Chaitra Navratri 2022: The Nine Avatars of Goddess Durga

chaitra navratri 2022
Maa Durga is known by different names and has various connotations. She is 'Shakti'- the beloved wife of Lord Shiva. Mena, the dutiful wife of the Mountain, worshiped the Goddess and Lord Shiva for 27 years. Mena performed austerities, worshiped the Brahmans, and made charities. Desirous of a child, she began worshipping Lord Shiva in the month of Chaitra- March/April. At the end of twenty-seven years of rigorous worship, Mena gave birth to a Divine daughter. She was called Parvati!
Chaitra-masa, thus holds sacred significance and marks the beginning of Navratri. Chaitra and Sharadiya-the two kinds of Navratras are the Nine Nights where we worship the Goddess or Shakti. But Chaitra Navratri chiefly emphasizes the worship of Maa Durga. Falling in the months of March and April, this festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm both in India and globally by Its devotees.
Chaitra Navratri is also known as Vasanta Navratri. The first day of Chaitra Navratri falls in the Shukla Paksha or the Full Moon phase. The moon depicts the mind. The Full Moon thus connotes the mind that's spiritually mature and receptive. Thus, Chaitra Navratri is a potent time for meditation, prayer, chanting, and surrender. For Maharashtrians, the first day of Chaitra Navratri marks the New Year and they celebrate it as Gudhi Padwa.
The nine nights of Chaitra Navratri sing the lore of the nine avatars of Maa Durga. They are:

Shailaputri

Shailaputri is a compound consisting of 'Shaila' and 'Putri'. Shaila literally means mountain and Putri come to mean daughter. Thus, Shailaputri is the epithet of Goddess Parvati who is the daughter of the mountain. She is the first form of Mata Parvati and represents Her childhood. In this form, She has brilliant features and splendid refulgence. Dressed in pink robes, Sha has two hands and is shown seated on the white Bull.
Day 1 Color: Yellow

Brahmacharini

The second form of Parvati is also known as Tapascharini. Brahmacharini literally refers to 'she who is celibate'. Wearing flowers and Rudraksha beads, this form depicts the Goddess in her ascetic phase. As Brahmacharini, She signifies wisdom, austerity, and knowledge.
Day 2 Color: Green

Chandraghanta

Chandraghanta is the destroyer of demons. With ten hands, a trident, mace, bow, arrow, lotus, and sword, She represents Shakti in Her fiery form. Seated upon the ferocious tiger- She clears our obstacles and hindrances.
Day 3 Color: Gray

Kushmanda

'Anda' means the cosmic egg and Kushmanda literally refers to the Creator or the Mother of the Universe. She represents the ultimate Maha Shakti. According to some, along with the Navadurga, she participated in Virbhadra's campaign against Daksha. Worshiped on the fourth day, this form blesses us with good health and wealth. Mounted on the lion, Kushmanda carries honey and water- the elixirs of life.
Day 4 Color: Orange

Skandamata

Karttikeya, Mata Parvati's son is also called Skanda. Skandamata is mounted upon the lion with Her son seated in Her lap. She thus represents motherhood and children. She possesses the brilliance of a thousand suns and is depicted as having four hands.
Day 5 Color: White

Katyayani

Maa Durga, in the form of Katyayani, emerged from the beams of lights radiating from the bodies of the Gods who were fighting Mahishasur- the Buffalo Demon. Katyayani thus represents Maa Durga in her warrior stage. She is shown sitting on a feral lion and uproots the obstacles of her devotees.
Day 6 Color: Red

Kalaratri

Kalaratri is the more powerful cosmic aspect of Kali. She is the Mahadevi and grants her devotees strength and courage. With three bloodshot eyes, she adorns the garland of skulls and is shown seated on a donkey. She is also one of the thirty-tow Bhairavi and represents the tamasic gun (one of the three universal energies). On the subtle level, She represents the destruction of ego and the dismantling of the kleshas.
Day 7 Color: Dark blue

Mahagauri

Mahagauri is the supreme reality and illuminates all directions through Her halo. She is the Great White One and is seated upon an ox. She blesses women with grace, beauty, and divinity. With four hands, she promises Her devotees protection and a quick recovery from their diseases.
Day 8 Color: Pink

Siddhidatri

Siddhidatri is the culmination or the final form of Mata Parvati. Siddhi means supernatural powers and dhatri means the giver. She represents the culmination or the complete fructification of the penance that she began in the flush of her youth. In this stage, Mata Parvati attains Her final form of Maha-Shakti. Worshipping Mata Parvati in this form on the ninth day makes you spiritually awakened and receptive to the higher abodes where she resides.
Day 9 Color: Pink
Navadurga represents the nine forms of cosmic energy. Worshiping them during the nine nights wards off evils, grants devotees with protection, good health and spiritual maturity.

Things to do on Chaitra Navratri-

Chaitra havarti can prove extremely beneficial if we observe certain rules while worshiping the nine avatars of Maa Durga-
  • Kalash Sthapana or Ghatasthapana is of utmost importance on the first day of Navratri. Also, worship Lord Ganesh by making offerings to his idol and chanting the mantra "Om Gan Ganpataye Namo Namah".
  • Light a lamp in your puja room. Lighting the Akhanda Jyot is an integral part of worshipping Maa Durga for nine days.
  • Read Durga chalisa or Durga Saptsati on all the days. The last day of the Navratri marks the culmination- the evolution and the sharp end of Navratri. Rama Navami marks the birth of the seventh avatar of Shri Vishnu. Participating in bhajans, kirtans, pujas, and aarti is one of the highlights of Rama Navami. Reading Ram Raksha Stotra on all nine days in the Brahma Muhurta is extremely beneficial and is known to fulfill all the desires of the devotees.
  • Offer red flowers to all the avatars of Maa Durga and if possible wear red clothes during the puja.
  • Abstain from alcohol, smoking (or any other kind of addiction), and sexual activity.
  • Try to make charities and feed the Brahmans and the cows.
  • All the mediation, chanting, prayer, or recitations during the nine days must be done after thoroughly cleaning your body.
  • Along with the cleanliness of the body, the purification of the mind and heart is equally important. Try to avoid negative thoughts and deeds (like lying, over-eating, hinsa, or hurting through action and language) as far as possible.
  • Fasting is highly beneficial during the nine days, but if you cannot fast (due to unavoidable circumstances) then try to observe a sattvic diet as long as possible. Avoid eating onions and garlic during the nine days.
  • Even if you aren't chanting or meditating during the Brahma Muhurta, try to wake up early.
  • Do not cut your hair, nails, and also avoid shaving.
Chaitra Navratri portrays the closure or end of our inner devils. Observed during the springtime, this festival brings color, happiness and marks the onset of finer qualities in us. It's through the rigorous worship of Maa Durga during these nine nights that we can shake up our dormant powers and gain the courage to deal with ongoing (or the upcoming) crisis in our life. Worshiping the nine avatars of Maa Durga has the power to lift us up and help us to flourish not only in our material life but also succeed in our quest for spiritual elevation.
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