Maha Navami is the last day of Shardiya Navratri and also the last day of the three important days of Durga Puja. This day marks the end of Navratri and also the end of the fasting observed by many devotees. This year in 2021 Maha Navami falls on the 14th of October.
This was the day Mata Durga killed the demon Mahishaura in the battle that started on Maha Saptami. The Goddess is also worshipped as Mahishuramardini or Maa Siddhidatri on this day.
Navami Tithi begins – 08:07 PM – 13.10.21
Navami Tithi ends – 06:52 PM – 14.10.21
On the day of Maha Ashtami, Nabapatrika and Mahasnan are first done as they were on Maha Saptami and Ashtami. Nine plants tied together are bathed in Gangaajal for the Nabapatrika ritual. A mirror reflecting Durga Mata’s image is bathed with Gangaajal followed by the 16 step puja (Shodashopchar).
In addition, the main ritual of Maha Navami is the Navami Homa which is an elaborate ceremony performed by priests around a sacred fire. Usually, this is the last ritual of Maha Navami and is done in the latter half of the day. Generally, red chunni, coconuts, flowers, and milk are offered to the Goddess. A prasad of Halwa, Puri, and Chana is distributed to devotees after this Homa.
The Murti of Durga Mata is immersed in a water body the next day.
Maa Siddhidatri – The Ultimate Blessing
Durga Mata is worshipped as Maa Siddidatri on the ninth and final day of Navratri. The reason for this lies in the meaning of the Goddess’ name. ‘Siddhi’ indicates a spiritual power that is needed for the attainment of Moksha, which is the final goal in Sanatana Dharma. ‘Datri’ means – the one who “gives”. Maa Siddhidatri is the giver of the ultimate blessing needed to cross the ocean of ignorance. Maa Siddhidatri is the Adi Shakti Herself.
This period of nine days known generally as Shardiya Navratri, and Durga Puja in the Eastern regions of India is one of the most popular festivals in India. This is a time that is awaited eagerly and celebrated wholeheartedly when it comes. Across India, one can feel a wave of joy, positivity, brotherhood, and harmony.
Each region or state has its own traditions and ways of celebrating but the essence is the same. This is a tribute to, and the worship of the nine forms of the One Adi Shakti. This festival has deep roots going back to ages unknown.
One record of an international traveler in about 1453 mentions the grand scale of celebrations in Hampi, the capital of the Vijayanagara Dynasty at its peak. There are many other references to this ubiquitous festival found in ancient travelers’ diaries and accounts. It is a festival that can be called, and is ‘The Grand Indian Festival’.
Happy Maha Navami!