navratri is one of the most popular indian festival. it is celebrated almost all over india with different forms. it is also popular in nepal, bangladesh and parts of pakistan.
devotees of mother goddess (durga or kali or vaishno devi) worship small girls during asthami (8th) or navami (9th day) of navratri festival. in kanya pooja, nine forms of goddess are worshiped.
the principle behind worshiping small girls is very simple. inside you either ego can exist or divine can exist. ego and divinity can’t exist together. in the moments of egolessness (when there is no ego) you welcome divine energy inside you. the path of devotion is all about surrendering your ego to the god and let him take control of your life. you have to empty yourself from inside so that you can welcome the divine inside you.
secondly when you are on path of devotion, then you should use any medium or excuse or opportunity to surrender your ego. kanjak pooja is one such occasion which comes twice in a year (sharad navratri and chaitra navratri). now lets discuss in little more detail.
why worship small girls in navratri:
1. the whole world is a manifestation of shiva and shakti. the small girls are innocent and pure. they represent the purest form of mother goddess in human form. as per the hindu philosophy, a virgin girl is the symbol of the pure basic creative force. in idol worship, pran pratistha is done so that the energy of the deity is invoked in it. however, the small girl are herself created by mother goddess. the feminine energy is at its peak in a girl. moreover, they are still devoid of ego and are innocent. so there is great possibility that you can easily invoke the mother goddess in small girls during the kanya pooja.
it all depends upon your trust, devotion and innocence in that moment. it also depends upon the fact that with how much totality you have remembered the mother goddess during the navratri period. if while worshipping the small girls, you can visualize them as goddess with your totality or if you can surrender totally to their feet then know that you have touched the feet of mother goddess.
kanya pooja is a opportunity to worship goddess in the form of small girls. what is needed on the part of devotee is trust, devotion, innocence and surrender. during pooja, don’t see them as girls. see them as if goddess has come inside them. so do all the rituals like washing their feet, making them sit on a seat, mantra chanting, feeding them halwa, poori, dry black chickpea curry and sweets with devotion and reverence.
2. the energy of goddess is manifested at its peak during navratri. before navratri, goddess takes rest because during navratri period, she will be very active. in many temples the goddess idol is also put to rest. e.g. tulja bhavani shaktipeeth temple in solapur, mahrashtra. most hindus remember goddess and are in devotional frenzy during this time. so the air is charged with thoughts about mother goddess and the overall energy is devotional and of surrender towards mother. it is specially true in bengal where durga pooja is celebrated with lot of devotion. because of all this group energy in which crores of hindus participate, it is easier for a devotee to surrender to her and also to invoke the mother goddess in these pure and innocent small girls who are still devoid of ego.
so if you are on the path of devotion and more importantly a devotee of mother goddess then do the kanya pooja sincerely and not as a formality.