Navadurga which literally means nine Goddess Durgas, constitute, according to Hindu mythology, the manifestation of Durga in nine different forms. These nine forms of manifestation are Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghaṇṭa, Kuṣhmaṇḍa, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri; together worshipped during the Navratri (Nine Divine Nights) celebration in Autumn each year.
Durga, the Mother Goddess of the Hindus and a form of Devi and Shakti, is believed to have manifested in various forms, and Navadurga Maa are believed to be the most sacred aspects of Goddess Durga. According to a Hindu tradition, it is believed that there are three major forms in which Goddess Durga manifested herself, namely, Mahasaraswati, Mahalakshmi and Mahakali who are the active energies (Shakti) of Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra respectively (without these goddesses the gods will lose all their powers). These three forms of Durga further manifested in three more forms each, and thus emerged the nine forms of Durga, which are collectively called Navadurga or Nine Durgas. Navadurga are famously worshipped during the Autumn Navaratri or the Nine days, initiating the devotees into a period of festivities according to Hindu calendar.
Each one of the Navadurga is known by a particular name and the deity has a particular dhyana-mantra, a mantra for meditation, a free English version of which is mentioned below:
Shailaputri is the first form amongst the Navadurga or the nine forms of Hindu goddess Parvati or (Shakti), worshipped on first day during the Navratri celebrations – the nine divine nights. She is the first among Navadurgas and the first day of Navratri pooja is dedicated to Durga Shailaputri. Variously known as Sati, Bhavani, Parvati or Hemavati. Maa Shailaputri is the absolute form of Mother Nature. She is also known as Goddess Parvati the consort of Lord Shiva and mother of Ganesha and Kartikeya. In the Navratra festival the worshiping Mother Goddess has a half moon in her forehead & she is holding a trident in her right hand & lotus flower in her left hand. she rides on mount Nandi (bull).
Mythology: She is a daughter of Himalaya and first among nine Durgas. Shailaputri literally means the daughter (putri) of the mountains (shaila). Goddess Durga was born in the house of King of Mountains “Parvat Raj Himalaya”, so she is called “Shailaputri” means the daughter of mountain. Variously known as Sati Bhavani, Parvati or Hemavati, the daughter of Hemavana – the king of the Himalayas.
The embodiment of the power of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, she rides a bull and carries a trident and a lotus in her two hands. In previous birth she was the daughter of Daksha. Her name was Sati – Bhavani. i.e. the wife of Lord Shiva. Once Daksha had organized a big Yagna and did not invite Shiva. But Sati being obstinate, reached there. Thereupon Daksha insulted Shiva. Sati could not tolerate the insult of husband and burnt herself in the fire of Yagna. In other birth she became the daughter of Himalaya in the name of Parvati – Hemavati and got married with Shiva. As per Upanishad she had torn and the egotism of Indra, etc. Devtas. Being ashamed they bowed and prayed that, “In fact, thou are Shakti, we all – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are capable by getting Shakti from you.”
In some scriptures like Shiva Purana & Devi-Bhagavata Purana the story of Mother Goddess is written as follow: Maa Bhagwati in her earlier birth was born as a daughter of Daksha Prajapati. Then her name was ‘Sati’ and she was married to Lord Shiva. But in a sacrificial ceremony organized by her father Prajapati Daksha, she got her body burnt in the yogic fire, because she could not bear the insult of her husband Lord Shiva by her father Prajapati Daksha in the sacrificial ceremony.
In her next birth she incarnated her as Goddess Parvati, the daughter of Parvat Raj Himalaya and among Nava Durgas she has been referred to as Shailaputri who was again known as Hemavati. In her Hemavati aspect she defeated all prominent gods. Like her previous birth in this life also Maa Shailaputri (Parvati) got married with Lord Shiva. The first and the most prominent among Nava Durgas, Shailaputri is of immense importance and her glories are endless. On the first day of Navratri worship it is she who is worshipped.
She is the Devi of the root chakra, who, upon awakening, begins Her journey upwards. Sitting on Nandi, and making her first journey from the Muladhara chakra. As from her father to her husband – the awakening Shakti, beginning Her search for Lord Shiva or making a move towards her Shiva. So that, In Navratri pooja the first day Yogi’s keep their mind concentrated on Muladhara. This is the starting point of their spiritual discipline. They started their Yogasadha from here. Shailaputri is the Muladhara Shakti to be realized within Self and sought for higher depths, in the yogic meditation.
Shailaputri means the daughter of the Himalaya. SHAILA is the derivative of the word SHILA. Shila means a rock, a stone. It is the rock of spiritual standing and the whole world gets strength from the Shailaputri aspect of Purna Prakriti DURGA.
From the Yogic point of view, the First Navratri is considered to be very auspicious day. This is the Yogic start for being in tune with the Divine Mother Durga. Those who want to have any kind of initiation in the Shakti Mantras, can have it on the First of Shukla Pratipada.
The aspiration of a devotee is to reach higher and further higher, for spiritual evolution, and for the attainment of Siddhi, which is perfection associated with Ananda (bliss). Verily, Shailaputri is the Muladhara Shakti to be realized within Self and sought for higher depths, in the YOGA-maditation. This is an experience in the soul-searching of Immutable within human existence. Shailaputri is the physical consciousness of the Divine Mother Durga. She is truly PARVATI, daughter of the King Hemavana, as described in the Shiva Purana. Shailaputri is the manifestation of this earth planet, which includes what is apparent on this earth, and within the globe. Shailaputri covers all the hills, vales, water resources, seas and oceans, including atmosphere.
Therefore, Shailaputri is the essence of the earthly existence. Her abode is in the Muladhara Chakra. The divine Energy is latent in every human being. It is to be realized. Its color is crimson. The Tattva (element) is Earth, with the Guna (quality) of coherence, and with the Bheda (distinct) characteristics of Ghraana (the smell).
Shailputri Temple is located at A-40/11, Marhia Ghat, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh -INDIA.
Maa Brahmacharini is the second manifestation of Maa Durga who is worshippied on the second day of Navratri. Here word “Brahm” refers to “Tapa”. So Brahmcharini means Tapa Charini – The one who perform Tapa or penance. It is Said that the “Vedas”, “Tatva” & “Tapa” are synonyms of word “Brahm”. The form of Brahmacharini is tremendously effulgent and extremely majestic.
She holds a rosary in her right hand and Kamandalu in her left. SHE personifies love and loyalty. Mata Bhramacharni is store-house of knowledge and wisdom. Rudraksha is HER most adorned ornament. When she was incarnated as the daughter of Himalaya, then influenced by the instructions of Devrishi Narada, she practiced very hard penances in order to obtain Lord Shiva as her divine consort. Due to her unearthly penances she was termed as Brahmacharini. She spent one thousand years, only on fruits and beet-roots. One hundred years she spent only by eating leafy vegetables. For a sufficient perfiod of time observing complete fast she suffered tormenting of nature like torrential rains and scorching sun and biting cold, under the open sky. After such a difficult routine she lived only on dry Bilva pattaras (leaves) fallen on the ground for three thousand years. She kept her engrossed for twenty-four hours in worshiping Lord Shiva. After that she gave up eating even these dry leaves. For several thousand years she went on without any food and water. Because she gave up eating dry Bilva leaves so she was known to be Aparna as one of her epithets.
After the hardship of penance for several thousand years her body became extremely lean and thin. She was reduced to skeleton only. Her penance, sharpened as it was, caused great disturbance in all the three worlds. The whole universe was shaken. The Gods, the Rishis, the Siddhas, the Munis all eulogized her penance as an unprecedented virtuous action. Ultimately Lord Brahma through an oracle addressed her and said to her in a very pleasant manner-O Goddess, so far nobody has ever practiced such an austere penance. Only you could have done it. This wonderful deed is being praised in all the four quarters. Your desire would be fulfilled. You will decidedly get Lord Shiva as your divine consort. Now stop your penance and go home. Your father would be shortly coming to take you back.
After Gauri reincarnated as Parvati, she meditated on Lord Shiva to attain him as her husband. Lord Shiva came in a saint’s getup to test Parvati. He then made fun of Lord Shiva which the saint doesn’t know that he himself is Lord Shiva. Parvati gets angry and tries to curse him, but she didn’t, she chanted the “Panchakshari Mantra” of Lord Shiva. The saint changed his real form to Lord Shiva. Parvati was blessed and asked him to marry her, Lord Shiva became emotional when he married Sati, tears were rolling down his eyes, Parvati wiped them away with her hands. Brahmacharini is adorned with flowers and wearing a necklace made of beads, wearing a white saree, wearing “Rudraksh” beads as her necklace and has a fair complexion. In this way, she attained Lord Shiva to be her husband. She is filled with bliss and happiness. Brahmachari means bachelor in male and Brahmacharini means bachlorette in female.
Maa Chandraghanta is the third Shakti of Maa Durga in her forehead, she has a half moon which is in the shape of a bell. Maa Chandraghanta is worshiped on the third day of Navrti Pooja. Those who worship Devi Chandraghanta get eternal strength and be blessed by Devi Maa to be happy through out one’s life.
Chandraghanta is considered to be a fierce incarnation of Parvati, she killed Dhumralochan, Chand-Mund, Raktabeej, Shumbh-Nishumbh and their demonic hoardes with the help of Goddess Kali, Kaushiki and other Goddesses. She is often known as Chandika, she is always ready for wars, battles and fights against all the demons, monsters, beasts, ghosts, evil spirits, ogres, demonesses, negative energies, elusive powers, mystical forces, and all demon entities. They also flee the battlefield like cowards when they see the violent, ghastly, intense, fierce, fearsome, ferocious, horrifying, terrible, frightful, horrble, terrifying, frightning, fiercest and most dangerous shadow on knowing upon her arrival. Usually, Parvati took this incarnation to kill Demon Dhumralochan and his armies who was sent by Shumbh and Nishumbh to kidnap her daughter, Kaushiki, they all didn’t know that they was all-powerful, she (Parvati) also took this incarnation to destroy Shumbh-Nishumbh and their remaining demon hoardes. Chandraghanta has ten hands holding weapons while the remaining right hand are in the gesture of boon-conferring. Her vehicle is the tiger, adorned with jewelry, wearing a grey saree, wears a crown, having three eyes representing past, present and future and having a fair complexion, she also wears a garland of flowers. Pertaining to have the main Durga look but she is a Mother Goddess filled with kindness. She is also a demon-fighting form of Goddess Durga. She wears a half moon on her forehead. After Kaushiki’s birth from Parvati, Parvati started to take various form to assist Kaushiki in the battle against Shumbh and Nishumbh’s demon messengers. Finally, Kaushiki killed Shumbh and Nishumbh.
Maa Chandraghanta is one Who establishes justice and wears crescent moon on Her head. Because of this bell shaped mark of moon which is present on the fore head of Maa Chandraghanta, Maa is known as Chandraghanta. The colour of her body is golden, she rides on lion who descrides “dharma”, possesses ten hands and three eyes, eight of Her hands display weapons while the remaining two are respectively in the mudras of gestures of boon giving and stopping harm. Devi Maa is posed as to be ready for war. “Chandra Ghanta” meaning supreme bliss and knowledge, showering peace and serenity, like cool breeze in a moonlit night. By her blessings all the hindrances coming in way of a person are removed. Her pleasant looks clears all sorrows and sadness of her devotees. Her roaring voice alerts and makes the Demons to tremble.
In Durga Pooja the third day of Navratri is very important in Navaratri. This day the mind of the sadhak enters Manipura Cakra. At this stage by the grace of Maa Chandraghanta he becomes capable of seeing unearthly and divine things. He smells the divine fragrance and many types of divine sound become audible to him. On this day and in this stage of discipline the sadhak is required to be most careful.
By the grace of Mother Chandraghanta all sins of the sadhak (striver) are burnt up and obstacles removed. Her worship is instantly fruitful. She is always in a gesture as if ready to proceed for the battlefield and thus she removes the difficulties of devotees very promptly. Her vehicle is lion and so her worshiper becomes valorous and fearless like a lion. The sound of her bell always protects her devotees from evil spirits. As soon as the sadhak invokes her, her bell immediately becomes active and starts ringing to protect the devotee under her shelter.
Kushmanda is the fourth form of Goddess Durga. Devi Maa is worshiped on fourth day during Durga Pooja in Navratri. Her name goes through like this: Ku – A little, Ushma – Warmth and Anda – The cosmic Egg, in texts, the universe was no more than a void full of darkness until she appears and from the light from her body emerged an uncountable numer of light that spread all around. She is also the provider of light like Lord Surya, the Sun God. Kushmanda used her powers to create the world, after creating the world, she created all Gods (Demi Gods), saints (sages), Kinnars, (Kinnaries) Yakshs, (Yakshinis) fairies, humans, Goddesses and including the Trinity and many more. Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma were created from her grace. Goddess Kushmanda picked Brahma to be with Saraswati for creation, Vishnu with Lakshmi for maintaining and Shiva with Kali for slaughtering the world. Kushmanda is also the consort of Shiva. Kali is the wife of Shiva also, Kushmanda is Adi Shakti herself and reappeared herself as Goddess Chandika by the combination by these three Goddesses. Kushmanda has eight hands holding weapons while the other two pitchers are filled with blood, she also rides the tiger as her vehicle. She wears jewelry, a crown, wears a pink saree and has a fair complexion. She is somewhat like Goddess Bhuvaneshwari, except with her, she has four hands and rules the world.
Goddess Durga is very happy in this incarnation and it is believed that when there is no existence of any creation or universe & there was the eternal darkness, which ended when Maa Kushmanda smiled. So that Maa Kushmanda is known as the creator the whole universe. Maa Kushmanda is also named as “Adi Shakti”. The core of Suraymandala (Sun) is the residence of Devi Maa. She is the only one who has the power & strength to live in the core of Suryaloka (Sun). Her body shines like the glowing Sun. All directions get light from Her Divine smile including the Sun God itself. Maa Kushmanda also known as “Ashtabhuja” as she is often depicted as having eight arms. In her seven hands she holds Kamandalu, Bow, Arrow, Lotus, a Jar of Nectar, Discus, and Mace. In her eighth hand she holds a rosary capable of giving eight Siddhis and nine Niddhis. She rides a lion who represents “Dharma”. On worshiping Her ailments and sorrows are eliminated and life span, name, strength and health improved.
Skand Mata –
Skand Mata is the fifth form of Goddess Durga. Her name goes through like this: Skand – Kartikeya and Mata – Mother. In one myth, Shiva and Parvati’s energy combines into their own forms of nature when meditating. Indra came to know all this and assigns Lord Agni (Fire) to kidnap the ball of energy and keep it for safety from Demon Tarakasur. Agni snuck in the cave and took the energy by deceit and lies in his hands, after meditation, Parvati realizes that Lord Agni took the divine energy and chased after him. Lord Agni vanished with the divine energy and ran to Goddess Ganga. Meanwhile, Parvati came out of the cave and asked the Gods that why Lord Agni stole the divine energy, the Gods answered her that they have to keep it safe from Demon Tarakasur. Parvati gets angry and attains the form of Goddess Shakti with eight hands holding weapons, wearing a red saree, adorned with jewelry, wearing a crown and has fair complexion cursed the Gods that their wives will never be able to enjoy the happiness with their children and with that, curses Lord Agni that he will be an all-burner, unable to diffrentiate the differences between right and wrong and his food will have impurities, he will always be surrounded by black smoke and also curses that in anyone touches him in one of the three worlds, they will get reduced to ashes. Meanwhile, Shiva came out of the cave placated her by telling her to calm down. Skand Mata has four hands, in the first two in which they were raised the two pink lotuses, the right one is slightly raised upwards, the left upper hand is slightly lower, the lower two are in the gestures of fear-dispellings and boon-conferrings. She holds the infant Skand in her lap while the left lower hand is the gesture of boon-conferrings, she has three eyes representing past, present and future and having a fair complexion. She wears a yellow or orange saree, rides the lion as her vehicle. Her son Skand is chosen by Gods as their commander in chief in the war against the demons and Demon Tarakasur. She is regularily known as “The Goddess of Fire”.
Thus being the mother of Skanda she is Skandamata. Worshipping Skandamata has on the fifth day of Navaratra has very iportacefor Yogis & Sadhaks . This day devotee’s mind reaches Visuddha Cakra and stays therein. In her image the Lord Skanda in his infant form is always found. She holds him in her lap.
Using a lion as a vehicle, Mother Goddess has four arms & three eyes. She holds Lord Skanda in her right upper arm and a lotus flower in her right lower hand, which is slightly raised upward. The left upper arm is in a pose to grant boon and in left lower hand, which is raised, she again holds lotus. She is Golden color. She is seated on lotus flower so she is called Padmasana.
The scriptures are very eloquent in glorifying the fifth day of Navaratra period. As the mind of the aspirant, on this day, is in the Visuddha Cakra. So all his actions internal as well as external completely stop and the mind bereft of all thought-waves, is calm like a wave less ocean. It would be advancing towards the state of pure consciousness. It is completely submerged in the meditation of Mother Padmasana, quite devoid of worldly thoughts or coats of Maya. It is time when the aspirant should be most careful and cautious on the path of his Sadhana.
Katyayani is the sixth form of Goddess Durga. According to a legend, Sage Katyayan and his son Katya prayed to Goddess Durga for a boon, when she appeared, Katyayan asked to reincarnate as his daughter in the form of a Goddess. Meanwhile, Sage Katyayan named her daughter as Katyayani to protect the world from terror and evil. When she grew, Brahma gives Mahishasur a boon that he will be killed by a lady and no one else but a lady (Parvati). To fulfill the boon, she has to kill Demon Mahishasur, to kill him, all Gods offered their powers and weapons by having ten or eighteen hands for her. Another tale says that Lakshmi and Saraswati goes into Parvati’s body to kill Mahishasur. Lakshmi’s “Maha Lakshmi” form has eighteen hands bearing weapons in Devi Mahatmyam (Durga Saptashati) she rides a lion and gets ready to kill Mahishasur’s commanders. This form is considered to be Adi Shakti’s incarnation as Mahishasur Mardini (Killer of Mahishasur). Mahishasur Mardini is another name for Goddess Durga/Katyayani. “Jai Jag Janani Maa Durga” serial says that Goddess Durga takes the getup as an unmarried woman then reveals herself to the demons and kills them along with Mahishasur and Kaalkey’s demons had kidnapped Katyayan and Narayani’s child by throwing it up in the air into the ceiling and the baby transformed into an uncountable number of bright suns. The voice cursed Kaalkeyi that he will be killed by a Goddess in the form of a Goddess. Kaalkeyi was terrified and ran here, there and everywhere in the hell. Katyayani has four hands, the raised right hand holds a sword, the upper left holds a trident, the left lower holds a lotus and the lower right hand is in the gesture of fear-dispellings, she wears a green saree, wears a flower garland, adorned with jewelry, having a fair complexion and rides the lion as her vehicle. In Shaktism, she is associated traditionally with the colour red and also associated with the fierce forms of Bhadrakali and Chandika.
She is called Katyayani because she was born as the daughter of Sage Katya of Katya clan. Sage Katyayan performed very hard penance of Maa Bhagvati. It was his wish that Maa Durga born as his daughter. The Goddess acceded to his request. Meanwhile, army of the powerful demon Mahishasura, who could only be killed by a warrior Goddess, had reached heaven to overthrow the Gods from their abode. The trinity of Gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, got infuriated and they created the Goddess Durga, who was a culmination of the powers of all deities. Sage Katyayana had the first privilege to worship her, so she was also named Katyayani.
Another myth goes by that she was born to Katyayana as his daughter on the 14th dark of the month Asvina. Katyayana worshiped her for three days, 7th, 8th and 9th of the bright fortnight in the same month and killed Mahishasur on Vijayadasami. Her worship done with devotion and faith leads to four objects – Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.
This is the daughter form of Durga. Here is she a loving daughter. She is epitome of love but won’t hesitate to rise up in anger to defend righteousness and Dharma. It is believed that Maa Katyayani persistently battles against the evil and deceitful entities.
She has three eyes and four arms. One left hand holds a weapon and the other a lotus. The other two hands respectively display defending and granting gestures. Her skin appears golden in color. Her mount is a lion.
To get God Krishna as a husband gopis worship Maa Katyayani in Vraj. So she is established as the Queen of Vraj. There is a very famous temple in Delhi (Chhattarpur) of Maa. This shrine is dedicated to Goddess Katyayani, whose “darshan” can be availed only on “Ashtami” falling in every month. Otherwise, the “darshan” of Goddess Katyayani can be made throughout the days of ‘Navratri’. The golden image of Katyayani attracts the attention of devotees with its huge size and sheer divinity.
Kaal Ratri is the seventh form of Goddess Durga. She is the most agressive form of Adi Shakti, also known as destructive form of Shakti/Durga. Kaal Ratri is a War Goddess like Chandraghanta and Durga, she is often known as Kali, means black. When Parvati incarnated as Jagadamba to kill Raktabeej, she saw the great demon Raktabeej who was arrogant about his power, she got angry and incarnated as Kaal Ratri to kill Raktabeej and his clones, she killed him by drinking his blood and beheading without letting a clone of Raktabeej remaining and his blood without letting it fall on the ground and letting another clone of Raktabeej being created. Often, it is said that Kaushiki kills Raktabeej with her sword and Kali drinks up his blood. Parvati again manifested as Kaal Ratri to kill Demon Hund and to protect Ashok Sundari. She is also identified with Bhairavi in Durga Saptashati. In other texts, Kaal Ratri is always ready for wars, battles and fights against all the demons, monsters, beasts, ghosts, evil spirits, demonesses, negative energies, elusive powers, mystical forces, and all demon entities. They also flee the battlefield like cowards when they see the violent, ghastly, intense, fierce, fearsome, ferocious, horrifying, terrible, frightful, horrble, terrifying, frightning, fiercest and most dangerous shadow on knowing upon her arrival. Usually, Parvati took this incarnation to kill Chand and Mund and is called Chamunda (Chamundi). Kaal Ratri has four hands, the raised right hand is holding a trident, the upper left hand holds a sword, the right lower hand is holding a scimitar and the left lower hand holds a weapon made out of thorns. Kaal Ratri often wears a black saree and also wears a garland of severed human skulls which represents the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet or heads, a girdle made out of tiger skin and wearing severed human hands and having a third eye on her forehead.
Kalaratri means the One who is “the Death of Kaal”. Here Kaal is dedicated as time & death. Kalaratri is the one who destroys ignorance and removes darkness. This form primarily depicts that life also has dark side – the violent Mother Nature and creates havoc and removes all dirt. She is also known as Shubhankari.In this form Goddess Kalratri killed Raktabeej. Raktabeej was a demon who could multiply from every drop of his blood which fell on the ground. The Goddess Kaalratri killed him by licking the blood before it could reach the ground and hence conquered him. She endows her devotees with calm and courage.
The complexion of Maa Kalaratri is like dark night with bountiful hair and has four hands. The left two hands holds a cleaver and a torch, and the right two are in the mudras of “giving” and “protecting”. She has necklace is so shining like thunder. She has three eyes which emanate rays like lightning. Flames appear through her nostrils when she inhales or exhales air. Her mount is donkey. Blue,Red, White color should be used to wear on this day.
Appearance of Maa Kalratri is very dangerous. But she always gives good fruits. So devoters should not get afraid of her. Her worship on 7th day of Navratri has very much importavnce to yogies & sadhak. Yogis & sadhaks penance on Shahtra Chakra on this day. For the worshipers on this day door opens of every siddhi in universe.
Maha Gauri –
Maha Gauri is the eighth form of Goddess Durga. Her name goes like this: Maha – Great and Gauri – White. In one text, due to Lord Shiva’s miracle, Parvati turned black like Goddess Kali. Lord Shiva knows that this was a dirty trick he played on. Parvati got very upset and started to cry. Meanwhile, Adi Shakti appears and tries to cheer Parvati up. She tells her to go to Himalaya and do severe penance for Lord Brahma. So Parvati did what Adi Shakti said. She chanted his name for a long time and never stopped. Finally, Lord Brahma appears there and he gives Parvati her fair complexion back and the dark complexion took shape of a Goddess named Kaushiki, therefore she (Parvati) was justified with the name “Maha Gauri”. Maha Gauri has four hands holding trident, a small rattle drum and a lotus, her right lower hand is in the gesture of fear-dispellings. She wears a crown and wears a pink saree.
Maa Durga is worshiped as Maa Mahagauri on eighth Navratri. Mahagauri is the eight form of Goddess Shakti. Her color is white. Whiteners is shown by shell, moon etc. Mahagauri means one clean and bright like a ray of lightning.
Siddhidatri is the ninth and last form of Goddess Durga. Her name means “Giver of all supernatural powers”. According to one myth. Siddhidatri gave Brahma, Vishnu and Lord Shiva an identity each, creator, caretaker and destroyer. She tells Lord Shiva to meditate on her to be blessed with all eight supernatural powers: Anima (Ability to change the physical size to the smallest), Mahima (Changing the size to the largest), Garima (Becoming infinitely heavy), Laghima (Becoming weightless), Prapti (Having access to all places), Prakambya (Generating any desire), Ishitva (Having sovereign lordship) and Vashitva (Controller of all things). Meanwhile when Lord Shiva was meditating on Siddhidatri for all the eight supernatural powers, Siddhidatri appears and gives him the form of a half man-woman and Lord Shiva will be known as “Ardhnarishwar” (The Lord who is half-Shiva and half-Shakti). Lord Shiva was very happy. Siddhidatri has four hands holding discus, conch shell, trident and mace, wears a red saree, adorned with jewelry, wears a crown, sitting on a fully-bloomed pink lotus as her vehicle.
The Goddess Siddhidatri is capable of giving all sorts of occult powers and is also the possessor of 26 different wishes to grant her worshipers. All these achievements [Siddhi], which according to the Markandaye Purana:- Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakaamya, Ishitva and Vashitva are 8 siddhis. As per the Brahmavaivart Purana there are 18 types of achievements which are Anima, Mahima, Garima, Ladhima, Prapti, Prakaamya, Ishitva,Vashitva, Sarvakaamaal, Saadhita, Sarvagynatva, DurShravana, Parkaayapraveshan, VakaSiddhi, Kalpavrushatva, Shrishti, Samharkaransaamarthya, Amaratva, Sarvanyayakatva, Bhavana and Siddhi.
Legend has it that the Supreme God Shiva got all these ‘siddhis’ by worshiping Maha Shakti. With her gratitude the half body of Shiva became that of the Goddess Shakti and therefore he also came to be called as ‘Ardhanarishvar’. Dev, Danav, Gandharva, Kinnar, Yaksh, Manav, all do worship Maa Siddhidaatri and attain achievements. Maa Durga removes ignorance and she provides the knowledge to realize That or Brahman. That is why She is surrounded by Siddhas, Gandharvas, Yakshas, Demons and Gods who are worshiping her. The Siddhi that she provides is the realization that everything is Supreme Being or Brahman. If a “sadhaka” worships in the prescribed manner with his full faith he acquires all “Siddhis” and nothing remains unattainable from him in the universe.