The eighth day of Chaitra Navratri festival is often referred to as ‘Ashtami’ and on this day Goddess Mahagauri is worshipped, the eighth manifestation of Goddess Durga. Her name Mahagauri depicts ‘Maha’ which means great and ‘Gauri’ indicates white complexion. The eighth day of Navratri 2017 or Ashtami is on 4th of April. It is believed that Maa Mahagauri acquits her devotees of all the sins and endows her grace on them by making their desires come true.
According to a myth, Goddess Mahagauri once performed a penance without moving her body because of which dust and soil got accumulated on her body and then Lord Shiva cleaned her with pure water and hence, purity is delineated in this incarnation of Goddess Durga.
Appearance of Goddess Mahagauri
Goddess Mahagauri is limned in a white saree mounted on a bull. The Goddess possesses four arms holding a trident and a tambourine. Goddess Mahagauri represents tranquility, serenity and purity. Her glory is such that she eliminates all the sufferings from the lives of her devotees by warding off all their transgressions.
The legend behind the eight manifestation of Goddess Durga i.e. Maa Mahagauri is pretty well known. It is presaged that Goddess Parvati since her childhood used to worship and revere Lord Shiva. She yearned to marry Lord Shiva and slowly & gradually as time sweeped, her adherence towards Lord Shiva grew more and more strong. Moreover, on various occasions she observed fast in order to please Lord Shiva. She sacrificed all the worldly comforts to have Lord Shiva as her husband and thus, she treaded to the forest for penance in order to appease Lord Shiva.
Years passed by, she was completely lost in the meditation of Lord Shiva. Her extent of atonement was such that she did not even perceived that her body began to turn blue. As a result of which, dust accumulated all over her body as she was so much saturated in her devotion towards Lord Shiva.
On witnessing such fidelity of Parvati completely engulfed in austerity for so many years, Lord Shiva appeared in front of her and bestowed her with her wish to get married with him. Lord Shiva, then showered sacred Ganga water on Goddess Parvati and removed all the dusts, soil, and leaves from her body. As soon as Lord Shiva showered the holy Ganga water, her complexion turned white and hence, the name and avatar Mahagauri was stemmed.
Mantras for Goddess Mahagauri
On the day of Navratri Ashtami, Goddess Mahagauri is worshipped to enhance the knowledge skills and eliminate the miseries from our lives. Seeking the blessings of Maa Mahagauri, the devotees march onto the path of morality and rectitude. In order to worship Maa Mahagauri following mantra should be chanted-
श्वेते वृषेसमारूढा श्वेताम्बरधरा शुचिः।
महागौरी शुभं दद्यान्महादेव प्रमोददा॥
Shwete Vrishesamarudha Shwetambaradhara Shuchih।
Mahagauri Shubham Dadhyanmahadeva Pramodada॥
If we ponder over the astrological significance of Ashtami, then it can be presaged that Maa MahaGauri governs the planet Rahu and therefore, worshipping her would lead you free from all the malevolent effects of the planet Rahu.