By Aarti Natarajan Sharma
Durga Chalisa is one of the most popular chalisas and is chanted to invoke the blessings of Goddess Durga. Durga was created by the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh to slay the demon, Mahishasura. This is also why she is known as ‘Mahishasurmardini’.
Durga is the symbol of shakti (power); she rides a tiger, and is depicted with ten arms with a weapon in each arm to battle the demon.
Durga, as the feminine form of God, is worshipped throughout the country, especially during the navratris; a nine-day festival symbolising the period when Goddess Durga fought the demon Mahishasura and defeated him.
The easiest and most effective way to invoke the blessings of Goddess Durga is through chanting the Durga Chalisa. This chalisa is best chanted in the morning after a shower, particularly during Brahmamuhurtha (an hour and a half before sunrise). It is believed that chanting of this chalisa helps in fighting evil spirits, brings about a spiritual awakening, protects one from enemies, does away with negativity, and bestows wealth.
The nine days of navratri are synonymous with the worship of Goddess Durga and mark the beginning of the Hindu new year. It also heralds the change of season from spring to summer; marked by worshipping the goddess. Navratri is celebrated twice a year, once also when autumn gives way to winter. The chanting of the Durga Chalisa during these nine days is said to have a powerful effect and bestows the devotees with spiritual awakening.
Durga is worshipped in her nine avatars—
Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri.
- Shailputri is the first manifestation of the Goddess. Shail means mountain in Sanskrit. The literal meaning of this word is ‘Daughter of the Himalayas’.
- Brahmacharini—an unmarried form of the Goddess following celibacy and austerity.
- Chandraghanta—having a moon-shaped bell on her forehead.
- Kushmanda stands for the creator of the Universe.
- Skandmata—the mother of Skanda or Kartikeya who was created out of her powers.
- Katyayani—the daughter of Sage Katyayana, often depicted as riding on a lion.
- Kaalratri—a fierce avatar of the Goddess
- Mahagauri—This form is worshipped on Ashtami and is considered to be most graceful.
- Siddhidatri—worshipped on the 9th day, culminating in blessings.
Chanting of the Durga Chalisa creates vibrations that increase one’s intuition and help in de-stressing. Chanting aloud brings about an impact on all the organs, which produce the sound, from the stomach to the lungs to the circulatory system. The worship of the goddess through the chanting of the Durga Chalisa helps in overcoming adversities.
The word Durga is found in the Rig Veda and is formed from two words, Dur and Gam which means a fortress which is difficult to cross. It symbolizes the Goddess protecting the world like a fortress. Another popular name for the goddess is Durgatinashini, meaning someone who destroys all suffering.
Durga is Shakti. Astrologically the day of the Devi is Friday. She is worshipped with white flowers, and white substances are donated in temples on Fridays such as milk and rice.Buy your Durga chalisa here.