Navratri is a celebration of devotion to “Adi-shakti” Ma Durga. Each of her nine forms are celebrated across these nine days. Goddess Skanda Mata is the fifth manifestation of Devi Parvati. In this form she is recognised as a mother of Lord Skanda (Lord Kartikeya), who is a chosen leader of gods to lead in wars against demons.
Devi’s avatar is seen with the infant form of Lord Skanda in her lap. She has four arms and three eyes and she is riding on a lion. She carries lotus in two of her arms, one arm holding Skanda and the other one holding up in a gesture bestowing blessings on the devotee. She is also seen meditating on the lotus thereby bearing the name “Padmasanadevi”.
According to a legend Tarkasur, a great demon, once did tough penance to please Lord Brahma. Pleased with his great devotion Lord Brahma appeared. Tarkasur asked Lord Brahma to shower his blessings and make him eternal; for which he denied and said, “No one can escape death, as death is already predestined for everyone who takes birth on this earth.” Tarkasur acted clever, he thought Lord Shiva will never get married and thus, asked for death by the son of Lord Shiva. The blessings were granted. Tarkasur started tantalizing the people on the earth. He considered himself as unbeatable. Feared with the actions of Tarkasur all the Devtas went to Lord Shiva and requested him to get married. Lord Shiva agreed and got married to Goddess Parvati. She then gave birth to Lord Kartikeya or Skand Kumar, who demolished Tarkasur. Devi Skand Mata represents mother-son relationship. Her worship automatically includes the worship of Lord Kartikeya (in his child form).
Skanda Mata is a goddess of beauty, purity and grace. Worshippers seek spiritual upliftment and a peaceful journey in another world by invoking Skanda Mata. This journey provides a true meaning to Siddhi and Mokhsa for devotees where they leave their sorrows behind to lead a better life in contentment.
The fifth day of Navratri also marks the “Visudh Chakra” during Durga Puja which means a devotee prays and remembers the Goddess with his or her undiluted devoting thoughts and prayers. This removes impurities, anxieties and other bearings on their mind bringing peace to them. The pooja on Panchmi is also significant to achieve Skanda Mata’s blessings for a peaceful life ahead.