Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Durga Ashtami 

Hindu Of Universe

God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.”

Durga ashtami vrat is an important Hindu ritual dedicated to Goddess Shakti (Goddess Durga).

Masik Durga Ashtami is a monthly event observed on the ashtami tithi (8th day) of the shukla paksha (bright lunar fortnight) of every month on the Hindu calendar.

Of all Durga ashtami days, the shukla paksha ashtami of Ashwin month is the most popular and is called Maha Ashtami or simply Durgashtami.

Durga Ashtami falls during the last 5 days of the 9 day long Navratri festival. Durgashtami during Durga puja  is

On this day the weapons of Goddess Durga are worshiped and the celebration is known as ‘Astra Puja’.

This day is also popularly referred as ‘Virashtami’ owing to the display of arms and other forms of martial arts.

Hindu devotees offer prayers to Goddess Durga and keep a strict fast to seek Her divine blessings.

Durga Ashtami Vrat is observed with complete devotion in the northern and western regions of India.

In some regions of Andhra Pradesh, Durga Ashtami is celebrated as ‘Bathukamma Panduga’.

Durga Ashtami Vrat is a significant observance for followers of Hinduism.

Rituals during Durga Ashtami Vrat:

On the day of Durga Ashtami, devotees pray to Goddess Durga.

They get up early in the morning and make several offerings to Goddess in the form of flowers, chandan and dhoop.

 In some places, Kumari Puja is also performed on the day of Durga Ashtami Vrat.

Hindus worship girls aged between 6-12 years as the Kanya (virgin) form of Goddess Durga.

Special ‘Naivedyam’ is prepared for offering to the Goddess.

Fasting is an important ritual of the day. the observer of Durga Ashtami Vrat abstains from eating or drinking all through the day.

the fast is observed by men and women alike. the Durga Ashtami Vrat is observed to acquire spiritual gains and seek the blessings of Goddess Durga.

Some devotees keep the fast by drinking only milk or eating fruits.

Consuming non-vegetarian food and alcohol is strictly prohibited on this day. the observer of the Durga Ashtami Vrat must sleep on the floor and keep away from the comforts and luxuries.

In some regions of western India there is also a custom of sowing barley seeds.

After the seeds reach a height of 3-5 inches they are offered to the Goddess and later distributed among all family members.

Devotees chant various Devi mantras on this day.

It is also considered rewarding to read Durga Chalisa on this day.

At the end of puja, devotees also read the Durga Ashtami Vrat katha.

Hindu devotees provide food and santarpana or dakshina to Brahmins after completing the puja rituals.

The observer of Durga Ashtami Vrat visit Shakti temples in the evening.

Special pujas are conducted on the day of Mahashtami that is witnessed by thousands of devotees.

Significance of Durga Ashtami Vrat:

In Sanskrit language the word ‘durga’ means ‘undefeatable’ and ‘ashtami’ signifies ‘eight day’.

According to the Hindu legends the fierce and powerful form of Goddess Durga, known as ‘Goddess Bhadrakali’ was incarnated.

The day of Durga Ashtami is celebrated as the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon named ‘Mahishasura’.

It is believed that one who observes the Durga Ashtami Vrat with full dedication will be bestowed with happiness and good fortune in their lives.

Durga Ashtami: Myths and Facts

Navratri

Durga Puja or Navratri is one of the most important and revered of all Hindu festivals. This Pan-Indian festival involves the ceremonial worship of Goddess Durga in nine forms spread over nine nights and is celebrated in different ways across various parts of India.

The festival falls in the month of Ashwin, typically September or October, and is widely popular not only in India but also in neighbouring countries. 

Durga Ashtami- The Eighth Day

Ashtami, in particular, is celebrated with a great passion and fervour, especially in West Bengal.

The ten-armed goddess riding the lion is highly regarded in this part of the country and even the weapons of Goddess Durga are worshipped while reciting mantras in a ritual known as Astra Puja.

Ashtami marks the eighth day of the festival and on this auspicious day, devotees tend to observe rigorous fast, feast and worship for Goddess Durga who symbolizes strength.

A celebration of traditional culture and customs, massive idols of Goddess Durga are installed throughout India while enormous puja pandals are set up at various places for devotees to visit and worship.

Lore Behind Durga Ashtami

Durga Ashtami celebrates the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon, Mahishasura.

Legend has it that owing to a boon bestowed upon it by Lord Brahma, Mahisasura could only be defeated by a female warrior.

When Lord Indra was vanquished in the battlefield, the holy trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, created Durga and each part of her body was blessed with strength with the energies of different male Gods. On this day, Durga Ashtami, she made use of the weapons that symbolized their masculine strength to defeat Mahisasura with her trident.

In this festival, women tend to take the center stage while being a stark reminder of how women used to hold a lot more power and status in ancient India. Here are some of the many myths associated with this festival: 

• In certain parts of the country, especially West Bengal, Odisha and Assam, animal sacrifices are performed at temples to commemorate the occasion. 

• In South India, computers, vehicles, books, & work equipment are worshipped on the ninth day as an expression of gratitude for the blessings received in the previous year. By offering the tools of their trade to God, one commits to performing all work as worship.

• On the day of Ashtami, before breaking the fast, nine girls below the age of ten are worshipped and are fed sumptuously and, amongst other things, presented with new clothes.

What is the significance of celebrating Durga Ashtami?

Durga Ashtami, also known as Maha Ashtami, is a significant day in the Hindu calendar as it marks the eighth day of the Navratri festival.

It is devoted solely to worshipping the divine Goddess Durga, who is believed to be the epitome of power, courage, and strength.

The celebration of Durga Ashtami holds immense importance for devotees all over the world.

According to popular belief, on this significant day, the powerful deity, Goddess Durga, is believed to have descended to Earth with her divine feminine energy to confront the formidable demon Mahishasura.

The significance of celebrating Durga Ashtami lies in honoring and seeking the divine blessings of Goddess Durga.

Devotees firmly believe that worshiping her on this day helps in relieving them from various troubles and obstacles in life.

It is also considered an auspicious day to seek her protection and guidance for personal and spiritual development.

During this festival, elaborate rituals and ceremonies take place in temples and homes. Devotees observe fasting and perform special prayers and pujas dedicated to the Goddess.

The day starts with the ritualistic bathing of the idol of Durga, known as Kalpa Sthapana.

This process symbolizes the invocation of the goddess into the idol.

One of the most revered elements of Durga Ashtami is the Kumari Puja, where girls who are typically below the age of ten are revered as living incarnations of the divine Goddess.

These girls represent purity and innocence, and their feet are washed, adorned with sacred vermillion, and worshipped.

This ritual signifies the divinity present in every woman and emphasizes the importance of femininity in our society.

The ninth form of Durga, known as Siddhidatri, is also worshipped on this day, symbolizing the fulfillment of desires and bestowing blessings upon her devotees.

The fervent devotees offer special prayers, chant mantras, and perform aarti to seek the grace and blessings of the Goddess.

Apart from the religious significance, Durga Ashtami is also a time for joyous celebrations.

It is a time when families come together, exchange gifts, and partake in feasts.

On this day people buy Durga jewellery, idols, images, etc.

Cultural events, dances, and music performances are organized to showcase the diversity of our rich heritage.

Traditional rituals like Garba and Dandiya Raas are performed during the evenings, filling the atmosphere with joy and enthusiasm.

The celebration of Durga Ashtami serves as a reminder of the victory of good over evil and the importance of female power.

The festival encourages devotees to cultivate strength, courage, and resilience to face challenges in life.

It also reinforces the belief in the divine presence that protects and nurtures humanity.

HISTORY OF DURGA ASHTAMI

One of the most significant and cherished Hindu holidays is Durga Ashtami, also known as Navratri.

This Pan-Indian event entails the ceremonial adoration of Goddess Durga in nine forms over nine nights and is observed in varied ways throughout India.

The event takes place in the month of Ashwin, which is usually September or October, and it is well-known not just in India but also in neighboring nations.

Durga Ashtami ceremonies last 10 days, with the first and last five days being special festivals that are observed as public holidays in several Indian states.

Durga Ashtami commemorates Goddess Durga’s triumph over Mahishasura, the terrible buffalo monster.

According to legend, Mahisasura could only be vanquished by a female fighter due to a blessing given to it by Lord Brahma.

The holy trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, formed Durga when Lord Indra was defeated on the battlefield, and each portion of her body was gifted with the energy of various male gods.

Durga Ashtami used her trident to vanquish Mahisasura on this day, using weapons that signified their manly might.

One of the many reasons why this celebration is so popular is to obtain the Goddess’s blessings in the hopes of gaining money, success, and wisdom.

Every Indian holiday has a deep connection and importance concerning purchasing investments such as gold, silver, and real estate.

This is because celebrations are often connected with riches, and many feel that investing in something major or beginning something new on such auspicious occasions would bring them greater happiness and fortune in the next year.

HOW TO OBSERVE DURGA ASHTAMI

1.    Visit Shiva Temple

At midnight, visit a neighboring Shiva temple and take in all of the wonderful vibratory energy during a midnight puja. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Offer Lord Shiva prayers and a pledge to improve oneself and follow the path of goodness.

2.    Wish people peace and serenity

This day commemorates the victory of good over evil. This is a sentiment that is shared by almost everyone. Even if you aren’t Hindu or Indian, wishing others well on this day would be much appreciated by your friends or acquaintances who observe this holy festival.

3.    Read about the legends surrounding Durga Puja

The narrative of Mahishasur and Ravana’s killing is one that most youngsters enjoy hearing. Both adults and children will enjoy reading the epic “Ramayana.”

5 FACTS ABOUT DURGA ASHTAMI5 FACTS ABOUT DURGA ASHTAMI

1.    Draw eyes in the darkness

This is a contrasting ceremony and one of the many mind-boggling aspects of this puja is the eyes that are commonly thought of as light routes.

2.    Ten hands

Durga is sometimes represented with ten hands, which represent her numerous “Shaktis” (powers).

3.    Made of clay

According to legend, the idol or pratima of Durga is formed of clay, and the attendant gods and goddesses (four in total) are known as ‘ek chala’ (one cover).

4.    Collected from the banks of the river

The dirt or clay used to make the idols is taken from the banks of the Ganges, also known as the Hooghly in West Bengal.

5.    Durga never fails to return home

Every year during Durga Puja, Goddess Durga is said to descend from heaven to her parents’ home on Earth.

WHY DURGA ASHTAMI IS IMPORTANT

1.    It is dedicated to the Hindu god

Durga Ashtami is a Hindu holiday that honors the Hindu goddess Durga, who is worshipped by Hindus worldwide.

Durga was formed by the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, and each portion of her body was gifted with the energy of various male gods.

2.    It commemorates the triumph of good over evil

It is about regaining our faith in everything good and moral.

It is also about realizing the requirement of leading a true, moral life devoid of worldly pleasures and wrongdoings is essential.

3.    It’s a fasting and feasting season

Some individuals fast for nine days, while others eat special delicacies prepared exclusively for this event.

It is up to each individual to celebrate in their own unique way.

What is Maha Ashtami/Durga Ashtami ?

Maha Ashtami, also known as Durga Ashtami, holds a significant place in the Hindu festival of Navratri. It is celebrated on the eighth day of Navratri and is dedicated to Goddess Durga.

On this auspicious day, devotees worship the divine feminine energy of the goddess, seeking her blessings for strength, protection, and victory over the forces of evil.

Maha Ashtami is marked by elaborate rituals, fervent prayers, and cultural celebrations, making it a spiritually enriching experience for all who participate.

This day signifies the triumph of good over evil, symbolized by the legendary battle between Goddess Durga and the buffalo demon Mahishasura.

It is a time when devotees come together to honor the supreme power and embrace the divine grace of the goddess.

The Story of Maha Ashtami or Durga Ashtami

Maha Ashtami, the eighth day of Navratri, is steeped in Hindu mythology and is associated with the legend of Goddess Durga’s battle with the buffalo demon, Mahishasura. 

According to Hindu scriptures, Mahishasura, a powerful demon, had acquired a boon that made him nearly invincible.

With his newfound strength, he unleashed a reign of terror in the celestial realms and on Earth.

Unable to tolerate his tyranny, the gods and goddesses combined their divine energies to create Goddess Durga, a fierce and powerful warrior goddess.

She was bestowed with various weapons and divine attributes by each deity.

Riding a majestic lion, Goddess Durga confronted Mahishasura in a fierce battle that raged for nine days and nights.

Maha Ashtami marks the climax of this epic battle.

It is believed that on this day, the goddess defeated and vanquished Mahishasura, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil.

Devotees celebrate Maha Ashtami by invoking the goddess’s blessings to conquer their inner demons, gain strength, and overcome the challenges in their lives.

In essence, Maha Ashtami reminds us of the eternal truth that righteousness and virtue will always prevail over darkness and wickedness, and it encourages us to seek the divine’s guidance in our quest for a better and more virtuous life.

This day serves as a powerful reminder of the significance of courage, faith, and the ultimate victory of light over darkness.

Significance of Maha Ashtami

Maha Ashtami, the eighth day of Navratri, holds immense significance in Hindu culture and spirituality.

It represents the triumph of good over evil and carries profound spiritual and cultural importance.

Here are some key aspects of its significance:

  1. Victory of Good Over Evil: Maha Ashtami commemorates the victory of Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon, Mahishasura. It symbolizes the eternal truth that righteousness and virtue will always prevail over darkness and wickedness. Devotees seek the goddess’s blessings to overcome their inner demons and lead a virtuous life.
  2. Renewal of Faith: It is a day for devotees to renew their faith in the divine and seek strength, courage, and protection from the goddess. People believe that worshiping Goddess Durga during Maha Ashtami grants them spiritual empowerment.
  3. Festive Celebrations: Maha Ashtami is marked by elaborate rituals, including special pujas and offerings to the goddess. Devotees adorn themselves in traditional attire, visit temples, and participate in vibrant processions. The atmosphere is filled with devotion and festive fervor.
  4. Cultural Significance: Beyond its religious significance, Maha Ashtami is a celebration of India’s rich cultural heritage. It showcases traditional music, dance, and art forms, adding to the festive spirit. Many regions host cultural events and performances during this time.
  5. Community Bonding: Navratri, including Maha Ashtami, brings communities together. People come together to perform prayers, exchange greetings, and share meals. It fosters a sense of unity and strengthens social bonds.
  6. Prayers for Prosperity: Devotees also seek the goddess’s blessings for prosperity and well-being. Many believe that worshiping Goddess Durga during this auspicious time brings abundance and success in their endeavors.

Who is Goddess Mahagauri?

Goddess Mahagauri is one of the forms of Goddess Parvati, the divine consort of Lord Shiva, and she is particularly revered during the festival of Navratri, which spans nine days of worshiping different manifestations of the goddess.

  1. Appearance: Goddess Mahagauri is depicted as having a very fair complexion, symbolizing purity and peace. She is often shown wearing white or green attire and adorning various ornaments. In her hands, she holds a trident (trishul) and a drum (damaru), signifying her power and divine music.
  2. Significance: The name “Mahagauri” can be translated to mean “extremely white” or “extremely bright,” emphasizing her pristine and radiant appearance. She is considered the embodiment of serenity and compassion.
  3. Worship During Navratri: Goddess Mahagauri is worshiped on the eighth day of Navratri, which is known as Maha Ashtami. Devotees seek her blessings for peace, purity, and harmony in their lives. It is believed that worshiping Mahagauri can wash away the sins of her devotees and fill their lives with grace and divine light.
  4. Spiritual Significance: Goddess Mahagauri represents the stage of purification and detachment on the spiritual path. Her form signifies the transformation from impurity to purity, both externally and internally. Devotees invoke her to cleanse their hearts and minds, allowing them to attain higher spiritual states.

Maha Ashtami Colour

Each day of Navratri is associated with a specific color, and on Maha Ashtami, the color is Purple. 

Devotees often wear clothes of this color and decorate the goddess’s idol or image with purple attire as a mark of devotion.

Why is Durga Puja so special?

Goddess Durga battled with a bull demon (asura) for ten consecutive days, day and night.  

After such grand battle, she massacres the shape-fitting and deceiving buffalo devil Mahishasura who wanted to rule over the world and take the position of Lord Indra by which mother earth would become a hell.  

Therefore these nine days are celebrated spiritually with each different figure of Goddess Durga.

She is adored as a loving mother and people fast & delights this as a grand festival.

At the end of the event i.e. on the tenth day, the statue of Maa is immersed in rivers or oceans and desired to visit the successive year with immense faith and devotion.

People fast for these nine days by considering that the Goddess Durga will shower all care and fecundity in one’s life.

This festival is held to get rid of all the pessimism and bring hopeful energies.

Incarnations of Goddess Durga

There are nine aspects of Maa Durga

  1. Devi Shail Putri
  2. Brahmachari
  3. Chandraghanta
  4. Kushmanda
  5. Skandmata
  6. Katyayini
  7. Kaalratri
  8. Mahagauri
  9. Siddhidaatri

Why is Ashtami Puja so important?

Astra Puja- On Ashtami day all weapons are worshipped and displayed along the form of martial arts on this day and called Virashtami.

To kill the demon Maa prepared herself with weapons and arms which were given by many gods with their divine powers.

Those weapons were worshipped and then handed to Maa Durga and called Astra Puja.

The emergence of Kali Maa- Maa Kali emerged from the forehead of Maa Durga and simultaneously eight aspects of the goddess was formed known as Ashtanayikas which had different roles to perform in the war.

As on the day of Mahashtami Mahishasura was on his full form and other demons like Chanda, Munda, and Rakhtabij accompanied him in the war which took a form of fierce battle.

Therefore Ashtami pujan includes 64 Yoginis, Chamunda, Maa Kali and all forms of Maa Durga.

Eight Aspects of Durga Maa- These Ashtanayikas or eight aspects of Maa have different names as Bramhacharini, Maheshwari, Kameshwari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Narsinghi, Indrani and Maa Chamunda Devi.

All are significant in Navaratri Puja and played distinct roles in the war with Maa Durga.

BirthDay of Maa Durga- It is believed that Maa Durga manifested on the day of Ashtami.

The goddess is worshipped month on month but Navaratri’s Ashtami is significant and is propitiated with an elaborated puja.

Durga Ashtami Puja Vidhi

Young girls are treated as Durga Maa’s embodiment and are worshipped on Durga Ashtami.

Kumari puja is performed during all the nine days of Navaratri here Kumari means unmarried girls.

But mainly it is performed on Durga Ashtami.

According to mythological stories it is stated that Kali Maa emerged from the forehead of Maa Parvati to kill two demons, Chanda and Munda.

The legendary Sandhi Puja falls on Maha Ashtami, starting 24 minutes of Ashtami tithi and 24 minutes of Navami Tithi is considered as Sandhi Kaal which is the holy time and conclusion point of Durga Ashtami.

And mythology states that Sandhi puja starts when Ashtami puja ends and Navami puja tithi starts.

Hence Maa Kali in this form was named as Chamunda Maa. Navami Homa is performed during Durga puja which is considered vital during this period.

Durga Balidan i.e. animal sacrifice is performed at Uday Vyapini Navami although some devotees perform pumpkin balidan and light 108 earthen lamps at Sandhi Kaal.

Kanya Pujan Vidhi

Kanya Pujan starts with washing feet of unmarried girls and applying Tika on their forehead.

Then Kalawa or Mouli is tied on their right arm and they are fed with holy Prasad that includes kale chane, puri, halwa, and dahi.

Some people prepare many dishes but the mentioned one is important and first offered to the goddess as Prasad and then to Kanyas.

After Prasad Vitaran one should touch feet of the girls and give them some money as Dakshina.

Blessings should be taken from Kanyas and house should be properly cleaned before performing puja as this vidhi is considered blissful and auspicious.

Maha Gauri Mantra

Om Devi Mahagauryai Namah

Maha Gauri Stuti

Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Maa Mahagauri Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah

Durga Puja Mantra

मंत्राक्षरमयीं लक्ष्मीं मातृणां रूपधारिणीम्।

नवदुर्गात्मिकां साक्षात् कन्यामावाहयाम्यहम्।।

जगत्पूज्ये जगद्वन्द्ये सर्वशक्तिस्वरुपिणि।

पूजां गृहाण कौमारि जगन्मातर्नमोस्तु ते।।

Devi Maha Gauri Aarti

Athvin MahaGauri Jagjaaya

Jai Mahagorri jagat ki maya, Jai Uma Bhawani, Jai Mahamaaya !!

Haridwar Kankhal ke passa, Mahagorri tera wahan niwasa !!

Chandrakali aor Mamta Ambein, Jai shakti jai MA Jagdambein !!

Bheema devi Vimla Mata, Koshiki Devi jag vikhayata !!

Himachal ke ghar Gorri roop tera,

Mahakaali hai sawroop tera !!

Sati ‘SAT’ hawan kund mai tha jalaya,

Ussi dhuye (smoke) ne roop KAALI banaya !!

Bana dharm singh jo sawari main ayya,

To Shankar ne Trishul apna dikahaya !!

Tabhi MA ne Mahagorri naam paaya,

Sharan anne wale ka sankat mittaaya !!

Shaniwar(Saturday)ko jo teri Pooja

karta hai, MA bigrda kaam uska sudharata hai !!

Yah padne wale, bolo soch kaya rahe ho,

Mahagorri MA teri harad ki jai ho !!!

Maa Durga Chalisa

Namo Namo Durge Sukh karani, Namo Namo ambe Dukh harani.

Nirakar hai jyoti tumhari, Tihun lok pheli ujayari.

Shashi lalat mukh mahavishala, Netra lal bhrikutee vikarala.

Roop Matu ko adhika suhave, Daras karat jan ati sukh pave.

Tum sansar shakti laya kina, Palan hetu anna dhan dina.

Annapurna hui jag pala, Tumhi adi sundari Bala.

Pralaya kala sab nashan hari, Tum gauri Shiv-Shankar pyari.

Shiv yogi tumhre guna gaven, Brahma Vishnu tumhen nit dhyaven.

Roop Saraswati ko tum dhara, De subuddhi rishi munina ubara.

Dharyo roop Narsimha ko amba, Pragat bhayin phar kar khamba.

Raksha kari Prahlaad bachayo, Hiranakush ko swarga pathayo.

Lakshmi roop dharo jag mahin, Shree Narayan anga samihahin.

Ksheer sindhu men karat vilasa, Daya Sindhu, deeje man asa.

Hingalaja men tumhin Bhavani, Mahima amit na jet bakhani.

Matangi Dhoomavati Mata, Bhuvneshwari bagala sukhdata.

Shree Bhairav lara jog tarani, Chhinna Bhala bhav dukh nivarani.

Kehari Vahan soh Bhavani, Langur Veer Chalat agavani.

Kar men khappar khadag viraje, Jako dekh kal dan bhaje.

Sohe astra aur trishoola, Jase uthata shatru hiya shoola.

Nagarkot men tumhi virajat, Tihun lok men danka bajat.

Shumbhu Nishumbhu Danuja tum mare, Rakta-beeja shankhan samhare.

Mahishasur nripa ati abhimani, Jehi agha bhar mahi akulani.

Roop karal Kalika dhara, Sen Sahita tum tin samhara.

Pan garha Santan par jab jab, Bhayi sahaya Matu tum tab tab.

Amarpuni aru basava loka, Tava Mahirna sab rahen asoka.

Jwala men hai jyoti tumhari, Tumhen sada poojen nar nari.

Prem bhakti se Jo yash gave, Dukh-daridra nikat nahin ave.

Dhyave tumhen jo nar man laee, Janam-maran tako chuti jaee.

Jogi sur-muni kahat pukari, Jog na ho bin shakti tumhari.

Shankar Aacharaj tap keenhon, Kam, krodha jeet sab leenhon.

Nisidin dhyan dharo Shankar ko, Kahu kal nahini sumiro tum ko.

Shakti roop ko maran na payo, Shakti gayi tab man pachitayo.

Sharnagat hui keerti bakhani, Jai jai jai Jagdamb Bhavani.

Bhayi prasanna Aadi Jagdamba, Dayi shakti nahin keen vilamba.

Mokon Matu kashta ati ghero, Tum bin kaun hare dukh mero.

Aasha trishna nipat sataven, Moh madadik sab binsaven.

Shatru nash keeje Maharani, Sumiron ekachita tumhen Bhavani.

Karo kripa Hey Matu dayala, Riddhi-Siddhi de karahu nihala.

Jab lagi jiyoon daya phal paoon, Tumhro yash mein sada sunaoon.

Durga Chalisa jo gave, Sab sukh bhog parampad pave.

This was all about Durga Ashtami Puja. If you are facing any issues in life or want to add-on to the good days, we recommend you offer a Puja.

Durga Ashtami

The Story Behind the Celebration of Durga Ashtami

We remember when our grandmothers told us stories of Champak Chacha and Hindi folklore where God or Goddess always won over Evil Rakshasa and taught us that good always triumphs over evil.

The same interesting lores tie bonds with Durga Ashtami or Maha Ashtami.

We celebrate Durga Puja to relive the victory of Goddess Durga over Mahishasura.

One of the lore tells us how Goddess Durga killed Mahishura, whereas others tell us about Goddess Durga taking the Goddess Vaishno avatar to kill Bhairo.

Let’s take you through the first one.

According to one legend, Lord Brahma bestowed Mahishasura, and only a female warrior could defeat him.

When Lord Indra was disheartened by his defeat on the battlefield, the ‘Trideva,” i.e. Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, came together and created Durga.

To make her undefeatable, they blessed each part of her body with different forms of strength resembling the power and strengths of many male Gods.

So, on Durga Ashtami, Goddess Durga used weapons symbolising masculine strength to defeat Mahishasura with her trident.

The other lore tells us that Goddess Durga, whose forehead was culminated by Goddess Kali, also defeated Chanda and Munda(his associates) along with Mahishura. She took the form of Goddess Vaishno and annihilated an evil tantric, Bhairo Nath.

This incident led to the formation of the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage in Jammu and Kashmir, which also has the temple of Bhairo Nath.

The story suggests it is the same place where his head fell off after being cut from his body.

All these lores are mentioned in the holy books.

In one way or another, these stories suggest once an asur reaches his threshold, God or Goddess comes to the rescue and Good wins over Evil.

Other Names of Durga Ashtami

A few names also inhibit the same course, like Maha Ashtami, Astra Puja, Durgastami, etc.

These names came to light as we have a diverse culture, and everyone has their beliefs with names and traditions.

You must get familiar with these names, as Navratri Ashtami  is just around the corner.

Rituals of Durga Ashtami

Indian festivals are inclusive of rituals and traditions. Durga Ashtami is celebrated on the next day of Durga puja Saptami.

Devotees do their best to impress Goddess Durga and follow some rituals on this day. You must know the rituals to celebrate Durga Ashtami:

  • Devotees keep a day-long fast in awe of Goddess Durga.
  • The weapons and artillery of Mahishasuramardini or the slayer of Mahishasura, i.e. Goddess Durga, are worshipped along with enchanting mantras. It is also known as Astra Puja.
  • On this day, several weapons, martial arts calibres, arms, etc., are displayed. It is known as ‘Virashtami’.
  • Devi’s associates, i.e. other 64 yoginis, are also worshipped on this day.
  • Devotees worship all the other eight incarnations of Goddess Durga, such as Brahmani, Varahi, Narasinghi, Indrani, Vaishnavi, Kameshwari, Chamunda, and Maheshwari along with Goddess Durga.
  • Goddess Durga is worshipped as Goddess Gauri on Durga Ashtami. On this day, people worship nine small girls as the epitome of Goddess Durga by washing their feet with milk and water, and they are offered prasad, puri and kheer as a part of the ritual.
  • People also worship several other deities like Bhairav by organising a huge puja and havan.

Durgashtami ends with ‘Sandhi Puja’ that ushers’ Maha Navami’ the next day. Goddess Durga brings peace and happiness, protects her devotees with benevolence, and keeps them from delusions.

Now that you know the belief behind Durga Ashtami, rituals, date and timing, give your best to prepare everything on point.

Be dedicated to Goddess Durga and let her free you from your pain and sorrow.

Live your tradition and celebrate the 10-day-long Durga Puja with enthusiasm and add colours of joy.

Durga Ashtami – Significance And Celebrations

Durga Ashtami, a significant day during the grand festival of Navaratri, is a celebration of the divine feminine power embodied by Goddess Durga.

This festival, particularly prominent in West Bengal, is a time of vibrant rituals, cultural performances, and communal harmony.

It marks the triumph of good over evil and showcases the rich tapestry of Indian traditions and beliefs.

In this article, we delve into the essence of Durga Ashtami, exploring its mythological roots, regional variations, and the manifold ways in which it is celebrated.

Key Takeaways

Durga Ashtami is a pivotal day in the Navaratri festival, symbolizing the power of the divine feminine and the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasur.

The festival is celebrated with fervor for ten days, particularly in West Bengal, with the last five days being the most significant, featuring special pujas and cultural performances.

Mahalaya marks the beginning of the Durga Puja festivities, with people offering prayers and tarpan in memory of ancestors, and invoking Goddess Durga to visit Earth.

Cultural traditions such as pandal hopping, dhunuchi naach, and the enjoyment of culinary delights create a festive and spiritual atmosphere during Durga Ashtami.

Durga Ashtami is observed with regional variations across India and has gained global recognition, with communities around the world participating in the celebrations.

The Cultural Significance of Durga Ashtami

The Mythological Roots of Durga Ashtami

Durga Ashtami is deeply rooted in Hindu mythology, where Goddess Durga represents the epitome of power and the divine feminine.

Her creation is a tale of celestial design, intended to bring balance between good and evil.

Durga, whose name signifies ‘the inaccessible’, is revered as the Mother of the Universe and embodies the dual aspects of nurturing and destruction.

The festival of Durga Puja, especially significant in West Bengal, celebrates her visit to Earth, symbolically her paternal home.

This visit lasts for ten days, culminating in the immersion of her idol on Dashami.

The festivities begin with Mahalaya, a day when people pay homage to their ancestors on the banks of the Hooghly River, invoking the goddess’s presence.

The essence of Durga Ashtami lies in the celebration of the divine feminine, marking a time of spiritual renewal and the affirmation of life’s cyclical nature.

Durga is worshipped in various forms and through numerous names, each reflecting her multifaceted nature.

The festival is not just a religious observance but a cultural phenomenon, intertwining rituals, social gatherings, and artistic expressions.

Durga Ashtami in the Context of Navaratri

Durga Ashtami is not just an independent festival but a pivotal part of the Navaratri celebrations, which span over nine nights and ten days.

This period is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga, marking a time of intense devotion and spiritual enrichment. Navaratri celebrates Goddess Durga with offerings like flowers, fruits, and sweets.

Community worship, rituals, and temple visits enhance spiritual growth and unity during this auspicious festival.

During Navaratri, each day is associated with a different form of Goddess Durga, and Durga Ashtami signifies the eighth day, which holds a special place in the hearts of devotees.

It is on this day that the most significant and elaborate pujas are conducted, and the goddess is revered in her form as Mahagauri.

The fervor of Durga Ashtami is palpable as it embodies the triumph of good over evil, a theme that resonates throughout Navaratri.

The day is marked by a collective spirit of celebration and reverence, reflecting the cultural ethos of the community.

As the festival progresses, the anticipation for Durga Ashtami builds up, culminating in a crescendo of religious activities and social festivities.

It is a day when the faithful engage in fasting, prayer, and reflection, seeking the blessings of the goddess for prosperity and protection.

The Symbolism of Goddess Durga

Goddess Durga stands as a paramount figure in Hindu mythology, embodying the collective power and energy of the gods to preserve righteousness.

She is the epitome of Shakti, representing both the nurturing aspects of motherhood and the fierce force necessary to combat evil.

Durga’s multifaceted nature is reflected in her many names and forms, each resonating with different attributes of strength and protection.

In her battle against the demon Mahishasur, Durga’s victory is celebrated as the triumph of good over evil, a narrative that continues to inspire devotion and reverence.

Her depiction, astride a lion and wielding an array of weapons, symbolizes her readiness to defend cosmic order.

The festival of Durga Puja, especially significant in West Bengal, marks this divine intervention with elaborate rituals and communal celebrations.

Mother of the Universe: A symbol of the ultimate feminine power.

Destroyer of Evil: Upholder of moral and cosmic order.

Bearer of Weapons: Each weapon signifies a different power.

Riding a Lion: Denotes her dominion over strength and courage.

The essence of Durga Ashtami is not just in the grandeur of festivities but in the profound spiritual awakening it brings, reminding devotees of the inner strength and moral resolve that Durga personifies.

Rituals and Traditions of Durga Ashtami

Mahalaya: The Invocation of Goddess Durga

Mahalaya marks the onset of an auspicious period leading up to Durga Puja, signifying the arrival of Goddess Durga to Earth.

It is a day steeped in devotion and remembrance, where the air resonates with the chants of hymns invoking the Goddess.

This day is symbolic as it represents the Goddess’s visit to her paternal home, akin to a married woman visiting her parents, with the promise of returning to her husband’s abode after the festivities.

During Mahalaya, the banks of the Hooghly River witness throngs of devotees engaging in ‘tarpan’, a ritual offering to honor and pay homage to the ancestors.

The poignant midnight recitation of ‘Mahishasur Mardini’ stirs the soul, heralding the imminent arrival of the grand celebration of Durga Puja.

The essence of Mahalaya extends beyond mere rituals; it is a profound blend of spirituality, tradition, and cultural heritage that sets the stage for the grandeur of Durga Puja.

Goddess Durga, an epitome of power and the divine mother of the universe, is revered for her dual role as the preserver of good and the destroyer of evil.

Her multifaceted nature is celebrated through various names and avatars, each reflecting her unattainable and supreme strength.

The Special Pujas of the Last Five Days

The final five days of Navaratri, known as Shoshthi to Dashami, are marked by an intensification of devotion and celebration.

Each day is distinguished by a special puja, with the evening featuring the poignant ‘shondhi pujo.’

The rhythmic beats of dhakis fill the air, as devotees gather to offer their prayers and perform rituals before the goddess.

During these days, the memory of departed ancestors is also honored, and the midnight chants of ‘Mahishasur Mardini’ hymns evoke a deep spiritual connection.

The atmosphere is charged with devotion, as the meticulousness of the rituals is believed to bring blessings and prosperity.

The essence of these pujas lies in the collective spirit of the community, coming together to invoke Goddess Durga’s energy and seek her blessings.

The following list outlines the key pujas of the last five days:

Shoshthi: The beginning of the main festivities.

Saptami: Rituals intensify, with a focus on the spiritual.

Ashtami: The peak of celebrations, marked by significant rituals.

Nabami: Continuation of worship and social gatherings.

Dashami: The grand conclusion with the Visarjan of the idol.

Dhunuchi Naach and Other Festive Performances

The Dhunuchi Naach is a traditional dance performed with earthen pots filled with burning coconut husk and camphor, creating an ethereal atmosphere as dancers sway to the rhythm of the ‘dhakis’ or traditional drummers.

This dance is a highlight of the Durga Ashtami celebrations, symbolizing the purification of the environment and the devotees’ souls.

The fervor of the festivities reaches its peak with the Dhunuchi Naach, as the air fills with the scent of incense and the sounds of conch shells and bells.

The evenings of the festival are marked by ‘shondhi pujo’, a significant ritual that bridges the end of one day and the beginning of the next during the last five days.

The entire state of West Bengal immerses itself in a spiritual and joyous mood, with people of all ages participating in the revelry.

Shoshthi: The sixth day, marking the beginning of the goddess’s earthly sojourn.

Saptami: The seventh day, featuring special pujas and offerings.

Ashtami: The eighth day, the pinnacle of the celebrations.

Nabami: The ninth day, continuing the worship and festivities.

Dashami: The tenth day, culminating in the immersion of the goddess’s idol.

The Celebratory Atmosphere of Durga Ashtami

Pandal Hopping: A Journey of Devotion

Pandal hopping is an integral part of Durga Ashtami, where devotees embark on a spiritual journey to visit various pandals.

These temporary structures, adorned with lights and intricate decorations, house the idols of Goddess Durga.

The belief is that by visiting multiple idols, worshippers can receive abundant blessings.

The pandals themselves are a sight to behold, often based on creative themes ranging from popular culture to global landmarks.

Competitions like the ‘Sharadiya Saamman’ encourage committees to showcase their most innovative designs, turning the city into a vibrant tapestry of art and devotion.

The festive atmosphere is palpable, with the air filled with the sounds of dhakis and the scent of incense.

It’s a time when the divine is said to visit her earthly home, and the celebrations are a testament to her presence among the people.

The last five days, culminating in Durga Ashtami, are particularly significant.

Each day is marked by special pujas and the evenings resonate with the rhythmic ‘shondhi pujo’.

The highlight for many is the ‘dhunuchi naach’, a dance performed with earthen pots filled with burning coal and incense, an offering of devotion to the Goddess.

The Role of Music and Dance in Durga Ashtami

Music and dance are integral to the celebrations of Durga Ashtami, creating a vibrant tapestry of cultural expression.

The rhythmic beats of ‘dhakis’ or traditional drummers resonate through the air, setting the tempo for the festivities.

These drummers, often seen in groups, provide a pulsating backdrop to the various rituals and activities that take place during the festival.

The ‘dhunuchi naach’ is a special dance performed with earthen pots filled with burning coal and incense.

This dance is not just a display of cultural heritage but also an act of devotion, as performers sway to the rhythm in a trance-like state, offering their dance as a form of worship to Goddess Durga.

Shoshthi

Saptami

Ashthami

Nabami

Dashami

Each day is marked by its own unique set of pujas and evening ‘shondhi pujo’, further elevating the spiritual atmosphere.

The sound of mantras chanted by priests intermingles with the drumbeats, creating an immersive experience for devotees and onlookers alike.

Culinary Delights and Social Gatherings

Durga Ashtami is not only a spiritual occasion but also a time for communal joy and feasting. The festival is marked by an array of traditional dishes that are integral to the celebration.

Each region adds its unique flavor to the festivities, with local specialties taking center stage on dining tables.

The social aspect of Durga Ashtami is vividly seen in the ‘sarbojanin’ or community feasts, which embody the spirit of inclusivity and togetherness that the festival promotes.

The emphasis on hygiene and health during the festival is reminiscent of practices like Shitala Ashtami, where cold food prepared a day prior is consumed.

This not only reflects the cultural diversity but also underscores the nutritional benefits of the traditional foods.

The joyous atmosphere is further enhanced by the sharing of meals among friends, family, and even strangers, turning the festival into a grand social gathering.

The act of sharing food transcends social barriers, echoing the historical evolution of Durga Puja as a socio-cultural event that united people from all walks of life.

The Legend of Goddess Durga’s Victory

The Creation of Durga to Defeat Mahishasur

The formidable demon Mahishasur had unleashed a reign of terror that none could end, not even the mighty gods Vishnu and Shiva. In this dire situation, the cosmic energies of the gods coalesced to form the supreme warrior goddess, Durga, an embodiment of power and the divine feminine.

She was manifested with ten arms, each wielding a weapon gifted by the gods, and rode into battle on a lion, symbolizing her might and majesty.

Durga’s battle with Mahishasur was no ordinary conflict; it was a pivotal moment in cosmic history, marking the triumph of good over evil.

After a fierce combat, Durga emerged victorious, slaying the demon and restoring balance to the universe.

Her victory is celebrated annually, symbolizing the eternal struggle between good and evil, and the potential for good to prevail.

The story of Durga’s victory is not just a mythological tale but a source of inspiration.

It resonates with the essence of Baglamukhi Jayanti, which signifies power, protection, victory, control, spiritual enlightenment, healing, and determination.

The worship of Durga during this time brings blessings for overcoming obstacles and achieving triumphs.

The Iconography of Durga: A Symbol of Power

Goddess Durga’s iconography is a profound representation of her role as a symbol of power and the divine feminine.

Her multiple arms, each wielding a different weapon, signify her ability to protect and fight against all forms of evil.

The lion she rides echoes her royal status and underscores her fearlessness.

Lion: Represents power, will, and determination.

Trident: Symbolizes control over the three realms of heaven, earth, and the underworld.

Conch: Indicates the primordial sound of ‘Om’, representing the music of creation.

Bow and Arrow: Denotes energy, both potential and kinetic, signifying the control of energy in all its forms.

The depiction of Durga with eight or ten arms, each holding a weapon, is not just a testament to her divine strength but also a metaphor for the multifaceted approach required to overcome challenges in life.

The iconography of Durga is not only awe-inspiring but also serves as a reminder of the inner strength that resides within every individual.

Her image encourages the faithful to harness their own power and righteousness to vanquish negativity and uphold the good in the world.

The Relevance of Durga’s Story in Modern Times

The narrative of Goddess Durga resonates profoundly in contemporary society, symbolizing the perpetual struggle between good and evil.

Her tale is a reminder of the inherent strength within every individual to combat adversities and emerge victorious.

The story of Durga’s creation and her triumph over Mahishasur extends beyond religious connotations, serving as an allegory for moral and ethical battles faced in daily life.

The principles embodied by Durga Ashtami are not confined to the period of Navratri but are reflected throughout the year in various forms.

The festival encourages spiritual reflection and cultural pride, fostering a sense of community through shared rituals and activities, especially for children.

It culminates in the Vijayadashami celebrations, marking the victory of knowledge over ignorance.

The essence of Durga Ashtami lies in its ability to adapt to changing times while retaining its core values.

It continues to be a powerful force for unity and social harmony, transcending barriers of caste and creed.

In the modern context, Durga Ashtami has also become a platform for social change, advocating for gender equality and empowerment.

The goddess’s image as a formidable force against oppression inspires many to advocate for women’s rights and social justice.

Durga Ashtami Across Different Regions

Variations in Celebrations Across India

Durga Ashtami, while universally celebrated for its religious significance, exhibits a rich tapestry of regional variations across India. Each state adds its own local flavor and customs to the festivities, creating a diverse mosaic of cultural expressions.

For instance, in West Bengal, the festival is a grand social event, with community-led ‘sarbojanin’ pujas that transcend social barriers, inviting participation from all walks of life.

In the South, rituals may emphasize classical music and dance performances.

The North often sees a blend of fasting and temple ceremonies.

Eastern states, particularly West Bengal, are known for their elaborate ‘pandal’ decorations and ‘dhunuchi naach’.

Western regions might incorporate local folk music and community feasts.

The essence of Durga Ashtami is its ability to unify diverse groups under the umbrella of spirituality and celebration.

The festival not only honors the goddess but also serves as a social leveller, bringing together people from various castes, creeds, and backgrounds.

The last five days of the festival, known as ‘Shoshthi’, ‘Saptami’, ‘Ashtami’, ‘Nabami’, and ‘Dashami’, are particularly significant.

Each day is marked by special pujas and the evenings resonate with the rhythmic beats of ‘dhakis’ or drummers, as well as the chanting of holy mantras.

The concept of ‘thakur darshan’, or seeking the deity’s blessings by visiting multiple idols, is prevalent, especially in West Bengal, where it is believed that the more idols visited, the greater the blessings bestowed.

Durga Ashtami in West Bengal: A Grand Affair

In West Bengal, Durga Ashtami is not just a religious observance; it’s a vibrant cultural phenomenon that engulfs the entire state in a wave of celebration.

The grandeur of the festivities is evident in the elaborate pandals and the intricate idols of Goddess Durga that become the center of attraction.

These pandals are not mere structures; they are a testament to the artistic and cultural heritage of Bengal, with each one vying for attention in terms of creativity and splendor.

The community comes together in a spirit of unity to celebrate Durga Puja, transcending social and economic barriers.

The ‘Sarbojanin’ or community pujas have become a symbol of inclusivity, where everyone, irrespective of their social standing, can participate in the festivities.

The evolution of these community pujas from the exclusive household celebrations of the elite to the inclusive public events of today reflects a significant social transformation.

The essence of Durga Ashtami in West Bengal is captured not just in the rituals and the worship but in the very atmosphere that pervades the streets.

The air is thick with devotion, excitement, and the collective spirit of a community rejoicing in their shared cultural identity.

The following table highlights the key aspects of the celebration:

Aspect           Description

Pandals        Artistic structures housing the idols

Idols   Magnificent depictions of Goddess Durga

Community  ‘Sarbojanin’ pujas promoting inclusivity

Social Transformation      From elite to public celebrations

 As the city of Kolkata becomes the epicenter of the festival, the rest of the state is not far behind in its enthusiasm.

The culmination of the ten-day festival with the immersion of the idols marks a poignant moment, symbolizing the cyclical nature of life and the impermanence of all things material.

Global Observance of Durga Ashtami

The reverence for Goddess Durga transcends the geographical boundaries of India, making Durga Ashtami a globally observed spiritual occasion.

Communities of Indian diaspora around the world come together to celebrate this auspicious day, often replicating the elaborate festivities of their homeland.

In countries with significant Indian populations, such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, Durga Ashtami is marked by cultural programs, religious ceremonies, and social gatherings.

Temples become the epicenter of worship, with special arrangements made to accommodate the increased number of devotees.

United States: Local temples organize special pujas and cultural events.

United Kingdom: Community halls are often rented for larger congregations.

Canada: Processions and music events add to the festive atmosphere.

Australia: Beachside immersions of Durga idols are a common sight.

The essence of Durga Ashtami’s global observance lies in the unity and collective devotion of the expatriate community.

Despite being far from their native soil, the spirit of the festival is kept alive through shared traditions and a sense of belonging.

Embracing the Divine Feminine: The Essence of Durga Ashtami

Durga Ashtami is not just a day, but a profound embodiment of cultural richness, spiritual significance, and communal harmony.

It is a time when the air resonates with the rhythmic beats of dhakis, the fragrance of incense fills the atmosphere, and the hearts of devotees overflow with devotion for Maa Durga.

As the celebrations of Durga Puja reach their zenith on Ashtami, the collective consciousness of the community unites in veneration of the divine feminine power.

The festival transcends mere ritual, becoming a vibrant tapestry of faith, art, and tradition that weaves together the very fabric of society.

In honoring Goddess Durga, we not only pay homage to the mythological victory of good over evil but also invoke the inherent strength within each of us to overcome life’s adversities.

As the festivities conclude with the immersion of the idols, the spirit of Durga Ashtami leaves an indelible mark on the soul, reminding us of the eternal cycle of life, death, and rebirth, and the enduring presence of the divine in our everyday lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the significance of Durga Ashtami?

Durga Ashtami is a significant day in the Hindu festival of Navaratri, dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga.

It symbolizes the victory of good over evil, as it commemorates the day when Goddess Durga achieved victory over the demon Mahishasur. It is a celebration of female strength and divine power.

How is Durga Ashtami celebrated in West Bengal?

In West Bengal, Durga Ashtami is celebrated with great fervor as part of the Durga Puja festival.

The day is marked by special pujas, cultural performances like Dhunuchi Naach, and pandal hopping, where devotees visit elaborately decorated temporary structures housing the idols of Goddess Durga.

What are the rituals performed on Durga Ashtami?

Rituals on Durga Ashtami include invoking Goddess Durga through Mahalaya chants, performing special pujas during the last five days of Navaratri, and engaging in festive performances.

The evening features the ‘shondhi pujo’ accompanied by the beats of ‘dhakis’ and the dance known as ‘dhunuchi naach’.

What is the story behind Goddess Durga’s victory over Mahishasur?

The story of Goddess Durga’s victory over Mahishasur is a tale of the triumph of divine power over evil. Mahishasur, a half-man, half-demon, was terrorizing the world, and neither Vishnu nor Shiva could defeat him.

Goddess Durga, embodying Shakti, was created by the gods and ultimately vanquished Mahishasur, restoring peace.

What is the cultural importance of Mahalaya in Durga Ashtami celebrations?

Mahalaya marks the beginning of the Durga Puja festivities and is culturally important as it signifies the invocation of Goddess Durga to visit the Earth.

It is a day when people remember their ancestors through ‘tarpan’ and chant hymns to welcome the goddess, setting the stage for the celebrations to follow.

Are there any special foods associated with Durga Ashtami?

Yes, Durga Ashtami is known for its culinary delights, with various traditional sweets and dishes being prepared and shared among communities.

The festival is not only a spiritual occasion but also a time for social gatherings and feasting, reflecting the joyous and celebratory atmosphere.

Importance

Ashtami celebrates the triumph of good over evil to commemorate Maa Durga’s victory over the buffalo demon Mahishasura on this day.

Maa Mahagauri is worshipped by devotees, who pray to her to reduce suffering and provide them with wealth and prosperity.

During Ashtami, one can help get rid of all one’s problems and sins by praying to Maa Durga.

The Ashtami fast is also significant because it brings luck and prosperity.

There are two mantras which are followed on the auspicious day of Ashtami:

1. Om Devi Mahagauryai Namah

2. Shwete Vrishesamarudha Shwetambaradhara Shuchih Mahagauri Shubham Dadyanmahadeva Pramodada.
 

Durga Ashtami : Custom

During the nine days of Chaitra Navratri Durga Ashtami  also known as Maha Ashtami is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and fervour.

On this day, many people end their fasts and hold Kanya Puja, worshipping nine little girls as the avatars of goddess Durga and feeding them prasad made of puri, chana, and halwa.

The young girls, also known as kanjaks, are welcomed home and worshipped on this day.

A tilak is placed on their foreheads and a holy thread is wrapped around their wrists.

Because red is Maa Durga’s favourite colour, it is considered fortunate to present them with a red dupatta, and at the conclusion of the puja, they are presented with a small gift known as Dakshina.
 

Importance of Durgashtami

Let us take a look at the significance of Durgashtami.

Victory of Goddess Durga over Mahishasura

Mahashtami is celebrated as a memory of Goddess Durga becoming victorious over the demon Mahishasura.

Devotees worship Goddess Durga to help them overcome problems in life and seek strength to accomplish all their goals and objectives in life leading a fearless and true life.

Worshipping Maha Gauri

The eighth incarnation of Goddess Durga is Maha Gauri and is worshipped on Ashtami. The Goddess protects the welfare of all her devotees and help all their issues solved.

It is believed that worshipping Goddess Maha Gauri gives effectual results.

Goddess rides a lion and is crowned with moon and has four arms.

Goddess Durga has three eyes and is the destroyer of evil.

Worshipping Shakti

On this eighth day of Durga Pooja, people meditate on the Shakti energy, the Durga energy.

Devotees pray for themselves and their dear ones to let Maa Durga’s grace and presence fill everyone’s life with bliss and joy.

In some places people light earthen lamps in a row all over the night.

Kanya Poojan

People invite very young girls to their homes and treat them as representative of Goddess Durga by offering them sweets, clothing and many more things depending on their wishes.

This is popularly known as Kanya Poojan and is done on Mahashtami and Mahanavami.

Worshipping Yoginis and Astanayikas

64 Yoginis and Ashtanayikas, known as eight consorts, are also worshipped.

The eight consorts or eight shaktis of Goddess Durga are interpreted differently in different religions.

These eight shaktis are Brahmani, Maheshwari, Kameshwari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Narasinghi, Indrani and Chamunda.

During the freedom movement, Durga Pooja became the icon of Indian Independence movement because Hindu reformists resembled Goddess Durga with India and called Bharat Mata.

Gradual increase in the importance of Durga Pooja was seen during that time.

Celebration of Durgashtami

Here is how Durgashtami is celebrated across India.

Many devotees, both men and women observe fast on the day.

Special Pooja is organized in Shakti temples on this day and is attended by many devotees.

Weapons of Goddess Durga are worshipped and it is also called Astra Pooja.

It is believed that Goddess Kaali appeared from the forehead of Durga to kill demons Chanda, Munda and Rakthabija.

Many deities and attendants of Goddess Durga are worshipped on this day.

The last ritual of this day is Sandhi Pooja and this overlaps into the next day, Mahanavmi.

People in western India, especially in Gujarat and Maharashtra, spend the nine nights of Navratri singing, dancing and merry making.

Garba, a graceful form of dancing, is performed during these nights in Gujarat and in Maharashtra, Dandiya is played.

Men and women dress up traditionally and dance during midnight around a Kalash, which is worshipped before the dance starts.

The dandiyas have tiny bells or ghunghrus tied at its ends and they make a special rhythmic sound while the dance goes one.

Along with some traditional ways of celebrating Durgashtami, people like to visit different places of different kinds of decoration and enjoy the evening worshipping idols of Goddess decorated in various ways.

Durgashtami – Worshipping the Great Fair Goddess

Durga Puja Ashtami is considered the most important day of the Durga Puja Festival. The pan-Indian festival of Navratri spans nine nights and ten days.

During this festival, the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped.

Hence, Ashtami, the eighth lunar day of Navratri or Durga Puja, is known as Durgashtami (Durga Ashtami) or Maha Ashtami.

Om Devi Mahagauryayi Namah

Navratri is a commemoration of the triumph of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura.

The nine-day celebration represents the nine days of the battle of good against evil and the ultimate triumph of good.

The Navratri festival of the autumn season, known as Sharada Navratri, is celebrated from the Pratipada (the phase after the new moon) to the Dashami (tenth lunar phase) during the Shukla paksha (bright fortnight) of the Ashwin month.

The last five days of this festival, from Sashti (sixth lunar phase) to Dashami, are celebrated as Durga Puja.

Durgashtami or Maha Ashtami (the eighth lunar phase) is one of the most auspicious days of the Navratri and Durga Puja festivals.

Mahagauri: Form of Durga worshipped on Maha Ashtami

During Navratri, each day is dedicated to a separate form or manifestation of the goddess, and on Ashtami (the eighth lunar day), the form Mahagauri is worshipped. Goddess Mahagauri is known for fulfilling the wishes of her devotees.

According to the legend, she is so fair that her skin tone is comparable to Jasmine and Chandan.

This is why the devotees call her Mahagauri, ‘Maha’ means great, and ‘Gauri’ means fair.

She has four arms, and she rides on a bull. Her right arm stays in Abhaya Mudra, and the other holds the Trishul (trident); on the left side, one arm holds the Damru (a small hand drum), and the other stays in Varada Mudra.

On Maha Ashtami, women pray to Mahagauri to bless them with happiness and abundance.

Also, it is believed that worshipping her will help to reduce the ill effects of Rahu, the shadowy planet.

Masik Durga Ashtami

Every month has two lunar phases or Pakshas, i.e. the Krishna Paksha (waning moon) and Shukla Paksha (waxing moon).

According to Hindu traditions and mythological beliefs, specific periods of the month are dedicated to the worship of specific gods; for example, the Chaturthi Tithi is dedicated to the worship of Lord Ganesha, Ekadashi Tithi for Lord Vishnu, etc.

Similarly, the Ashtami Tithi of the Shukla paksha, or the waxing moon of every month is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga, which is known as Masik Durga Ashtami as it is observed every month.

The most significant Durga Ashtami of the year is Maha Ashtami which falls on the eighth day of the Navratri festival and is observed in the Hindu month of Ashwin.

By observing the Masik Durga Ashtami fast/vrat, devotees believe that Goddess Durga fulfills their wishes.

Masik Durga Ashtami Vrat Puja Vidhi

Masik Durga Ashtami Vrat should be followed properly to gain the blessings of Goddess Durga. Devotees observe the fast for the entire day.

  • On the day of Masik Durga Ashtami, devotees must wake up early before sunrise and take their bath after their morning routine. They must wear clean clothes.
  • The place of worship or puja sthal is then purified and cleansed with Gangajal.
  • Place a wooden pooja stool at the puja sthal and spread a red cloth on top of it. Install the idol or picture of Goddess Durga and purify the idol using Gangajal.
  • Offerings of Akshat, vermilion, and red flowers are then made to Goddess Durga. The color red is of great significance as it is a color dear to Goddess Durga. The idol is then offered fruits and sweets as Prasad while lighting the lamp and incense sticks.
  • Devotees then recite the Durga Chalisa and perform an aarti of Goddess Durga. A saatvik bhog is then offered to Goddess Durga.

Offerings of red chunari, red clothes, lamp, ghee, make-up items, bangles, ghee, incense sticks, coconut, rice, kumkum or vermilion, flowers, idol or photo of the goddess, betel nut, clove, cardamom, sugar candy for offerings, fruits, sweet, camphor and kalava are made to Goddess Durga while performing the Durga puja.

Durga Ashtami Puja and Other Rituals

Worshipping Goddess Mahagauri on Durga Ashtami is considered auspicious.

She is the eighth among the Navadurgas, the nine manifestations of Goddess Durga.

The process of worship on Durga Ashtami is the same as that of Saptami except for the Pran Pratishta, which is done only on Saptami.

Durga Puja on Maha Ashtami begins with Mahasnan and Shodashopachar Puja, which is very similar to Maha Saptami Puja.

In the Mahashtami Puja, all nine forms of the supreme Goddess Durga are worshipped.

This involves installing nine small pots and invoking the nine Shaktis or avatars of Durga in them.

Durga Ashtami is also special because the AshtaSakthi, or the eight consorts of Goddess Durga, are worshipped on the day.

The Ashta Shakti includes Brahmani, Maheswari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Narasinghi, Indrani, and Chamunda, who are all different representations of the same divine feminine energy, Goddess Durga.

The other rituals of the day include Astra Puja, Kanya Puja, and Sandhi Puja.

Devotees also observe a day-long fast or Vrat to seek her divine protection and blessings for peace, prosperity, and happiness.

This is also a day of zesty celebrations.

People erect enormous Puja Pandals (tents), install idols of Durga, and celebrate by dancing and wearing traditional outfits.

Astra Puja

Astra Puja is an important ritual observed on the day of Durga Ashtami.

As per the belief, the ten-armed Goddess Durga, carrying various weapons, slew the evil Mahishasur.

The Astra Puja ritual involves worshipping the weapons of the goddess. This ritual is observed in various regions of India with some variations.

In South India, the ritual Ayudha Puja is observed on Mahanavami (the Ninth day of Navratri), which involves the worship of tools used for working and studying.

The devotees, on this day, clean their tools and arrange them along with the goddess idol or picture for worshipping.

All work equipment, including industrial machinery, vehicles, computers, books, mechanical tools, artist tools, study tools, etc., are worshipped on this day.

This act of worshipping tools is an expression of gratitude for the prosperity received in the previous year.

Also, worshipping tools alongside God is symbolic of worshipping one’s profession or job.

Kumari Puja

Kumari Puja or Kanya Pujan is a tradition followed in North India on the occasion of Durga Ashtami.

It’s a ritual in which unmarried girls are worshipped like Goddess Durga. Some people observe this ritual on Navami too.

The traditions associated with Navratri and Durga Puja give more importance to women, which is a stark reminder of the power and status held by women in ancient India.

The Kumari Puja ritual involves inviting nine young girls into the home and worshipping them as the nine avatars of Goddess Durga.

As per some scriptures, girls between the ages of 2 and 10 are considered appropriate for Kumari Puja.

On the day of Ashtami, before breaking the fast, a group of girls are invited into the home and are honored.

They are welcomed by washing their feet, and the rituals of Aarti and Puja are conducted.

After Puja, the girls are fed sweets and revered with some gifts. In some regions in India, this ritual is observed on all nine days of Navratri.

This tradition is based on the belief that young girls (kanyaka/virgins) represent the Shakti (Energy) of Durga on Earth.

Sandhi Puja

Sandhi time or Sandhi Kaal refers to the time when Ashtami Tithi (eighth lunar day) ends and Navami Tithi (ninth lunar day) begins.

It begins from the last 24 minutes of Ashtami and ends after the first 24 minutes of Navami.

This period is considered the most auspicious occasion to perform Durga Puja for the belief that Goddess Durga slew the demons, Chand and Mund, during this time.

At the end of the Mahashtami, Sandhi Puja and home/yagna are performed, and devotees offer bananas, pumpkins, cucumbers, etc. Lighting 108 clay lamps is another ritual performed during Sandhi Kaal.

Durga Ashtami Mantra, Prarthana, Stuti, Dhyana&Stotra

Durga Ashtami Mantra:

Om Devi Mahagauryayi Namah

Durga AshtamiPrarthana:

ShweteVrishesamarudhaShwetambaradharaShuchih

MahagauriShubhamDadyanmahadevaPramodada

Durga AshtamiStuti:

Ya Devi SarvabhuteshuMaaMahagauriRupenaSamsthita

NamastasyaiNamastasyaiNamastasyai Namo Namah

Durga AshtamiDhyana:

VandeVanchhitaKamartheChandrardhakritashekharam

SimharudhaChaturbhujaMahagauriYashasvinim

PurnanduNibham Gauri SomachakrasthitamAshtamamMahagauriTrinetram

VarabhitikaramTrishulaDamarudharamMahagauriBhajem

PatambaraParidhanamMriduhasyaNanalankaraBhushitam

Manjira, Hara, Keyura, Kinkini, RatnakundalaManditam

PraphullaVandanaPallavadharamKantaKapolamTrailokyaMohanam

KamaniyamLavanyamMrinalamChandanaGandhaliptam

Durga AshtamiStotra:

SarvasankataHantriTvamhi Dhana Aishwarya Pradayanim

JnanadaChaturvedamayiMahagauriPranamamyaham

SukhaShantidatri Dhana DhanyaPradayanim

DamaruvadyaPriyaAdyaMahagauriPranamamyaham

TrailokyamangalaTvamhiTapatrayaHarinim 

VadadamChaitanyamayiMahagauriPranamamyaham

Durga Ashtami Legends

Navratri is a celebration of the victory of good over evil. It commemorates the slaying of Mahishasura by Goddess Durga.

When Lord Indra was vanquished by Mahishasura, the holy trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, created Goddess Durga, and each part of her body was blessed with the energies of different Gods.

As per some scriptures, the soul of Goddess Durga came into existence on the day of Shukla Paksha Ashtami.


Another legend surrounding Durga Ashtami is that Goddess Chamunda appeared from the forehead of Mother Durga and annihilated Chanda, Munda, and Rakthabija.

Goddess Durga, in the form of Maha Gauri, is worshipped on Durga Ashtami.

The story of Mahagauri is another legend associated with Durga Ashtami.

The tough penance that Parvati had gone through for getting Shiva as her husband hampered her skin and turned it black.

When Shiva accepted her finally, he cleaned all the impurities off her body in the river Ganga, and her complexion became extremely white, for which she is called ‘Maha Gauri’.

Mahagauri – the fairest of them all

Mahagauri is the eighth form of Durga Devi.

Her other names are Shwetambardhara, Vrisharudha, Chaturbhuji and Shambhavi.

Mahagauri is seated on a bull and has four arms.

Two of her arms hold the Trishul and the Damru.

The other two arms show the varada and Abhay mudras meant to bless her devotees.

Mahagauri signifies purity, calmness, wisdom, and austerity.

With her help, the devotee can overcome all evil forces and lead a virtuous life and thus attain permanent bliss.

Mahagauri is considered to be the epitome of beauty.

She symbolizes freedom and liberation from all that is bad. Mahagauri regained her original glory when washed with the waters of Ganga.

This points to the holiness of the river and how bathing in it washes away the bad from the body and soul of a person.

Mahagauri rules the shadow planet, Rahu.

Worshipping Mahagauri will remove the ill effects of Rahu.

Mahagauri is believed to reside in the Sahasrara crown chakra, which is the culmination point of the Sushumna Nadi energy channel in the human body.

This Nadi, if made to wake, can realize the full human potential of a person.

Mahagauri also narrates the hardship and sacrifices one has to endure before reaching the state of pure bliss.

The mudra of her right arm is to allay the fears of the devotee. In her second right arm, Mahagauri holds a Trishul which symbolizes the powers of creation and destruction.

In her left hand, she holds the Damru which is symbolic of the continuation of existence through the cycle of birth and rebirth.

The mudra on the other left hand is to give out blessings to the devotees.

Her clothes are white and pure.

 

June 14 All day

Upcoming Events

ॐ Hindu Of Universe ॐ

“God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.”

Thank you for visiting us and making our work feel appreciated. We hope to see you again soon.