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In the olden days in India, it was a common practice to do the Shakti Puja. In that Mahashakti Puja, many different murthis were worshipped. In the scripture of the Chandi Path, which is part of the Markandeya Purana, we find nine different forms of the Durga Devi enumerated, which are: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) Sailaputri Brahmacharini Chandraghanta Kushmanda Skandamata Katyayani Kalaratri Mahagauri Siddhidatri
It was the god, Brahma, himself, who revealed these nine names of Durga. The nine forms of Durga are worshipped continuously through the Navaratri (translated nine nights) period in the autumn season of each year. The actual time of the Navaratri starts from the pratipad, and continues through to the Navami tithi. For example, in the United States this year (2005) , the Navaratri dates are from October 3rd through October 11, 2005. Each puja performed during these nine days may be called the Navadurga Puja. In preparation for this puja, it was the custom of the cultivators or the farmers, previously in India, to gather together nine different plants that were thought to contain the Goddess Durga’s divine energy. The farmers of old thought that all of these plants represented different aspects of Ma Durga, and that these particular plants would be especially pleasing offerings to her. When these nine plants are bound or offered together in the puja, this is called nava patrika, and it is a symbol of Ma Durga. Each of these nine plants and their associated form of Durga are given here: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) a small banana tree - Brahmani a kachu plant - Kalika (or Kali Durga) a tumeric plant - Durga covered in tumeric a jayanti plant - Skandamata (or Jayanti) bilva or bell tree - Shiva a darim plant - Raktadantika an ashok tree - Shokarahita a mankachu plant - Chamunda a danya (rice) plant - Mahalakshmi
If you would like to perform the worship of Nava Durga at your home altar or in your temple during this upcoming Navaratri period, you may want to follow the basic puja format and mantras outlined in Swami Satyananda’s “Beginner Durga Puja”
(Devi Mandir Publications). Then, to offer a complete and meaningful worship of Nava Durga, you would want to add to this puja by reciting the specific mantras and offering a flower for each of the nine forms of Durga, as well as reciting the specific mantras and offering the plants (or substituting a flower for each plant) which make up the “nava patrika” offering. The additional mantras for the worship of Nava Durga, and the Nava Patrika Puja are included in the “Samasti Upasana” or “Cosmic Puja” (Devi Mandir Publications, 2001). And you will find those specific mantras have been included for your convenience near the end of this article. The Navaratri period is an especially auspicious time for the manifestation of Durga’s divine energy! And for those of us who are drawn to worship God as “Mother”, this spiritual festival offers us a great opportunity to cultivate our knowledge and understanding of, and devotion to this form of the Divine Mother. When we put our full attention on Her, when we sincerely call her by chanting and singing Her divine names, when we recite the special mantras that carry Her vibrations and energy, then She manifests her energy in our hearts and in our actions. In Swami Satyananda’s publication of the mantras for the “nava patrika” offerings, he translates nava patrika as “containers of divinity”. If we call on Durga during this holy season, and sincerely surrender all of our confusion and difficulties to Her, we, ourselves, can become “containers of Her divinity” in the world. The following section of this article provides a brief description of each of the nine forms of Durga as well as color-images of each (which you can print out) to enhance your worship. SAILAPUTRI The first form of Durga is Sailaputri; she was the daughter of the king of the Himalayan Mountain. She became so pleased by the tapasya performed by the couple, Himalay and Manoka, that she took birth as their daughter, Sailaputri. She sits on a bull, and in her right hand she holds a trishul, while in her left hand she holds a lotus flower. At the time of Daksha’s yagnya, when Sati (Lord Shiva’s wife) died, then she was reborn as Sailaputri, and once again she married Shiva. BRAHMACHARINI The second form of Ma Durga is known as Brahmacharini. Brahma means tapasya (or meditation), and this Durga’s activities were all tapasya (spiritual austerities). In her right hand she holds a mala for japa, and in her left hand she holds a kamandalum (water-pot). This devi is Mahashakti. If you worship her, she will give you the energy and inspiration to strive for the highest liberation. Through tapasya, she will give you knowledge of the Divine. This is the duty of Brahmacharini. CHANDRAGHANTA The third form of Durga is Chandraghanta. Due to her countenance, which is so fair like the moon, she is extremely peaceful and always bestowing the highest blessings.
sorrow. SKANDAMATA The fifth form of Durga is Skandamata. a mala for japa. named Mahishasur. If the disciple prays to her. For many years he worshipped the Divine Mother Durga. she bears the whole universe within herself. “Ku” means bad. Brahma. Skandamata sits on a lion. a club. One day in Katyayan’s ashram. Kushmanda has eight hands. an arrow. because she wanted to do God’s work. and from this heavenly place she draws all her power. and so she became known as Katyayani. and with her lower-right hand she is holding her young son in her lap. Kartikeya sits on the lap of this Durga. This goddess lives in the realm of the Suja Lok (the sun). KATYAYANI Katyayani is the sixth form of Ma Durga. she sits on a lion. She distributes this energy among all the living beings and materials of the universe. and there he did very strong tapasya. a spear. When she takes all of our pain. and she has four hands. One muni named Katyayan made an ashram in the Himalayan Mountains. For this Kartikeya took birth. She sits on a lion.She is more beautiful than the moon. bow. a trishul. They told Katyayan that they wanted some help to kill one infamous asura. In her ten hands she is holding weapons. and “ushma” means the remover of pain and sorrow. all your desires will be fulfilled. The three gods had seen all of the destruction caused by Mahishasur. all of your sorrows will be lifted. With her lower-left hand she is giving blessings. she created this universe. a lotus. the devas wanted a strong general to help them conquer the asuras. and her love is full for everyone. and Shiva appeared. a container of holy nectar. and she has ten arms. In her eight hands she carries the following items: a water-pot. In the form of a little boy. Some of the weapons include a curved sword. If you pray to Skandamata. KUSHMANDA The fourth form of Durga is Kushmanda. If you pray to Kushmanda. whose name would be Kartikeya. they desired to give birth to a son. So she is called Kushmanda. a club. From infinite energy. all obstacles are removed. and negativity into herself. He welcomed her and accepted her like a daughter. At the beginning of time everything was dark. and this aroused in . The story behind her manifestation is very inspiring. so she is also called Ashtalya (which means the one with eight arms). After Durga and Shiva married. In each of her two upper hands. Her form is golden. He became a general in the army of the gods. During the battle between the devas and the asuras. then Kushmanda came and gave rise to all creation. and a lotus. and one day she appeared to him in a human form. and a chakra. Another name for Kartikeya is Skanda and so his mother (Durga) is also known as Skandamata. Vishnu. and she will give you good health and fulfillment in your life. she holds a lotus flower.
she is offering the mudra of protection. This form of Durga is very angry and very strong. Ashtami(the eighth day). and in her lower-left hand she carries a lotus flower. dangerous animals. and floods. Out of the united anger of the three gods. pure white color. After this. kama (the cessation/fulfillment of all desires. and she takes away all pain. If you pray to her. and moksha (liberation/self-realization). sorrow. In her upper-left hand she holds a sword. With her upper-right hand. Her garland is dazzling like lightening. and Navami (the ninth day). So Mahadev called her Kalika. and her hair is wildly flying in all directions. Parvati.pronged tool strong enough to cut through steel). This occurred in the month of Ashwin on Krishna Chaturdashi tithi. and with her lower-right hand she is giving the mudra for blessings. For this reason. In order to get a brighter. From then on. If you pray to Katyayani. she is called Bhayankari. Being called “black” saddened her. In her upper-right hand she is displaying the mudra to dispel fear. (the seventh day). . she relieves all guilt. and in her lower-left hand she holds an iron loha kata (a multi. If you pray to Mahagauri. except the desire for unity. True disciples do not fear her.them great anger. In her upper-left hand she holds a curved-sword. And her whole body is like fire. In her upper-left hand she holds a damaru (small drum). she removes all obstacles. She is of black color. Then she became white in color. In the first incarnation of the devi. she started to perform tapasya. and she has four hands. The goddess Katyayani has four hands. and she manifests to help us slay the darkness within ourselves. and in her lower-left hand she is displaying the mudra that gives blessings. on the tenth day known as Dashami. he purified her with the water of the Ganga. MAHAGAURI The eighth form of Durga is Mahagauri. she will fulfill the four objectives of life: dharma (ideal of perfection). She is riding on a bull. This goddess also takes away sickness. and takes away the fear of ghosts. KALARATRI Durga Devi’s seventh form is known as Kalaratri. When Mahadev was pleased with her tapasya. Then Katyayan Muni proceeded to worship this form of Durga for the three days of Navaratri which were Saptami. and she has four hands. snakes. this Devi killed Mahishasur to fulfill the wishes of the gods. and with her lower-right hand she is displaying the mudra to dispel all fear. sorrow. her name was Mahagauri. artha (to acquire the resources necessary to maintain that ideal. Kalaratri rides on a donkey. one Spirit full of light and shakti became manifested here. and all negativities. but she bestows good will to all. and in her lower-right hand she carries a trishul. her color was black. With her upper-right hand she gives the mudra for blessings. fire. She is looking very dangerous. and poverty. goblins.
which you may want to enlarge and/or print out to enhance your worship. SAILAPUTRI . It was her special blessing to take the combined form of halfdevi and half. In her lower-right hand she holds a chakra.SIDDHIDATRI The name of the ninth form of Durga is Siddhidatri. she has promised to fulfill all their desires in this lifetime. For those devotees who perform worship to Siddhidatri. On the following pages you will find individual photos of the nine forms of Durga. and the next. and her conveyance is the lion. She gives special blessings to disciples and saddhus. and in her upper-right hand she displays a club. and in her upper-left hand she carries a lotus flower. She is often depicted sitting in a lotus. This form of Shiva is known as Ardhanarishwar.Shiva. Siddhidatri has four hands. In her lower-left hand she holds the conch shell.
in the form of Uma you give boons. you shined upon all existence. You be pleased. I bow to the Creative Energy. I . Om thus is sung a hymn to the Goddess covered in tumeric. Destroy all of my obstacles. come here and reside in my thoughts. I bow to She who is Beyond Time. come oh Beloved of Vishnu. oh One of Excellent Vows. Om thus is sung a hymn to the Shining One. In the form of beauty everywhere make peace. Om thus is sung a hymn to Beauty. Oh Goddess covered in tumeric. In the battle with the Great Ego. oh One of Excellent Vows. I bow to you. oh Beloved of Vishnu.MANTRAS OF THE NAVA PATRIKA PUJA (worship of the nine containers of divinity) Om Oh Goddess Durga. For the purpose of my advancement.
bow to the Reliever of Difficulties. You fought with the multitudes of Raktabijas facing you. In order to perform the work of Uma. and She is always beloved of Vasudeva (Vishnu). You destroy Self-Deprecation and Self-Conceit along with the multitude of the armies of the Gods. You are being worshipped along with those who are victorious. always protect me. Om thus is sung a hymn to the Bilva. I bow to She with Red Teeth. Give us boons. Om thus is sung a hymn to the Goddess of Victory. I bow to Shiva (Divine Mother). I bow to the Ever Pure One. She is the beloved of Mahadeva (Shiva). Uma loves this tree. Om thus is sung a hymn to the Multitudes. In the form of bilva I bow to you. .
yesterday’s grief and all grief it destroys. Upon this leaf from the tree of thought. I bow to She who moves in the paradigm of Consciousness. Om thus is sung a hymn to the Giving of Wealth. Durga especially loves this. Om thus is sung a hymn to Thoughts. I bow to She who makes us free from grief. . Please protect me always. This giving of wealth is beloved by Uma. the Goddess sits. the beloved of Saci (Indra’s wife). Om thus is sung a hymn to Freedom from Grief. so make me eternally free from grief.Hara (Shiva) loves this tree. I bow to the Great Goddess of True Wealth. It protects the life force of the perceivable universe and proves the validity of the Supreme Divinity. For the purpose of my progress please accept my worship and be pleased with me.
We bow to you. oh Mother of the universe. You are being worshipped with water for washing your feet. Goddess of Learning. praised in the world. the subtle body and the causal body. please accept this worship. I invite the Goddess of Inspiration and establish Her within. Oh Ever Pure One. Goddess of Inspiration. I bow to the Goddess of Inspiration. the gross body. come here. stay here. Om the Infinite Beyond Conception. . Om You are worshipped in the world. stay here. as the intrinsic nature of all energy. I bow to the Goddess of Learning.MANTRAS FOR THE NAVA DURGA PUJA (worship of the nine forms of Durga) Om the Infinite Beyond Conception. I invite the Goddess of Learning and establish Her within. the subtle body and the causal body. You are being worshipped with water for washing your feet. come here. the gross body.
I invite the Goddess of Refinement and establish Her within. the eyes that . Om the Infinite Beyond Conception. stay here. the support of the three gunas. The Goddess who is praised in the three worlds. I am worshipping you. Goddess of Practice. oh Image of the Three. Goddess of Refinement. Om you give rise to the qualities of every atom. You are being worshipped with water for washing your feet. Welfare in the heart of Lord Siva. You are being worshipped with water for washing your feet. Om You divide Time. the subtle body and the causal body. I bow to the Goddess of Practice. the gross body. the intrinsic nature of the road to Wisdom. I worship the Goddess of Welfare. come here. I invite the Goddess of Practice and establish Her within. the subtle body and the causal body. come here. I bow to the Goddess of Refinement. oh Divine Mother. but remain beyond division.Om You are the residence of the three cities. the gross body. Always grant Welfare. Om the Infinite Beyond Conception. stay here.
I am worshipping you. I bow to Her. Om the Infinite Beyond Conception. You distinguish the infinite energy. I invite the Goddess who is Ever Pure and establish Her within. the stupidity of anger you cut asunder. Om you are the warrior against anger. . come here. Goddess who Nurtures Divinity. Goddess who is Ever Pure. I invite the Goddess who Nurtures Divinity and establish Her within. the gross body. I bow to the Goddess who is Ever Pure. come here.perceive all form. the subtle body and the causal body. You are being worshipped with water for washing your feet. You are being worshipped with water for washing your feet. stay here. the gross body. Om the Infinite Beyond Conception. the Supreme Goddess. the limitation of anger. the subtle body and the causal body. I bow to the Goddess who Nurtures Divinity. oh Eyes of Desire. stay here. I worship She who Tears Apart Thought.
stay here. the subtle body and the causal body. Om you are the warrior against anger. come here. all the Gods continually bow to you. I invite the Dark Night and establish Her within. the three forms of wisdom. I worship Gayatri. you who belong to Siva. You are being worshipped with water for washing your feet. The Great Radiant Light.Om the Bliss of happiness. Om the Infinite Beyond Conception. I worship you. you cut asunder the Seed of Desire. Om the Infinite Beyond Conception. I invite the Great Radiant Light and establish Her within. the gross body. Dark Night (surrendering the ego). I bow to the Great Radiant Light. . I bow to Her. You are the soul of all existence. oh Goddess. the subtle body and the causal body. You are being worshipped with water for washing your feet. the limitation of anger. the gross body. I bow to the Dark Night. come here. stay here. Cause of Peace. the Supreme Goddess.
. I invite the Grantor of Perfection and establish Her within. the Goddess of Contentment. Om First is the Goddess of Inspiration. stay here. who destroys all difficulties. You are being worshipped with water for washing your feet. The Grantor of Perfection. from the effects of wickedness. I always worship with devotion the Reliever of Difficulties. bestower of happiness and beauty.Om Beautiful with a golden-colored body. and second the Goddess of Learning. come here. third is the Goddess of Practice. the subtle body and the causal body. the gross body. I worship the Excellent of excellence. Om the Infinite Beyond Conception. Om You are the Destroyer of fear from difficulties for me. the Goddess of Refinement is fourth. I bow to the Grantor of Perfection. Oh Mother of the Universe.
sixth is the One Who is Ever Pure. Ninth is the Goddess who Grants Perfection. have been enumerated. and for his authorization to use the photos of the nine forms of Durga. Sincere gratitude also goes to Shreenath Routh for his excellent publication of “Shri Shri Chandi” (a Bengali translation of Markendeya’s Chandi Path). This article was contributed by Kamala Nanda. the Goddess of the Great Radiant Light is eighth. and these names have been revealed by the great soul of the Supreme Himself. Relievers of Difficulties. The nine Durgas. seventh is the Goddess of the Dark Night of Surrendering the Ego. . with the generous assistance of Malabika (Khuku)Bhattacharjee for help with Bengali translation.Fifth is the Goddess who Nurtures Divinity. We bow to the Respected Reliever of Difficulties.
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