Durga Sapthasathi Mantra Recital
Worship of the Divine Mother or Goddess worship is one of the six streams of Hindu Devotion. Known by the name of Shaktism or Shakti worship, it has been practiced by various saints. Devi Mahatmayam mantra occurs in the Markandeya Purana, one of the 18 puranas compiled by Sage Veda Vyasa. It is one of the authoritative texts of Shaktism and Mantra Shastra in Hindu religion.
The main text of the Devi Mahatmayam contains 700 mantras. The preliminary mantras are
This method of chanting is called as Navanga parayanam since there are nine preliminary stotras to be chanted before chanting the Saptashati. Then Vedic or tantric Ratri Suktam is chanted. It is followed by the Durga Saptashati chapters. The Uttaranga Mantras are Tantric or Vedic Devi Sooktam,Rahasya Trayam(Pradhana Rahasyam,Vaikritika Rahasyam,Murti Rahasyam),Aparadha Kshamapana Stotram.
The Navakshari Mantra ( 9 lettered mantra on Goddess Chandi who is the very embodiment of Maha Kali , Maha Lakshmi , Maha Saraswathi ) is chanted before and after chanting the saptashati. It has to be chanted after taking Mantra Upadesa of Maha Ganapathy Moola Mantra and Chandi Navakshari Moola Mantra from a Guru. Devi Mahatmayam is called as sapthasathi since it contains 700 verses(saptha means seven). It is also because seven devis - Bramhi, Maheswari, Vaishnavi , Kaumari, Indrani, Varahi, Chamunda, are worshipped in the mantras.
Goddess Chamunda also represents the 3 Shaktis:
Icha Shakti ( Power of Will) as Goddess Kali or Durga
Kriya Shakti (Power of Action) as Goddess Lakshmi
Gyana Shakti (Power of Knowledge) as Goddess Saraswathi
Devi Mahatmayam contains 13 chapters. The Devi Mahatmyam contains the dialogue between a dispossessed king Suratha, a merchant Samadhi betrayed by his family and a sage named Medhas. The sage instructs by recounting three different epic battles between the Devi and various demonic adversaries.The three tales being governed by, respectively, Maha kali (Chapter 1), Maha Lakshmi (Chapters 2-4) and Maha Saraswathi (Chapters 5-13). By doing upasana of Chandika Parameshwari Devi, the king and the merchant regain back their lost possessions and finally liberation. Each chapter of the Saptashati has a presiding deity as described below:
Chapter 1 - Madhu Kaitaba Vadham - Sri Maha Kali
Chapter 2 - Mahishasura Sainya Vadham - Sri Maha Lakshmi
Chapter 3 - Mahishasura Vadham - Sri Shankari Devi
Chapter 4 - Chakradhi Stuti - Sri Jaya Durga Devi
Chapter 5 - Devi Dhoota Samvadham - Sri Maha Saraswathi
Chapter 6 - Dhoomralochana Vadham - Sri Padmavathi Devi
Chapter 7 - Chanda Munda Vadham - Sri Raja Mathangi Devi
Chapter 8 - Raktabeja Vadham - Sri Bhavani Devi
Chapter 9 - Nishumba Vadham - Sri Ardhambika Devi
Chapter 10 - Shumbashura Vadham - Sri Kameshwari Devi
Chapter 11 - Narayani Stuthi - Sri Bhuvaneshwari Devi
Chapter 12 - Devi Charitha Mahatmyam - Sri Durga Devi
Chapter 13 - Sri Maha Tripura Sundari Devi
Durga Saptashati is chanted after invoking Goddess Chandika in a Kalasha (gatha stapana). The Kalasha is filled with water and a coconut is placed on the mouth of the kalasha. Maha Ganapathi, Ashta Bhairavas, Navagrahas and Ashta Dikbalas are also invoked along with the Goddess in seperate kalashas. Spiritual herbs are added to the water in the Kalasas and Alankara is done. Vedic Sri Sookta Aradhana along with Sri Lalitha Sahasranamam/Sri Lalitha Trishati Archana and other archanas are performed.
Kala Bhairava Pujai is also performed to get rid of Pitr Dosha, Stree Shapa dosha, Kala Sarpa Dosha etc. Along with Devi Mahatyam other Mantras like Maha Ganapathy Moola Mantra, Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam,Sri Lakshmi Sudarshana Maha Mantra,Sri Lalitha Sahasranamam, Sri Lalitha Trishati,Dhanvantri Mantra could also be chanted. After all the upachara pujas are complete, the holy water from the kalasha is then distributed as prasadam to devotees.
Related Article: Maha Nava Chandi Homam