The killing of Mahishasura And forms of Durga..
We are all aware of the Great War where the demon King of Mahisha, Mahishasura was slain by the Goddess Durga. These days of war had a lot more going into it than just one complete slash of the buffalo demon’s head.
It is interesting to notice that two aspects of the female energy are worshipped during this time of 9 days. On one end its the fiercest form of the Goddess coming forth to slay one of the worst enemies of mankind and devas while on the other end she is worshipped as a coy little girl, yet to be married.
But lets get to the story of Mahishasura first. Kambasuran who later got the title of Mahishasura ruled the kingdom of Mahisha. After having performed tapasya, he asked Brahma for a boon which was granted. This rendered him almost immortal for no man could kill him. He would die only in the hands of a woman, one who had equal power as him. With this confidence, he plundered the common people off their wealth and disturbed the rhishis when they did their puja and constantly troubled the devas. This was done with the help of his sons Sumbhan and Nisumbhan and his brother Durgamanasura.
The first to die in the Great War is Durgamanasura who is slain by the Goddess on the first day of the war, in the form of Mahalakshmi. Durga takes on the forms of Nava Durga during the next 8 days to slay the buffalo demon.
During this time she takes the form of:
Vana durga (The goddess of the forests),
Chulighai Durga (Consort of Tripurantaka Shiva),
Jatavetaka Durga(she calms the fiery side(ughra) of Murugan when he was just born),
Jwala durga (she defeats another asura called Pandasura),
Shanti Durga (she calms Shiva when he is insulted by Daksha who performs the yajna without inviting him)
Sabari Durga (she advices Arjuna to surrender to Lord Shiva the hunter, in the story of Kiratarjuniya, and finally wins him the
Pashupatastra in the Mahabharata)
Deepa Durga (she signifies the flame that is worshipped by all yogis when their kundalini fails to rise)
Asuri Durga (she brings out the Amrit from the churning ocean and gives it to Vishnu in the form of Mohini.)
Lavana Durga (She helps Rama get the astra that will kill Lavana, a general in the army of Ravana. The astra is an arrow with has a trishul at the end of it.)
During the time of Navaratri, Durga is worshipped to kill all evil, Lakshmi gives wealth to all the poor people Mahishasura had plundered and Saraswati gives knowledge to all so that they can start their lives again. The Goddess fought the battle during the day and went into tapasya during the night. Its during this time she receives the Shankha and chakra from Vishnu, the trishul from Shiva, The Vel(spear) from Murugan, and the sword and arrow from Chamunda. Its finally of Vijaya Dasami day that Durga finally slays Mahishasura and his two sons and vanquishes the asura army.
Markhandeya Rishi adds more to the 9 days of Navaratri. He directs women to worship the Goddess in various forms each day.
On day 1: as a 2-year-old child the Goddess is worshipped in the form of Kumari.
On day 2: as a 3-year-old child the Goddess is worshipped in the form of Thrimurti.
On day 3: as a 4-year-old child the Goddess is worshipped in the form of Kalyani.
On day 4: as a 5-year-old child the Goddess is worshipped in the form of Rohini.
On day 5: as a 6-year-old child the Goddess is worshipped in the form of Kaligha.
On day 6: as a 7-year-old child the Goddess is worshipped in the form of Chandika.
On day 7: as a 8-year-old child the Goddess is worshipped in the form of Sambhavi.
On day 8: as a 9-year-old child the Goddess is worshipped in the form of Durga devi.
On day 9: as a 10-year-old child the Goddess is worshipped in the form of Subhadra.
This is called Kanya Puja, which ensures that young girls will get married into good families. With this we come to the end of Navaratri celebrations.