This is the sixth 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. Katyayani is the NavaDurga worshiped on the sixth 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 is the last of three nights dedicated to honoring Shri Lakshmi. The phase of the Moon in Vedic astrology is shasti. The auspicious sari color is white, according to Drik Panchang. The governing planet is Jupiter (Brihaspati).
Vedamurti Shri Vivek Godbole speaks of the significance of Katyayani ( कात्यायनी): “In the Bhagvad Gita, it says to perform a Katyayani vrata (vow or religious practice) to find a proper partner. When girls are young, they do a Katyayani vrata. There is a story about some young girls who came to take bath at the Yamuna River. They were praying to Katyayani to find a good husband while they were bathing. Shri Krishna took their clothes and placed them near a kadama tree. The girls urged him to return their clothes. Krishna said to them, “You are all great beings. But you are taking a bath naked. Don’t bathe naked in public, but wear clothes. Katyayani will bless you.” Krishna provided them with knowledge. Both males and females can pray to Katyayani to attain a proper spouse.”
Drik panchang tells this story: To destroy the demon Mahishasura, Goddess Parvati took the form of Goddess Katyayani. It was the most violent form of Goddess Parvati. In this form, Goddess Parvati is also known as the warrior goddess. Goddess Katyayani rides on the magnificent lion and is depicted with four hands. She carries a lotus flower and a sword in her left hands and keeps her right hands in abhaya mudra (fearlessness pose) and varada mudra (gesture offering blessings).
Ganeshaspeaks provides this explanation of Katyayani’s birth: Once there was a great sage named Katya and it was his wish that Maa Durga be born as his daughter. He practiced austere penance for several years to please the Gods. The trinity of Gods (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) got involved and they designed Goddess Durga, who possessed the abilities of all deities. Since she was born to Katya, she was called Katyayani. Maa Katyayani has 3 eyes and 4 hands. If you make a vow of fasting and worshiping her, she will bless you with the husband you have wished and prayed for. If a lady’s marriage is getting delayed for any reason, she may worship Maa Katyayani to remove obstacles that may be causing delays in her marriage. Maa also blesses you with better health and wealth. By worshiping Maa Katyayani, you may develop great strength to fight all disease, sorrows, and fears. In order to destruct the sins accumulated over your several lives, you should religiously worship Maa Katyayani.
Chant this mantra to worship Goddess Katyayani:
कात्यायनि महामाये महायोगिन्यधीश्वरि ।
नन्द गोपसुतं देविपतिं मे कुरु ते नमः ॥
Kātyāyani mahāmāyē mahāyōgin’yadhīśvari |
Nanda gōpasutaṁ dēvipatiṁ mē kuru tē namaḥ ||
Here is another stuti to her:
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ कात्यायनी रूपेण संस्थिता। नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नम:।।
Ya Devi sarva bhooteshu maa Kātyāyani roopen sansthita. Namastasyai namastasyai namastasyai namo namah ||
May Katyayani protect and bless you on this sixth night of Navratri.
Also published on Medium.