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Katyayani - The Warrior Goddess

Katyayani – The Warrior Goddess

Katyayani is worshipped on the 6th day of Navaratri and is known to be the 6th manifestation of goddess Durga among the Navadurga. Her alternate names are Adi Parashakti, Uma, Katyayani, Gauri, Kali, Haimavati and Ishwari. She is also known to be the ferocious form of Durga who is known as the warrior goddess. She is also known as Bhadrakali and Chandika.

Talking about her physical appearance, she is said to have either four, ten or eighteen hands, some in the state of an hasta mudra (hand gestures) and some holding weapons out of which the noteworthy are Khadka (sword), Padma (lotus), Varada mudra and Abhaya mudra. Sita, Radha and Rukmini worshipped goddess Katyayani for getting a good husband in their life.

The sole purpose of Katyayani’s birth was to destroy and defeat the demon Mahishasura (the buffalo demon). Let us understand how she came to be called “Mahishasura Mardini”, the slayer of the demon Mahishasura. The entire universe was tired of the troubles and evils of the demon Mahishasura. One day, the Trimurti (the supreme triad of gods in Hindu culture) Brahma, Vishnu & Mahesh decided to put an end to the demon. They combined their energy and crystalised it in the forms of rays to a hut in Katyayani. With their continuous and deep prayers and meditation, Devi Katyayani took birth as his daughter. She proceeded to the Mysore hills in search of this demon.

Upon her arrival, the demon was so influenced by her beauty that he asked Devi Katyayani to marry him and become his. She however challenged the demon to war and said that the results of this war would decide if they are to get married or otherwise. She fought the war like a tigress and defeated the demon for good. She is known to have cut his head off with her Khadka (long sword) and hence was named Mahishasura Mardini.

Devi Katyayani is known for her valour, courage, bravery and strength. Killing a powerful demon all by herself hints at the strength of this goddess. She governs the planet of Jupiter. She is the symbolization of shakti (strength), vidya (knowledge), saahas (courage). Those who bow down to her and pray with a pure heart are blessed with the above qualities. Devi Kanyakumari is said to be the incarnation of Devi Katyayani. She is popularly worshipped during the harvest festival in the southern parts of India. Pongal festival is when the devi is said to bless the country and people with abundant rain, crop, harvest and prosperity.

Katyayani word signifies destroying negativity and ego in one’s behaviour and life. Her devotees are hence blessed with a pure and clean heart. During the month of Margashirsha (Hindu Calendar Months – Mid November to Mid January), young girls who are eligible for marriage observe fast to pray for a loving husband. This point also is a throwback to when we spoke of Sita, Radha and Rukmini praying to Katyayani for good husbands in their lives.

Her colour is orange which signifies courage and personifies the actions of the Devi in the most appropriate manner. Devotees of Katyayani offer her honey and sandalwood pulp, betel nuts, fragrant garlands, fruits and incense sticks to seek blessings from her and give them all the qualities that she possesses.

Her mantra is “Om Devi Katyayanyai Namah”.

Click here to read about Skandamata – Mother Of The War God.

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