The Navratri puja is filled with immense merriment and passion all through the nine days. The worship of Goddess Durga on all the days reaches its epitome as it comes closer towards the grand victory of the deity over the demon.
Durga Puja holds a special place in people’s hearts and is always a much-awaited festival across the nation. Other countries like Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore also celebrate this festival on a grand scale.
Consequently, the third day begins with the worship of Goddess Maa Chandraghanta Devi, who is one of the forms of Goddess Durga!
Maa Chandraghanta has a crescent moon (chandra), that resembles a temple bell (ghanta), hence the name Chandraghanta. It so happened that after Devi Sati, the previous incarnation of Lord Shiva’s wife immolated herself in Daksha , in the next incarnation the goddess- Ma Adi Shakti took birth as Parvati.
Parvati wanted Lord Shiva as her consort and thus, observed severe penance. After seeing her resolve, Shiva agreed to marry her. However, he reached her abode for the marriage ceremony in the strangest way with snakes hurled around his neck, body smeared in ashes, and long unkempt hair. What followed behind the procession were ghosts, goblins, sages and aghoris.
On seeing such an estranged procession, everyone from Parvati’s home went into a complete state of shock. Thus, to avoid any kind of embarrassment to her family and also to Lord Shiva, Parvati took a petrifying form of Chandraghanta.
By doing this, her entire attributes changed. In the new form, she now had ten arms, nine out of which were holding different things ranging from a trident, mace, arrow, goad, sword, and lotus, kamandalu, with one of her hands in a blessing posture or Abhaya Mudra.
The deity then tried to persuade Lord Shiva to change his appearance and He agreed and took the form of a prince. The God also changed his marriage procession and their wedding ceremony was solemnized, which is now celebrated as Maha Shivratri.
Significance of the Deity
Maa Chandraghanta rides on a lion, which reflects the fact that she can be terrible towards those who are evil and motherly towards those who seek her.
It is believed that the goddess rules the planet Shukra and thus, with her blessings comes wealth and prosperity. All the worries of life, sins, physical sufferings are eradicated by her.
Those who seek her with all their hearts are said to gain divine splendour and success in their lives as she is the epitome of serenity. The goddess tends to love those who are devout and ever ready to punish those who are wicked and ungodly.
This form that goddess Durga took, is considered to be a peaceful form that gives immense strength to every devotee of hers. At the same time, the crescent moon that she carries on her forehead is believed to cast away the evil spirits from her seekers.
Also, praying to her is helpful to those who have lost hope and are unaware of the path that is to be followed. The Chandraghanta prayer is thus, considered beneficial in receiving the divine light on one’s path.
A symbol of peace and serenity, Maa Chandraghanta is worshipped with full passion on the third day. The puja begins with the worship of all the gods , goddesses and planets. The prayer is then offered to Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartikey, Goddess Saraswati, Lakshmi, Vijaya, and Goddess Jaya.
Thereafter, Maa Chandraghanta is worshipped along with prayers to Lord Brahma and Shiva. The devotees chant ‘Om Ayam hreem Chandraghantaya namah’ mantra before reciting the Durga Saptashati.
On this day, jasmine is brought as it is the favorite flower of the deity. Sixteen types of offerings are performed and the puja comes to a closure with arati, followed by intense devotion to receive the goddess's blessings.
The third manifestation of Durga, is appeased by the devotees through prasad which is dedicated to the goddess and then distributed among all those who come for the puja.
It is believed that Maa Chandraghanta’s particular favorite is milk and hence, it is offered by all the devotees to seek her blessings. Other dishes invariably include Kheer and different types of sweets which are again made of milk.
The goddess is also offered fruits, coconut, bananas, paan, and supari. This is followed by lighting diya by using camphor and concluding the puja with final aarti.
This post-monsoon autumn festival invariably constitutes the heart and soul of India. With the coming of the goddess, one realises the authority and significance of the supreme being in mere human life.
Maa Chandraghanta is symbolic of passion and love and teaches a lesson to us all that with will and determination, one can achieve their set goals. With deity’s blessings, all the problems of life are removed and happiness flows everywhere.
Truly, Navratri gives all of us a chance to introspect our inner-self and to seek the true path that is shown to all by the grace of the almighty.