New Delhi: On the eighth day of Navratri, Mahagauri is worshipped. The 9-day long festival of Chaitra Navratri began on April 13 and will end on April 21, Ram Navami respectively. Different forms of Nav Durga are prayed to during the nine days of festivity.
On the eighth day of Navratri, devotees worship the Mahagauri form of Goddess Durga. She is an avatar of Devi Parvati, the divine consort of Lord Shiva. Unlike Kalratri, who is ferocious, Maha Gauri is calm and compassionate. She is depicted in white clothes and mounted on a bull. It is believed that anyone who worships the goddess gets relief from all the sufferings in life.
The goddess in this avatar has four hands, and her right arm is in the pose of allaying fear while right lower hand holds a trident in it. In her left upper arm, Mahagauri holds a tambourine (damaru) and the lower one is in the form of a blessing. She is mounted on a bull, lion or tiger.
The hands holding a trident, lotus, and drum, while the fourth is in a blessing gesture. The lotus is sometimes replaced with a rosary. She rides a white bull and is seen wearing white clothes.
Her weapons include Trident, Tambourine (Damaru), Abhayamudra, Varada mudra respectively.
DURGA ASHTAMI PUJA TIMINGS:
Chaitra, Shukla Ashtami
Begins – 12:01 AM, Apr 20
Ends – 12:43 AM, Apr 21
(according to drikpanchang.com)
CHANT MAHAGAURI MANTRAS:
ॐ देवी महागौर्यै नमः॥
Om Devi Mahagauryai Namah॥
श्वेते वृषे समारुढा श्वेताम्बरधरा शुचिः।
महागौरी शुभं दघान्महादेवप्रमोददा॥
Shweta Vrishe Samarudha Shwetambardhara Shuchi
Maha Gauri Shubham Dadhyana Mahadev Pramodda
पूर्णन्दु निभां गौरी सोमचक्रस्थितां अष्टमं महागौरी त्रिनेत्राम्।
वराभीतिकरां त्रिशूल डमरूधरां महागौरी भजेम्॥
Poornandu Nibhaan Gauri Somachakrasthitaan Ashtaman Mahagauri Trinetraam
Varaabheetikaraan Trishool Damaroodharaan Mahagauti Bhajem
Mahagauri is white in colour, therefore the name – Maha means great and Gauri stands for the colour white.
DURGA ASHTAMI PUJA VIDHI:
The day begins with taking a bath, wearing new clothes and praying to the goddess in her Mahagauri avatar. After the puja is done, the traditional bhog of puri, halwa and black chana (black chickpeas) is offered to the goddess along with red chunari, bangles, and all the cosmetic items such as Mehendi cone, vermillion etc amongst other things.
Kanjak puja or Kanya puja is a much revered ritual of Navratri. It is performed by all those who observe fasts during the festival. It is only after offering prayers to the 9 little girls, called Kanjaks, who are called at home and offered the bhog along with some gift, red chunari, bangles, or money as a token of love, the devotee breaks the fast. Also, along with 9 little girls, prayers are also offered to one young boy, who also gets the bhog and presents.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, celebrations are low key as most temples are either closed for the public or allowing only minimum attendance. Therefore, it is best advised to perform the puja at home and pray to the goddess for the safety and wellbeing of all.
Jai Mata Di!