Eighth day of Navratri also called Ashtami, is dedicated to the Goddess who is known for her white appearance, white clothes and white ornaments, Goddess Mahagauri. Apart from worshipping Devi Mahagauri on this day, many other festivals are also celebrated all across the country.
The eighth avatar of Goddess Durga is worshipped on the 8th day of Navratri in the form of “ Maha Gauri”. She is a manifestation of Maa Parvati and below is the Mantra for her:
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ गौरी रूपेण संस्थिता।
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नम:।।
To learn more about the Goddess, click here - Devi Mahagauri
Story Behind The Name “Mahagauri”
It is said that once Maa Parvati observed a very hard penance to attain Lord Shiva as her husband. As a result of meditating in the open for a long time, Maa Parvati developed a dark complexion. Lord Shiva was pleased by her and accepted her devotion for him. He washed her body with Gangajal after which her body got back its original beauty and complexion. Thus, she got the name “Mahagauri” and became prominent as Mahadev’s wife. Mahagauri means extremely fair or white. She glows as white as a pearl.
Maa Mahagauri sits on a bull and has four hands. In the right lower hand she holds a trident and her right hand is in the pose to ease fear. A damaru is held in her right hand and the lower one grants blessings and boons to her devotes. Her clothes and ornaments are of white color. She is the symbol of morality and kindness.
Devotees who perform Ashtami, worship Goddess Mahagauri with full devotion and faith. Women offer red colored stole to the Goddess and perform the Puja. Garlands, fruits, cloves, sweets, cardamom and betel leaves are also offered to the Goddess. Her idol is bathed with milk, water, curd and is adorned with new clothes. Vermillion, sandalwood, kohl and henna are applied to the Goddess and she is covered in red clothes and placed on a neat and clean platform. The Puja begins with worshipping of Lord Ganesha with ganga jal, sandalwood, rice, roli, moli, belpatra, flowers, sweets, cloves and dakshina. Later, the Kalash is worshipped.
Benefits Of Worshipping Goddess Mahagauri
Married women worship Mahagauri and observe fast on eighth day of Navratri to get a peaceful and prosperous married life. Unmarried girls do so to get blessed with the man of their dreams. Worshipping Goddess Mahagauri frees the devotees from all sins and sorrows. The Goddess has the power to make impossible things possible and grants her devotees health, wealth and prosperity.
Region Wise Celebration
On the eighth day of Navratri, Durga Ashtami Puja is celebrated in Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa and other eastern areas of the country. Narayani and Bagala form of Goddess Durga is worshipped in Maharashtra and Gujarat. In Karnataka, Kerala and other Southern regions, Bhadrakali form of the Goddess is worshipped. Batukamma festival is celebrated in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh.
On Ashtami (eighth day of Navratri), many Hindu families perform “Kanjak” which means performing Puja and inviting 9 girls to their homes. These little girls are considered as Goddess. Their feet are washed and red tikka is applied on their forehead. They are served with puri, halwa and kale chane along with money.
Eighth day of Navratri has its own significance and it is a very popular day for the people of North India.