Navadurga, which mean the 'Nine Forms of Goddess Durga' is the ninefold manifestation of Parvati. The names of the nine Durgas are Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri. These nine forms of Durga are worshipped in Navaratri. Shailputri is worshipped the first night, Brahmacharini the second, Chandraghanta the third, Kushmanda the fourth, Skandamata the fifth, Katyayani the sixth, Kaalratri the seventh, Mahagauri the eighth and Siddhidatri the ninth.
Description and StoriesEdit
First: Shailputri means the daughter of Mountain-King Himavan, her vehicle is a bull and is hailed as Vrishabhda.
Second: Brahmacharini, Brahma means penance and Charini is a lady follower, this form is the embodiment of knowledge and teaching, the way she attained Lord Shiva to be her husband.
Third: Chandraghanta, a semi-circular moon shaped like a bell on her head, this form is very serene and victorious, weapons are strongly held in her eight hands, her third eye is always open, Chandraghanta's vehicle is a lion, by worshipping her, she is always prepared for war, one can experience fearlessness and bravery by worshipping her, the death imparted by her assumes the state of assureness and happiness.
Fourth: Kushmanda, that is the fourth form of Navadurga, eight-armed, the holder of weapons, rider of the tiger, the cheerful Goddess, she is the only one who resides in the core of the sun, all the ten directions are being lightened up.
Fifth: Skandamata meaning the mother of Kartikeya, the fifth form of Navadurga, rider of the lion, by worshipping her, one is on the way to salvation.
Sixth: Katyayani, one can receive righteousness, desire, salvation and sense from worshipping her. She killed demon Mahishasur.
Seventh: Kaalratri holds an iron weapon in one hand, and another a sword, a trident, hook and scimitar is held. This form destroys all darkness, one can scare away the demonic forces by worshipping her.
Eighth: Mahagauri is white complexioned, wearing white clothes, four-armed, holding a trident, and a musical instrument in another.Ninth: Siddhidatri has the eight powers - Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakambya, Ishitva and Vashitva can be attained by her grace, his half-Shiva and half-Shakti form of Ardhanarishwar is granted by her.
Once Lord Shiva enlightened his son Kartikeya about his mother's nine forms which runs as follows:
At the beginning of Time, the Parabrahma becomes two parts: Man and Nature. Man divides himself in three parts: The creator, Brahma, the preserver Vishnu and the meditator, me. To provide these elemental powers, Prakriti herself is divided in three parts: Lakshmi, Saraswati and Shivaa (Parvati). These powers become three forms. The three, creator, preserving and source are the main reasons. These nine forms are known as Navadurgas (Nine Forms of Durga).
Their first form is Shailputri, Shailputri means the daughter of Mountain-King Himavan, her vehicle is a bull and is hailed as Vrishabhda.
The second form of Navadurga form is Brahmacharini, Brahma means penance and Charini is a lady follower, this form is the embodiment of knowledge and teaching, the way she attained Lord Shiva to be her husband.
The third form of Navadurga is Chandraghanta, a semi-circular moon shaped like a bell on her head, this form is very serene and victorious, weapons are strongly held in her eight hands, her third eye is always open, Chandraghanta's vehicle is a lion, by worshipping her, she is always prepared for war, one can experience fearlessness and bravery by worshipping her, the death imparted by her assumes the state of assureness and happiness.
Her serene smile is necessary for the world's birth and that's why she is known as Kushmanda, that is the fourth form of Navadurga, eight-armed, weapon-grasper, rider of the tiger, the cheerful Goddess, she is the only one who resides in the core of the sun, all the ten directions are being lightened up.
Her kindness received by her manifests as an ocean, she is Skandamata meaning the mother of Kartikeya, the fifth form of Navadurga, rider of the lion, by worshipping her, one is on the way to salvation.
The form in which she killed Mahishasur, she is called as Katyayani, one can receive righteousness, desire, salvation and sense from worshipping her.
Black complexioned, untied hair, there is an iron weapon in one hand, and another a sword, a trident, hook and scimitar is held, this form is called Kaalratri, this form destroys all darkness, one can scare away the demonic forces by worshipping her.
White complexioned, wearing white clothes, four-armed, holding a trident, and a musical instrument in another in this form she assures her devotees, this form of hers is known as Mahagauri.
The ninth form of Goddess Durga is called Siddhidatri, Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakambya, Ishitva and Vashitva can be attained by her grace, his half-Shiva and half-Shakti form of Ardhanarishwar is granted by her.
Shailputri is well-known for being the first of the nine forms of Goddess Durga. She is Goddess Parvati who is depicted mounted upon a bull and holding a trident. She is the caring daughter of the Mountain-King Himavan as well as the doting wife of Shiva and nurturing mother of her sons, Kartikeya and Ganesh.
Brahmacharini is Goddess Parvati in the form of a female ascetic. In this form, she had performed severe penances and austerities to please Lord Shiva to attain him as her husband. In course of time, Lord Shiva became pleased by her devotion and fulfilled Parvati's boon by marrying her and both of them started a happy married life. She is depicted as a female ascetic with two hands, both holding a rosary and a waterpot with handle. She is worshipped for renunciation, virtue, emancipation, peace, prosperity, happiness, peace and nobility.
Chandraghanta is one of the most violent forms of Parvati or Goddess Durga. According to legends, Durga incarnated as Kaushiki Devi, the daughter of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati, in order to destroy demon Kings Shumbh and Nishumbh and all their demon armies and associates. The beauty of Goddess Kaushiki was to lure all the demons to their destruction. Shumbh desired to marry Kaushiki to his brother Nishumbh and sent Dhumralochan to bring her. When she did not consent to his request, Dhumralochan proceeded to attack her. Enraged, Parvati transformed herself into a warrior form, mounted upon a lion and bearing eight hands, each of them holding a discus, conch shell, trident, sword, shield, mace, bow and arrow. This warrior form of Parvati was none other than Chandraghanta. Chandraghanta came to the rescue of Kaushiki and, uttering a ferocious bloodcurdling roar, reduced Dhumralochan to ashes, destroying him and killed his entire demon army. As Chandraghanta, Parvati is Lord Shiva's consort and mother of Kaushiki Devi, an incarnation of Durga. She is depicted as a golden woman, having eight hands, each of them holding a discus, conch shell, trident, sword, shield, mace, bow and arrow. She is seen mounted upon the back of a tiger or a lion.
Kushmanda is one among the benevolent forms of Goddess Durga, possessing divine radiance from the core of the sun. One who worships her, attains powers for destroying ailments and sorrows. Life span, name, strength and health is improved. She bestows prosperity and pleasures as well. When this universe was non-existent and darkness prevailed everywhere, it was Goddess Kushmanda herself who created the Cosmic Egg with her light smile. Because of this, Kushmanda is known as the creator the universe. She is the only one who has the power and strength to live in the core of Suryalok. Her body shines like the glowing Sun. All directions get light from her divine smile including the Sun God itself. She dwells in the abode of the Sun God. That is why her hue and splendour is as brilliant as the sun itself. It is her splendour that pervades every plant and creature of this universe. All the ten quarters are illuminated by her divine refulgence. Depicted as a radiant female, with eight arms, six of them holding a lotus, discus, arrow, mace, bow, rosary and two others holding an elixir of honey and waterpot with a handle. She is seen mounted on a tiger.
Skandamata is the benevolent, benign and the radiant Goddess Parvati herself, the Goddess of love, devotion, power and motherhood. She is sometimes identified with her son Kartikeya, known as Skanda, seen on his mother's lap. Parvati as Skandamata is seen mounted upon the back of a lion, acting as her vehicle. Depicted as a shining female with four hands, two of them holding lotuses and one other holding a waterpot with handle and her one hand is open to assure her devotees protection from fear. She is known as the Goddess of Fire.
Katyayani is kindhearted as well as violent, another among the manifestations of Goddess Durga. According to folklore, The world-renowned sage Katyayan was born in the dynasty of sage Katya. Katyayan was very famous and renowned in the lineage of saints. He was an excellent devotee of Goddess Durga and performed an austere penance for many years to propitiate her. Being delighted by his devotion, Goddess Durga appeared before him and asked him to demand the desired boon. Thereupon sage Katyayan demanded that she should be born as a daughter to him. Goddess Durga granted his wish. Meanwhile, the powerful demon Mahishasur, who could only be killed by a female, had reached heaven to overthrow the Gods from their abode. The trinity of Gods - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, got infuriated and they caused Goddess Durga to appear, who was a culmination of the powers of all deities. Sage Katyayan had the first privilege to worship her, so she was also named Katyayani. In course of time, Goddess Katyayani assassinated Mahishasur and his demon armies and associates. She is depicted as a radiant four-armed female, mounted upon a lion. Two hands hold a lotus and a sword while the two other hands blesses her devotees and eradicates their fears.
Kaalratri is widely regarded as one of the many violent, terrifying and destructive forms of the Mother Goddess, such as Kali, Mahakali, Bhadrakali, Bhairavi, Mrityu, Rudrani, Chamunda, Chandi and Durga. Although her image is black and extremely frightening, she always bestows boons on her devotees. Because of this, she is hailed as Shubhamkari as she bestows good fruits towards her devotees. One who perceives the deadly form of Kaalratri experiences no fears but she instills all fear and terror in the minds of those who are vicious and sinful, who flee upon learning of her arrival. Kaalratri is the death-night of destruction, meaning that at the end of Time, when destruction makes its arrival, Durga transforms herself into Kaalratri, who devours all Time, without leaving any remains. Kaalratri is the destroyer of demons, ghosts and malignant spirits. Portrayed as a black female, with flames radiating or emanating from her body. She is donned with a garland of human skulls around her neck which emantes divine refulgence. She wears a tiger-skin skirt, adorned with severed human arms. Her three eyes each represent the past, present and future. She is also seen with four hands, each holding a trident, sword, scimitar and vajra and is perceived mounted on the back of a mule.
Mahagauri is one of the most benevolent and peaceful forms of the Goddess Parvati, also known as Mother Gauri. According to legends, for the destruction of demons Shumbh and Nishumbh, it was mandatory for Parvati to have an unborn female child, who would kill them. As requested by Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva had magically made Parvati's fair complexion turn black and teased her and called her Kali (the Black One). Saddened, and angry at her husband's actions, Parvati went to an isolated place and began her penances upon Lord Brahma to have her fair complexion again. After many years, Lord Brahma became pleased and informed her to go to the Manasarovar River to take a bath in the Himalayan region. Abiding by Brahma's orders, she took a bath, her dark skin seperated from her and transformed into a female. This female was none other than Kaushiki, born from the sheath of Parvati/Gauri, the incarnation of Durga. As a result of which Parvati got her fair complexion back due to the pure waters of Manasarovar. Once demons Chand and Mund laid eyes on Kaushiki, they informed their Demon Kings Shumbh and Nishumbh about her. Shumbh sent his emissary Sugriv to her with the proposal of marriage to the Demon Kings. Kaushiki Devi refused saying that Shumbh and Nishumbh will have to defeat her in battle. So, a violent battle followed in which demons Dhumralochan and Nishumbh were destroyed by Parvati, in the form of Durga. Demons Chand, Mund and Raktabeej exterminated by Kali and finally, Kaushiki herself killed Shumbh. Mahagauri is depicted as a white female with four arms. Three of them holding a trident, rosary and damru while the other hand eradicates her devotees' fears. She is seen mounted upon a white bull.
Siddhidatri is known as the Goddess or 'The Mistress of all Supernatural Powers'. Depicted as a female with four arms, each bearing a discus, conch shell, mace and lotus and mounted upon a fully-bloomed lotus, she is mostly seen surrounded by Gods, demons and sages, seen worshipping her to attain divine powers. Siddhi defines the supernatural power or meditative ability. The Siddhi that she provides is the realization that only she exists. She is the Mistress of all achievements and perfections. In this form, Goddess Durga removes ignorance and she provides the knowledge to realize That or Brahman.