or Dasara is being celebrated throughout our country. These
are being celebrated to remember how Devi Durgamatha killed
various demons in order to bring peace. She waged war against
various demons and their followers, the demon soldiers. All
these are elaborately written in Devi Bhagavatham and many other
Puranas. Kanyaka Parameswari who is Matha herself is worshipped
as Parvathi. Hence during the Navaratri days Kanyaka Parameswari
is specially worshipped in nine forms or avataras one each day.
Special decorations, costumes, weapons are given to the Utsava
Vigraham to form various avatars. A small effort is done to
describe each one in brief.
Amma is praised as Chidrupi, Paradevatha, Bhagavathi, Rajarajeswari
(from Lalitha Sahasranamam). She is Jnana Swaroopini (the
embodiment of Jnana or wisdom). She holds in her right hand
the wand of the universal ruler and in the left she hold a
sugar cane. Sugarcane is symbolic to sweet juice, the juice
of bliss (Atma Gnana – the self realization). She wears
jewels on the shoulders made of diamonds and other costly
stones. Her wears beautiful diamond chains, broad ear rings
and so many jewels. She is Alankara Priya. According to Indian
culture which as old as the creation of humanity wearing of
jewel all over the body is a symbol of prosperity which brings
good to family. You can see no woman without at least a single
jewel in India.
Being Mother of all, she is the great ruler of the three lokas.
All the living beings are her children, she blesses them all.
She thrashes those who are wicked and arrogant and harmful
Suratha was a king who was defeated and thrown out his kingdom.
Rajarajeswari Devi protected her devotee and brought him back
to the throne. She also made him the future ‘Manu’.
The deity who presides over the second day of Dasara is Bhavani.
So Vasavi Devi is decorated as Bhavani.
The goddess Durga is worshipped by us as our mother. This
is our tradition. She is present everywhere. She is ever agile
and active. Otherwise how can she activate the whole universe
without a flaw? Hence we pray Devi, Thou art our mother, thou
art present in every element and creature. We salute thee.
Goddess Bhavani emerges from the Chidagni Kundam – the
holy fire place – in her godly stature with four arms
as if to present us the sour purusharthas - which are to be
achieved by every hu7man being. They are Dharma, Artha, Kama
and Mouksha. She holds damarukam in one hand which send the
sounds which are 24 sutras (formulae) for Sanskrit grammar.
Inher second hand she holds a white Knach (Sankaham). This
is one of the precious things, symbolizing riches. In the
third hand she holds an open sword for punishing the wicked.
In the fourth she has a shield signifying protection from
the wicked and immoral fellows. She has jewels for each part
of her body. She is descibed as Sarvangabharana Shobitha –
meaning glorified by the precious and shining jewel worn all
over her body.‘Bhava’ is the one name of Sri Sankara
Bhavani means she is the wife of Lord Shiva (Bhava). She is
satisfied easily by mere Bhavana (thought) and she cures all
ills and she makes us happy. She showers boons on us.
Adi Sankara praised Devi Sarada as “Bhaje Saradambaam
Ajasram Madambam” Goddess Saraqda. Thou are my mithger,
I pray thee, I praise thee, I chant thy name. Please look
at me with your kind and pleasing edyes through which nector
spills on thy devcotees. In the right hand there is Jnana
mudra the tip of the index finger touches the thumb in a circle
and other three fingers set straight. This indicates the Jeeva
and Brahma are united. That god, the parabramha is one with
the living man (jeeva ). In the second hand she holds boo0ks
– vedas. There are towo temples of Sarada which are
very famous in India. One is at Sringeri on the bank of the
river Tunga ( A tributary of the Krishna) in Karnataka and
other is in Kashmir. Devi Sarada is worshipped with special
fervour and adoration during Sarat Ritu (during September
and October). She is the presiding deity for education and
for the flourishment of mind. She is being worshipped by all
the Trimurthis. She is ever smiling, as she is the embodiment
of eductioj and wisdom. We prostrate befor4e you oh! Mother
– please make our minds are full of Jnana and Wisdom.
This is the most sacred form of Lakshmi Devi. Elephants are
her mates. She wakes up to the trumpets of elephants. She
is the transfigured form of riches and wealth. She is as great
as a large mountain, as big as an elephant and as high as
the sky. Hence it is symbolic that two elephants are there
to serve her on either side. Oh! Lakshmi! You are bathed by
the two splendid elephants from either side with the holy
water of Akasha Ganga fill in golden Kalasas which are studded
with precious stones and you holding a bright lotus in your
hand. Please graciously come to my house and make it your
own abode. That is Gaja Lakshmi, the Goddess of pleasure and
prosperity. Lakshmi is born out of the sea of milk which it
was charned. The elephant Iravatham preceded her as if symbolizing
that this race will be at her service. Moreover elephant is
symbolic to wisdom, balanced and matured mind, notto be deterred
under any condition. Such elephants are at the service of
Sri Mahalakshmi. Sri Gajalakshmi has bright and ever shining
and circulating eyes. Her eyes are not still because she makes
her kind looks fall on each and everyone. That’s why
she is called Chanchalakshi. She wouldn’t be at a place.
Ever ever moving nature (chanachala swabhava) shows that her
benedictions are showered on every one in turns. Oh! Mother!
Pranams at your feet.
Saraswathi mathqa is worshipped on the Moola Nakshatra Kay
in Aswiyuja Masam during Navaratri. This is an auspicious
day for saraswathi puja. She represents “Satva Jnana”
– calmness and serenity. She is the presiding deity
of knowledge and wisdom. Wisdom is the judicious use of knowledge.
Hence knbowledge and wisdom must go hand in hand.That is jnana.
Jnana mingled with Bhakti leads to Moksha. So knowledge is
the fundamentalnecessity and Saraswathi rupam of Amma is so
adoring. That day Mother Durga is decorated to appear in Swaraswathi
Alankaram. She has the purest white crystal Mala in one hand
and a white lotus is in another. The lotus represets serene
beauty. She holds books and holds the Veena. Books represent
wisdom and Veena represents the fine arts. Without her blessings
no intelligible soound is even uttered nor can’t be
understood. With her divine light she shatters away the darkness
of ignorance.“Lead kindly light” Amid the encircling
gloom Lead those me on.
MAHISHASURA MARDANI DEVI:
The king of Rakshasas Mahishasura defeated Indra. All the
Devas went to Brahma to relieve them from the tortukres of
Mahisasura. Along with Brahma they went to see Shiva and Keasva.
An enormous beam of light emerged out of alll the angry devas
and took the form of a woman. The Devas were very pleased
and presented her the energies of their powerful godly weapons.
She was Durga shiva gave his Trisulam, varuna gave his Sankham,
Yama gave his sword, Surya installed all his powerful rays
of light in her hair. Thus every Deva gave his power to her.
Collecting all those powers, Goddess Durga became Mahisasura
Mardani, that is the one who killed the power ful demon Mahishasura.
The goddess who has the brightness of one crore rays of the
sun wears red clothes. She will be wearing the skulls of chanda
and Munda the two demons whom she had killed earlier. That
is why she is called Kapalamaladhara. The garland of skulls
is a warning to all the torementors of humanity and nature
in general. But her looks appear to be pleasant to her worshippers
and those who pray for her protection in spite of her fierce
form. She is our mother and she showers her benevolent and
pleasant looks on her children. She fought a fierce battle
with mahishasura and pierced the Sulam into the throat of
the demon. Still the demon stod up and began to fgitht. Then
she severed his head from his trunk. Seeing the fall of Mahishasura
his armky fled away. The Devas were hilarious at the success
of Durga. They praised Durga immensely and the Goddess became
pleasant looking once again.“Mahishanthakari Yenapujitha
sa Jagat Prabhutha”
Meaning : If Mahishasuranthakari i.e., Mahishasura Mardini
is worshipped then one will become the ruler of the universe.
VRUKSHA NIVASINI : (PARVATHI DEVI)
Bilva (Meredu in Telugu) is a very holy leaf for Shiva and
Ammavaru. It is our tradition to take the Utsava Vigraham
of Ammavaru in Parvathi Devi Alankaram to a Biva Tree and
seat her under it. Then traditional Pujas are performed in
praise of the Goddess. This occasion is celebrated on Shukla
Shasti combined with Jyesta star during Dasara.
“Vindhystham, Bilvanilayam, Divyasthana Nivasineem!
Yegineem Yoge methancha, Chandikam Pranamamyaham” Oh!
Devi! You amble under the cool shade of Bliva tree with great
ease. You are a Yogini, you are Yogamatha. We salute you,
Mother.From this sloka we understand that Bliva tree is very
dear to Paravathi Devi. There is a regerencve of Bilva Tree
in Sree Suktam also.
Aditya Varne Thepasisodhi jatho Vanspathi Stheva Vrulashdhi
Even the fruits of Bilva are also considered to be holy Oh!
Mother! Bilva is your tree. It is called Sree Vrukaham. Kindly
distance away my poverty and unhappiness. The twigs have three
leaves. (Dala) it is a medicinal plant too. Hence the tree
is adorable. So we worship Bliva Viharini – the Devi
who lives under Biva tree.
ANNAPURNA DEVI :
Annam (Anna) is food. Annapoorna is the presiding deity of
anna or food. She is present in the food we eat. Every living
creature is evolved only because of the food. If there is
no food there is no living creature. Annath Bhavathi Bhautami
– Bhagavad Gita. What is eaten is called anna or food.
Bhrugu, son of Varuna did penance and discovered the truth
that is Anna is parabrahma that is food is god. The only one
mother woho feeds all the creatures is Annapoorna. In one
hand she qahs a vessel containing food and in the other there
is the ladle to seve food. She is ready to serve. Even our
own mother willnot give us food unless we request her. But
annapuirna Devi, she knows our hunger. She is hunger itself
and she is the one who quenches the hunger.Hunger is in a
way symbolic to Jnana. ;you ask for Jnana Bhisha that is you
beg for Jnana, you will be presented. Feeling hungry is symbolic
to your hunger for jnana. Annapoorna, the wife of Sankara
gives us the Bhiksha of reunuciation (Vairagyam).
SREE DEVI VANA VIHARINI :
Bhuvana Sundari, the matha is very; interested in taking strides
through glorious gardens. In gardens and woods there reside
the deities who are called Vana Devathas. The whole nature,
if we consider as the beautiful woods and forests as a stree
murthi, that is our mother, she is the Vana Devatha. We are
happy that our rishis gave us the inhstinct to see God or
Goddess in every item of the nature more so in the astoounding,l
awe inspiring forests. In order to make us realize Ammavaru
is called the one who wants to play with the Vanadevathas
in woods or gardens of the places or temples
Thus we will realize the presence
of beauty of the nature and feel that the realizde the presence
of beauty of the nature an feel that the nature is our mother.
In several lof our strotrams we have a regference of trees
to god. In Vishnu Sahasranamam we have “Varuno, Varuni
Vruksha”. In Bhagat Gita Sri Krishna says I am found
in Aswartha Vruksha. In Rudra Namakam we have “Vrukshebhyo,
Harikesehyo”. Hence Gods who are in the form of trees,
are responsible for givbing us, sun, rain and cold. Without
trees the whole earth becomes barn and dry. Even the air we
breathe is a boon form the vanadevathas. Sao “Vruksho
Rakshitha”. Meaning: protect trees and they will protect
you. Such fine lessons are there in our traditions poja, rituals,
festivals and our daily prayers. So please follow our old
traditions evenif you don’t understand why we should.
As you follow them blindly in the beginning you will get to
know everything. The cvhild doesn’t know why mother
holds his finger and makes him stand and stagger slowly. Later
on he will come to know that she did so, so that he could
stand on his legs steadily, walk erect without stumbling and
run keeping pace with the world. If the child questioned the
mother she couldn’t answer and the child would refuse
to stand and hold her finger. So don’t ridicuyle our
traditions, rituals, festivals and gods etc., if they are
not intelligible. Follow them faithfully. If you don’t
see the other end of the ocean don’t say there no end.
You journey patiently. You have faith in those who have seen
the other end of the ocean. Similarly you trust our great
seers, our rishis, our scriptures, our books, our poets, our
elders and contilnue your life’s journey then you will
see the joy of our traditions and rituals. They describe the
eclasy of visualizing the Supreme.
VIJAYA LAKSHMI DEVI :
After nine days of fight with the demons Ammavaru demolished
Mahishasura and became victorious. So to celebrate the occasion
Sri Ammavaru is taken in procession in the form of Vijaya
Lakshmi. Smiling victoriously, Goddess Vijaya Lakshmi sits
in a swing and gives the darshan to the cheering of all. We
don’t know how the devathas cheered her then. But we,
in Proddature cheer her lustily. Wounderful fire works are
burnt to celebrate her victorious march through our streets.
Lakhs of people from the surrounding villages and towns pour
in to see her glory. That is proddatur, the second Mysore.
We have been celebrating these Navaratri festivals with great
religious fervour and grandeur. After these nine or 10 days
(sometimes) of festival there is a grand finale in the form
of Vasanthotsavam. Sri Kanyaka Parameswari will come into
our streets, oour houses to play Vasantham. This water is
mixed with turmeric powder would be kept ready at every house.
Elders, youngsters, boys and girls will pour turmeric water
on each other and enjoy. Later in the evening there will be
a grand feast for all the 102 Gotrajas of the town hosted
by the Sabha. This feast is treated as Prasadam of Ammavaru.