Durga Puja festival epitomizes the worship of Maa Durga and her nine forms. Durga Puja is carried out during Navratri each year. Although there are four different Navratris; Chaitra Navratri and Shardiya Navratri hold great importance for religious celebrations. Of all the nine days, the first three days are dedicated to Maa Durga, the next three to Goddess Laxmi and the last three are dedicated to Goddess Saraswati.
Maa Durga is the form of Maa AdhyaShakti who represents the life and the existence of the world. She is revered as the supreme energy that is inherent in everything around. Goddess Durga herself represents the Maha Shakti as she is the amalgamation of supreme Goddesses - Lakshmi, Saraswati and Maha Kaali.
Her name –Durga, means ‘ 'The invincible'’.
As per a legend, a demon Mahisasura, pleased Lord Shiva to be bestowed with a boon that no man or god will ever be able to kill him. Mahisasura grew arrogant and started spreading chaos and soon conquered earth and heaven. All the Gods fled to Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh to seek refuge and relief from the wrath of Mahisasura. The divine trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, combined their powers and created a celestial female form – Durga she engaged in a long battle with Mahisasura who kept on changing forms to deceive. Finally on the ninth day, Durga pierced him with Shiva’s trident and beheaded him with her sword. Hence Maa Durga is also worshipped as a symbol of victory over evil. Vedas describe her as a determined goddess riding a lion with all sorts of weapons in each of her eight hands. The weapons signify the purpose she was created for, to slay Mahisasura. Each of the weaposns in her eight hands depict the power to destroy evil in all the directions.
Maa Durga is worshipped in a different avatar on each day of Navratri, i.e. in the form of Maa Shailputri, Maa Bhramacharini, Maa Chandraghanta, Maa Kushmanda, Skand Mata, Maa Katyayani, Maa Kaalratri, Maa Maha Gauri and Maa Siddidhatri.
Durga Puja is performed for
Durga Puja is performed during Navratri, where her nine different manifestations are worshipped across nine days. There are four different Navratris throughout the year – Magh Navratri, Vasant or Chaitra Navratri, Ashaadi Navratri and Shardiya Navratri.
Vasant Navratri is observed between March and April. Shardiya Navratri or Maha Navratri falls around late September or early October, which is celebrated with great enthusiasm by people all over India
Each of the avatars of Maa Durga is worshipped on a select day around Navratri.
The Navratri Puja begins with Ghatastapana or Kalash Stapana which is done on the first day as per Muhurat.
Once the Kalash is set-up, a general puja is offered each day that is followed by the Puja for specific form of Maa Durga by chanting specific mantras for 108 times.
Om Sarva Mangala Mangalye Shive Sarvartha Saadhike|
Sharanye Tryambake Gauri Narayani Namostute ||
O the one who brings auspiciousness, O the fulfiller of all goals,
You are the consort of Lord Shiva and our only refuge. We bow to you Narayani
Srishti Sthiti Vinashanam, Shaktibhute Sanatani|
Gunashraye, Gunamaye, Narayani Namostute||
You are the power behind all creation, preservation and destruction.
O eternal Goddess, you are the embodiment of all Gunas. We bow to you Narayani
Sharanagata Dinarta Paritrana Parayane|
Sarvasyartihare Devi, Narayani Namostute||
You are the savior of the lowly and distressed who seek refuge with you against the evil and sufferings.
O the destroyer of all misery, We bow to you Narayani.
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