The mighty goddess of power, Durga, has nine special manifestations. Each one of them is unique in its own way. These are Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Maha Gauri and Siddhidatri. Together these are known as the Nava Durga, or the nine forms of Durga. Nalini Ramachandran has exquisitely used short stories to convey the background and origin of each of these goddesses. She explains why the Navratri and Dussehra are an opportunity to honor the shaktis, or powers that the mother goddess has blessed us all with. This festive occasion marks the best time to honor the goddesses and their divine glory.
Nava Durga: The Nine Forms of the Goddess celebrates this very girl power deep-rooted in India’s culture and ethos. The book examines several facets of the Navratri, including the importance assigned to women in our traditional beliefs. It mentions the popular ritual of Kanya or Kumari Pooja, which takes place on the eight (or ninth) day of Maha Navaratri. On this day, people invite nine young girls to their homes for a feast. The ritual is also a way of telling little girls about the goddesses that dwell within them as shaktis. As they grow up, it is these shaktis that help them thwart all evils and live without any fears or inhibitions. Just like the nine goddesses!
The book, which is suited to young readers, also talks about the special dishes prepared for the Navratri. These food items and dishes vary from one region of the country to another. Nava Durga ends on a light-hearted note, portraying a never-seen-before side of Lord Shiva’s unique family.
Probably the best thing about the book is that the author has mentioned how each of these nine days is celebrated in different parts of this diverse land. Nava Durga is a must-read for all young readers who are looking to learn the whys and hows of their time-tested traditions.
Genre: Traditional Stories
Published: October 2020
Number of Pages: 96
Author: Nalini Ramachandran