her husband, Shiva. Her life is the story of the awakening of Shakti and the resulting empowerment over Her father’s will.
This first step, the awakening of Shakti, brings us inspiration to search for Lord Shiva, who resides in the third eye, between the eye brows. It is the foundation of our sadhana.
Navaratri Worship: The first day of Navaratri is very auspicious as it is the beginning of the nine days. By focusing on the Muladhara chakra and praying to Śailaputrī Devī, our body comes into resonance with Mother’s energy. This lays the foundation for the rest of Navaratri and is the starting point of spiritual discipline.
Contemplation: What motivates and inspires your journey on the spiritual path? What keeps your sadhana going day after day, making more meaningful sankalpas, while trying to improve all aspects of your life?
It is none other than the grace of the Goddess of Inspiration, Shailaputri. Her blessings give us the energy to make progress in our lives, to overcome our ego, and to elevate ourselves spiritually.
Take a moment of gratitude for the spark of inspiration graced upon you in this lifetime. For, when we are inspired to search, to learn, or to even read a long webpost on the Goddess, we indeed are living with Shailaputri!
Sadhana: Invite the Goddess of Inspiration into your life by chanting her mantras: Samasti Upasana (Cosmic Puja):
As an alternative, you may chant to all nine forms of Durga using the Nava Durga Stotram.
May we all bow to Shailaputri Devi who inspires us on this spiritual path. Jai Maa!