Maa Shailputri is one of the most divine forms of Goddess Durga. She is one of the Navadurgas who is worshipped on the first day of the Navratri festival. The name of Mata Shailputri is derived by joining two Sanskrit words ‘Shail’ meaning mountains and ‘Putri’ means daughter. The name ‘Shailputri’ this means the daughter of the mountains. Shailputri Maa is also addressed as Mata Sati Bhavani, Goddess Parvati, and Maa Hemavati. She is also referred to as ‘Pratham Shailputri.’ She is the first Devi of Navratri who is worshipped on the first day of this auspicious festival.
Goddess Shailaputri is one of the most prominent forms of Goddess Durga. She was born as the daughter of King of Mountains "Parvat Raj Himalaya". The name "Shailaputri" actually implies the little girl (Putri) of the mountain (Shaila). Devi Shailputri is also known as Sati Bhavani, Parvati, or Hemavati, the girl of Himavat - the ruler of the Himalayas.
In the past birth, Maa Shailputri was the daughter of King Daksha. She was then named Sati. Once, in the absence of King Daksha, his wife Prasuti got her daughter Sati married to Lord Shiva. King Daksha did not approve of Lord Shiva and Sati’s marriage. He was angered and humiliated with this act hence, King Daksha broke all ties with daughter Sati. The thought of Sati being married to Lord Shiva haunted Daksha day and night and his anger increased with each day. In order to humiliate and vent out his anger, Daksha organized a major Yagna, He invited all the Gods and Goddesses, even the learned Sages were invited but He did not invite Lord Shiva and Sati to the Yagna. Despite this, Sati wanted to attend the Yagna and thought it was a good chance to reunite with Her parents. She lived happily in the Himalayas with Lord Shiva but it had been a long time since She had met Her parents.
She decided to attend the Yagna despite of Lord Shiva’s denial. Eager to attend the Yagna, Sati insisted Her consort Lord Shiva to accompany Her to the venue. Lord Shiva and Sati reach the venue where the Yagna was organized. Sati’s happiness was short-lived as King Daksha insulted Lord Shiva in front of all the guests present at the Yagna. Sati could not endure the affront of Her spouse and She submitted Herself in the fire of the Yagna. Sati took rebirth as the daughter of Himavat and was named Himavati (Parvati) and just like Her previous birth, in this reincarnation too after She grew up She tied the Holy knot of marriage with Lord Shiva.
The iconography of Maa Shailputri
With a serene face and a pleasant aura, Shailputri Mata is portrayed sitting on a Nandi. She has a crescent Moon on Her forehead and is seen holding a Trident in Her right hand and a Lotus flower in Her left hand.
Maa Shailputri is also known as Pratham Shailputri or first Navratri Devi, as She is worshipped on the first day of Navratri. Being the first Mata of Navratri, Shailputri Mata is worshipped with great devotion. Maa Shailputri rules the planet, Moon. Worshipping Her with a pure heart is said to ward off all the ill effects of Moon.
Maa Shailputri is associated to the Muladhara (Root) Chakra. This Chakra is red in color. From the Yogic perspective, the First Navratri is believed to be an extremely promising day. This day symbolizes the beginning of the spiritual journey of an ardent devotee. Many devotees meditate, chant mantras, and perform specific rituals in order to appease Maa Shailputri and to receive Siddhis and other boons from Her.
Goddess Shailputri being the Muladhara Shakti teaches an individual the life lessons. She does so by making an individual realize the power of Muladhara Shakti through awakening his/her self –consciousness. Muladhara Chakra is the Base Chakra where our entire consciousness of the body lies. Hence, many individuals including Sages and Gurus observe fasting on this day and channelize their complete attention on the Muladhara Chakra to be one with the Shakti, to become aware of the higher self and to move upward gradually in the spiritual realm. This is truly a divine experience of searching the soul. Shailputri Mata is the goddess of Root Chakra (Muladhara Chakra). When awakened, She starts Her journey upwards as Shakti toward Shiva who resides in Crown Chakra (Sahasrara Chakra).
One begins their journey to spiritual awakening and to their purpose in life. Without energizing the Muladhara chakra, one doesn´t have the power and strength to face challenges in life. So during the first day of Navratri pooja, Yogis keep their minds concentrated on Muladhara. This is the starting point of their spiritual discipline. From the Yogic point of view, the First Navratri is considered to be a very auspicious day. This is the Yogic start for being in tune with the Divine Mother Durga and the energy of the Muladhara chakra for stability and strength.
Worshipping Maa Durga Shailputri
The significance of the first day of Navratri is that the worship of Maa Shailputri begins with the ritual of ‘Ghatasthapana’. She manifests the Earth and everything present in it. She is known as Mother Nature hence She is worshipped in this form.
Ghatasthapana’ means an installation of an earthen pot which has a wide mouth. The first seven types of soil known as Saptmritika are put inside the pot, now seven types of food grains and barley seeds are sown in this pot. Once this is done, water is sprinkled on the sown seeds until the mud is moist.
Set this aside, now take a Kalash to fill it with Holy water (Gangajal), put some Akshat in the water, and now put five types of coins along with Durva leaves. Now place five mango leaves upside down in circular order covering the brim of the Kalash and gently place a coconut on top of it.
You can either cover the coconut in a red cloth (optional) or tie moli over it. Now place this Kalash in the middle of the earthen pot in which you have sowed grains.
Invoke Goddess Durga in the form of Shailputri by chanting the Pratham Shailputri Mantra, “Om Devi Shailputryai Swaha” for 108 times. Also chant:
Perform the Panchopchara Pooja which means performing the puja ceremony with five items. In this puja, you first need to light a ghee lamp. Now burn dhoop sticks and offer its aromatic fumes to the Kalash, offer flowers, scent and finally offer Naivedhya to the Kalash. Naivedhya is made of fruits and sweets.
Aarti - शैलपुत्री माँ बैल असवार। करें देवता जय जय कार॥ शिव-शंकर की प्रिय भवानी। तेरी महिमा किसी ने न जानी॥ पार्वती तू उमा कहलावें। जो तुझे सुमिरे सो सुख पावें॥ रिद्धि सिद्धि परवान करें तू। दया करें धनवान करें तू॥ सोमवार को शिव संग प्यारी। आरती जिसने तेरी उतारी॥ उसकी सगरी आस पुजा दो। सगरे दुःख तकलीफ मिटा दो॥ घी का सुन्दर दीप जला के। गोला गरी का भोग लगा के॥ श्रद्धा भाव से मन्त्र जपायें। प्रेम सहित फिर शीश झुकायें॥ जय गिरराज किशोरी अम्बे। शिव मुख चन्द्र चकोरी अम्बे॥ मनोकामना पूर्ण कर दो। चमन सदा सुख सम्पत्ति भर दो॥
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