Navratri 2022: Important Kanya Puja principles and their implications for Ashtami and Navami

Hinduism holds that the feminine identity represents the widespread creative talent. Mahamaya is the initial power, inspired by whom the deity and the rest of the cosmology were made. The imagination is what gives all of discovery life. Numerous goddesses serve as representations for all the principal and minor sources of energy and forces. It is believed that Mahamaya, the primary motivation behind the Navaratra goddess Durga, is the source of all of her embodiments.  Nine goddesses are worshipped over the course of nine days, stage art pieces are used, the prodigy is recited, the narrative is acted out, and Hindu religious texts are chanted. The nine days also serve as a significant harvest season cultural festival, with activities like pandal layout and orchestrating competitions, family visits to these pandals, and live appearances of Hindu dances from both the classical and popular traditions. Navaratri is frequently observed by Hindu devotees by fasting. The figurines are now either burned with firework displays to symbolise the defeat of cruel on the the last day, known as Vijayadashami, or they are submerged in a water body like a river or the ocean. Additionally, during this time, Deepavali (the festival of lights), which is observed twenty days after Vijayadashami, is being prepared for.

Importance of every day

  • Day 1: This day is referred to as Pratipada (first day) and is connected to Shailaputri (“Daughter of Mountain”), a manifestation of Parvati. As daughter of Himavan (the protector deity of the Himalayan region), Durga is adored in this version. She is shown cruising the bull Nandi and holding a trishula in her right wrist and a flower in her left. Mahakali is regarded as having an immediate embodiment in Shailaputri. Yellow, the colouring for the day, represents activity and vitality. She is also referred to as Hemavati and is believed to be a replica of Sati, Shiva’s first wife who later takes the form of Parvati.
  • Day 2: Goddess Brahmacharini, a different form of Parvati, is revered on Dwitiya . Yogini, Parvati’s unmarried self, took on this form. Brahmacharini is revered for bestowing moksha, or liberation, as well as prosperity and tranquility. She represents joy and peace and is portrayed as walking barefoot while carrying a japamala (prayer beads) and a kamandala (pot). Today’s colour scheme is green. Occasionally, the serene orange colour is utilized to create a powerful life force energy everywhere.
  • Day 3: The third day, or Tritiya, honours the adoration of Chandraghanta; the name stems from the fact that Parvati wore the ardhachandra on her top of the head ever since she wed Shiva. She is both the epitome of beauty and a representation of heroism. The third day’s colour scheme is greyish, which is vigorous and can lift anyone’s spirits.
  • Day 4: On Chaturthi, devotees pray the goddess Kushmanda (fourth day). The colour scheme that day is orange because Kushmanda, who is thought to represent the universe’s driving spark, is linked to the creation of vegetative cover on earth. She is pictured sitting on a tiger as well as possessing eight hands. 
  • Day 5: On Panchami (the fifth day), the deity Skandamata is revered as Skanda’s mother (or Kartikeya). Whenever a mother’s infant faces hazard, the colour white is a representation of her morphing power. She is shown to have four arms, be riding a fierce lion, and be carrying her infant.
  • Day 6: Katyayini is a personification of Durga who was born to the wise man Katyayana and is depicted as displaying the boldness that the colour red represents. She is referred to as the warrior deity and is among Devi’s most aggressive manifestations. Katyayani has four arms and a lion as her alter ego. She is a manifestation of Mahalakshmi and Parvati. Shashtami is her day of celebration (sixth day). On this particular day, Maha Shashti and the beginning of the shardiya Durga Puja are noticed in eastern India. 
  • Day 7: On Saptami, Kalaratri, thought to be the fiercest manifestation of Goddess Durga, is worshipped. According to legend, Parvati shed her fair skin in order to slay the evil spirits Sumbha and Nisumbha. Navy blue is the day’s tint. The Goddess has blazing eyes and wears red clothing or tiger skin. Her skin darkens as she displays her fury. The worshippers are assured that the Goddess will keep them safe by using the colour red, which symbolises worship. On Saptami, she is honoured (seventh day). 
  • Day 8: Mahagauri is a representation of wisdom and harmony. It is said that Kaalaratri’s skin warmed up after taking a dip in the River ganges. Pink, a hue that symbolises positivity, is the hue connected with this day. Ashtami is her day of celebration (eighth day). On this particular day, Maha Astami is celebrated in eastern India.  It is an extremely significant tithi and is recognised as the birthday of Chandi’s Mahishasuramardini avatar.
  • Day 9: The ninth day, or Navami, is the final day of the celebration, when Siddhidhatri is prayed to. She is said to have all kinds of Siddhis and to foist them while seated on a lotus . The magenta hue of the day, also referred to as Mahalakshmi, symbolises awe for the splendor of nature. The wife of Shiva, Parvati, is Siddhidatri.  The goddess Siddhidatri is thought to have a side on Lord Shiva’s body. The name Ardhanarishwara is thus another name for him. Religious texts from the Vedas claim that Lord Shiva worshipped this Deity in order to achieve all the siddhis.

Kanya puja will be carried out by numerous individuals as a component of the Navratri ceremonies. Let’s explore the explanation for this ritual. 

Quick knowledge:

  • The eighth day of Navratri adoration is known as Maha Ashtami. 
  • A nine-day festival is called Navratri.
  • The 9 days of fasting must culminate with the Kanya/Kanjak puja. 

On October 3, 2022, the region will start celebrating Maha Ashtami, also known as Durga Ashtami. The nine-day festival commemorates the triumph of goodness over evil and the conclusion of Maa Durga’s conflict with the evil spirit Mahishasura. This year’s Shardiya Navratri started on September 26 and will end on October 4 with the Navami puja and on October 5 with Dussehra/Vijayadashami. Numerous Hindu families perform Kanjak or Kanya Pooja mostly on momentous occasion of Ashtami, during which nine girls who haven’t yet gone through puberty are invited into the home by having to wash their feet. Although practised throughout India, the ritual is particularly well-known in places like Delhi, Punjab, Bihar, etc..

Some family members choose to perform Kanjak or Kanya Puja on Maha Navami. Why exactly are these nine young girls being worshipped? Let’s explore. 

What exactly is Kanjak/Kanya puja?

Young girls who would be adored this day are said to be epitome of Goddess Durga, according to the Devi Bhagwat Puran. Kanjak Puja or Kanya Pujan is the name for the devotion of ten girls and one boy (known as Langur) for the same purpose, and it is also preceded by amazing food (bhog). Because children are believed to have the clearest spirits since they have little or no  negative emotions, Kanjak puja is practised. And honouring nine girls during this puja is comparable to honouring Goddess Durga in each of her nine incarnations. 

Importance of Kanjak/Kanya puja?

Kanjak puja is managed to perform on Ashtami or Navami (the eighth or ninth day of Navratri). You could indeed express your gratefulness to the Divine Goddess in this way as well. Nine girls are greeted at the door and presented with gifts and delectable bhog. They are idolised as such nine spiritual aspects of Goddess Durga—embodied in these young girls who have yet to hit puberty. 

Norms of Kanjak/Kanya Puja

  1.  Nine prepubescent girls are invited into the home.
  2.  Prior to getting requested to sit on a cloth, those very same young girls and one boy (langur) have their feet cleaned and left to dry.
  3. A tilak is applied to their foreheads, and they have kalava attached around their forearms.
  4. Following the distribution of the prasad of delicate coconut, people are then given halwa and kaale chane. 
  5. Additionally, gifts such as money, accessories, apparel, and other items are given to the young girls.
  6. They were bid farewell by people approaching their feet and asking for their good wishes.

To everyone celebrating, a happy Navaratri!

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