Nine Avatars of Goddess Durga Matha
First form of goddess Durga Shailaputri
Shailaputri means the daughter of the mountains. Variously known as Sati Bhavani, Parvati or Hemavati, she is the daughter of Hemavana the king of the Himalayas, she is the first among Navadurgas. Her worship takes place on the first day of Navaratri – the nine divine nights. The avatar of the power of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, she rides a bull and carries a trident and a lotus in her two hands.
Second form of goddess Durga Brahmacharini
Durga Brahmacharini is worshipped on the second day of Navaratri and she is the second form of Mother Goddess. Bharmacharini means one who practices devout austerity. She enlightens us in the magnificent embodiment of Durga with great powers and divine grace. She holds a rosary in her right hand and a water utensil in her left hand. She is blissful and endows happiness, peace, prosperity and grace upon all devotees who worship her. Filled with bliss and happiness, she is the way to emancipation – Moksha.
Third form of goddess Durga Chandraghanta
The third avatar of Goddess Durga is ‘Chandraghanta’, who is worshipped on the third day of Navaratri, for peace, tranquility and prosperity in life. She has a half moon in her forehead in the shape of a bell. That is why she is called ‘Chandraghanta’. She is charming, has a golden bright complexion and rides a lion. She has ten hands, three eyes and holds weapons in her hands. She is the apostle of bravery and possesses great strength to fight in the battle against demons.
Forth form of goddess Durga Kushmanda
Kushmanda is the fourth avatar of the mother goddess and is worshipped on the fourth day of Navaratri. The meaning of the name ‘Ku-shm-anda’ is ‘Ku’ = a little; ‘ushma’ = ‘warmth’; ‘anda’ = ‘the cosmic egg’. So she is considered the creator of the universe. The universe was no more than a void full of darkness, until her light spreads in all directions like rays from the sun. Often she is depicted as having eight or ten hands. She holds weapons, glitter, rosary, etc., in her hands, and she rides a lion
Fifth form of goddess Durga Skanda mata
The fifth avatar of Durga maa is known as ‘Skanda Mata’ – the mother of Skanda or Lord Muruga (Kartikeya), who was chosen by gods as their commander in chief in the war against the demons. She is worshipped on the fifth day of Navaratri. She is accompanied by the Lord Skanda in his infant form.
Skanda Mata has four arms and three eyes, holds the infant Skanda in her right upper arm and a lotus in her right hand which is slightly raised upwards. The left arm is in pose to grant boons with grace and in left lower hand which is raised also holds a lotus. She has a bright complexion and often depicted as seated on a lotus.
Sixth form of goddess Durga Katyayani
The sixth avatar of Durga mata is known as ‘Katyayani’, she is worshipped on the six day of Navaratri. The legend behind her name goes thus: Once upon a time, there was a great sage called Kata, who had a son named Katya. Kata was very famous and renowned in the lineage of saints. He underwent long austerities and penance in order to receive the grace of the Mother Goddess. He wished to have a daughter in the form of a goddess. According to his wish and desire the Mother Goddess granted his request. Katyayani was born to Kata as an avatar of Durga.
Seventh form of goddess Durga Kalaratri
Durga Kalaratri is the seventh avatar of Durga maa and she is worshipped on the seventh day. She has a dark complexion, disheveled hair and a fearlessness posture. A necklace flashing lightning adorns her neck. She has three eyes that shine bright and terrible flames emanate from her breath. Her rides ona a donkey. Her raised right hand always seems to grant boons to all worshippers and all her right lower hand is in the pose of allaying fears. Her left upper hand holds a thorn-like weapon, made of iron and there is a dragger in the lower left hand. She is black like Goddess Kali and holds a sparkling sword in her right hand battle all evil. Her gesture of protection assures us of freedom from fear and troubles. So she is also known as ‘Shubhamkari’ – one who does good.
Eight form of goddess Durga Mahagauri
Durga Mahagauri is worshipped on the eighth day. Her power is unfailing and instantly fruitful. As a result of her worship, all sins of past, present and future get washed away and devotees get purified in all aspects of life. MahaGauri is intelligent, peaceful and calm. Due to her long austerities in the deep forests of the Himalayas, she developed a dark complexion. When Lord Shiva cleaned her with the water of the Ganges, her body regained its beauty and she came to be known as Maha Gauri, which mean extremely white. She wears white clothes, has four arms, and rides on a bull. Her right hand is in the pose of allaying fear and her right lower hand holds a trident. The left upper hand holds a damaru and the lower one is in the pose of granting boons to her devotees.
Ninth form of goddess Durga Siddhidatri
Siddhidatri is the ninth form of Goddess and she is worshipped on the ninth day. she has supernatural healing powers. She has four arms and she is always in a blissful happy enchanting pose. She rides on the lion. She blesses all Gods, saints, yogis, tantrics and all devotees as a manifestation of the Goddess. In ‘Devi Bhagvata Purana’ it is mentioned that Lord Shiva worshipped her and was blessed with all supernatural powers. By her blessings his half body became female and other half body male in the avatar of Ardhnarishvara.