Durga Puja festival epitomizes the worship of Maa Durga and her nine forms. Durga Puja is carried out during Navratri each year. Although there are four different Navratris; Chaitra Navratri and Shardiya Navratri hold great importance for religious celebrations. Of all the nine days, the first three days are dedicated to Maa Durga, the next three to Goddess Laxmi and the last three are dedicated to Goddess Saraswati.
Significance of Durga Puja
Maa Durga is the form of Maa AdhyaShakti who represents the life and the existence of the world. She is revered as the supreme energy that is inherent in everything around. Goddess Durga herself represents the Maha Shakti as she is the amalgamation of supreme Goddesses - Lakshmi, Saraswati and Maha Kaali.
Her name –Durga, means ‘ 'The invincible'’.
As per a legend, a demon Mahisasura, pleased Lord Shiva to be bestowed with a boon that no man or god will ever be able to kill him. Mahisasura grew arrogant and started spreading chaos and soon conquered earth and heaven. All the Gods fled to Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh to seek refuge and relief from the wrath of Mahisasura. The divine trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, combined their powers and created a celestial female form – Durga she engaged in a long battle with Mahisasura who kept on changing forms to deceive. Finally on the ninth day, Durga pierced him with Shiva’s trident and beheaded him with her sword. Hence Maa Durga is also worshipped as a symbol of victory over evil. Vedas describe her as a determined goddess riding a lion with all sorts of weapons in each of her eight hands. The weapons signify the purpose she was created for, to slay Mahisasura. Each of the weaposns in her eight hands depict the power to destroy evil in all the directions.
Maa Durga is worshipped in a different avatar on each day of Navratri, i.e. in the form of Maa Shailputri, Maa Bhramacharini, Maa Chandraghanta, Maa Kushmanda, Skand Mata, Maa Katyayani, Maa Kaalratri, Maa Maha Gauri and Maa Siddidhatri.
Benefits of Performing a Durga Puja
Durga Puja is performed for
- Protection from evil and removal of obstacles.
- Relief from diseases and long illness
- For wealth, happiness and Prosperity
- For courage and building self-confidence
- Seek blessings for a long and healthy life
Occasions to Perform Durga Puja
Durga Puja is performed during Navratri, where her nine different manifestations are worshipped across nine days. There are four different Navratris throughout the year – Magh Navratri, Vasant or Chaitra Navratri, Ashaadi Navratri and Shardiya Navratri.
Vasant Navratri is observed between March and April. Shardiya Navratri or Maha Navratri falls around late September or early October, which is celebrated with great enthusiasm by people all over India
Durga Puja Vidhi (Procedure)
Each of the avatars of Maa Durga is worshipped on a select day around Navratri.
The Navratri Puja begins with Ghatastapana or Kalash Stapana which is done on the first day as per Muhurat.
Once the Kalash is set-up, a general puja is offered each day that is followed by the Puja for specific form of Maa Durga by chanting specific mantras for 108 times.
- The first day, Puja is offered to Maa Shailputri – Daughter of the King of Himalaya Mountains
- Bhramacharini Avatar – The Daughter of King Daksh, is worshipped on the second day.
- Maa Durga is worshipped in her Chandraghanta Avatar on the 3rd third and prayed to,to remove obstacles and enemies around.
- People meditate on her life-giving Kushmanda Avatar on the fourth day.
- She is worshipped as Devi Skand Mata on the fifth day.
- People worship her as Devi Katyayani on the sixth day.
- On the seventh day, she is regarded in her impressive Kaalratri form.’
- Maha Gauri avatar is worshipped and meditated on the eight day for bringing in happiness and prosperity.
- On the ninth day, Siddhidatri is revered to give benefits of the worship performed on all the nine days.
Durga Puja Shubh Muhurat
- Maa Durga is worshipped throughout these nine days in her different avatars.
- Maa Durga is said to be in her full glory on the day of Maha Ashtami which is also known as Maha Durgashtami that falls on the eighth day of Navratri and Maha Navami, i.e. the ninth day of Navratri
- The puja is performed as per Abhijit Muhurat on the day