October is my favorite month for many reasons, the heat from the Sun starts diminishing as it inches towards the winter solstice and there is a strange fragrance of festivity in the air. The scent of agarbattis, busy shopkeepers, picturesque evenings, mouth-watering delicacies and all other memories come flashing down the nostalgic celluloid of my mind at once.
Durga puja or Navratri/Navratras is an important festival of India where people worship goddess Durga for her incarnations and the ultimate victory over evil. It is also the main festival of West Bengal as Bengalis celebrate this festival with much grandeur and devotion. All nine days of Navaratri are dedicated to nine forms of Goddess Durga/Shakti. Shardiya Navaratri falls in the month of September or October. The nine days festivity culminates on the tenth day of Dussehra or Vijayadashami.
The nine forms of shakti with brief information are listed below.
Shaila means stone, and putri means daughter. Praying to this aspect of Mother Divine brings strength (like a stone). It brings commitment. When the mind is wavering, chanting the name of this Devi Shailaputri helps the mind to be centered and committed. It gives us strength, courage, and composure.
When we pray to this form of Mother Divine, we invoke the quality of Brahmacharya. And our consciousness starts moving in the infinity, in our true nature. When we recognize our true nature, we become vast and powerful with a lot of vigor, valor and strength.
This form of Devi is depicted as wearing a bell-like ornament in the shape of the moon. The moon is connected with the mind, and the Ghanta (or the bell) is an instrument connected with alertness. The ringing of the bell brings the mind to the present moment. Just as the moon waxes and wanes, the mind also wavers. Chanting the name of this Devi brings the mind in our control with increased alertness.
She is considered as the creator of the entire universe. Kushmanda means pumpkin, a pumpkin has many seeds and each seed contains the potential for many more pumpkins. This is representative of the creative power and its eternal nature.
This avatar of goddess Durga is known for vanquishing all evils but at the same time having the compassion to nurture a kid. When we pray to this form of Mother Divine, we are bestowed with the qualities of skill along with innocence, and courage along with compassion.
This day embodies the nurturing aspect of goddess Durga in the form of a mother. we bow to her for the affection and perseverance she has shown as all the mothers.
Kaalratri is the seventh figure of Goddess Durga which is known to be the protector of all her devotees from evil. she is also considered to grant wishes with more happiness and freedom.
This form of Goddess Durga is known to forgive the sins of its followers and also showing them a path of retribution. Maha Gauri is also the combination of brilliance and innocence residing within our souls.
Siddhidhatri is the one who gives all the siddhis. Siddhi means perfection. When you want something, and if before the want arises it is available to you, that is called Siddhi (when you receive before you even feel the need, and when you receive more than what you need). This is the last form of Durga that possesses great supernatural powers which are a symbol of our mastered skills which make all the difference in life.
The last form is worshiped for two days; Navami and Dashami which is also known as Dussehra or Vijayadashmi. Throughout these ten days, there is so much faith, celebration and happiness in the air that makes it one of the happening times of the year calender.