Navratri’s sixth day is dedicated to Maa Katyayani and symbolizes joy and cheerfulness. She is believed to be the destroyer of all evil, as well as a warrior goddess who brought peace to the world.
Maa Katyayani is considered one of Goddess Durga’s fiercest forms. Her other name is Mahishasurmardini (Killer of Mahishasura), as she defeated and killed the demon Mahishasura.
History and Origin
It is said that there was long ago a sage named Katyayana. In his devotion to Goddess Shakti, he spent days and nights praying. Sage Katyayana always wished that Goddess Shakti would become his daughter. At this time, an evil demon named Mahishasura was causing great trouble for the Gods. As the days passed, he gained more power and the Gods became increasingly concerned about him. They prayed to Goddess Shakti for her help in surviving the wrath of Mahishasura.
Goddess Shakti decided to come to Earth and end Mahishasura’s reign. Upon the wish of Sage Katyayana, she was born as her daughter on Earth. As she grew up, she became an incredible fighter, beloved by many as Katyayani, the daughter of Katyayana.
Chandha and Mundha, two messengers of Mahishasura, saw Katyayani one day and were mesmerized by her beauty. The messengers returned to Mahishasura and told him all about Katyayani. On hearing this, Mahishasura was delighted and immediately ordered Dundubhi to go and speak to Katyayani. Dundubhi told Katyayani all about Mahishasura. He boasted of his greatness and declared that he was now the ruler of all three worlds. He advised Katyayani to marry Mahishasura as both of them would make a good couple.
Katyayani smiled and explained to Dundubhi that according to her family tradition, Mahishasura must first defeat her in battle. Only then will they be able to marry. Dundubhi returned to Mahishaura to explain the challenge. Mahishaura consented, and soon the preparations began.
The battle between Katyayani and Mahishasura was fierce. She managed to kill many of his demon soldiers. In the face-to-face confrontation with Mahishasura, he transformed into a buffalo. Katyayani struggled to fight him in this situation. Katyayani, however, tricked Mahishasura and climbed onto his back. The move caught him by surprise, and he tried very hard to get rid of her, but he failed. In the end, Katyayani placed her foot on the back of Mahishasura’s neck, pierced him with her Trishul, then slashed off his head.
In this way, Maa Katyayani destroyed the evil and powerful demon Mahishasura. By doing so, she saved the Gods from his menace and restored peace in this world.
In many parts of India, unmarried girls observe fasts and pray to Maa Katyayani so they can find a loving and caring husband.
She has four hands and is an incarnation of Goddess Durga. She holds a lotus in two hands, a sword in one, and blesses her devotees with the fourth. She is believed to protect her devotees from all kinds of evil and to bless them with happiness and joy.