Ma Siddhidatri, the Ninth Durga
Ma Siddhidatri is the ninth form of Goddess Durga who is worshipped on the ninth or final day of the Navratras. ‘Siddhi’ means perfection in Sanskrit. Looking pleased, Goddess Siddhidatri holds a chakra in her right lower hand and a mace in the upper right. In the left lower hand, She has a conch and in her upper left hand, a lotus flower. She is usually shown ensconced in a lotus flower with the lion as her mount.
The Goddess Siddhidatri is capable of bestowing various occult powers. According to the Markandaye Purana, Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakaamya, Ishitva and Vashitva are the eight siddhis or supernatural accomplishments. Whereas Anima, Mahima, Garima, Ladhima, Prapti, Prakaamya, Ishitva,Vashitva, Sarvakaamaal, Saadhita, Sarvagynatva, DurShravana, Parkaayapraveshan, VakaSiddhi, Kalpavrushatva, Shrishti, Samharkaransaamarthya, Amaratva, Sarvanyayakatva, Bhavana and Siddhi are the eighteen supernatural skills as per the Brahmavaivarta Purana.
Lord Shiva as Ardhanarishvar
It is stated in the ‘Devi Purana’ that the Supreme God, Shiva, acquired all these siddhis by worshipping Maha Shakti. By Her grace the half body of Lord Shiva is composed of Goddess Shakti leading to his name ‘Ardhanarishvar’ which is famed the world over.
A treasure house of mystic powers or yantra tantra and knowledge or gyaan, this form of Durga is worshipped by all Gods, Rishis-Munis, Siddhas, Yogis, Sadhakas and devotees for acquiring siddhis or supernatural powers. Maa Durga dispels ignorance and makes us realize that everything is the Supreme Being or Brahman. If a sadhaka worships Her as per the conventional norms with dedicated devotion,She bestows 26 different wishes on him.
Navadurga is the Kuldevi (family goddess) of several Gaud Saraswat Brahmins in India. There are many Navadurga temples in Goa such as at Madkiam, Kundaim, Pale, Poingueinim, Borim. The temples at Redi and Vengurla of Maharashtra are famed.