MEANING OF NAVARATRI
“Nava” means New,nine etc and “ratri” means night so nine nights.Every day one form of Durga is worshipped.
DAY 1 SHAILAPUTRI
She is worshipped on the first day of Navaratri.Shailaputri means daughter ( putri ) of Shaila ( Mountain).Also known as Sati,Hemavati etc or daughter of Himavan, the King of Himalayas.She is the embodiment of the powers of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.She rides a bull, carries a trident and a lotus in her hands.
DAY 2 BHRAMACHARINI
She is worshipped on the second day of Navaratri.She holds a Japa Mala ( Rosary) in her hands and a Kamandal ( utensil containing holy water).She resembles Tapas ( austerity) and has attained Bhrama Jnana and bestows this Brahmajnana to her devotees.So she is called Bhrama ( Bhramajnana ) and “charini” means bestower of Highest Jnana or Moksha ( Liberation).
DAY 3 CHANDRA GHANTA
She is worshipped on third day.She is astride a tiger, She has a Half moon ( chandra) on her head in the shape of a bell ( Ghanta) and thus her name.She possesses ten hands and three eyes.Her skin is of golden hue and she is bright and charming.Six of her hands hold weapons, two hold kamandal and lotus, and the other two hands show mudras for bestowing boons and avoiding harm.She gives serenity, peace, prosperity.
DAY 4 KUSHMANDA
She is worshipped on the fourth day.She is effulgent and radiant like the Sun.She bestows happiness.She has ten hands, holding weapons in her eight hands and two hands she holds rosary and lotus respectively.She is astride a lion.”Ku” means earth, “Usma” means heat and “anda” means egg so she is the creator of this Universe.She loves “Kushmanda” or white pumpkin.
DAY 5 SKANDA MATA
She is worshipped on the fifth day.As the name suggests, she is mother of Skanda ( Murugan, Karthikeya, Subramanya) who has six faces..She has four hands and three eyes. In two hands she holds the lotuses,and the other hand is held in the the mudra or posture of giving boons.She holds Skanda on her lap with one hand and rides a lion.
DAY 6 KATYAYANI
She is worshipped on the sixth day.Rishi Ktyayan, performed penance to have the Jaganmata as his daughter and thus the name.She has four hands and three eyes.She rides a lion.
DAY 7 KAALA RATRI
She is worshipped on the seventh day.She is ferocious to look.She is dark blue in colour and her hair is dishevelled.A necklace flashing lightning adorns her neck.Fire oozes from her nostrils.She rides a donkey.She has four hands and three eyes.With he right upper hand she grants boons and her right lower hand she allays fear.She holds a scimitar with her left upper hand and with her left lower hand she holds a dagger.She is remover of fear and giver of auspiciousness.
DAY 8 MAHA GAURI
She is worshipped on the eighth day of Navaratri. As a result of her worship, all sins of past, present and future get washed away and devotees get purified in all aspects of life. Maha Gauri is intelligent, peaceful and calm. Due to her long austerities in the deep forests of the Himalayas, she developed a dark complexion. When Lord Shiva cleaned her with Ganges water , her body regained its beauty and she came to be known as Maha Gauri, which mean extremely white. She wears white clothes, has four arms, and rides on a bull. Her right hand is in the pose of allaying fear and her right lower hand holds a trident. The left upper hand holds a ‘damaru’ (a small rattle drum) and the lower one is in the pose of granting boons to her devotees.
DAY 9 SIDDHIDHATRI
She is worshipped on the ninth day of Navaratri. Siddhidatri has supernatural healing powers. She has four arms and she is always in a blissful happy enchanting pose. She rides on the lion as her vehicle. She blesses all Gods, saints, yogis, tantrics and all devotees as a manifestation of the Mother Goddess. In ‘Devi Bhagvata Purana’ it is mentioned that Lord Shiva worshipped her and was blessed with all Siddhis (supernatural powers). By her blessings his half body became female and other half body male in the avatar of Ardhnarishvara.