This is the seventh night of Navratri 2017. Navratri is the nine night festival honoring the many forms which the goddess Durga has taken. Thus, the goddesses are known as NavaDurga (nine Durgas). Each goddess represents particular virtues and attributes which we can embrace. Kalaratri is the NavaDurga worshiped on the seventh night of Navratri. The women in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra wear saris (traditional Indian clothing) to match the auspicious color for the goddess that day. Additionally, one of the nava graha (nine planets) in Jyotish is associated with each NavaDurga.
This begins the first of the three nights dedicated to the goddess Saraswati (goddess of learning and the arts). The Navadurga who is worshiped on the seventh night is Kalaratri ( कालरात्रि literally “dark night”). (Kalaratri is alternatively spelled as Kalratri or Kaalratri). The auspicious sari color is red, according to drikpanchang.
The governing planet is Shani (Saturn).
Shri Vivek Godbole describes Kalaratri: “She is very furious. She is black in color and her hair is tied. She looks very dangerous. She teaches us to follow our true path and not to go down the wrong path. Many people don’t have good sleep and they wake up in the middle of the night. Or they need to take sleeping pills. When she is happy with you, you will have very good sleep. Those who get good sleep, also have their days go well. Kalaratri will help you and give you true knowledge. Kalaratri is a strong teacher. A good teacher uses strong words. These days, teachers can’t say anything (reprimand) to students and students are not listening to teachers worldwide. When you study with a strong teacher, you will have true and proper knowledge.”
Drik Panchang states: When the Goddess Parvati removed her outer golden skin to kill the demons named Shumbha and Nishumbha, she was known as Goddess Kalaratri. Kalaratri is the fiercest and the most ferocious form of Goddess Parvati. Goddess Kalaratri’s complexion is dark black and she rides on a donkey. She is depicted with four hands. Her right hands are in abhaya (fearlessness pose) and varada mudra (gesture offering blessings). She carries a sword and the deadly iron hook in her left hands. Because of her shubh or auspicious power within her ferocious form, Goddess Kalaratri is also known as Goddess Shubhankari (शुभंकरी).
Ganeshaspeaks explains: Kaal means time and death and Kaalratri means the One who is the Death of Kaal. Maa Kalratri destroys ignorance and brings light into the dark. This form also depicts the dark side – the super power that creates havoc and removes all things bad and dirty. But to her devotees, she brings calmness and courage.
Maa Kaalratri has a dark complexion. The donkey is her mount, She has bountiful hair and four hands. One of the two left hands holds a cleaver and the other holds a torch, and the right two hands are in “giving” and “protecting” mudras. She has three eyes emanate rays like lightning and her necklace is shining like thunder. When she inhales and exhales air, flames appear through her nostrils.
Maa teaches us that sorrow, pain, decay, destruction and death are unavoidable and cannot be ignored. These are the truths of life and denying them is futile. We must accept their presence and significance to realize the fullness of our being and our potential.
Chant this mantra to worship Kalaratri:
वाम पादोल्ल सल्लोहलता कण्टक भूषणा |
वर्धन मूर्ध ध्वजा कृष्णा कालरात्रि भर्यङ्करी ||
Vāma pādōlla sallōhalatā kaṇṭaka bhūṣaṇā | vardhana mūrdha dhvajā kr̥ṣṇā kālarātri bharyaṅkarī ||
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ कालरात्रि रूपेण संस्थिता। नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नम:।।
Ya Devi sarva bhooteshu maa kālarātri roopen sansthita. Namastasyai namastasyai namastasyai namo namah ||
May goddess Kalaratri protect you this seventh night of Navratri.
Also published on Medium.