Another manifestation of Maa Durga, namely Goddess Kushmanda is the centre of prayers on this day of Navratri festival. Her name is very interestingly divided into three meaningful components. ‘Ku’ stands for ‘a little’, ‘Ushma means ‘warmth/energy’ and ‘Anda’ refers to ‘cosmic egg’. Thus, it is a sign of her being a soft source of warmth and energy to the universe. She is also described as the smiling Goddess and is believed to have created the entire universe with her pristine smile.
The legend of Goddess Kushmanda takes us back the beginning of time – when darkness prevailed all over the Cosmo. It was at this time that Goddess Kushmanda produced a celestial egg with the power of her smile. She directed it at the darkness and the entire universe was created by her divine grace and mercy.
The core of the Sun is said to be the Goddess Kushmanda’s abode. She provides the Sun with energy to shine and emit light to the whole universe. Her luminosity gives the Sun its brightness. She is said to give direction to the Sun God. All the directions get illuminated by the beauty of her smile, even the Sun.
The appearance of Goddess Kushmanda:
Goddess Kushmanda has eight arms and is equipped with weapons and holy articles. She holds an arrow, lotus, mace, a jar of nectar, kamandalu, bow and a discus. The rosary which she holds in her the eighth hand contains capabilities of bestowing 8 Siddhis and 9 Niddhis. Goddess Kushmanda is seen riding a lion or a tiger, being a sign of her fearlessness and valor.
Goddess Kushmanda is the first being of existence in the entire universe and the only initiator of the universe. The glow of her face and radiance of her body is as luminous as that of the Sun. Her blessings improve one’s health and bestow wealth and prosperity, grant strength and wisdom, destroy ill habits and grants forgiveness. Her regular worshippers are also receivers of holy prosperity, powers, pleasures and salvation. She destroys all their ailments, troubles and hurdles.
The worship ritual:
The rituals of worshipping the Goddess are intricate. The worship begins with the worshipping of the holy Kalash. All the other Gods and Goddesses are invited to the Kalash.
In Sanskrit, Kushmanda means ‘Pumpkin’. The Goddess loves the sacrifice of a pumpkin. Hence, sacrificing pumpkin in front of the Goddess is a crucial ritual of the fourth day.
Then the puja begins by chanting the following mantra:
“Surasampurnakalasham Rudhiraplutmeva Cha | Dadhana Hastpadhyabhayam Kushmanda Shubhdastu Me”
Yādēvīsarvabhūtēṣumāmkushmandarūpēṇasansthitā |Namastasyainamastasyainamastasyainamōnama: ||
The mantra means: Worship her to obtain and be blessed with inner strength, good health and prosperity.
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