Durga is worshipped in different forms. She is a form of "Shakti". The evolution of ShriMaha Saraswati, Shri Maha Laxmi and Shri Mahakali (the 3 main forms of "Shakti") took place from Shri Brahma, Shri Vishnu and Shri Mahesh respectively. Each of these 3 deities gave rise to 3 more forms and hence in all, these 9 forms together are known as Nav-Durga. The nine forms of Durga are worshipped during the nine days of all four Navratri's of the year.
Durga Shailputri (Daughter of Mountain) : "Shail" means mountains, "Putri" means daughter. Parvati, the daughter of the King of the Mountains Himavan, is called 'Shailputri". The first among nine Durgas and 1st night of Navratras is devoted to the puja of Shailputri . Her two hands display a trident and a lotus. Her mount is a bull.
Mantra - वन्देवाञ्छितलाभायचन्द्रार्धकृतशेखराम्।वृषारुढांशूलधरांशैलपुत्रींयशस्विनीम्॥
Vande Vanchhit Laabhaay, Chandrardhkritshekharaam | Vrisharudham Shooldharaam Shailputriim Yashaswinim ||
The second Durga Shakti is Brahamcharini. Brahma that is who observes penance(tapa) and good conduct. Here "Brahma" means "Tapa". The idol of this Goddess is very gorgeous.One hand hold a "Kumbha" or water pot, and the other holds a rosary. She personifies love and loyalty. Bhramcharini is the store house of knowledge and wisdom. Rudraksha beads are Her most adored ornaments!
Mantra - दधानाकरपद्माभ्यामक्षमालाकमण्डलू।देवीप्रसीदतुमयिब्रह्मचारिण्यनुत्तमा॥
Dadhaanaa Kar Padaabhyaamakshmala Kamandalu | Devi Prasidati Mayi Brahmcharinyanuttamaa.
The name of third Shakti is Chandraghanta. There is a half-circular moon in her forehead. She is charmful and bright. She is Golden in color, possesses ten hands and 3 eyes. Eight of her hands display weapons while the remaining two are respectively in the mudras of gestures of boon giving and stopping harm. Chandra + Ghanta, meaning supreme bliss and knowledge, showering peace and serenity, like cool breeze in a moonlit night. This Durga Shakti rides a tiger. She is mainly worshipped in Tamil Nadu.
Mantra - पिण्डजप्रवरारुढाचण्डकोपास्त्रकैर्युता।प्रसादंतनुतेमह्यांचन्द्रघण्टेतिविश्रुता॥
Pindaj Pravaarudh chandkopastrkairyuta | Prasadam Tanute Madhyam Chandraghanteti vishrutaa ||
With the fourth night begins the worship of Kushmanda, possessed of eight arms, holding a weapons and a mala ( rosary), her mount is the tiger and She emanates a solar aura. "Kumbh Bhand" means to see the cosmic dance in the form of Pindi; the knowledge of cosmic intricacies in the human race. The abode of Kushmanda is Bhimaparvat !
Mantra - सुरासम्पूर्णकलशंरुधिराप्लुतमेवच।दधानाहस्तपद्माभ्यांकूष्माण्डाशुभदास्तुमे॥
Suraasampoornam Kalasham Rudhiraaplutamev Cha | Dahdana Hastpadmaabhyaam Kushmanda Shubhdaastu Me ||
Fifth name of Durga is "Skanda Mata". Rising a lion as Her chosen vehicle, She holds Her son skanda on her lap. She displays three eyes and four hands; two hands holds lotuses while the other two hand display defending and granting mudras, respectively. Its said, by the merch of Skandmata, even the fool becomes an ocean of knowledge.
Mantra - सिंहासनगतानित्यंपद्माश्रितकरद्वया।शुभदास्तुसदादेवीस्कन्दमातायशस्विनी॥
Sinhaasangataam Nityam Padmaanchit Kardwayaa | Shubhdaastu Sadaa Devi Skandmata Yashaswini ||
Katyayini is the sixth form amongst the Navadurga. She holds shining Chandrahasa (Sword) in Devi's hand and one hand is depicted as giving blessing. She rides a magnificent lion and destroys the demons, bestow welfare on me.
Mantra - चंद्रहासोज्जवलकराशार्दूलवरवाहना| कात्यायनीशुभंदद्यादेवीदानवघातिनि||
Chandrahaasojjval Karaa Shaardoolvarvaahanaa | Katyayani Shubham Dadyaad Devi Daanavghatini ||
Black (or blue ) skin with bountiful hair and 4 hands, 2 clutching a cleaver and a torch, while the remaining 2 are in the mudras of "giving" and "protecting". Her vehicle is a faithful donkey. The destroyer of darkness and ignorance, Kaalratri is the seventh form of Nav-Durga meaning scourer of darkness; enemy of darkness.
Mantra - एकवेणीजपाकर्णपूरानग्नाखरास्थिता, लम्बोष्टीकर्णिकाकर्णीतैलाभ्यक्तशरीरिणी।
Ekveni Japakarnpoora Nagn Kharaasthita | Lamboshthi Karnika karni Tailaabhyaktshariirini ||
Vaam Paadollasallohlata Kantakbhushanaa | Bardhan Moordham Dhwajaa Krishnaa Kalratribhayankari ||
The Eighth Durga is "Maha Gauri." She is as white as a conch, moon and Jasmine. She is of eight years old. With four arms and the fairest complexion of all the Durgas Shaktis, Mahagauri radiates peace and compassion. She is often dressed in a white or green sari. She holds a drum and a trident and is often depiected riding a bull.
Mantra - श्वेतेवृषेसमारुढाश्वेताम्बरधराशुचिः।महागौरीशुभंदघान्महादेवप्रमोददा॥
Shwete Vrishesamarudha Shwetaambardhara Shuchih | Mahagari Shubham Dadyanmahadev Praodadaa ||
Ninth Durga is "Siddhidatri". There are eight Siddhis , they are- Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Iishitva & Vashitva.It is said in "Devipuran" that the Supreme God Shiv got all these Siddhies by worshipping Maha Shakti. With her gratitude the half body of Shiv has became of Goddess and there fore his name "Ardhanarishvar" has became famous.Usually shown ensconced a lotus with four arms, She is the grantor of 26 different wishes to Her Bhaktas.
Mantra - सिद्धगन्धर्वयक्षाघैरसुरैरमरैरपि।सेव्यमानासदाभूयात्सिद्धिदासिद्धिदायिनी॥
Siddha Gandharva Yakshdyairasurairamarairapi | Sevyamaanaa Sadabhuyaat Siddhida Siddhidayini ||
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