Day 6 : Katyayani
Katyayani or Mahalakshmi is the sixth form amongst Navadurga or the nine forms of Hindu goddess Durga (Shakti), worshipped during the Navratri celebrations. She has 18 or 10 hands or 4 hands also. This is the second name given for Goddess Adi Parashakti in Amarakosha, the Sanskrit lexicon (Goddess Parvati Names – “Uma Katyayani Gauri Kali Hemavati Ishwari”). Devi Katyayani is the sister of Lord Krishna. In Shaktism she is associated with the fierce forms of Shakti or Durga, a Warrior goddess, which also includes Bhadrakali and Chandika, and traditionally she is associated with the colour red, as with Goddess Durga, the primordial form of Shakti, a fact also mentioned in Patanjali’s Mahabhashya on Pāṇini, written in 2nd century BCE.
Form of Devi :
Goddess Katyayani rides on the magnificent lion and depicted with four hands. Goddess Katyayani carries lotus flower and sword in her left hands and keeps her right hands in Abhaya and Varada Mudras.
Story of Devi Katyayani :
There was a sage known as ‘Kat’ who had a son named ‘Katya’. Later a sage named ‘Katyayan’ took birth as a descendant. Sage Katyayan had no offspring. He observed austere penance and worshipped the gods for a child.
Meanwhile, the demon Mahishasura was creating a lot of trouble for the Gods. His oppression was increasing day by day. The gods approached Vishnu to sought a way to end Mahishasura. At Vishnu’s behest, Shiva and Brahma joined him and then the Trinity (as Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma are collectively known as) emitted flames which took the form of Katyayani.
A manifestation of Durga, she then took birth as the daughter of Sage Katyayan as a result of which she came to be known as Katyayani.
Ma Katyayani was created to ed the sins being committed by the demons and was born as a fighter. She had a resplendent form with three eyes, eighteen hands and was refulgent as a thousand suns. The gods gifted her weapons to kill Mahishasura. Shiva gifted her a trident, Vishnu gave her a discus (Sudarshan Chakra). Varuna gave her a conch shell (Shankha), Agni gave her a dart, Vayu gave a bow, Surya gifted her a quiver, Indra gifted a thunderbolt, Kubera gave her a mace, Brahma gifted her a rosary and a water pot, Kala gave her a sword and a shield and a Vishwakarma gave her a battle axe and many other weapons. Her vehicle is a Lion.
Thus armed, Ma Katyayani proceeded towards Vindhya mountains where Mahishasura lived.
There is an interesting story of birth of Mahishasura. His father, Rambha, was the king of demons (asuras). He once fell in love with the princess Mahishi, who was cursed to be a water buffalo. Mahisha is the Sanskrit word for buffalo. Mahishasura was born out of the union of Rambha and Mahishi. Due to his lineage, he was able to change form between an Asura and Buffalo.
A fierce battle took place between Ma Katyayani and Mahishasura. She defeated him and cut off his head with a sword. The slaying of Mahishasura is celebrated as Durga Pooja in many parts of India. She is also named as Mahishasurmardini, the one who killed Mahishasura.
According to Bhagavatam Purana, the young marriageable girls in Gokul observed fast during the entire month of Margashirsha ad worshipped Goddess Katyayani to get Lord Krishna as their husband. They made an earthen deity of the goddess and worshipped it. From then on, it is believed that girls who observed fast and worship Katyayani will find worthy husbands. In Tamil Nadu, Devi Kanya Kumari, the virgin goddess is said to be and avatar of Ma Katyayani. She is worshipped during the Pongal which also coincides with Makar Sankranti.
Spiritual Significant of Devi Katyayani by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Everything that happens and unfolds before us, which is called Prapancha is not limited only to what is visible. That which is invisible and cannot be perceived by the senses is far greater than we can even imagine and comprehend.
How can anger be a positive or a divine quality, and when can it become a negative or a demonic quality? There is a huge difference between the two. Do not think that anger is only a bad quality. Anger is also important and has its own place. Good anger is associated with wisdom, while bad anger with emotions and selfishness. Good anger comes from a sense of broad vision. Anger is appropriate when it is directed towards injustice and ignorance. Usually whoever gets angry tends to think that his anger is justified and directed towards some injustice only! But if you go deeper into more subtle levels of existence, you will find that it is not really so. In such cases, anger actually creates bondage for the person. So, the anger that arises for righteous reasons and is directed towards negativity and injustice is represented by Devi Katyayani.
You must have witnessed so many natural calamities which people call the revenge of Nature. For example, many places get struck by huge earthquakes, or severe floods. All these happenings are attributed to Devi Katyayani. Devi Katyayani represents that divine principle and form of the Mother Divine which is behind such terrible natural calamities and disasters. Devi Katyayani also represents that anger that arises in Creation to restore and revive the principles of Dharma and truth. Katyayani is the divine force or principle of the unmanifest Divinity that arises in the subtle layers of creation against negativity and for the purpose of restoring Dharma. It is said that the anger of a wise person only brings about greater good; whereas even the love of an ignorant or foolish person can only cause more trouble. That is why Devi Katyayani actually represents a beneficial and uplifting force.
Katyayani Mantra :
कात्यायनी शुभं दद्याद् देवी दानवघातिनी॥
Colour of the Day : Green