On Day 1 of Chaitra Navratri 2023, devotees worship Goddess Shailaputri. The color for this day is yellow. The Goddess’ favorite flower is White Kaner.
Shailaputri is the form of Durga, who is honored on the first day of the Navratri festival. Each day of Navratri is dedicated to one of the 9 forms of Durga.
Navratri means ‘9 nights’. During these 9 nights, Hindus worship Durga to gain her blessings. Chaitra Navratri 2023 starts on March 22, 2023, and ends on March 30, 2023.
The 9 different forms of Durga are – Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri, and Siddhidatri.
Shailaputri means ‘daughter of the mountain’ A legend says that Durga was born as the daughter of the king of the Himalayas, hence the name. Her father’s name was Himavan, and so she was also known by the name Hemavati.
How to Worship Goddess Shailaputri?
On the first day of Navratri, all devotees observe a fast to please Goddess Shailaputri and seek her blessings. But this has to be accompanied by some rituals so that the devotee can get the full benefit of worshipping the Goddess.
Here is the correct method of worshipping Goddess Shailaputri:
· Wake up during Brahma Muhurta and take a bath.
· After this, clean your Pooja room thoroughly.
· Install a wooden post after cleaning it.
· Spread a clean red colored cloth on the post.
· Install Durga’s idol along with all her forms on it.
· Worship Shailaputri and take a vow to observe the fast.
· After the worship, offer white-colored flowers and clothes to the Goddess.
· Offer sweets made using cow’s ghee to Devi.
· White things are very dear to Shailaputri, so during the worship of Pratipada, do Pooja wearing white clothes and offer her white flowers and white sweets.
· Finally, perform Aarti to Shailaputri by lighting a ghee lamp before her picture or idol.
Mantra of Shailaputri
Om Devi Shailaputryai Namah॥
Vande Vanchit Labhay Chandrardhakrit Shekharam.
Vrishabha Shuldham Shailputri Yashswinim ॥
Vande Vanchit Labhay Chandrardhakrit Sekharam
Chant these Mantras while praying to Durga to receive her blessings.
The Legend behind Shailaputri’s Origin
The Shiva Mahapurana and other Hindu mythological texts mention the story of Shailaputri. Sati, the daughter of Prajapati Daksha, was the wife of Shiva. But Daksha did not like this marriage or his son-in-law. One day, he conducted a Mahayagya, to which all the deities, sages, and other important personages were invited. But Daksha did not invite Shiva and Sati. It was done intentionally to snub them and express his displeasure. Sati, however, went to the Yagya, despite Shiva’s advice. On seeing her, Daksha humiliated her in front of everyone and also insulted Shiva.
Sati was furious, and she jumped into the sacrificial fire and died. Shiva was angry and grief-stricken to hear this. He decapitated Daksha but later restored him to life, albeit with the head of a goat. Mad with grief, he wandered around carrying Sati’s burnt body. Finally, Vishnu chopped her body into pieces with his Sudarshana chakra. Wherever the pieces fell, the spot came to be known as a Shakti Peetha of the Goddess. Shiva began a severe penance that went on for ages.
Meanwhile, Sati was reborn as Parvati in the house of King Himavan, the king of the Himalayas. She wanted to marry Shiva, but he was in deep meditation.
Parvati also began to do penance to fulfill her wish to marry Shiva and eventually succeeded. Thus, Shailaputri manifested as the true Goddess of the Moola Chakra to establish universal love with Shiva, who glorified her as the Goddess of awareness.
Goddess of the Mooladhara Chakra
Shailaputri is the Goddess of the Mooladhara or Root Chakra. After she awakens, she begins moving upwards, making her first journey from the root chakra, from her father to her husband, Shiva. Hence, on Day 1 of Navratri Pooja, yogis focus their minds on the root chakra. This is where their spiritual discipline, or sadhana, begins. Shailaputri is the Mooladhara Shakti who is to be realized within the Self and sought for higher depths in yogic meditation. It is the foundation of the “energy body” or the “Shakti”. The whole world derives strength from this aspect of Durga.
From the Yogic perspective, the 1st day of Navratri is very auspicious, as it is the Yogic start for being in tune with Durga. Those who aspire to initiation in the Shakti Mantras have it on the 1st of Shukla Pratipada.
The devotee aspires to reach higher for spiritual evolution and to gain Siddhis, which bestow perfection. The process begins with Shailaputri.
This form of Durga has a Trishul in her right hand, a lotus flower in her left hand, and a crescent moon on her forehead. Her vehicle is Nandi, the bull, so she is also known as Vrisharudha. Shailaputri is also called Sati. She signifies compassion and affection. As per astrology, she symbolizes the Moon, so worshipping her removes the negative effects of an afflicted Moon in a person’s birth chart.