The 8th day of Navratri
This day is observed as Ashtami Tithi or Mahashtami Vrat. The 8th form of Navdurga- Goddess Mahagauri is worshipped today. As per Hindu mythology, Goddess Shailputri was extremely beautiful and had a fair complexion at the age of 16.
The 8th day of Navratri or the third day of Durga Puja, Maha Ashtami, celebrates Maa Durga’s victory over the buffalo demon Mahishasura. People worship Maa Mahagauri on this day, who is known for bestowing her devotees with wealth and an opulent lifestyle, and removing all their sufferings
Goddess Mahagauri is pleased by offering sweets or other food items made of coconut. During this, chant the mantras of the mother, and to conclude perform aarti with a lamp of ghee.
Navratri Day 8 is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Mahagauri and Kanya puja. This day is also called Maha Ashtami & Durga Ashtami. Goddess Mahagauri is known as the 8th and most beautiful form of NavaDurga. Sandhi Puja is also observed in many regions of India. It is believed that she is the most beautiful and glows very brightly. That’s the reason her name is Gauri. She is the Goddess who denotes peace and endurance. It is said that worshiping her on Maha Ashtami will clean the devotee’s heart and make him pious.
It is said that Goddess Shailputri who became Goddess Parvati after marrying the almighty Lord Shiva, had obtained Lord Shiva as her husband after hard penance. During the days of hard penance, she had turned black and dull. When Lord Shiva got impressed by her love and sacrifice he washed her with pure Ganga water. This turned her white and glow like a pearl. After this reformation, the Goddess was named Mahagauri.
This avatar is named Gauri because of its complexion. She has a mesmerizing and spellbound whitish skin tone. She wears white clothes and hence is also known as Shwetambardhara. Her deity is represented with four arms. She carries Trishul in one right hand and the second right hand is in Abhaya Mudra. She holds a Damaru in one left hand and the other left hand is in Varada Mudra. She rides a bull and hence is also known as Vrisharudha.
Devotees install nine earthen pots and invoke the Goddess’ image in them. Nine forms of Durga are been worshipped during Maha Ashtami Puja and some young unmarried girls are treated like goddesses. This ritual is known as Kanya Puja and performing this ritual on a single day during Durga Puja is preferred on Maha Ashtami. Navami Homa is the most important ritual during Durga Puja and devotees perform Homa at the end of Navami Puja.
Enchanting mantra for worshipping goddess Mahagauri by devotees:
श्वेते वृषे समरूढा श्वेताम्बराधरा शुचिः। महागौरी शुभं दद्यान्महादेवप्रमोददा।।
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