She is the fourth form of the Mother Durga. Thus she is also glorified by the ten different aspects of the power of Shakti known as Dasa Mahavidyas. Durga’s nine different aspects are Nava Durga. Goddess Kushmanda is worshipped on the fourth day of Navaratri. This day is called Chaturthi Thithi or Chavithi. The meaning of the name ‘Ku-shm-anda’ is as follows: ‘Ku’ means little; ‘ushma’ means ‘warmth’ and ‘anda’ means ‘the cosmic egg’. Therefore, the word Kushmanda means the Goddess represents the cosmic egg which created the Universe. Or it can also be said as ‘that is from whose fraction of warmth the universe has been emanated’.
Mother is considered to have created the universe when even Kala or time was not there. Before her advent there was neither Sat nor Asat. The universe was no more than a void full of darkness. She created the universe with her Sankalpa as her mental projection. Her light spreads in all directions like rays from the sun. It is said that Goddess Kushmanda created the Anda with her divine smile. She is therefore also known as Adi Shakti.
The core of the Sun is the residence of the Goddess. Thus She is controls the functioning of Suryalokha. Indeed she was the only one who could occupy the inner portion of Surya Loka and live there. Goddess Kushmanda has the power and strength to live the core of Suryalokha. So the Sun is also the recipient of her smile.
DEPICTION: Goddess Kushmanda shines like the glowing sun. Indeed the hue and luster of her body also is just like that if the Sun glowing and incomparable with any other God or Goddess to match. All the ten quarters of the lokhas are illuminated with her effluence. Whatever brilliance is observed in the world or in living beings or objects, is the simple a reflection of her splendour. Often she is depicted as having eight or ten hands.
‘Ashtabhuja’ is a reference to her having eight arms. She holds weapons such as bow, arrow, discuss and mace. In the remaining hands she holds a lotus, a rosary and a kamandal. She also carries a Jar of Nectar which is symbolical prasada for bhaktas health and long life. The Rosary represents Kushmanda’s powers to bless her bhaktas with Astasiddhi, meaning eight types of wisdoms and Navanidhi meaning nine types of wealth. Her vahana is a lion representing, courage and dharma.
PUJA: Ailments and sorrows are eliminated on worshipping her and longevity, name, strength and health are improved. The puja rituals pertaining to Kushmanda are somewhat similar to that of Goddess Chandraghanta and Brahmacharini. The kalash is worshiped right after Lord Ganesha is venerated and invoked. The Kalasha puja is an invitation for the Goddess and her family to reside in it. One keeps flowers in the hands for offering. The chant is ‘Surasampurnakalasham Rudhiraplutmeva Cha; Dadhana Hastpadhyabhayam Kushmanda Shubhdastu Me’.
As with the previous two Goddesses, Lord Shiva and Brahma are also worshiped after the Kushmanda puja. Lord Vishnu is to worshipped along with the Mother Lakshmi. Goddess Kushmanda is worshipped according to Shastras and the Puranas. Generally Goddess Durga is worshipped in this form as she eradicates sorrow and diseases and augments life, fame and strength.
But one is not stopped from praying to Mother in his or her own way. Mother means Love. Goddess Kushmanda is pacified with the slightest devotion and if anyone whole heartedly worships the deity, the bhakta is certain of a blessing. If there is going to be a sacrifice then it is the kushmandam. This is a vegetable pumpkin termed ‘kushmandam’ because in Sanskrit, Kushmanda means pumpkin. Offerings to Goddess is called naivaidhya or naibidhya.
CHAKRA: The pooja of Devi Kushmanda on the fourth day of Navratri in Durga Pooja has a great significance. Yogis, Sadhakas and other dedicated devotees meditate their mind for Anahata Chakra. The devotees should perform the Pooja of the goddess with pure and calm mind. While worshipping, the aspirant should keep in mind the purest form of the goddess.
Kushmanda pooja during Navratri increases one’s health and strength and the person gets freedom from all kinds of fears. The life span, name, strength and health would increase. Mother Kushmanda is easy to propitiate. If the bhakta surrenders guilelessly, he or she is sure to reach her Supreme abode.
MANTRA: Devi Kushmanda Mantra : Ya devi Sarvabhuteshu Ma Kushmanda Rupen Sansthita; Namastaseya Namastaseya Namastaseya Namoh Namah
Yogi Ananda Saraswathi