As the nine nights represent the nine planets, we will be focussing on Navaratri and the nine planets with an account of one or another the planets for nine nights. For the third night of Navaratri, we will take the planet Mars. The third day of Navratri is Sindoor Tritya. The colour for the third day of Navaratri is RED, so we scribe in RED for this third day observance of Navaratri. The Goddess is Maa Chandraghanta.
Today is the third day of the Navaratri celebrations which are held for nine nights. All festivals are meant to remind mankind that they should cultivate noble qualities by engaging themselves in activities beneficial to one’s own self and society. Sai Baba made this reference to Navaratri and the Nine Planets:
As part of Navaratri celebrations, people worship different forms of divinity. You should develop sacred feelings and experience divinity. What is the inner meaning of Navaratri celebrations? These nine nights represent nine planets. Each planet has its own significance. However, these planets are not outside, they are within. If your feelings are impure and unsacred, the result also will be the same. You are responsible for the good and bad you think and experience.
Sindoor Tritiya is observed on the third day of the 9-day Navaratri festival. On this day Maa Chandraghanta is worshipped. This day is of great significance in North India. This is a ritual during Navaratri, which is closely associated with Sindoor – the red powder or Vermilion – which is an essential part of Hindu ritual and closely associated with Mother Goddess worship.
This day also marks the end of the first three days of Navaratri, especially in South India. The first three days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga. The next three days are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi.
The Planet Mars is known in Vedic Astrology as Kuja, the Commander in Chief, son of Bhumi, Mother Earth, (or Bhoomi Devi), and is dispositor or karaka of shakti in the form of energy, will, power and strength. Mars is a planet of strength. The sloka for Mars describes this planetary deity has having the (weapon or instrument) Shakti in his hand. So we may take strength, power, energy and force as signatures of Mars.
So we understand that Mars, with the instrument of Shakti, has power, energy and will. Application of will to physical energy and efforts gives rise to power, concentration and success in the formation of discipline to create human order in human society. Mars, with its command of energy for repetition, practice, drill, gives penetration of mind and intellect to efficient decisions, which create order where disorder and chaos exist.
There are five elements: earth, air, fire, water and ether (space). These represent the different layers of manifestation from the subtle universe to the material, 3 dimensional world. The three gunas (impulses, drives to action or inaction) work through the five elements to form the outer world and sustain the bodies of the individual souls that take birth. There are shaktis of space, air, fire, water and earth within our bodies. Fire, which Mars is a significator of, has the powers to create great heat in furnaces and foundries, to controlled heat in turbines and kitchen stoves, to ripen and to impart colour. It represents electrical energy inherent in space, activated by the air element and gaining luminosity, and thus giving forth the power of light.
Chandraghanta is the third form of Goddess Durga. Her name Chandra-Ghanta, means “one who has a half-moon shaped like a bell. Her third eye is always opened and she always ready for war against demons. She is also known as Chandrakhanda, Chandika or Rannchandi. Her worship takes place on the third day of Navaratri. She is believed to reward people with her grace, bravery and courage. By her grace all the sins, distresses, physical sufferings, mental tribulations and ghostly hurdles are eradicated.
Chandraghanta is one who establishes justice and discipline in the world. The color of her body is golden; she rides on the lion that represents dharma (righteousness, right conduct); she possesses ten hands and three eyes; eight of Her hands display weapons while the remaining two are respectively in the mudras of boon giving and stopping harm. Chandraghanta is posed as if to be ready for war. Chandra+Ghanta means supreme bliss and knowledge, showering peace and serenity, like cool breeze in a moonlit night.
Mars and the Feminine
We mentioned earlier that Mars has Shakti as his instrument. The Kuja (Mars) Gayatri speaks of Mars as shakti hastaya dheemahi, that Mars carries the flag of Shakti, which is feminine in nature and represented by Goddess Durga. Mars is the son of Bhoomi Devi, Mother Earth, which also makes Mars vehicle or carrier of the feminine shakti.
Durga is the Goddess of War; Mars is the warrior serving the Goddess. Mars is the General, the warrior in chief. Mars is Bhoomi Putra, Son of Mother Earth. The role of shakti which Mars has – as Son of the Earth Mother – becomes more directed towards transformation. Force, Power and Command may be directed towards understanding, collaboration, devising alternate strategies to negativity, wars and conflicts. This is ParaShakti, the Mother Goddess, in action.
Significance of Navaratri
The term “Devi” thus represents the Divine Power which has taken the Rajasic form to suppress the evil forces and protect the Satvic qualities. When the forces of injustice, immorality and untruth have grown to monstrous proportions and are indulging in a death dance, when selfishness and self-interest are rampant, when men have lost all sense of kindness and compassion, the Atmic principle, assuming the form of Shakti (energy/ power), taking on the Rajasic quality, seeks to destroy the evil elements. This is the inner meaning of the Festival. When the Divine Goddess is in dreadful rage assumes a fearful form, to pacify the dreaded Goddess, her feminine children offer worship to Her with red kumkum (sacred powder). The Goddess seeing the blood-red kumkum at Her feet, feels assured that the wicked have been vanquished and assumes Her benign form. The inner meaning of the worship of “Devi” with red kumkum is that thereby the Goddess is appeased. During the ten days of Navaratri and Dassera the demons in the form of wicked qualities have been routed. Rakshasas (demons) do not mean demonic beings. Arrogance is a demon. Bad thoughts are demons”. (Sai Baba, SS, 11/91, pp. 284 – 285)