Durga Naumi

What is Durga Naumi or Navratri

 

Navaratri means nine nights during which (nine nights and ten days) nine forms of The Divine as Mother Durga or Shakti Devi's are worshiped. The tenth day is commonly referred to as VijayaDashami or Dussehra. Navratri is a very important and major festival and is celebrated with great zeal all over Australia and the world.The Navaratri commences on the first day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Ashvin. The festival is celebrated for nine nights once every year during the beginning of October (or towards end of September), although the actual dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calender, the festival may be held for a day more or a day less. Some celebrate Navaratri five times a year and others once a year. The five Navaratri's are Vasanta, Ashadha, Sharad, Paush and the Magha. Of these, the Sharad Navaratri of the month of Puratashi (September and October) are commonly celebrated in Australia.

 

This draft written by Bob Vireshwar Adhar. Verification requested from Pdt Narendra Maharaj.

Why celebrate Durga Naumi

Navaratri or Durga Naumi happens to be the most auspicious and unique period of devotional sadhanas and worship of Shakti (the sublime, ultimate, absolute creative energy of the Divine conceptualised as the Mother Goddess-Durga, whose worship dates back to prehistoric times before the dawn of Vedic age.

What should one do during Durga Naumi

People worship Goddess Durga or Divine mother in many ways with an overall aim of thanking Durga Ma for everything and requesting her to continue to look after our welfare always. Typically, most perform daily morning and evening prayers, fasting to ones capability, singing of bhajans, garba dancing, reading recommended and validated books, listening to prachar from people with knowledge and understanding her many attributes, stories and how best to please her. Offerings of prasads, going to temples, calling pundits to do pooja at home, etc.. are all accepted norms.  Doing something rather than nothing, at least dedicating for some days rather than none, etc. are highly recommended.

We suggest reading and or listening stories from Durga Saptasathi, 13 chapters dedicated to Durga Devi in Markandeyeh Purana, Devi Bhagavat, Devi Mahatamaya.

Below is a summary of stories depicted in Durga Saptasathi or 13 chapters in Markandeyeh Purana. Refer to download section should you wish to read a softcopy of the suggested text :

Chapter 1 MahaKali Mata

Mahakali Devi appears from Lord Vishnu’s body as a result of Lord Brahama's stuti due to extreme difficulty of Rachas Madhu and Katab about to kill and eat him as food. Godess MahaKali also known as Mahamaya intentionally corrupts the minds of Madhu and Katab thereby resulting in them easily getting killed by Lord Vishnu and thus Lord Brahma is saved. Two additonal stories are presented. Raja Surat who loses his entire kingdom and businessman Samadhi loses his wealth and house to family members. Both are deeply troubled with have unsettled mind, that is, in “moh” or attachment and are finding ways to overcome this. An explanation of knowledge or "gyan" on attachment and how to get freedom from such difficulties are explained.

 

 

Chapter 2, 3 & 4 MahaLatchmi Mata

 

Lord Indra and all Devtas (Indra, Pavan, Agni, surya, etc..) are defeated by Mahisasurra who banishes them from their heavenly kingdom. Through help of Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma, Indr, other devtas, etc. they combine power to form new Devi by the name of MahaLatchmi. She is also known as Jagdamba or Ambika or Chandika or Mahadevi or Bhadrkali. MahaLatchmi defeats Mahisasurra who keeps changing his form from Buffalo/Lion/Elephant and Man. The story is about ego and how we humans keep changing our forms to hurt others to maintain our personal needs. The last chapter is a beautiful stuti or prayers by Indr and Devtas to Durga Devi as thank you for getting their kingdom back. The stuti contains a lot of detailss on Devi and how to pray to her and get protection from her.

 

 Chapter 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10 MahaSarasvati Mata

Indra and devtas once again loses their kingdom to another Rashas by the names of  Shumb and Nishumb.  Indra and Devtas do a beautiful stuti (one of my favourites) – “Yeh devi sarv bhutoh….” for removing their distresses. Goddess Parvathi responds and from her body springs MahaSarasvati devi who then proceeds to destroy all the rashas. Uncontrolled human emotions such as desire (kaam), Lobh and anger (krodth) that lead us to trouble are described. Despite having everything and many wives Shumb or his brother Nishumb still want to marry Ambika (also known as Chandika, Kausiki) despite being politely told no. Rachas Dhumrlotchan is easily killed infuriating Shumb to send Chund and Mund. Out of MahaSaravati another devi is formed by the name of Kali Ma (also known as Chamunda devi) who easily kills Chund and Mund rashas. Another rashas by the name of raktbij who can multiply when a drop of blood falls on Earth starts fighting. More devi forms are formed by combing MahaSarasvati energy with Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Indra, Kartikey, etc. New devis like Brahmani, Maheshvari, Ambika Kaumari, Vaisnavi, etc. are introduced. Lord Shiva is asked to be a messenger to give Shumb and Nishumb their last chance to surrender before they get killed. They refused to understand the kind gesture by goddess and as scuh finally Shumb and Nishum are killed and Devta's kindgdom is returned.

Chapter 11 

Good chapter to read as in offer of prayers all the devis’s names are summarised with explanation of Bhuneswari and prayers of thank by Devta's to Devi.  Devi in her speech talks about futures – worth while reading. Katyayanidevi is also mentioned.

Chapter 12 

Durga Devi dyan  and benefits of prayers to devi are explained.

Chapter 13 

Story of Attachment by King Surat and Businessman Samadhi is further explained and the benefits after prayers are explained.

Another suggested reading (Refer to Gita Press) is on 9 forms Durga one should know and worship :

1. Shailputri

The literal translation is "daughter of Mountain".  She is the daughter of Himalaya and first among the nine Durgas. In previous birth she was the daughter of Daksha and in that period her name was Sati or Bhavani, that is the wife of Lord Shiva. In the next period she became the daughter of Himalaya in the name of Parvati or Hemvati and married  Lord Shiva.

2. Brahmacharini

The second Durga Shakti is Brahamcharini. Brahmacharini is one who observes penance (tapa) and good conduct. Here "Brahma" means "Tapa". There is rosary in her right hand and Kamandal in left hand.

3. Chandraghanta

The name of third Shakti is Chandraghanta. There is a half-circular moon in her forehead. She is charmful and bright. She has golden color, has three eyes and ten hands holding ten types of weapons such as sword, and arrows etc. She is seated on Lion and ready for going in war to fight. She is unprecedented image of bravery. The frightful sound of her bell terrifies all the villains, demons and danavas.

4. Kushmanda

The  Name of fourth Durga is Kushmanda. The Shakti also known as the Universe creator resides in the solar systems. She shines brightly in all the ten directions like the Sun. She has eight hands holding seven types of weapons and a Rosary is in her right hand. She seems brilliant riding on a lion and ready to help us. She likes the offerings of "Kumhde." Therefore her name "Kushmanda" has become famous.

5. Skanda Mata

Fifth name of Durga is "Skanda Mata". The daughter of Himalaya, after observing penance got married to Lord Shiva. She had a son named "Skanda." Skanda became the leader of the army of Gods. Skanda Mata is a deity of fire. Skanda is seated in her lap. She has three eyes and four hands. Her complexion is white and is seated on a lotus.

6. Katyayani

Sixth Durga is Katyayani. Rishi Katyayan born in this "Katya" lineage had observed penance with a desire to get paramba or Godess as his daughter. As a result she took birth as a daughter of Katyayan. Therefore her name is also known as "Katyayani" . She has three eyes and eight hands. These are eight types of weapons including missiles in her seven hands. Her vehicle of transport is Lion.

7. Kalratri

Seventh Durga is Kalratri. She is black like night with hairs unlocked. She ears necklaces that are shining like lightening. She has three bright eyes. Thousands of flames of fire come out while respiring from nose. She rides on a donkey as her vehicle of transport. There is sharp sword in her right hand. Her lower hand is in blessing mood. The burning torch (mashal) is in her left hand and her lower left hand is in fearless style, by which she makes her devotees fearless. Being auspicious she is called "Shubhamkari."

8. Maha Gauri

The Eighth Durga is "MahaGauri." She is as white as a conch, moon and jasmine. She is of eight years old. Her clothes and ornaments are white and clean. She has three eyes. She rides on bull and has four hands. The above left hand is in "Fearless - Mudra" and lower left hand holds "Trishul." The above right hand has tambourine and lower right hand is in blessing style. She is calm and peaceful and exists in peaceful style. It is said that when the body of Gauri became dried, dark and unsightly due to dust and earth while observing penance, Shiva makes it clean and back to normal with the waters of Gangas. Then her body became bright like lightening. Therefore, she is known as "MahaGauri" .

9. Siddhidatri

Ninth Durga is known as Siddhidatri. There are eight Siddhis , they are- Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Lishitva and Vashitva. Maha Shakti gives all these Siddhies. It is said in "Devipuran" that the Supreme God Shiva got all these Siddhies by worshipping Maha Shakti. With her gratitude the half body of Shiva has become of Goddess and therefore his name "Ardhanarishvar" has became famous. The Goddess mode of transport is Lion. She has four hands and looks pleasant and ready to give things to devotees. This form of Durga is worshiped by all Gods, Rishis-Munis, Siddhas, Yogis, Sadhakas and devotees for attaining the best religious asset. 

Note: Over time we are hoping to add more details to above. Also, we would welcome feedback and improvements and corrections from anybody.

What are suggested Text and readings

Devi Bhagavat, Durga Saptasathi, Markandeyeh Puran (chapters dedicated to Durga Devi), The Devi-Mahatmyam, Durga Chalisa, etc contain sufficient information on important knowledge one should acquire over the years to better know the Devine Mother.