Durga Ashtami is a significant Hindu festival that is celebrated on the eighth day of Navaratri. Mahashtami or Virashtami are the other names for this Puja.
This day is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga, who is also believed to have manifested on this day to destroy the demon Mahishasura.
In the following blog, we will explore the Origin, Evolution and significance of this Puja and the rituals associated with it.
The Origin of Durga Ashtami Puja
According to Hindu mythology, the festival of Durga Ashtami especially has its origins in the battle between Goddess Durga and the demon Mahishasura.
It is believed that the demon had become almost invincible due to a boon from Lord Brahma, which made him immortal against all men and gods. The battle between the goddess and the demon lasted for nine days, and on the eighth day, the goddess finally vanquished the demon.
The Evolution of Durga Ashtami Puja
The tradition of this Puja has evolved too, and it has become an integral part of the Hindu culture.
The festival is celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm, and it is observed in different parts of India in various ways. People also celebrate the day by performing Kumari Puja, which involves worshiping young girls who are considered to be the living form of the goddess.
Besides, the day is marked by the worship of young girls, who are considered to be the embodiment of divine feminine energy. It should be noted that in South India, this puja is also celebrated as Mahanavami. The day is marked by the offering of prayers to the goddess and the performance of Ayudha Puja, which involves the worship of tools and weapons.
The Significance of Durga Ashtami Puja:
Celebration of the Victory of Good over Evil
The significance of this Puja lies in the celebration of the victory of good over evil.According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga fought against the demon Mahishasura for nine days and finally defeated him on the tenth day. Moreover, the festival signifies the ultimate victory of righteousness and goodness over wickedness and evil.
Worship of Divine Feminine Energy
The festival is also a reminder of the importance of the feminine principle in the universe and the power of the goddess to overcome all obstacles. The worship of the goddess is believed to bring peace, happiness, and prosperity in life.
Renewal of Life Force
This Puja is also a celebration of the renewal of the life force. The festival marks the beginning of the harvest season, and it is a time to offer thanks to the goddess for the bounty of nature.
This Puja is also a time for spiritual upliftment and inner transformation.
The festival also provides an opportunity for devotees to deepen their connection with the goddess and seek her blessings for spiritual progress. People also believe that the worship of the goddess removes negative energies and obstacles and bestows spiritual growth, wisdom, and knowledge.
The Astrological Significance of Durga Ashtami Puja:
People dedicate the festival to the worship of Goddess Durga, who represents the divine feminine energy and also embodies strength and power. The day is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion by millions of Hindus across the world. In addition to its spiritual significance, this Puja also has a significant astrological significance.
People celebrate this Puja on the eighth day of Navaratri, which falls on the dark fortnight of the lunar calendar in the Hindu month of Ashwin.
The day is also believed to have a significant astrological influence, as it marks the beginning of the waning moon phase.
According to Vedic astrology, the waning moon phase is a time to let go of negative energies and emotions and focus on inner reflection and introspection.
Benefits of Durga Ashtami Puja:
- Protection from Evil Forces: Goddess Durga is believed to be the protector of the universe and is also worshipped for her ability to destroy evil forces. By performing this Puja, devotees seek the protection of the goddess against all evil forces and negative energies.
- Improved Health and Well-being: Durga Ashtami Puja is believed to be very beneficial for one’s physical and mental health. The chanting of mantras and the recitation of hymns during the puja help to purify the mind and improve mental clarity.
- Spiritual Upliftment: Durga Ashtami Puja is a time to seek the blessings of the goddess for spiritual upliftment. The puja helps to purify the mind and soul, and the blessings of the goddess also help to strengthen one’s faith and devotion towards God.
- Prosperity and Abundance: Goddess Durga is believed to be the giver of wealth, prosperity, and abundance. By performing this Puja, devotees also seek the blessings of the goddess for prosperity and abundance in their lives.
- Overcoming Obstacles and Challenges: Goddess Durga is believed to be the remover of obstacles and challenges. By performing this Puja, devotees seek the additional blessings of the goddess to overcome any obstacles and challenges in their lives.
- Strengthening of Relationships: Durga Ashtami Puja is also a time to strengthen relationships with family and friends. The puja brings people together in a spirit of love and devotion towards the goddess, which helps to strengthen relationships and promote harmony and peace in the family.
Samagri required and their cost for the puja:
|Mango leaves||Rs. 10-20|
|Incense sticks||Rs. 10-20|
|Sandalwood paste||Rs. 50-100|
|Turmeric powder||Rs. 20-30|
|Betel nuts||Rs. 20-30|
|Betel leaves||Rs. 10-20|
|Puja Thali||Rs. 50-100|
|Cloth for Goddess||Rs. 100-200|
Date & Tithi of the puja in 2023:
Durga Ashtami Puja is celebrated on the eighth day of the Navratri festival, which falls on the Ashtami tithi of the Hindu month of Ashwin.
In 2023, this Puja will be celebrated on Thursday, October 5th. The Ashtami tithi will begin at 11:19 PM on October 4th, 2023, and will end at 9:52 PM on October 5th, 2023.
Vidhis involved in Durga Ashtami Puja:
Preparation for Puja
The preparations for Durga Ashtami Puja begin several days in advance. At this time, devotees clean and decorate their homes with flowers, rangolis, and lights. They also prepare special dishes and sweets for the puja. On the day of the puja, devotees wake up early in the morning, take a bath, and wear new clothes.
The first ritual of Durga Ashtami Puja is the Kalash Sthapana. At this time, a Kalash or pot is filled with water and decorated with mango leaves and coconut. The Kalash is also considered to be a symbol of abundance and prosperity. The pot is then placed on a bed of rice, and a small mango leaf is placed on top of the pot. The Kalash is also worshipped as a symbol of the goddess.
The next ritual is the Navapatrika Puja. At this time nine different plants are tied together, and the puja is performed to honour the goddess and her nine forms. Furthermore, the nine plants are banana, turmeric, pomegranate, colocasia, rice, betel nut, Ashoka, arum, and Jayanti.
Durga Ashtami Puja
Futhermore, the main ritual of Durga Ashtami Puja is the worship of the goddess. Devotees also offer flowers, fruits, sweets, and other offerings to the goddess. At this time, devotees perform the puja with the recitation of mantras and hymns dedicated to the goddess. They worship the goddess as the embodiment of strength, power, and courage. The devotees perform the puja with great devotion and dedication.
People also perform Sandhi Puja during the transition period between Ashtami and Navami. They perform the puja at the exact moment when Ashtami ends and Navami begins. They worship the goddess as Chamunda, who is also believed to be the fierce form of the goddess. People undoubtedly perform this puja with great devotion and consider it to be very auspicious.
Bhog and Aarti
After the puja, devotees offer bhog or prasad to the goddess, which is then distributed among the devotees. Aarti is performed to conclude the puja, and the devotees sing hymns in praise of the goddess. The aarti is performed with great devotion, and the devotees seek blessings from the goddess for prosperity and happiness.
In conclusion, this Puja is one of the most significant Hindu festivals, celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm.
Through the rituals and traditions associated with this Puja, devotees seek protection from evil forces, improved health and well-being, spiritual upliftment, prosperity and abundance, and the strength to overcome obstacles and challenges.
The puja is also a time for strengthening relationships with family and friends, promoting harmony and peace in the family. May the blessings of Goddess Durga bring happiness, prosperity, and peace to all those who celebrate this auspicious festival.
Q. What is Durga Ashtami Puja?
A. Durga Ashtami Puja is a Hindu festival dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga, celebrated on the eighth day of the Navratri festival.
Q. What is the significance of Durga Ashtami Puja?
A. Durga Ashtami Puja is significant as it is also believed to provide protection from evil forces, improve health and well-being, promote spiritual upliftment, bring prosperity and abundance, and help overcome obstacles and challenges.
Q. What are the rituals of Durga Ashtami Puja?
A. The rituals of Durga Ashtami Puja include fasting, offering prayers to the goddess, performing puja with various Samagri, reciting hymns and mantras, and offering bhog and prasad.
Q. Can anyone perform Durga Ashtami Puja?
A. Yes, anyone who believes in Goddess Durga can perform Durga Ashtami Puja. It is a festival that is celebrated by people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.
Q. Where is Durga Ashtami Puja celebrated?
A. Durga Ashtami Puja is celebrated across India and in many countries around the world where there is a significant Hindu population. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion, with each region having its own unique traditions and rituals.