Why Is Mahalaya A Special Day?
Mahalaya Paksha is the dark fortnight, sacred to offer oblations to deceased ancestors and satisfy their souls. As Mahalaya culminates on the new Moon called Mahalaya Amavasya, thus ends the Shraddh or offering of ancestral rites. The ending of Mahalaya Paksha also marks the beginning of the Devi Pooja or Navaratri rituals.
Mahalaya – Devi Descends to the Earth
On Mahalaya, it is believed that the Mother Goddess Durga descends to the earth plane along with her family to shower her graceful blessings upon us. People welcome and celebrate the coming of the goddess with grand celebrations along with chanting mantras and reading sacred texts.
Following are few potent mantras for Goddess Durga:
Sarva Mangala Mangalye Sive Sarvartha Sadhike
Saranye Trayambike Gauri Narayani Namostute
She is the most auspicious one and the one who bestows auspiciousness upon the whole world. She is pure and holy. She protects those who surrender to her and is also called the Mother of the three worlds and is Gauri, daughter of the mountain king. We bow down to Mother Durga again and again. We worship her.
Ya devi sarva bhuteshu, shanti rupena sangsthita
Ya devi sarva bhuteshu, shakti rupena sangsthita
Ya devi sarva bhuteshu, matri rupena sangsthita
Yaa devi sarva bhuteshu, buddhi rupena sangsthita
Namastasyai, namastasyai, namastasyai, namo namaha
The goddess who is omnipresent as the personification of the universal mother,
The goddess who is omnipresent as the embodiment of power,
The goddess who is omnipresent as the symbol of peace.
Oh! Goddess (Devi) who resides everywhere in all living beings as intelligence and beauty,
I bow to her; I bow to her, I bow to her again & again.
Mythology Behind Mahishasura Mardhini
According to legends, there was an arrogant demon named Mahishasura who tortured everyone at heaven and earth. The worried Devas sought the help of Lord Vishnu. As the demon acquired several powers and was extremely dangerous, Trinity – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva combined their powers and created Goddess Durga – the divine feminine power to slay the demon.
She was bestowed with several weapons and powers to battle against the mighty demon. The aggressive goddess fought with the demon for nine days and destroyed him on the tenth day with her trident. Hence, Mahalaya is a special and auspicious day, marking the victory of good over evil.