Maha Navami is the ninth and final day of the Hindu festival Navratri, which typically falls in the month of Ashwin (September-October) in the Hindu calendar. Navratri is a nine-night festival celebrated in honor of the divine feminine, represented by the Goddess Durga. Each day of Navratri is dedicated to a different aspect or form of the Goddess, and Maha Navami is the day when the festival reaches its peak.
On Maha Navami, devotees honor and celebrate the power and grace of the Devi (Goddess) with great devotion and enthusiasm. It is a day of special prayers, pujas, and offerings made to the Goddess Durga. Many people also observe fasts and visit temples dedicated to the Devi to seek her blessings. In some regions of India, special cultural and traditional performances, such as Durga Puja and Garba, are held during Navratri.
On the first day of Navratri, devotees worship Maa Shailaputri, who is considered to be the embodiment of the Goddess Parvati. "Shailaputri" translates to "daughter of the mountains," and she is so named because she is the daughter of King Himavan, the personification of the Himalayan mountains.
Maa Shailaputri is often depicted riding a bull and carrying a trident in one hand and a lotus flower in the other. She is a symbol of purity and devotion. Devotees seek her blessings for strength and a sense of purpose in life. This day marks the beginning of the nine-day festival of Navratri, during which various forms of the Goddess Durga are celebrated, each with its own significance and attributes.
Devi Brahmacharini is the second form of the Goddess Durga, worshipped on the second day of Navratri. She is often depicted as a young and unmarried Goddess who represents the aspect of knowledge, wisdom, and the pursuit of truth. "Brahmacharini" is derived from the word "Brahmacharya," which signifies the path of celibacy, self-discipline, and learning.
Devi Brahmacharini is typically depicted with a rosary (mala) in one hand and a water pot (kamandalu) in the other. She is often seen wearing white attire, symbolizing purity and simplicity. The rosary represents the pursuit of knowledge and meditation, while the water pot signifies her ascetic way of life.
Devi Chandraghanta is the third form of the Goddess Durga, and she is worshipped on the third day of Navratri. Her name "Chandraghanta" is derived from two words: "Chandra," which means the moon, and "Ghanta," which means bell. She is often depicted with a half-moon on her forehead and a bell-shaped ornament, symbolizing her association with the moon. Devi Chandraghanta is depicted with a fierce and radiant demeanor, riding a tiger, and she is adorned with various weapons and jewels. She has ten hands, each carrying different objects and weapons, including a sword, a trident, a bow, an arrow, a lotus flower, a bell (ghanta), and a mace. The image of her on a tiger symbolizes her strength and courage.
Devi Kushmanda is the fourth form of the Goddess Durga, and she is worshipped on the fourth day of Navratri. Her name "Kushmanda" is derived from two words: "Ku," which means "a little," and "Ushma," which means "warmth" or "energy." This name signifies her role as the creator of the universe, as she is believed to have created the cosmic egg (Anda) with her divine smile, filling it with light and energy.
Devi Kushmanda is often depicted with multiple arms, carrying various objects and symbols of power. She is typically shown riding a lion or tiger, and her radiant and warm aura represents the source of all energy and life in the universe. The sun is considered to be a symbol of her divine energy and power, as it provides light and warmth to the world.
Devi Skandamata is the fifth form of the Goddess Durga, and she is worshipped on the fifth day of Navratri. Her name is derived from two words: "Skanda," which refers to Lord Kartikeya (also known as Skanda), the son of Goddess Parvati, and "Mata," which means mother. Devi Skandamata is the mother of Lord Kartikeya, and she is often depicted holding her infant son in her lap or arms.
She is typically depicted with four arms, riding a lion, and holding a lotus flower in two of her hands while the other two hands are in the abhaya mudra (a gesture of protection and assurance) and varada mudra (a gesture of granting boons). Her worship signifies motherly love and compassion.
Devi Katyayani is the sixth form of Goddess Durga and is worshipped on the sixth day of Navratri. She is also known as "Katyayani Mata." Her name is derived from the fact that she is said to have been born to the sage Katyayana as an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. Devi Katyayani is a powerful and fierce manifestation of the Goddess, and she is often depicted with several arms and various weapons.
The color associated with Katyayani is red, symbolizing her fiery and bold nature. She is typically depicted as riding a lion, carrying a sword and a lotus, and her fierce appearance is a symbol of her warrior-like qualities. Devotees believe that worshipping Katyayani can help them overcome obstacles and challenges in life.
Devi Kalaratri is the seventh form of Goddess Durga and is worshipped on the seventh day of Navratri. Her name, "Kalaratri," translates to "the night of death." She is often depicted with a dark complexion and a fierce and menacing appearance. Kalaratri is usually depicted with four arms, riding a donkey, and carrying a sword and a deadly iron hook. Her fearsome appearance symbolizes the destructive aspect of the Goddess, where she annihilates evil forces, ignorance, and negativity. Devotees believe that her fierce nature is meant to protect them from harm and to eradicate all forms of darkness and malevolent influences. Worship of Devi Kalaratri is performed to seek her blessings for protection, strength, and the elimination of obstacles. Her destructive form is seen as a means to annihilate one's fears, doubts, and negativities, paving the way for spiritual and personal growth.
Devi Mahagauri is the eighth form of Goddess Durga, and she is worshipped on the eighth day of Navratri. Her name "Mahagauri" translates to "extremely white" or "very fair," and she is often depicted as having a radiant and fair complexion. She is considered to be the young and rejuvenated form of Goddess Parvati, after her penance and austerities.
Mahagauri is typically depicted with four arms, riding a bull, and holding a trident and a drum (damaru) in two of her hands, while her other two hands are in the abhaya mudra (a gesture of protection) and varada mudra (a gesture of granting boons). Her gentle and compassionate appearance represents purity and serenity.
Devi Siddhidatri is the ninth and final form of Goddess Durga, and she is worshipped on the ninth day of Navratri, which is also known as Navami or Maha Navami. Her name "Siddhidatri" is derived from two words: "Siddhi," which means "perfection" or "spiritual power," and "Datri," which means "giver" or "bestower." Devi Siddhidatri is believed to be the granter of various siddhis (spiritual and supernatural powers) to her devotees.
She is typically depicted with four arms and often shown sitting on a lotus flower. In her hands, she holds a mace (gada), a discus (chakra), a conch shell (shankh), and a lotus flower. Each of these symbols represents a different aspect of her divine power and the bestowal of spiritual and material blessings.