Navratri 2020 (Day 1) – The Story of Maa Shailaputri

Navratri is just around the corner and the festival of “Nine Nights” is about to begin. Celebrated widely across India, Navratri holds a special place among millions of devotees and is also one of the most anticipated festivals each year.

During this festival, devotees worship the nine forms or avatars of Goddess Durga, which then culminates on the tenth day with Dussehra. Each day of Navratri is dedicated to a particular goddess and is signified by a special color.

Day 1 – Maa Shailaputri

The festival of Navratri begins with the sacred ritual of Ghatastapana, which is also believed to invoke Goddess Durga. This day signifies the victory of good over evil. Maa Shailaputri is the first form of Maa Durga. She is worshipped on this auspicious day followed by Maa Bramhacharini, Maa Chandraghanta, Maa Kushmanda and other avatars of Goddess Durga.

In the Sanskrit language, Shail means mountain and putri means daughter. Goddess Shailaputri, the absolute form of Mother Nature, is also known to be the daughter of Mountains.

History and Origin

According to Hindu beliefs, Goddess Shailaputri is an incarnation of Devi Sati. In this incarnation, she was the daughter of King Daksha Prajapati who was the son of Lord Bramha.

Devi Sati was married to Lord Shiva. However, King Daksha was unhappy with this marriage as he did not consider Lord Shiva to be worthy of marrying a girl who belongs to an honourable family.

The story goes that King Daksha once invited all Gods to attend a grand religious congregation (Maha Yagna). Since, he was against the marriage of Lord Shiva and Devi Sati, he did not invite them.

When Devi Sati got to know about this Maha Yagna, she decided to attend it. Lord Shiva tried explaining that King Daksha did not want them to be present for the Yagna, but Devi Sati insisted on attending the ceremony.

Lord Shiva understood that she longed to go home and allowed her to go for the Yagna. But as soon as Devi Sati reached there, she noticed that none of the relatives were happy to see her.

Apart from her mother, all of Devi Sati’s sisters and relatives ridiculed her. King Daksha made some derogatory comments about Lord Shiva and also insulted him in front of all the Gods.

Devi Sati could not bear this insult and immediately jumped into the sacrificial fire meant for the Maha Yagna and immolated herself. As soon as this news reached Lord Shiva, he grew angry and immediately invoked a fearful form – Veerhadra.

Lord Shiva proceeded towards the Maha Yagna and decapitated King Daksha. Later, Lord Vishnu intervened and King Daksha was brought back to life with a goat’s head attached to his body.

Lord Shiva was still grief-stricken and carried Devi Sati’s half-burned corpse on his shoulders. He was unable to part with her and wandered endlessly about the world.

Lord Vishnu used his Sudarshan Chakra to severe Devi Sati’s corpse and parts of her body fell at different places. These places came to be known as Shakti-Peethas.

In her next birth, Devi Sati was born as the daughter of the God of Mountains – Himalaya. She was named Shailputri and was also known as Parvati in this incarnation.

In this incarnation, due to her prolonged path of penance, she came to be known as Maa Bramhacharini or Goddess Parvati. This time, again, she was married to Lord Shiva and had two sons – Ganesha and Kartikeya.

The Goddess of Navratri

Being an avatar of Goddess Durga, Maa Shailaputri is worshipped on the first day of Navratri. She carries a lotus in one hand, a trident in the other and uses a bull (Nandi) as her vehicle.

Maa Shailaputri is worshipped with great enthusiasm and it is believed that devotees can lead a happy and successful life with her blessings.

Read More About Navratri:

Navratri 2020 (Day 2) – The Story of Maa Bramhacharini

Navratri 2020 (Day 3) – The Story of Maa Shailaputri

Navratri 2020 (Day 4) – The Story of Maa Kushmanda