On the 8th day of Navratri, the Maha Ashtami of Durga, Her 8th manifestation appears, Mahagauri Ma. Yesterday, Her color was midnight black, today She is effulgent white, as Her name suggests. Gauri means “white.” “Austerities” are referred to as “tapas” in Indian tradition, which actually means “heating” or even “burning,” so the result of Parvati’s tapas was that her skin blackened from the fire of Her austerities – and as Kalratri Ma, She defeated the enemies of the Gods. This morning (in cosmic terms), Lord Shiva bathed Parvati with the waters of the Ganga, and lo and behold, the blackness washed away revealing the pristine Goddess, whose face resembled the Moon.
Dressed in white, sitting atop a white bull, holding Authority in Her right hand in the form of The trident, she holds Lord Shiva’s gift of the damaru, the two headed drum, in her left. It is from this damaru that the Maheshwara Sutra is heard, and Speech is gifted to humankind.
The divine irony of opposites is revealed in Mahagauri Ma, and for those who can realize that, She grants joy and power. Many believe that the husband will have a long life should the wife worship Mahagauri Ma, and the unmarried woman seeking a husband will find an excellent match.
She may be invoked and worshipped with the following mantras:
YA DEVI SARVBHUTESHU MAM MAHAGAURI RUPENA SAMSTHITA
NAMASTASYAI NAMASTASYAI NAMASTASYAI NAMO NAMAH
SHWETE VRISHESAMARUDHA SHWETAMBARDHARA SHUCHIH
MAHAGAURI SHUBHAM DADYANMAHADEVA PRAODADA
OM HREEM SHRI MAHAGAURI DURGAYE NAMAH
SARVA MANGALA MANGALYE SHIVE SARVARTHA SADHIKE
SHARANYAI TRYAMBAKE GAURI NARAYANI NAMASTUTE