Navratri, the nine-night festival dedicated to the worship of the Goddess Durga, is one of the most auspicious and celebrated festivals in India. Each day of Navratri holds a special significance, and on the eighth day, known as Maha Ashtami, devotees honour Maa Mahagauri. This article explores the significance of Maa Mahagauri and provides insights into the rituals and customs associated with this day.
Who is Maa Mahagauri? The Divine Form
Maa Mahagauri is the eighth incarnation of Goddess Durga and is revered for her radiant and pure white form. Her name “Mahagauri” translates to “extremely white” or “extremely fair,” symbolizing her pristine and untainted nature. She is depicted as having four arms, holding a trident and a damru (drum), with one hand in the varada mudra (blessing gesture) and the other in the abhaya mudra (fear-dispelling gesture). Maa Mahagauri is often shown riding a white bull, and she exudes an aura of serenity, grace, and divine beauty.
Navratri 2023 Day 8 Significance of Maha Ashtami
Maha Ashtami, the eighth day of Navratri, holds special significance in the festival. It is believed that on this day, Maa Mahagauri blesses her devotees and absolves them of their sins. Worshipers seek her divine blessings to purify their hearts and souls, and to seek relief from suffering. Devotees also believe that by worshipping Maa Mahagauri on this day, they can attain inner peace and enlightenment.
Navratri 2023 Day 8 Puja Vidhi, Rituals, Bhog, Colour and Timing
The Ashtami Tithi will commence at 9:53 pm on October 21 and conclude at 7:58 pm on October 22. The auspicious Sarvartha Siddhi Yoga window is open from 6:26 am to 6:44 pm. Therefore, you have the opportunity to perform Kanya Puja on October 22 starting from 6:26 am. Lastly, the Sandhi Puja is scheduled to commence at 7:34 pm and conclude at 8:22 pm.
The Maha Ashtami puja involves various rituals and customs to honour Maa Mahagauri. Devotees fast and offer prayers to the goddess with utmost devotion. The following are some of the essential rituals and customs associated with Maha Ashtami:
1. Kanya Puja: On Maha Ashtami, Kanya Puja, or the worship of young girls, is a significant part of the celebrations. Nine young girls, symbolizing the nine forms of the goddess, are invited into the home and offered food, clothing, and gifts. It is believed that by performing Kanya Puja, one can seek the blessings of the goddess and ensure prosperity and happiness.
2. Bhog: Devotees prepare a special bhog (offering) for Maa Mahagauri. This bhog includes food items like puris, kala chana, halwa, and more. The food is first offered to the goddess and then distributed as prasad to the devotees.
3. Mantras and Aarti: During the puja, various mantras and aarti are recited to invoke the blessings of Maa Mahagauri. Devotees sing hymns in her honour and perform the aarti to express their reverence and devotion.
4. Wearing White: On Maha Ashtami, it is customary to wear white attire as it symbolizes purity and devotion. Devotees, especially women, dress in white to honour Maa Mahagauri’s pristine form.
5. Offering Flowers: Flowers, especially white ones, are used to decorate the idol of Maa Mahagauri. The fragrance of flowers is believed to please the goddess and purify the surroundings.
Navratri 2023 Day 8 Maa Mahagauri Puja Mantra, Prathana, Stuti and Stotra
ॐ देवी महागौर्यै नमः॥
Om Devi Mahagauryai Namah॥
श्वेते वृषे समारुढा श्वेताम्बरधरा शुचिः।
महागौरी शुभं दघान्महादेवप्रमोददा॥
Shweta Vrishe Samarudha Shwetambardhara Shuchi
Maha Gauri Shubham Dadhyana Mahadev Pramodda
पूर्णन्दु निभां गौरी सोमचक्रस्थितां अष्टमं महागौरी त्रिनेत्राम्।
वराभीतिकरां त्रिशूल डमरूधरां महागौरी भजेम्॥
Poornandu Nibhaan Gauri Somachakrasthitaan Ashtaman Mahagauri Trinetraam
Varaabheetikaraan Trishool Damaroodharaan Mahagauti Bhajem