Navratri, a time when the fiercest and the most powerful avatars of Devi Parvati are prayed. Durga is a symbol of esteem power, strength, knowledge, kindness, love, humanity; she represents the true valour of a woman. Durga navratri is a time of praising the epitome of strength and accept the fact that a woman, if is capable of generating a life on earth, the same woman, when time requires is also very much capable of killing and destroying the very same life. Durga navratri celebrates the powerful and courageous side of women and accepts that a woman is not abla, but a sabla. She does not need anybody to sustain her. She is self sustained and is the one on whom we are dependent for our sustenance. Navratri is the time of worshipping devi, with the thought in mind that women are no less than men.
The nine forms of Mata Parvati, during navratri has its own significance. They are as follows:-
Mata Shailputri is the first form of Mata Parvati. When Devi Sati burnt herself alive, she gave her sister, Devi Maina, a vardan that she will reincarnate on the universe in the form of her daughter. Devi Maina got married to Raja Himavan, the king of Himalayan mountains. Years later, she gave birth to a beautiful daughter and named her Parvati. Because Parvati was the daughter of shaila (mountain), she got her name of Shailputri. Mata Shailputri is a very beautiful and calming avatar of mata. She is seated on a white bull. She is an absolute form of mother nature. She is sweet and childish, she holds a lotus in one hand and trishul in other.
When Parvati stepped into her youth, she was told by a banjara woman, who in fact was Lord Shiva, to perform auteritious acts to impress the lord and grant her the wish of marrying the man of her dreams, who was Lord Shiva only. Accepting the advice, Parvati left her home and seek shelter in the forests of the himalayas where she performed her tapasya day in and day out. She stopped eating food and stopped drinking water. Such was the dedication in her, that all the gods and goddesses were impressed by her austerity. She was named Brahmacharini. Mata Brahmacharini teaches the values of dedication and determination. She is the symbol of faith in the god. She is dressed in an all white attire and has a kamandala in one hand.
When Shiva and Parvati got married, the demons decided to attack their abode in kailash. However, Mata Parvati used to use the ghanta or the temple bell while praying that created an invisible shield over kailash and protected it from any and every type of attack. Mata Chandraghanta has ten hands representing the possession of ten kinds of weapons by Mata. It is said that Mata Chandragupta always helps her devotees at times of struggles and wars. It is also said that if a man/woman, while praying, rings a ghanta everyday in their home, this will not just purify the house but also prevents all negativities from entering into your home.
The word Kushmanda literally means cosmic egg. Mata kushmanda is regarded as the creator of the universe. She created the universe from nothing and is a source of energy of every living and non-living entity in the universe. It is said that mata kushmanda first created the universe and then she generated the sun followed by life on earth. She is a source of energy of the sun. she is even the source of health and wealth.
Mata Skandamata is the form of Mata Parvati as the mother of Kartikeya, who is also known by the name of Skanda. Mata skandamata is mounted on a tiger with an infant with six heads in her hands. This infant is lord kartikeya, who was bestowed with the task of killing the evil demon named Taarkasura. Mata Skandamata guided kartikeya whenever and wherever he was stuck in problematic circumstances. This form of mata is a symbol of motherhood and mother’s love and affection for her child. Mata Skandamata is a true guide to all her devotees.
Everything was going peacefully, until one day when there was a quarrel between lord shiva and mata parvati and shiva hurted parvati. Meanwhile, rishi katyayan was worshipping mata parvati with true dedication. She wanted mata parvati to take birth on earth as his daughter. Parvati decided to agree with rishi katyayan and left kailash and shiva. She took birth as rishi katyayan’s daughter, who named her katyayani. Years later, when the universe was affected by the terror of demon king Mahishasura, all the gods, including shiva, came to mata katyayani, requesting her to kill Mahish. Katyayani agreed and brutally killed evil mahishasura. Thus she is also known by the name of Mahishasura Mardini. Later katyayani agreed to return to kailash only after remarrying shiva.
Mata kaalratri is one of the most fearsome avatars of mata Parvati. By bringing death to ignorance, she helps to light up the darkness within your soul. Mounted on a donkey, this three-eyed and four handed Goddess appears rather fearsome with flames emanating from her nostrils and her tongue hanging out of her mouth. She wears a garland of skulls and and has held head of the evil in one hand.
When parvati returned to kailash, she devoted herself completely to her household duties. She handles the house, take care of her husband and children. This worried mata lakshmi, who realised that if parvati would be so engrossed in her household duties, she would forget and lose her individuality. Mata lakshmi and lord vishnu discussed this with lord brahma and mata saraswati, who then together had a word with mata parvati and made her realise her real potential and how she is slowly losing it. They told her that she is the true form of shakti and, if shakti will lose her individuality and will forget her importance, the universe is going to collapse. Thus Mata parvati realized her mistake and took the form of mata mahagauri. Mata mahagauri is extremely decorated with jewels. She wears beautiful sarees and is mounted on an extremely decorated bull. This avatar of mata makes every woman to release her true potential and identify the importance of her individuality. She will help her devotees comprehend the sorrows of the material world. Thus, you move towards a lustrous path of virtue and values.
Mata Siddhidatri, as the name suggests will grant you with great powers or siddhis. She bestows 26 diverse kinds of wishes (siddhis) on her true devotees. It is said that lord shiva too worshipped her deeply and thus was able to achieve the siddhis or the power possessed by a woman. Consequently, he was able to take the Ardhanareshwar avatar. Her mount is a lion. However, she prefers to sit on the lotus flower too.
These nine avatars are together known as the Nav Durga forms of mata parvati, worshipping whom will fulfill all your wishes.
Jai mata di.