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The Story of Ma Chandraghanta

Ma Chandraghanta_01

After winning back Lord Shiva with Her severe austerities, Devi Parvati returned to King Himavan’s palace. King Himavan and Devi Menavati were overjoyed on seeing their daughter return victorious from Her mission. 

The wedding day of Shiva and Ma Parvati dawned. Overjoyed that their Lord was getting married, all of Lord Shiva’s Ganas accompanied His marriage procession to King Himavana’s palace. He is Bholenath. His very name is Shiva- the One who bore auspiciousness.  What did He care about external appearances and adhering to formalities? 

He proceeded to the marriage as He was – with the most dreaded snakes like Vasuki and Takshak as His garlands, bracelets, waist belt and earrings.  His hair was matted, His whole body covered with ash from cremation grounds.  He revealed all His five heads. He looked imposing, fierce, and intense. He came on a bull, unlike others who rode majestic horses in a marriage procession. 

Mena Devi, Parvati’s mother who was expectantly waiting to set eyes on her son-in-law for whom her daughter underwent such severe penance, was shocked and dismayed at Lord Shiva’s appearance. Not only was His form unpalatable, He was surrounded by the most unruly and strangest forms. Ghosts and goblins rending the air with their slogans of ‘Bham Bham Bhole’.  Ghosts, goblins, hermits, and Aghoris made up the wedding procession. The Ganas were so excited that there was no room for decorum. Their joy was palpable, but it was by no means a graceful or pleasant sight. 

The emergence of Chandraghanta

Unable to digest the fact that her regal, tender daughter would now live among such beings with a man with such a terrorizing disposition as her husband, Mena Devi swooned.

Devi Parvati had deeply absorbed the Shiva Tatva, and as we saw in Her Brahmacharini swaroop, She was also the Guru of the Shaiva Siddhanta to the Saptarishis. Yet, in all Her compassion, She understood Mena Devi’s plight as a mother. To convince Bholenath to mellow down and present a pleasant form for the wedding,  Devi Parvati Herself took on a fierce form momentarily to match His intense form, with ten hands holding various weapons and a bell shaped moon on her crown. This form of Devi is worshipped as Chandraghanta. This form of Ma mellowed down Lord Shiva’s fierce form and tamed his rowdy ganas. 

Assuming the ferocious and resplendent form of Chandraghanta, Ma urged Shiva to take on a benign form to which He promptly agreed. On her request, Shivji shunned his terrifying form and let Lord Vishnu adorn Him as the most charming bridegroom. Lord Shiva is known as Chandrashekhara or Sundareshwara in this form. Devi Parvati adorned the half moon on her forehead, to show her love for Shivji, who always has a half moon on his Jatas.

The Rise of Chandraghanta

After the grand wedding, Devi Pravati accompanied Lord Shiva as a demure, new bride. 

Lord Shiva was still immersed in meditation, and Devi Parvati would once again clean up His cave everyday and care for all His needs lovingly. Slowly, Devi Parvati set up Her new home in Kailasha. 

Meanwhile, Tarakasura was getting restless, now that Shiva and His Shakti were united. He sent forth Jatukasura, an evil bat-demon to disrupt the harmony in the lives of the newly-weds. While Lord Shiva was immersed in intense penance, and Ma Parvati in her household chores. Jatukasura arrived in Kailasha with an entire bat-army. 

Jatukasura and his bat-army covered the sky with merely their wings. They began ruining the newly decorated home of Ma Parvati. Still a demure bride and new to the ways of demons and Asuras, Ma Parvati decided to seek out the help of the mighty Nandi. But Nandi was nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, the other Ganas of Lord Shiva pleaded to Her for protection from Jatukasura and His mighty army, as they repeatedly met with defeat in Jatukasura’s hands, and  Lord Shiva was still deep in penance. 

Then, Ma Parvati Herself went to see Shiva. She implored Him to guide Her out of this situation. Still unmoved from His Tapas, Lord Shiva decided to empower Her from within. Lord Shiva was deep in His Sadhana, when Ma Parvati received the inspiration to fight Jatukasura independently. That’s when she decided to take on Jatukasura on Her own. 

She walked out of the cave, and saw that the sky was still dark, covered with bat wings. She prayed to Chandra Dev to rest on Her forehead to  illuminate the battlefield for Her,  a la adventure torch! To aid Her in the battlefield, a pack of Himalayan wolves rushed to Her aid. Devi Parvati soon learned that Jatukasura was energized by the bats in the sky.  So She brought an enormous bell, a ghanta, to the battlefield. The bell gonged so loud that the bats cleared the sky. As one of the wolves mauled Jatukasura, Devi Parvati simply hit his head with the Ghanta, killing him in one blow.

This form of Devi with the Chandra on Her forehead and the ghanta in Her hand was glorified as Devi Chandraghanta by Brahma Dev. 

This story is symbolic of the fact that to recognize the power within us, we need divine inspiration. As Lord Shiva later told Ma Parvati, the battle in the form of  Chandraghanta was to realize the immense power She possessed. Challenges in our lives also arise to reveal our full potential to us. Seeking divine inspiration wholeheartedly will shine a light on our path in the right direction. 

Ma Chandraghanta, the third Nav Durga

Ma Chandraghanta is worshipped on the third day of Navarati as the third manifestation of Nav Durga.

Chandra refers to the moon, and Ghanta means bell. Chandraghanta means ‘One who has the moon as a bell.’ She adorns the bell-shaped half-moon on Her head. 

Chandra (Moon) means the mind. The mind keeps having its ups and downs. We fight our own minds. Negative thoughts such as jealousy, hatred come up and we struggle to get rid of them. But, it’s hardly easy! You cannot get rid of your mind. The mind is like your shadow.

We become dejected and restless the moment our mind is gripped by any negative feeling. We try to wash away all these things from our mind by trying various techniques, but it works only for a short while. Soon, the mind comes back to square one! Do not struggle to get rid of that, instead befriend this mind and give it a direction. This is only possible with contemplation, self-introspection and Sadhana.

Chandra also signifies the various feelings or shades of emotions and thoughts (similar to the different phases of the waxing and waning moon).

Ghanta means a bell from which only one kind of sound arises. Do you ever hear multiple sounds from a bell? No matter how you play it, only one kind of sound comes from the bell. In the same way, when the mind that is scattered and entangled in different thoughts and emotions gets consolidated and established at one point (in the Divine), then it awakens the Divine energy within us which becomes one-pointed and rises upwards. This is what is meant by Chandraghanta. Her name literally means (The bell of the moon).

It means that state where the scattered mind becomes steady and consolidated towards one goal. Do not run away from the mind, for the mind is also a form and manifestation of Mother Divine. Everything in nature is nothing but a manifestation of Mother Divine. The essence here is to take everything together – whether harmonious or unpleasant – as a collective whole, bringing all thoughts, emotions and sounds as one Naad (sound) like the sound a bell or a large gong makes. This is the meaning behind the Devi’s name Chandraghanta, and the third day of Navratri is celebrated to honour this form of the Mother Divine.

The iconography of Ma Chandraghanta

Adorned with the bell shaped half moon, golden complexioned, and ten armed, She rides a golden lion! Eight tender hands wield a trident, mace, arrow, bow, sword, lotus, bell, a rudraksh mala and a kamandalu-water pot, while one of her hands is in Abhaya mudra (Fear dispelling gesture). She is dressed in orange.She mounts a lion or tiger, which stands for bravery and strength.

She has a noticeable third eye in the centre of her forehead and a half-moon on her forehead. She has a golden complexion and embodies the ideal balance of grace, charm, and attractiveness. Her bell is said to have made a thundering boom that shocked and incapacitated the demons during their battle with Her, as described in the Durga Saptashati, also known as Devi Mahatmyam. 

The immense blessings of worshipping Ma Chandraghanta

The moon is associated with Manas or mind. The thoughts that arise in our minds take us through a whole range of emotions. We feel happy, sad,angry, fearful, loving and excited- every emotion as deep as the sea. The changing emotions are like the changing phases of the waning and waxing moon. They are constantly changing, hence it is called Chanchala manas. The moon on Devi’s head shines the light of consciousness upon us, steadying our minds for reflection,self-enquiry, composure and calmness. 

Invoke the grace of Ma Chandraghanta on tritiya tithi to eradicate all hurdles, physical suffering, and mental tribulations. She is a fearsome warrior but also as gentle as the moonlight; her worship brings inner balance. 

What Ma Chandraghanta’s grace brings upon us: 

🌸The worship of Maa Chandraghanta instils hope for a devotee. 

🌸She stabilises emotions and instils courage to face any kind of unfavourable situation. 

🌸She keeps negative energies at bay and protects the devotee 

🌸She shines Her light on new possibilities for Her devotees. 

Ma Chandraghanta and Kundalini

After Ma Shailaputri who governs the Mooladhara and Ma Brahmacharini who governs the Svadhishhana Chakra, Ma Chandraghanta takes us further upwards, as She governs the Solar Plexus or Manipura Chakra. 

The Solar Plexus Chakra, also known as the Manipura, teaches us how to manage any circumstance with poise and effectiveness while remaining calm in the face of chaos.

Maa’s form reveals that she is intense, strong, assertive, loud, bold, and even terrifying. In addition to being all of these things, she is also gentle, loving, graceful, endearing, joyful, warm, kind, and even devoted. 

She reminds us that no matter what the circumstances, we can always act with grace, love, compassion, and composure. The ability to maintain composure is tested in even the most ferocious of warriors because it holds the key to the mysteries of the cosmos.

The effulgence of Her gold like body bestows her devotee with power and bliss. Chanting Her mantra in the Manipur chakra alleviates worldly suffering, paving the way for spiritual evolution to attain Shiva consciousness. 

The Tantric invocation of Ma Chandraghanta 

Tantric invocation: Chandi, Bhadra, Subhaga

Occurring in the Lakshmi Tantra, the Tripura Upanishad of the Rig Veda and Shaiva Agama Texts, the energy of today’s tantric mantra is an awakened mantra. Anyone interested in pursuing Tantra Sadhana is encouraged to do a Purushcharana of this mantra. Devi Subhaga is the Matrika shakti created by Maharudra to slay Andhakasura and bestow auspiciousness in the world (Saubhagyam). Su+Bhaga means the one who is worshiped(bhaga) by all blessed beings for dharmic pursuits(su). Her sadhana blesses a Sadhaka with good fortune, prosperity, knowledge, detachment, courage, power of resolve (Sankalpa shakti) and liberation.

May the grace of Devi Chandraghanta descend upon you!

⛰️Om Devi Chandraghantayai Namah⛰️

🌸Jaganmatruke Pahimam! 🌸

🔱Om Namashchandikaye! 🔱

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