Festivals are a significant part of Indian culture and tradition that lays the foundation of the country’s rich heritage and spiritual history. The majority of festivals in India are connected to sacred gods especially if we talk about the Hindu religion, most of the festivals revolve around one Hindu deity. There are many ethical stories that belong to Hindu Vedic texts, epics, and other spiritual books which describe the facts related to festivals.
Navratri is the most revered festival of Hindus which is dedicated to the sacred goddess Durga also referred to as Aadishakti and Maa Kali. Maa Durga is the mother goddess of Hindus and is worshipped by individuals in various forms. Navratri is the celebration of worshipping the nine pious forms of Maa Durga namely Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayini, Kalaratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri.
The stories of every goddess is:
1) Maa Shailaputri (Daughter of Mountain):
The first day of Navratri starts by invoking Goddess Durga which is dedicated to the worship of Maa Shailaputri the first form of Devi. Shailaputri in Sanskrit means ‘daughter of the mountain’ as per the word Shail which means ‘mountain’ and Putri which means ‘daughter’. Maa Shailaputri is believed to be the incarnation of ‘Devi Sati’. In the form of Sati, she was born as the daughter of King Daksha Prajapati. In the next birth, she was born as the daughter of Himlayas as Shailputri.
2) Maa Bramhacharini (Mother of devotion and penance):
Worshipped on the second day of Navratri, Maa Bramhacharini is another form of Goddess Durga. She is the incarnation of Maa Sati who was later born as the daughter of Himavan-The King of Mountains as Parvati. Maa Bramhacharini represents peace and harmony which can be achieved by dedicated and arduous penance. As Parvati, she achieved her goal of marrying Lord Shiva by performing penance under strong difficulties and hurdles for 100 years. By this, she won the love of Lord Shiva and the name of Bramhacharini to herself which is worshipped even today.
3) Maa Chandraghanta (Destroyer of Demons):
Worshipped on the third day of Navratri, Maa Chandraghanta is the married form of Devi Parvati. She has a half-moon which is shaped like a bell and her third eye is always open. She is in the form of Shakti of Lord Shiva who appeared in Chandraghanta form which is as terrifying as Lord Shiva surrounded with snakes, goblins, ghosts, and sages. Maa Chandraghanta blesses her devotees with fearlessness, courage, and strength and also protects them from devils and evil spirits.
4) Maa Kushmanda (Goddess of the cosmic egg):
The fourth form of Maa Durga, Maa Kushmanda is worshipped on the fourth day of Navratri. She is believed to be the creator of the world with the warmth of her smile and fills energy in the entire universe. She is also referred to as Ashtabhuja Devi as she has eight hands with which she blesses her devotees with good health and wealth.
5) Skandamata (Goddess of motherhood and children):
Fifth day is dedicated to the Skandamata who got her name from Skanda, which is an alternative name for the god of war Kartikey. She blesses her devotees with prosperity, harmony, power and salvation.
6) Katyayani (Goddess of power):
She is the incarnation of Maa Durga who represents Maa Parvati in the warrior stage. She appeared to conquer the demon Mahishasura from the anger of the gods. She is also connected with the color red displaying the married form of Maa Parvati.
7) Kalaratri (Goddess of auspiciousness and courage):
Worshipped on the seventh day of Navratri, Maa Kalaratri represents the destructive forms of mother goddesses like Kali, Mahakali, Bhadrakali, Bhairavi, Mrityu, Rudrani, Chamunda, Chandi and Durga. As she killed many demons including the most powerful Raktbeej who was also killed by Kalaratri form.
8) Mahagauri (Goddess of beauty):
Eighth day is dedicated to Maa Mahagauri which means ‘goddess of beauty. Maha means ‘great’ and Gauri means ‘radiant or fair’. Once Maa Parvati went to take bath in the river Ganga when she got rid of her dark color and transformed into a fair golden beauty.
9) Siddhidhatri (Goddess of supernatural powers):
Ninth is the last day dedicated to Maa Siddhidhatri. The name Siddhi means supernatural power and Dhatri means giver. She blesses her devotees with spiritual knowledge, wisdom and other divine strengths.