The 8th day of Navratri also known as Ashtmi is dedicated to the worship to of Goddess Mahagauri. She is believed to be the 8th form and the most beautiful form of NavDurga. She has an extremely fair complexion. The word “maha” means great and “gaur” means white. Worshiping Goddess Mahagauri makes cleans the devotee’s heart and makes him/her pious. On this day, Sandhi Pooja is also observed in many regions of India.
About & Significance:
According to Hindu Mythology, Goddess Parvati devoted herself to the intense worship of Lord Shiva. The austerity made her skin extremely dark. Pleased with the devotion, Lord Shiva accepted Parvati and got rid of her dark skin with the holy water of Ganga. After that, Maa Parvati got a bright moon-like complexion and came to be known as Mahagauri.
The Goddess has 4 arms. She has a trident (Trishul) in the upper right arm while the lower arm gestures to bless her worshippers. She holds a pellet drum (Damaru) in the lower left arm and the upper one is in the gesture of allaying fear. Devotees who worship Mahagauri find fulfilment of their desires and are absolved of their sins. They also find an end to their suffering. Goddess Mahagauri is peaceful, intelligent and calm and rides a bull wearing white or green saree. She also has 2 other names that are Shwetambardhara (due to clothes) and Vrisharudha (due to bull).
Pooja Vidhi of Ashtmi:
This year ashtmi will start on 23rd October and conclude on 24th. The colour of the day is purple and the flowers are jasmine and mogra. For pooja, Idol of Mahagauri should be purified with Ganga jal and placed on a wooden stand. On the same stand, place idols or images of Shri Ganesh, Varun, Navgrah, Shodash Matruka (16 Devis) and Sapt Grut Matruka (seven kinds of sindoor). After this, kailash sthapana by placing a coconut on silver, copper or earthern pot fillwd with water should be done. Thereafter, one must resolve to complete the fast. For the fast, one must do sankalp for vrat, poojan and do shodhopchar pooja of all the placed Gods along with Maa Mahagauri. Offer the coconut to the Goddess and then give it away as alms. Mata blesses the beauty. At last, hold white flowers in your palm as you practice meditation (dhyan) for Maa Mahagauri.
Kanya Poojan Vidhi:
The 8th day of Navratri holds a special significance of Kanya poojan – worshipping young girls along with Maa Mahagauri.It is considered to be very auspicious. Girls between the ages of 2-10 years are generally worshiped. Ideally, the devotee should worship 9 girls but worshiping 2 girls will also serve the purpose. After the girls have had their meals, they should be presented with gifts.
Mantra for Mahagauri Pooja:
Om Devi Mahagauryai Namah.
Prarthana: Shwete Vrishesamarudha Shwetambaradhara Shuchih,
Mahagauri Shubham Dadyanmahadeva Pramodada.
Stuti: Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Maa Mahagauri Rupena Samsthita,
Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah.