New Delhi [India], October 4 (ANI): The festival of Navaratri comes to an end with Maha Navami.
Today marks the ninth and last day of the auspicious festival. On the occasion of Maha Navami, devotees of Maa Durga worship Maa Siddhidatri.
As per Hindu mythology, Maa Durga killed the buffalo demon Mahishasura on this day. The Navami tithi begins at 04.37 pm on October 3 and ends at 02.20 pm on October 4.
It is believed that Maa Siddhidatri takes away ignorance from her devotees and grants them knowledge. She also provides direction and energy to planet Ketu and governs it.
Maharshi Sri Aurobindo, in his Sanskrit poem Bhavānī Bhāratī describes Mother India as a form of Maa Kali. The naked, dark, fearsome Goddess with human skulls around her neck calls out to children of Bharat to rid her of the poverty, humiliation, oppression that she is undergoing under the tyranny of Titans (the British at the time). In the following verses 13 to 31 is a wonderful description of Bhavānī Bhāratī from the of national unity and strength.
ते ब्रह्मचर्येण विशुद्धवीर्या ज्ञानेन ते भीमतपोभिरार्याः।
सहस्रसूर्या इव भासुरास्ते समृद्धिमत्यां शुशुभुर्धरित्र्याम्॥
te brahmacaryeṇa viśuddhavīryā jñānena te bhīmatapobhirāryāḥ.
sahasrasūryā iva bhāsurāste samṛddhimatyāṃ śuśubhurdharitryām.. BB 13
Here in this land the great heroes enjoyed smearing blood of their enemies on their bodies; they could not tolerate any opposition from their foes. But she regrets the pitiful and cowardly nature of her present children. She berates each of them — the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas, the people of each part of this country and calls them to arise and strive to enrich her:
भो भो अवन्त्यो मगधाश्च बङ्गा अङ्गाः कलिङ्गाः कुरुसिन्धवश्च।
भो दाक्षिणात्याः शृणुतान्ध्रचोला वसन्ति ये पञ्चनदेषु शूराः॥
bho bho avantyo magadhāśca baṅgā aṅgāḥ kaliṅgāḥ kurusindhavaśca.
bho dākṣiṇātyāḥ śṛṇutāndhracolā vasanti ye pañcanadeṣu śūrāḥ.. BB 23
Bhavānī Bhāratī opens our eyes to see Mother India as not an inert piece of land but as a reservoir of shakti, infinite energy of Brahman. She is also the incarnation of the various forms of the universal shakti such as Bhāratī, the Mother of Aryans: Kali, the utterly ruthless one; Radha the incarnation of love; Annapurna the merciful and gracious one; Savitri, the radiant one; the ten-armed Durga; the thousand-armed Mother of unthinkable energy:
तुभ्यं नमो देवि विशालशक्त्यै भीमव्रते तारिणि कष्टसाध्ये।
त्वं भारती राजसि भारतानां त्वमीश्वरी भासि चराचरस्य॥
tubhyaṃ namo devi viśālaśaktyai bhīmavrate tāriṇi kaṣṭasādhye.
tvaṃ bhāratī rājasi bhāratānāṃ tvamīśvarī bhāsi carācarasya.. BB 73
The poem urges every Indian to go beyond the inertia and enjoyment of worldly pleasures, fight and save Sanatana Dharma by invoking the Mother of Strength, Bhavani Bharati.
Devotees perform different rituals on Navami.
Many perform Kanya Puja/ Kanjak on this day. Young and unmarried girls, who have not attained puberty, are worshipped as Durga in many households. They are invited to houses as their feet are washed and offered prasad.
Some take bath in holy rivers, while there are devotees who also perform Sandhi Puja and offer 108 flowers and bilva leaves to Goddess Durga.
Navami is followed by Dussehra, which marks the celebration of good over evil.
Wish you all a happy Navami. (with inputs from ANI)