Kushmanda : Devi Durga is the most revered goddess in Hinduism. She has multi-dimensional facets such as Mahisasur Mardini or the annihilator of evil, Sati or the daughter of King Daksha, Parvati or consort of Shiva. The goddess encompasses sacrifice and salvation in all her forms. The Hindus worship Goddess Durga during Navratri. Navratri is basically the pooja of Nav Durga, i.e. all the nine forms of Devi Durga are worshiped on each particular day. The nine forms (Navdurga) of the Goddess are Shailputri, Brahmcharini, Chandraganta, Kushmanda, Skandmata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Mahagauri, Siddhidatri. Among-st these forms, Goddess Kushmanda is venerated on the fourth day of Navratri. She is considered as the creator of the universe.
The name Kushmanda is an amalgamation of three words “ku”, followed by “ushma” and last word is “anda”. Each of these words has a meaning, which defines the name of the goddess. The word “ku” means meagre, Ushma defines the feeling of warmth, and egg in Hindi is termed as Anda. The mythology believes that the goddess created the entire universe from the small sized cosmic egg.
Depiction of the goddess Kushmanda
Maa Kushmanda (कूष्माण्डा) is an eight-armed goddess, and she is also called by the name of Ashta bhuja. Each hand of the goddess is ornamented with something. She holds Dhanush, Gada, Kamandalu, Chakra, lotus, rosary and jar carrying nectar in each of her hand. With rosary, the goddess blesses her devotees with eight kinds of wisdom or Asta Siddhis and Nava Niddhis or nine kinds of wealth. The goddess rides on a Lion. Lion is the symbol of courage and righteousness.
The appearance of the goddess can be compared to that of a glowing sun. The goddess emits shine from her body, which is incomparable to any other god or goddesses. It is believed that with the grace of her immense splendor, the goddess illuminates every corner of the universe.
Mythological facts about Kushmanda maa
Mythology believes that in the beginning, the entire universe was a pack of darkness. There was no light. With her mental projection, Goddess Kushmanda created the entire universe. She is the form of the mother goddess or Adi Sakti from whom the whole universe emanated. The solar system is considered as the goddess’s humble abode. Kushmanda was the only goddess, who could tolerate the heat of the sun. Hence, her entire body shines like gold. It is believed that light emerges from the goddess and illuminates the entire solar system.
Goddess Kushmanda Pooja Vidhi
Anahata Chakra is represented by Goddess Kushmanda, and she is worshiped on the fourth day of Durga Puja or Navratri. It is said that on the fourth day of Navratri, the yogis or devotees keep their mind in Anahata Chakra. In Upanishads, Anahata is considered to be the seed of self-consciousness or Jivatma. Meditating on this chakra brings siddhis to the devotees.
On the fourth day, goddess Kushmanda is worshiped by following a number of pooja vidhi or rituals. The pooja of Kushmanda is similar to that of Goddess Brahmacharini and Chnadraghanta. First Lord Ganesha is venerated. The practice of invoking Lord Ganesha before worshiping any form of Durga is a long practiced ritual. The pooja starts with the Sthapana of Kalash and Panchang followed by an invocation of Goddess Durga, sixty-four yogini pooja, Swasti Vachan. The Kalash pooja has its own importance. It is an invitation to the mother goddess to reside in that Kalash with her family.
After the successful completion of all these rituals, Durga Saptashati is rehearsed followed by the recital of eleven hundred chants of Budh Mantra. After the invocation of Goddess Durga through these Durga Mantra and hymns, Goddess Kushmanda is worshiped. Hindu Scriptures mentions the prayers of Kushmanda as follows:
Prarthana Mantra –
सुरासम्पूर्ण कलशं रुधिराप्लुतमेव च।
दधाना हस्तपद्माभ्यां कूष्माण्डा शुभदास्तु मे॥
Sura sampurna Kalasham Rudhiraplutamev Cha।
Dadhana Hastapadmabhyam Kushmanda Shubhadastu Me॥
ॐ देवी कूष्माण्डायै नमः॥
Om Devi Kushmandayai Namah॥
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ कूष्माण्डा रूपेण संस्थिता। नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥
Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Maa Kushmanda Rupena Samsthita।
Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah॥
Dhyan Mantra –
वन्दे वाञ्छित कामार्थे चन्द्रार्धकृतशेखराम्।
सिंहरूढ़ा अष्टभुजा कूष्माण्डा यशस्विनीम्॥
भास्वर भानु निभाम् अनाहत स्थिताम् चतुर्थ दुर्गा त्रिनेत्राम्।
कमण्डलु, चाप, बाण, पद्म, सुधाकलश, चक्र, गदा, जपवटीधराम्॥
पटाम्बर परिधानां कमनीयां मृदुहास्या नानालङ्कार भूषिताम्।
मञ्जीर, हार, केयूर, किङ्किणि, रत्नकुण्डल, मण्डिताम्॥
प्रफुल्ल वदनांचारू चिबुकां कान्त कपोलाम् तुगम् कुचाम्।
कोमलाङ्गी स्मेरमुखी श्रीकंटि निम्ननाभि नितम्बनीम्॥
Vande Vanchhita Kamarthe Chandrardhakritashekharam।
Simharudha Ashtabhuja Kushmanda Yashasvinim॥
Bhaswara Bhanu Nibham Anahata Sthitam Chaturtha Durga Trinetram।
Kamandalu, Chapa, Bana, Padma, Sudhakalasha, Chakra, Gada, Japawatidharam॥
Patambara Paridhanam Kamaniyam Mriduhasya Nanalankara Bhushitam।
Manjira, Hara, Keyura, Kinkini, Ratnakundala, Manditam॥
Praphulla Vadanamcharu Chibukam Kanta Kapolam Tugam Kucham।
Komalangi Smeramukhi Shrikanti Nimnabhi Nitambanim॥
दुर्गतिनाशिनी त्वंहि दरिद्रादि विनाशनीम्।
जयंदा धनदा कूष्माण्डे प्रणमाम्यहम्॥
जगतमाता जगतकत्री जगदाधार रूपणीम्।
चराचरेश्वरी कूष्माण्डे प्रणमाम्यहम्॥
त्रैलोक्यसुन्दरी त्वंहि दुःख शोक निवारिणीम्।
परमानन्दमयी, कूष्माण्डे प्रणमाम्यहम्॥
Durgatinashini Tvamhi Daridradi Vinashanim।
Jayamda Dhanada Kushmande Pranamamyaham॥
Jagatamata Jagatakatri Jagadadhara Rupanim।
Charachareshwari Kushmande Pranamamyaham॥
Trailokyasundari Tvamhi Duhkha Shoka Nivarinim।
Paramanandamayi, Kushmande Pranamamyaham॥
हंसरै में शिर पातु कूष्माण्डे भवनाशिनीम्।
हसलकरीं नेत्रेच, हसरौश्च ललाटकम्॥
कौमारी पातु सर्वगात्रे, वाराही उत्तरे तथा,
पूर्वे पातु वैष्णवी इन्द्राणी दक्षिणे मम।
दिग्विदिक्षु सर्वत्रेव कूं बीजम् सर्वदावतु॥
Hamsarai Mein Shira Patu Kushmande Bhavanashinim।
Hasalakarim Netrecha, Hasaraushcha Lalatakam॥
Kaumari Patu Sarvagatre, Varahi Uttare Tatha,
Purve Patu Vaishnavi Indrani Dakshine Mama।
Digvidikshu Sarvatreva Kum Bijam Sarvadavatu॥
Benefits of Kushmanda Pooja
The purest form of Goddess is worshiped on the fourth day of Navratri pooja making it a very significant day. The devotees should perform the pooja with a calm mind. Anahata Chakra is represented by Goddess Kushmanda in spiritual practice. Worshiping the goddess with complete devotion helps in removing the hurdles from life. Meditating on Anahata Chakra lets you focus on your inner strength ensuring purity of mind. With goddess’s divine blessings, one can get the boon of a good health and freedom from all fears.
Besides, all the rituals and hymns to be followed while worshiping the goddess, every individual should pray to the mother goddess in their own distinct ways. Constant remembrance of the goddess and her blessings makes the devotees feel protected. Goddess Kushmanda is the creator of the universe. With slightest of devotion, Goddess Kushmanda is pacified and showers her blessings on the devotees
Maa Kushmanda temple
Varanasi being the city of temples is also the abode of Goddess Kushmanda. The temple has a long history and legend associated with it. According to historical facts, Kushmanda temple was built by Rani Ahilya Bai Holker in 1780 in Varanasi. Monkey temple is the other name of the Kushmanda temple in Varanasi as it surrounded with a large number of monkeys. If the legends are to be believed, then it is said that the idol of the goddess wasn’t built by anyone, but it rather appeared on its own. Stained with red ochre like imprints, the temple is built on a multi-story spires. The influences of North Indian architecture can be seen in the temple, which is mainly dominated by the Nagara style.
During the Durga Pooja or Navaratri, the temple is flanked by thousands of visitors. With great grandeur, the pooja of the goddess is performed on the fourth day of Navaratri. Outside the temple premises, there is a tank filled with water, which is named as Durga Kund. During earlier days, the tank was connected directly with the river. Thus, the water in the tank was automatically replenished. As the congestion of visitors grew, it was difficult to maintain the cleanliness of the tank water, and hence, its connection from the river was permanently closed.
Other Forms of Navdurga: