Durga Pooja: Sixth day of Navaratri
Durga Pooja, also known as Navaratri is an Indian festival on which nine different forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped and celebrated. The nine different forms are Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri. On the sixth day of Navaratri, Goddess Durga is celebrated in the form of Katyayani. Given below is the ‘Navdurga Kavacham’ from Markandeya Purana, which describes the various forms of Goddess Durga during each day of Navaratri.
प्रथमं शैलपुत्री च द्वितीयं ब्रह्मचारिणी।
तृतीयं चन्द्रघंटेति कूष्माण्डेति चतुर्थकम् ।।
Prathmam Shailaputri Cha Dwitiyam Brahmacharini,
Trutiyam Chandraghanteti Kushmaandeti Chathurthakam.
पंचमं स्क्न्दमातेति षष्ठं कात्यायनीति च ।
सप्तमं कालरात्रीति महागौरीति चाष्टमम् ।।
Panchamam Skandmaatheti Shashtham Katyayaniti,
Saptamam Kaalratriti Mahagauriti Chashtamam.
नवमं सिद्धिदात्री च नवदुर्गा: प्रकीर्तिता:।
उक्तान्येतानि नामानि ब्रह्मणैव महात्मना ।।
Navamam Siddhidatri Cha Navadhurga Prakrititha,
Ukthanyetaani Naamani Brahmanaiva Mahatmana.
Sixth day of Navaratri
Goddesses Katyayani: Myth
According to the Hindu myths, Mahishasura was the half buffalo demon. He tried to overpower the Gods including the Holy Trinities, thereby taking control over all the three worlds. This was the time when the Gods went near Goddess Durga, the feminine energy of the universe, asking for help.
Rishi Katyayan was an ardent worshipper of Goddess Durga. He has been childless for long and wished to have a child similar to Devi Parvathy. Hence, Goddess Durga decided to be born as his daughter. Katyayani is the incarnation of Goddess Durga, and the name means daughter of Katyayan.
Katyayani grew up as a beautiful maiden which led to Mahishasura’s soldiers spotting her. They informed her about Mahishasura’s wish to marry her as they both will make a great pair. Katyayani replied to them telling that she can only marry someone who can defeat her in a battle.
In the battle that follows, Katyayani kills Mahishasura and obtains the name Mahishasuramardini. Hence, in the sixth day of Durga pooja, the victory of Goddess Katyayani over Mahishasura is celebrated.
Goddess Katyayani: Form
Katyayani has the image of a warrior goddess. It is said that Katyayani is gifted with the combined powers of all the Gods. She is described as having three eyes and Four arms.
She holds a sword and a lotus flower in two of her arms. She is also seated on a lion. Katyayani is said to be ruling over planet Jupiter, also known as Brihaspati. She is also a symbol of peace, prosperity, and success.
Significance of the Sixth day of Navaratri
The sixth day of Navratri is also known as Maha Shashti. It is the last day of Mahalakshmi pooja. The day celebrates the victory of knowledge over ignorance. Goddess Katyayani is the goddess of harmony and fertility as well. Hence, on this day, families pray for prosperity, peace, and harmony.
The day is considered auspicious for unmarried ladies to pray for a partner. Maha Shashti is equally auspicious for married couples to pray for an heir.
Durga Pooja celebration
The great Indian diversity is reflected in the various practices of Durga Pooja as well. The ways of Durga Pooja differs from one region to the other. Though most of the states celebrate it by distributing sweets, food, and gifts to women, each state shares its uniqueness.
In areas near Assam and West Bengal, Lord Ganesha and Karthikeya will be worshipped. They also decorate their streets with pictures and idols of the Gods. People of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have a practice of going to the temple daily during the pooja though they will be having pooja at home.
The temples of Punjab will hold special poojas throughout the days while people from Chhattisgarh celebrate Dussehra for almost seventy-five days.
Tamil Nadu and Kerala consider the last three days of Durga Pooja as auspicious. They worship Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi, and Goddess Saraswati during the days. Goddess Durga is celebrated in the form of Devi Parvathy in Andra and hence they believe that the maidens will be blessed with suitable partners.
Apart from all these states, Karnataka has its own way of celebrating Durga Pooja. The whole state celebrates throughout the week with programs and entertainments on the streets, attracting tourists.