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Navadurga (Devanagari:नवदुर्गा), which literally means nine Goddess Durgas, constitute, according to Hindu mythology, the manifestation of Durga in nine different forms. These nine forms of manifestation are Śhailaputrī, Brahmachāriṇī, Chandraghaṇṭā, Kuṣhmāṇḍā, Skandamātā, Kārtyāyanī, Kālarātrī, Mahāgaurī and Siddhidātrī; together worshipped during the Navratri (Nine Divine Nights) celebration in Autumn each year.
Forms of manifestation
Durga, the Mother Goddess of the Hindus and a form of Devi and Shakti, is believed to have manifested in various forms, and Navadurga Maa are believed to be the most sacred aspects of Goddess Durga. According to a Hindu tradition, it is believed that there are three major forms in which Goddess Durga manifested herself, namely, Mahasaraswati, Mahalakshmi and Shivashakthi who are the active energies (Shakti) of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva respectively . These three forms of Durga further manifested in three more forms each, and thus emerged the nine forms of Durga, which are collectively called Navadurga or Nine Durgas. Navadurga are famously worshipped during the Autumn Navaratri or the Nine days, initiating the devotees into a period of festivities according to Hindu calendar.
Each one of the Navadurga is known by a particular name and the deity has a particular dhyana-mantra, a mantra for meditation, a free English version of which is mentioned below:
May the illustrious Shailputri Durga whom I salute and whose head is adorned by a halfmoon, who rides nandi, a bull and carries a spear fulfill the desires of my heart. She is known as 1st phase of Durga when she took birth as the daughter of Great Himalayas.
May the supreme Brahmachari Durga, who holds rosary and kamandalu in her lotus hands and whose nature is to attain Sachchidanandamaya Brahmaswarupa the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss absolute, be propitious on me. Devi is Devi's that phase when Maa Parvati before marriage was Devi Yogni and Devi Tapsvini.
May that Durga Devi, who rides on Tiger, who is endowed with intense anger and violence and is renowned by the name of Maa Chandraghanta, bestow her grace on me. Chandraghanta Maa is known and named Chandraghanta or Chandra-Khanda as Maa Durga wears the semi-circular moon (Chandra) which appears like a bell (Ghanta) on her forehead.
May Kushmanda Ma Durga who holds two pitchers full of blood in her lotus hands and the universe is created, sustained and drawn within Devi's ownself in a wink be propitious for me. In this form Mother Durga creates solar system by liberating her power to Lord Sun.
May the renowned Durga Devi Skandamata who is eternally seated on a throne and whose hands are adorned with lotuses, be ever propitious to me. As Mother of Skanda or Kartikeya, Maa Parvati or Maa Durga is known as Skandmata.
May the ever watchful Durga Devi Kartyayani, who holds shining Chandrahasa (Sword) in Devi's hand and rides a magnificent lion and destroys the demons, bestow welfare on me. When Maa Parvati's Partial expansion took birth in Sage Kartya's home and gets energy from trinity and demi Gods, then the Goddess was known as Maa Kartyani.
May she Bhayankari Maa Durga who is with long lips, riding an ass, shining in various hues looks formidable because of the halo of Devi's lustre and is adorned with multi coloured ornaments remove my darkness of ignorance. In Skand Purana, Maa Parvati liberates Devi's golden outer sheath and becomes dark complexioned then Goddess becomes Goddess Kaalratri.
May the Mahagauri Ma Durga who rides a white Vrishaba the bull and who wears spotless white clothes and remains ever pure and also provides ever lasting bliss to Mahadeva Lord Shiva bestow all auspiciousness. Devi is 16 years old unmarried Goddess Parvati.
May the ever victorious Siddhidayini Ma Durga, who is always worshipped by the hordes of siddha, gandharva, yaksha, asura, and Deva, bestow success at my every venture. She is one who was worshiped by Lord Shiva to become in the form of Goddess Ardhnarishwara, then Goddess Shakti Appeared from the left side of Lord Shiva
- Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dhallapiccola