During Navratri 9 forms of Durga are worshiped, these 9 forms are:
1. Shailaputri: She is the primal energy of the trident Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, and was born as daughter (putri) to Himalayas (shaila - mountains)
2. Bhrahmacharini: This form represents penance and austerity leading to blissfulness and moksha.
3. Chandraghanta: Represented as 10 - armed mother riding a lion, she adores a bell - shaped (ghanta) moon (chandra), and is slayer of evil forces.
4. Kushmanda: Literally meaning "little warmth cosmic egg", she is the creator of the universe.
5. Skandamata: She is the mother of Skanda, or Karthikeya, the chief warrior of Gods.
6. Katyayani: As daughter of sage Katyayan, she is a fierce form of Durga.
7. Kaalratri: As death of Kaal (time), she showcases the other side of life - death. She is the most terrible and ruthless form of Durga.
8. Maha Gauri: She represents calmness and grants wisdom to her devotees.
9. Siddhidatri: The fulfiller of all the wishes and giver of boons.
Why is it celebrated?
Let us take a look at the two most famous legends:
The legend of the battle between Goddess Durga and the demon Mahishasura.
One of the fiercest demons, Mahishasura undertook severe penance to obtain a boon that he cannot be killed by a male, underestimating at his own cost the power of the female form, and started creating havoc everywhere. To stop him, Shakti took a very beautiful form of Durga and told him that she would marry him if he defeats her in a battle. It is believed that they battled for 9 days, and on the 10th day, Durga killed Mahishasura. Therefore the 10th day is called Vijayadashmi, day of the victory. One of the most famous idols that you see in temples depicts this scene where Mahishasura, in the form of a half bull, is being slayed by Mother Durga.
In another legend, in Ramayana, lord Rama went to Srilanka to rescue his abducted wife Sita from the clutches of Ravana. Before the battle Rama prayed to Goddess Durga for 9 days to seek Goddess' blessings to kill Ravana. Eventually, on the 10th day, Rama killed Ravana, and that is why the 10th day is celebrated as Dussehra or Vijayadashmi.
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