••• श्री गणेशाय नमः •••
Navratri Special : In this article, we will focus on most famous Hindu scripture ‘Durga Saptshati’. Navratri is the best time to read this holy book.
The Devi Mahatmyam (Sanskrit: देवीमाहात्म्यम्), or “Glory of the Goddess”) is a Hindu religious text describing the Goddess as the supreme power and creator of the universe. It is part of the Markandeya Purana, and estimated to have been composed in Sanskrit between 400-600 CE. The text contains 700 verses arranged into 13 chapters. Along with Devi-Bhagavata Purana and Shakta Upanishads such as the Devi Upanishad, it is one of the most important texts of Shaktism (goddess) tradition within Hinduism.
Basically ‘Devi Mahatmya’ text is divided into three parts: 1. Prathama (first) 2. Madhyama (middle) 3. Uttara (final). The first chapter describes the glory of Maha Kali, the second, third and the fourth chapters glorify Maha Lakshmi, and the last nine chapters from the fifth to the thirteenth glorify Maha Saraswati. Atlast, Kshama Prarthana is the concluding prayer to Devi seeking pardon for any errors that may have been committed during the paath or otherwise.
The reading procedure of Devi Saptashati is given here in detail version. Many devotees are confused on how to recite this powerful text – on which day, which adhyaya (chapter) needs to be chanted.
There are two methods to start reading Devi Mahatmym – Trayangam and Navangam.
Trayangam is a method in which we need to chant three prayers – Devi Kavacham, Argala Stotram and Devi Keelakam followed by Navakshari Mantram.
Navangam is a method for which nine prayers are recited prior of starting reading the book. Navangam stotrams are:
Devi Nyasa, Devi Avahana, Devi Namani, Argala Stotram, Keelaka Stotram, Devi Hrudaya, Dhala, Devi Dhyana and Devi Kavacha.
As per the prescribed methods in ancient scriptures, Devi Mahatma should be read in one sitting. Due to any reason, Parayana is stopped in between a chapter; the whole chapter should be read again.
START AS PER THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULE :
1st day: Chapter 1 (Madhu kaitabha samhaaram)
2nd day: Chapter 2, 3 and 4 (Mahishhasura samhaara)
3rd day: Chapter 5 and 6 (Dhumralochana vadha)
4th day: Chapter 7 (Chanda Munda vadha)
5th day: Chapter 8 (Rakta biija samhaara)
6th day: Chapter 9 and 10 (Shumbha Nishumbha vadha)
7th day: Chapter 11 (Praise of Narayani)
8th day: Chapter 12 (Phalastuti – reciting merits or benefits)
9th day: Chapter 13 (Blessings to Suratha and the Merchant)
10th day: Chapter 14 (Aparadha Kshamaprarthana i.e. appologies strotas) on 10th day.
You can also complete the recital on 9th day by chanting Devi Aparadha Kshama Prarthana Stotram on 9th day itself.
What to do First before starting?
√ Take bath and sit on Asana.
√ Just thank the Goddess and tell your desires. (Desires are differ for Sakaam and Niskaam devotees).
√ Chant the ‘Tatva Shuddhi’ (Purification) Mantras as given in texts.
√ Remember the Lord Ganesha, the Gurus (Your spiritual teachers), etc and take blessings of them.
√ Then chant the mantra for freeing your text from Curse (Shapanugraham Mantra) 7 times or as per given instructions in the text.
√ Then chant ‘Utkeelan’mantras.
√ Now appologies to Goddess for making any mistakes. And then follow the method of procedure as per your choice.
SOME IMPORTANT GUIDELINES :
Here are some general guidelines for reading Durga Saptashati. These needs to remember a bit but will make your chanting more effective.
1. In the morning, after taking a bath and finishing one’s daily worship or other rituals, one should sit on an asana facing North or East and try to evoke a state of concentration and devotion. The paath (reading) is most effective when done with firm faith, devotion and correct pronunciation.
2. During the time of reading, one should try not to talk, sleep, sneeze, yawn or spit, but read with complete concentration on Devi in the form which appeals to one.
3. One should not stop in the middle of a chapter. It is good to place the book on a stand, preferably a copper plate. At the beginning and end of each chapter, bells may be rung (but not necessary).
4. Before starting the paath, affirm the purpose for which you are performing it – make a resolve, sankalpa, and perform worship of Devi.
5. Must Read – Whether in the morning or evening hours, if it is evening hours, one should observe fasting till the reading is complete. If the physical condition or health do not permit one can have fruits or light refreshments.
6. All these days, one has to observe celibacy, one time food, sleeping on floor. Cutting nails or shaving to be avoided.
7. Food must be satwik. No non vegetarian stuff. Avoid eating purchased food.
8. Take bath both times in the day. early in the morning and evening, if possible.
9. Ladies to avoid the menstrual days.
10. Keep a Photo or idol of Durga in front of you on a stand. Lit a lamp. Use chandan paste and tilak and flowers for worshiping. Also lit a Dhoop sticks (joss-sticks) or lamps.
11. Close your eyes and try to concentrate on Goddess and try to see her picture in your mind. Then start reading the Sapthasathi. While reading avoid talking to others .For any nature call one has to get up again have a bath and sit for reading.
12.It is advisable to read Kilakam and Argala Stotram also every day.
13. After reading it completely offer fruits and sweets or eatable (only home made) and take them as Prasad. If one takes or consumes only this Prasad as food for all these 9 days, it’s excellent.
14.While concluding this leave a flower and one spoon of water at the feet of the idol, thanking her making your reading a successful event and appologies for making any mistake.
BEST TIME TO READ :
Navaratri is an ideal period for the chanting of Durga Saptashati; however, in the other months, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday are considered auspicious days of the week for beginning the reading. The ideal days of the lunar calendar are ashtami (eighth day of the moon), navami (ninth day of the moon) and chaturdashi (fourteenth day of the moon).
It is believed that whatever sankalpa the Saptashati is read with, will be fulfilled. Since Shakti is the basis for all iccha (desire), gyana (knowledge) and kriya (action), one cannot stay out of the realm of Shakti (power). An individual is but Shakti, and hence one can have everything through the worship of Shakti.
A SHORT FLASH ON ITS PATTERN :
Devi Suktam – The eight verses of the Devi Suktam were composed by Vak, daughter of Maharshi Ambharin, and are from the Rig Veda (10th mandala, 10th anuvaka, 125th sukta). These shlokas express the truth realized by Vak, who identifies herself as Brahma Shakti, and expresses herself as eleven Rudras, eight Vasus, twelve Adityas and all the devas who are sustained by her and she is the source, substratum and support of the whole world.
Devi Kavacham- Consisting of 61 verses, Devi Kavacham is in Markandeya Purana. This kavacham (armour) protects the reader in all parts of the body, in all places and in all difficulties. Every part of the body is mentioned and Devi, in different forms, is being worshipped.
Argala Stotram- Here, Rishi Markandeya tells his disciples in twenty-seven inspiring couplets about the greatness of Devi. She has been described in all aspects and names and at the end of each shloka, prayer is offered to Devi for material prosperity, physical fitness, fame and victory.
Keelakam – Here also, Rishi Markandeya tells his disciples in sixteen shlokas the ways and means of removing obstacles faced by devotees while reading Devi Mahatmya. Reading of Keelakam brings blessings of Devi, spiritual harmony, peace of mind and success in all pursuits.
Ratri Suktam- The eight shlokas here have been taken from the Rig Veda (10th mandala, 10th anuvaka, 127th sukta). Devi is described as the all-pervading Supreme Lord of the universe appearing in Omkara. Ratri means ‘she who fulfils our prayers’. Rest is the ‘Kshama Prarthna’ (praying for making any mistakes), one should read after each chapter of each day.
Explaining the benefits of reading this scriptures is not possible. Because the benefit differs among the devotees as per their dedication. This is because of your mind (Man). MIND is a responsible factor for this. As much and more the mind concentrates towards the Goddess, more effective will be the benefit. Most common benefits are the fulfilment of one’s desires. We used to repeat that ‘Mind Factor’ in almost every posts because your mind is what make you divine and closure to God. Our body is just a matter of five elements and our voice is dependent on our nature (thinking/style of living way). Both are controlled by our mind. You have to gain the control over your mind and thats what ‘Bhagwat Geeta'( a most important and famous Hindu scripture worldwide) is all about. Just dedicate your mind on Goddess while performing above action of reading text or worshippig the God.
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Now we think, its enough about ‘Durga Saptshati’. We will keep updating with more devotional blessings. You can write us your questions, queries or suggestion in comment section within 30 days of posting an update. These will always be welcomed.
May Maa Goddess fulfill your desires !!!
Thank you Readers !