Maa Shailputri, the first form of Goddess Durga, marks the commencement of Navratri, the nine-day festival celebrating the divine feminine. Her name is derived from the Sanskrit words ‘Shail,’ meaning mountains, and ‘Putri,’ meaning daughter. Thus, she is often referred to as the ‘Daughter of the Mountains.’ Maa Shailputri is also known as Maa Sati Bhavani, Maa Hemavati, and Goddess Parvati.
The Tale of Maa Shailputri
In Hindu mythology, Maa Shailputri is the daughter of King Daksha. She was originally named Sati and was married to Lord Shiva, despite her father’s disapproval. King Daksha’s resentment and anger towards Lord Shiva and Sati’s union ultimately led to a tragic event.
King Daksha held a grand Yagna and invited all the gods and goddesses except Lord Shiva and Sati. Sati, still yearning to reunite with her parents, insisted on attending the Yagna. Reluctantly, Lord Shiva accompanied her. However, the event took a disastrous turn when King Daksha insulted Lord Shiva in front of the assembled guests, leading Sati to immolate herself in the Yagna’s fire.
In her next birth, Sati reincarnated as the daughter of Himavat, the ruler of the Himalayas, and was named Himavati or Parvati. She once again married Lord Shiva and continued her divine journey.
The Iconography of Maa Shailputri
Maa Shailputri is often depicted with a tranquil face, sitting on Nandi, Lord Shiva’s sacred bull. She bears a crescent moon on her forehead, signifying her connection to the lunar cycle. In her right hand, she holds a trident (Trishul), while her left hand carries a lotus flower.
Maa Shailputri governs the Moon, and worshipping her is believed to counteract the ill effects of the Moon, bringing peace, harmony, and happiness.
She is associated with the Muladhara Chakra, symbolizing the commencement of the spiritual journey. This Chakra, the Root Chakra, is crucial for initiating one’s spiritual awakening.
Worshipping Maa Shailputri
On the first day of Navratri, devotees perform the ritual of ‘Ghatasthapana’ to honor Maa Shailputri. This involves placing seven types of soil, followed by seven types of food grains and barley seeds, into an earthen pot. The devotees offer water to the sown seeds until the soil is moist. A Kalash (pot) filled with holy water, Akshat (rice grains), and coins is prepared, topped with a coconut. This Kalash is placed in the center of the earthen pot.
Devotees recite the Pratham Shailputri Mantra to invoke Maa Shailputri and conduct various rituals and Aarti. This sacred worship not only bestows spiritual strength and enlightenment but also brings stability, prosperity, and love into the devotee’s life.
Benefits of Maa Shailputri Puja
- Mitigates malefic effects of the Moon
- Brings peace, happiness, and harmony
- Ward off diseases and negative energies
- Strengthens the bond between married couples
- Bestows stability, career success, and business prosperit
Maa Shailputri, the embodiment of divine grace, sets the tone for the auspicious nine days of Navratri. Her story signifies the unwavering devotion and sacrifices made for love. As devotees seek her blessings during these sacred days, they embark on a spiritual journey of self-realization and balance, guided by the powerful Muladhara Chakra. Maa Shailputri’s worship not only cleanses the soul but also fills life with love, success, and joy.