Bengalis all over the world celebrate Durga Puja with great devotion. The Goddess Durga is worshipped in 9 different forms on the 9 days of the Durga Puja festival. Each form has its own religious significance. On one hand we can see Ma Durga as a Gracious Woman blessing us while on the other hand, she takes a terrifying look to frighten the demons. Each form or avatar of the Goddess has its own goal and thus worshipping all the nine forms of Goddess Durga is important. Here we will discuss about all the nine forms of Goddess Durga.
9 Various Forms of Goddess Durga
Shailputri– Ma Durga is worshipped as Shailputri or the “Daughter of Himalayas”. It is believed that in the previous birth Durga was born as the daughter of Daksha and named as Sati-Bhavani. She married to Lord Shiva without his father Daksha’s consent. Once, Daksha had arranged for a Yagna where he invited only his daughter, Sati. In the yagna Daksha insulted and humiliated Lord Shiva and being unbearable Sati burnt herself in the fire of the Yagna.
Brahmacharini – It is the 2nd form of Goddess Durga and she is worshipped as Brahmacharini on the second day of the festival. As Brahmacharini she is portrayed with a Rosary on Right hand and a Kamandal in the Left hand and is imagined as a gorgeous woman. As per the legend, once while she was playing with her friends, Narada came and told her that she would get married with Lord Shiva. From then onwards Parvati started observing penance to marry Lord Shiva and is known as Brahmacharini.
Chandraghanta - Goddess Durga is worshipped as Chandraghanta on the 3rd day of the festival. She is portrayed as a brave woman seating on a Lion and with 10 weapons in her ten hands. A half circle moon is seen on her forehead and thus she is called Chandraghanta. It is said that in this form, she is about to go to a war with the evil minds.
Kushmanda – Worshipped on the 4th day as Kushmanda, Goddess Durga is imagined to have 8 hands with weapons in seven arms and a string of Beads in the eighth hand. Kushmanda resides in the solar system and is portrayed as a charming woman seating on a Lion. Legends say that she created the universe only by laughing.
Skanda Mata – After observing penance, Parvati got married with Lord Shiva and a son was born, named as Skanda. Thus she is called mother of Skanda or Skanda Mata. She is worshipped as Skanda Mata or the Deity of Fire on the 5th day and imagined with four hands, three eyes and white in color. Sitting on a lion with her son Skanda on her lap, Goddess Durga is worshiped.
Katyayani – In order to get Paramba as his daughter, Rishi Katyayan observed penance. Being pleased with his prayers, Durga took birth as the daughter of Kayayan and is thus known as Katyayani. Durga is worshipped in this form on the 6th day and imagined with four hands and three eyes.
Kalratri – As the name suggests, Goddess Durga is imagined being as black as night and is worshipped as Kalratri on the 7th day of the festival. She wears a bright necklace that shines like a light and is believed to have four hands with a sword on the left hand and a torch in the lower left hand, She unlocks her hair and makes the devotees fearless and but takes a scary look to make the demons afraid of her. She blesses the devotees with both her upper right and left hands.
Maha Gauri – Worshipped as Maha Gauri on the 8th day of the festival, the Goddess is adorned with white cloth and white colored ornaments and is believed to be eight years old. With three eyes and four hands the Goddess rides on a bull with a Trishul on her left hand. It is said that while observing penance she got dirty with the dust around which Lord Shiva cleaned with the water of Holy Ganges.
Siddhidatri – On the 9th day the Goddess is worshipped as Siddhidatri. The eight siddhis are- Mahima, Prapti, Prakamva, Garima, Anima, Lashima, Iishitva and Vashitya. As per the legend, Lord Shiva offered prayers to Maha Shakti and being happy with his offers, the half portion of the body of Shiva became that of Goddess Shakti and hence he is called “Ardhanarishwar”. She is imagined to have four hands and riding on a lotus.
These are the 9 different forms of Goddess Durga that people worship even today with great sincerity following all the traditional rites and rituals.