Day 3 of Navratri ~ “Chandraghanta”
This form of Goddess Durga is worshiped on the third day of the “Navratri”- the grand ceremony of worshiping the Goddess and the victory of good over evil, for 9 nights and 10 days.
The “Chandraghanta” – meaning one who has the half moon shaped like a bell, is the avatar that the Goddess joyously took over when her beloved Lord Shiva agreed to marry Her. It is recognized as the married ‘roop’ (appearance) of Goddess Parvati. The significance of bearing the half crescent moon of her forehead is also symbolic of her acceptance and willingness to be one with her Husband, Lord Shiva, who also bears a half moon on His forehead himself. But there is a little bit more to Her this avatar.
Not only is this form, one of Her most beautiful avatars, with her glowing golden aura and bright and adorned costume after her marriage with Lord Shiva, it also symbolic of the exhibition of bravery and courage with a serene composure.
She is believed to be depicted with eight hands, holding the Trishul (Trident), lotus flower, bow-arrow, bell or the conch shell in her four left hands and with a Sudharshan Chakra (a spinning disk like weapon), a sword, gada (mace) in her three right hands, with one hand in a blessing posture. This blessing posture of the hand, in some scripts also connotes as an obstruction to all hardships or evil, in order to protect her devotees.
The most interesting part of this composition, is a lion or a tiger being her vehicle. This depicts the Mother’s courage and valor and her war like preparation coupled with Her serene composure signifying that if provoked, She could be a tough warrior in action.
No wonder, Hinduism considers this embodiment of the Goddess to that of a Mother, who can always have her serenity be taken over by her bravery, just to protect her children.
In Hinduism & its religious practices, the conch shells have a great significance. The sound produced from a conch shell by blowing at its circular end, expels an auspicious echo believed to get rid of evil and negative energies. This is the primary reason for a conch shell to be blown during every Hindu religious ritual.
Appropriately, this avatar of Goddess Durga in the form of “Chandra-ghanta” (moon-bell) ascertains her serenity and promises the welfare for her children, whereas it’s resemblance to the shape of a bell is a metaphoric reason citing, that it’s ringing would simply get rid off all negative energies and spirits from our lives. Therefore owing respect and seeking for protection of the mind and the soul, the worship of the “Chandraghanta” is spiritually and ritualistically observed on this day of “Navratri”.
P.S: This feature image, is an absolutely adorable illustration done by my artistic friend Suchita. This a wonderful way to picture Mother Goddess through the innocent eyes of a child, no matter how old we all become.