Durga Puja festival epitomizes the worship of Maa Durga and her nine forms. Durga Puja is carried out during Navratri each year.
Durga, means ‘ ‘The invincible’’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Abhijit Muhurat is said to be best to perform any auspicious task on any given day.
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.
- The first day, Puja is offered to Maa Shailputri – Daughter of the King of Himalaya Mountains.
- Bhramacharini Avatar – The Daughter of King Daksh, is worshipped on the second day.
- Maa Durga is worshipped in her Chandraghanta Avatar on the 3rd third and prayed to,to remove obstacles and enemies around.
- People meditate on her life-giving Kushmanda Avatar on the fourth day.
- She is worshipped as Devi Skand Mata on the fifth day.
- People worship her as Devi Katyayani on the sixth day.
- On the seventh day, she is regarded in her impressive Kaalratri form.
- Maha Gauri avatar is worshipped and meditated on the eight day for bringing in happiness and prosperity.
On the ninth day, Siddhidatri is revered to give benefits of the worship performed on all the nine days.