This is the fourth night of Navratri 2017. Navratri is nine nights celebrating the many forms of the goddess which Durga has taken. That is why the goddesses are known as NavaDurga (Nine Durgas). Each goddess has particular aspects or qualities which we can embrace. The women in Maharashtra and Gujarat states typically wear saris (traditional Indian dresses) to match the auspicious color for that night. There is also a planetary association with each of the nine goddesses. One of the nava graha (nine planets) in Jyotish is for each NavaDurga.
The fourth night of Navratri marks the 1st of the 3 nights dedicated to the worship of Shri Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, beauty and fortune. The NavaDurga we worship is the goddess Kushmanda (the creator of the universe). According to Drik panchang, the auspicious sari color is grey. The ruling planet is Sun (Surya). The phase of the Moon in Vedic astrology is Chaturthi.
Shri Vivek Godbole says this about Kushmanda: She is like a fruit which resembles a white pumpkin or dudhi (squash in Gujarati). If you eat the Kushamanda (called khoda in Hindi) fruit, then you will have a lot of energy. If you eat the Kushamanda (khoda in Hindi) fruit, you will have a lot of energy. That energy is like a warrior’s energy. People eat meat to get energy. This is not sattvic; it is rajasic. Goddess Kushmanda provides you with a lot of strength and she gives you rajaya Lakshmi. This is political strength. Additionally, if you have been under the influence of any kind of black magic or evil eye, she can remove those problems if you pray to her.
Drik panchang further elucidates on this goddess: Kushmanda is the Goddess who has the power and capability to live inside the Sun. The glow and radiance of her body is as luminous as that of the Sun. It is believed that Goddess Kushmanda provides direction and energy to the Sun. Goddess Kushmanda has eight hands and because of that she is also known as Ashtabhuja Devi (the goddess with 8 arms). It is believed that all the power to bestow Siddhis and Niddhis (spiritual prowess and wealth) are located in her japa mala (rosary beads). It is stated that she created the whole universe, which is called Brahmanda (ब्रह्माण्ड) in Sanskrit, by just flashing little bit of her smile.
Ganeshaspeaks gives the story of Kushmanda Devi: Lord Vishnu was able to start creating the universe when Maa Kushmanda smiled like a flower which blossomed with a bud. She created the world from nothing, at the time when there was eternal darkness. This swarup (form) of Maa Durga is the source of all. Since she created the universe, she is called Adiswarup and Adishakti.
She holds a kamandul (a water pot), a bow, an arrow, a pot of nectar (amrita), a discus, a mace, a mala, and a lotus. She has a radiant face and golden body complexion. Maa resides in the core of the Sun and thus controls Surya Loka (the realm of the Sun). Maa Kushmanda represents the anahata chakra (heart chakra) in spiritual practice. The divine blessings of Maa Kushmanda help you improve your health and wealth. She removes all hurdles and troubles from your life and enables you to get rid of all sorts of sorrows in life. Maa brings light into darkness and establishes harmony in your life.
Chant the following mantra to worship Maa Kushmanda:
सुरासम्पूर्णकलशं रुधिराप्लुतमेव च ।
दधाना हस्तपद्माभ्यां कूष्माण्डा शुभदास्तु मे ॥
Surāsampūrṇakalaśaṁ rudhirāplutamēva cha |
Dadhānā hastapadmābhyāṁ kūṣmāṇḍā śubhadāstu mē ||
May Kushmanda Devi bless you on this fourth night of Navratri!
Also published on Medium.