So today is the beginning of Chaitri Navratri.
India has a cultural new year which is after Diwali and usually falls in the month of October / November
The other new year, is the Hindu new year. This new year is celebrated all over, but more so in Maharashtra
Now the Significance of the day and 9 days are around Durga.
This is the story. It is a deep story giving guidance for spiritual progress. I will only give the story.
The Devas were very much troubled by an Asura called Mahishasur. Mahisha means buffalo. (The word is mahisha and not Mahesha which means shiv)
Now this demon had the gift that it could only be destroyed by a female and not a male.
The second problem was he could change into any form or shape
The other problem was even worse. Every time he was injured, from every drop of his blood that fell on the ground another asura (demon) would arise, just as powerful as he was. Obviously, in a battlefield this became an unsurmountable problem
So all the devas got together and prayed to Brahma, vishnu and mahesh. Each of the Gods, gave a portion of their energy and created Durga
She immediately went to battle and started fighting Mahishasur. Obviously Mahishasur was injured and as soon as he was injured Durga suck the blood not letting a drop fall down! Thus in no time Mahishasur was killed. Previously the devas fought years on without success
Now Goddess Durga is worshipped by 9 different names. They are
Sailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Maha Gowri and Siddhidayini.
The 9 days of Navratri, she is worshipped in different ways
- Day one – Sailaputri (daughter of shaila meaning mountain – Parvati. On this day, people to Ghatasthapana and Chandra Darshan
- Day two – She is worshipped as Brahmacharini – (one who does not consummate or engrossed in Brahma. Dual meaning).
- Day three – She is worshipped as Chandraghanta and Saubhagya is its significance
- Day four -On this day they do Kush puja. The correct word is kushmanda. Meaning kush is cannabis and mundana means to enjoy.
- Day 5 – laxmi puja. Also this day is celebrated as skandamata puja. Skanda refers to Kartik swami and mata is mother. Thus another name of Parvati
- Day 6 – Katyayani Puja. Katyayani means removing rigidity. (The stubbornness )
- Day 7 – Kalratri puja – Kaal meaning death or night or darkness
- Day 8 – Sandhi puja or Annapurna Puja
- Day 9 – Ramnavmi puja
As you can see, I have run out of space to give the spiritual meaning. However they are all representative of the steps to perfection in Meditation
Like usual, the meaning I have given remain ambiguous since it will not help unless you are adept at meditation.
An image of Durga Ma. Bottom shows Mahishasura being slayed