Today 18th October is the 4th day of Navratri and is dedicated to Maa Kushmanda, the fourth incarnation of Goddess Durga. Devotees honour her by offering malpua as bhog and following other traditions to receive her blessings.
Navratri is in full swing and devotees all over India and beyond are celebrating the festival dedicated to the nine incarnations of the goddess Durga. This year Navratri began on Sunday, 15th October and is set to conclude on Tuesday, October 24, 2023. This nine-day festival is a devoted celebration of Goddess Durga, where each day is dedicated to worshipping one of her nine forms: Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri, and Siddhidatri. After the worship of Devi Chandraghanta on Day 3, the fourth day of Shardiya Navratri is dedicated to Maa Kushmanda.
The name of Maa Kushmanda consists of three meaningful components: "Ku" denoting 'little,' "Ushma" implying 'warmth,' and "Anda" symbolising a cosmic egg. According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that even a mere glimpse of Maa Kushmanda's smile was responsible for the creation of the entire universe.
She is also known as Ashtabhuja Devi, signifying her possession of eight hands, and her divine power enables her to reside within the Sun. Her radiance is said to rival that of the Sun, and she imparts guidance and energy to this celestial body. Consequently, the Sun God is under the dominion of Goddess Kushmanda.
The colour associated with Maa Kushmanda and the fourth day is royal blue signifying peace, enlightenment and prosperity. It’s said that Goddess Kushmanda has a fondness for red flowers, and therefore, worshippers are encouraged to present them during the puja. Additionally, adornment items such as sindoor, kajal, bangles, bindi, toe rings, combs, mirrors, and anklets should be included as offerings. The bhog of this day includes offerings like malpua, halwa and curd to appease Maa Kushmanda.
The Chaturthi Tithi is said to begin at 10:58 am on October 18 and end at 1:15 pm on the same day.