Devi Katyayani is the sixth form of Goddess NavDurga and is worshipped on the sixth day of Navratri. She is known as a pure Shakti form, a remover of severity and pride. She is a warrior goddess in a fierce form and is also known as “Bhadrakali” and “Chandika”. She has been noted as one of the ancient known forms of energy with mentions in Skanda purana and Patanjali’s Mahabhasya written in 2nd BCE. She is said to have taken form out of anger of Gods against the Demon Mahisasur.
Her outer appearance is fierce warrior-like with four hands. She bears a long sword on her left arm and lotus in another one. Both right arms are up in benevolent gesture of blessings. She rides a lion which was given to her by Devi Parvati to slay the demon Mahisasur. In Hindu traditions like Yoga or the Tantra, she is recognised as the sixth Ajna Chakra or the ‘Third eye chakra’, and her blessings are besought by concentrating on this point.
Goddess Katyayani is believed to be born to Sage Katyayan in Durga Avataar hence known as Katyayani Mata. With the growing mayhems caused by Demon Mahisasur, Gods were distressed. Growing powerful and evil day by day he planned to destroy the earth, heaven and rule Gods. Katyayani Mata was manifested by Gods to destroy Mahisasur. Mahisasur was blessed by Lord Shiva for his Tapasya that he cannot be killed by anyone either on heaven or earth, nor when he is a human or animal. When Katyayani Mata was chasing Mahisasur, he was changing into a form of buffalo. Just when his head transformed into animal, Katyayani Mata jumped onto his back and beheaded him with one blow of her sharp sword. In the end the Gods and earth were saved from total annihilation from demons.
In 22nd chapter of the Bhagvatpuran the legend of Katyayani Mata is recorded, when young single maids or Gopis worshipped her by observing fast on Katyayani Vrat for the entire month of Margashirsha (first month of winters) to have Lord Krishna as their husband. The ritual followed by bathing at Yamuna River and offering prayers to the Goddess including betel nuts, flowers and incense. The ritual is followed till date to get the husband one wants.
Devi Kanyakumari (at the southernmost tip of India) is said to be a re-incarnation of Goddess Katyayani. She is ardently worshipped during Pongal with prayers for good rain, abundance and prosperity throughout the month. She is also a goddess of Penance and Sanyas. It is believed that the planet Brahaspati is governed by her and she is known as a pure primal form of Shakti.