The Seventh Day of Navratri – Goddess Durga as Devi Kalaratri

Indian Astrology | 20-Mar-2024

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Chaitra Navratri is a nine-day festival during which we worship nine forms of Goddess Durga. Each day is dedicated to one of the nine avatars of Maa Durga. Each incarnation represents a different aspect of the goddess, and understanding each of these forms helps us understand the essence of the goddess. On the seventh day of Navratri, we worship Devi Kalaratri, also known as Devi Mahatmaya in many scriptures. Devi Kalaratri is believed to be the fiercest form of Durga Mata, with a fearsome appearance. She is the destroyer of all demonic figures, evil spirits, ghosts, and negative energies who disappear at the mere mention of her name. Devi Kalaratri ensures ultimate protection to her devotees.

 

Devi Kalaratri - Description As Per Scriptures

 

Devi Kalaratri is also known as Shubankari, which means the one who performs auspicious tasks. This name is given to the goddess because she always provides shelter and protection to her devotees, ensuring auspiciousness in their lives and making them fearless. Some of her lesser-known names are Dhumorna and Raudri.

An ancient scripture from Orissa describes Devi Kalaratri as the goddess who rules over the night. She has also been mentioned in the epic Mahabharata, Markandeya Pura, Skanda Purana, and Devi Bhagwata Purana.

 

Read Also: - Chaitra Navratri 2024: A Complete Guide

 

Devi Kalaratri - A Brief Overview

 

The name Kalaratri is formed by combining two words—Kala and Ratri. Kala represents time and the colour black. Time is considered to be endless and omnipresent, and it is also associated with death. Thus, Devi Kalaratri is the ultimate divine source that witnesses all your deeds or karmas spanning multiple lives. As Kalaratri herself is time, no one can escape her watchful eyes.

On the other hand, Ratri means night and symbolizes the time of death when you meet your fate. It is the ultimate night when you finish your present birth. By remembering Kalaratri, one can understand that everyone has to meet their end and face the results of their good and bad deeds.

In the Mahanirvana Tantra, Kala is described as the supreme creative force that engulfs the universe. Kali, a female word for Kala, is considered to be Kala's wife and Devi Parvati. In the Rigveda, sage Kushika realized the absorbing power of darkness during his meditation and worshipped Ratri as a powerful goddess in the form of hymns. According to tantric beliefs, each period of the night is ruled by a specific and terrifying goddess who can accomplish a particular desire for the worshipper. The word Kalaratri, or the darkness of night, may seem terrifying to an ordinary person, but it is highly beneficial to the worshipper of the goddess. Similarly, as the night swallows everything, her worship engulfs all negativity and darkness in life.

 

Kundalini and Goddess Kalaratri

 

Goddess Kalaratri is linked to the Sahastra chakra, also called the crown chakra. This chakra is placed at the top of the head and is considered the path to enlightenment and cosmic awareness. It is represented by a lotus with a thousand petals and signifies the union of one's self with the collective consciousness.

The crown chakra is responsible for our connection to the divine, higher knowledge, and spiritual transcendence. Once it is balanced and activated, it leads to a deep sense of unity, bliss, and oneness with the universe. Goddess Kalaratri, through her association with the crown chakra, represents the highest level of spiritual awakening and liberation, guiding her followers towards the realization of their true divine nature. The worshipper yields wealth, knowledge, skills, and power with her grace.

 

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Iconography

 

In ancient texts, Devi Kalaratri is described as a female deity with extremely dark skin, like the night. She has four hands, with one holding a chopper and a skull filled with blood. She is depicted as a fierce form with big red eyes, a red tongue, and blood around her mouth. According to legends, she killed the demon king, Shumbha. Devi Kalaratri is also known for wearing a sparkling bead necklace. She is the most fearsome form of the goddess, and once she is angered or causes destruction, no one can calm her down except for her husband, Lord Shiva. She is believed to rule over planets like Saturn and Rahu.

 

Story of Devi Kalaratri

 

According to legend, two demons named Shumbha and Nishumbha defeated the Devas and wreaked havoc all over Devloka. Indra, the king of Devas, sought refuge in Lord Shiva and Parvati to ask for their help in regaining control of Devloka. At that time, Devi Parvati was bathing, and she created another goddess named Ambika (Chandi) out of her own body to assist the Devas in defeating the demons. Ambika was ready to go to war, but Shumbha and Nishumbha sent two demons named Chanda and Munda to fight against her. In response, Devi Ambika created a dark goddess named Kali/Kalaratri out of her own body. The goddess Kali killed both demons and was given the name Chamunda.

In this story, a demon named Raktabeeja challenged the goddess Kalaratri to a fight. Raktabeeja had a special power - every time a drop of his blood fell, a new clone demon would be created. During the fight, Kalaratri wounded him, and his blood spilt everywhere, creating countless clones that made it difficult to defeat him. So, Kalaratri decided to drink all of his blood to prevent any more clones from being created. She then killed Raktabeeja and the main demons, Shumbha and Nishumbha. However, she became so aggressive that she continued to kill anyone who stood in her way, becoming unstoppable. The gods then went to Lord Shiva to ask for help in calming her down. Lord Shiva decided to lie down in Kalaratri's path, and as she walked over him, she immediately stopped, and her tongue came out in shock. This is often depicted in statues of the goddess.

Lord Shiva then helped her up and calmed her down. She is the power of the darkest of nights. At night, the animal kingdom takes a break from work, and they all fall asleep. As they sleep, their exhaustion is removed. At the time of final dissolution, all the world's creatures seek shelter, protection and refuge in the lap of the mother goddess. She is the time of the night, the death-night. She is Maharatri (the great night of the periodic dissolution) and Moharatri (the night of delusion). At the end of time, when destruction arrives, the goddess transforms herself into Kalaratri, who devours all time without leaving any remains.

Goddess Kalaratri has a very distinctive appearance. She has a dark complexion, plentiful hair, and an exquisite shape. She has four hands, with a scimitar and thunderbolt in her left hand and her right hand in the veranda and abhaya mudras. She wears a necklace that shines like the moon and has three eyes that emit lightning-like rays. Flames appear through her nostrils while breathing. Kalaratri is often depicted riding a donkey and sometimes even with a corpse. 

Although her appearance may seem scary, Kalaratri is known for bringing good fortune to her devotees. She is a powerful force that removes darkness and worries from those who seek her blessings. Yogis and Sadhakas attain Siddhis and Nidhis with her worship on the seventh day of Navratri.

 

Lucky Colour

 

The lucky colours associated with Devi Kalaratri are red, white, and blue. On the seventh day of Navratri, one should wear and offer these coloured articles.

 

Mantra

 

Om Devi Kalaratrayai Namaha

 

Temples

 

The famous Kushmanda Mata temple are located in Bihar, Punjab, Varanasi and Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh.