srishti-sthiti-pralaya- sadhana-shaktir eka
chayeva yasya bhuvanani vibharti durga
icchanurupam api yasya che cheshtate sa
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
The external potency Maya who is of the nature of the shadow of the cit potency, is worshiped by all people as Durga, the creating, preserving and destroying agency of this mundane world. I adore the primeval Lord Govinda in accordance with whose will Durga conducts herself.
All glories to Srimati Durga devi, the external energy of the Lord, who, under his direction, creates this material universe, which is the perverted reflection of the transcendental realm. By the will of the Lord, she provides all the facilities for the fallen conditioned souls to try and enjoy themselves, and ultimately suffer unlimited distress due to being subjected to the laws of material nature. Being forgetful of our constitutional position as the eternal servants of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, we, under the spell of illusion, think of ourselves as the enjoyers and due to this forgetfulness of our true nature and our envy of the Supreme Lord, we are made to suffer the pangs of material misery. Even though being a part of the tatastha shakti or marginal potency of Krishna and being spirits souls, eternal full of bliss and knowldegs, due to being infintesimal, we come under the sway of the material energy or Bahiranga shakti of the Lord and suffer the miseries of birth, death, old age and disease. This material creation is actually like a prison house and Srimati Durga devi is the Jailer, who ensures that we remain entangeled in the net of Karma, or the cycle of repeated action and reaction, till we take shelter of the Supreme Lord, realising our position as his eternal servants. While engrossed in material life, the people worship Goddess Durga in various forms, of which nine are prominent, especially during the Navaratre, and pray to her for benedictions to gain name, fame, wealth, family and other material benedictions. However, the devotees pay respects to her and request her to kindly spare them from her tight snare of illusion. We pray to her to allow our minds to be engaged in the service and in remembering the Supreme Lord Govinda, rather than being attracted to the mirage of temporary material pleasures.
Out of all her nine forms, the form of Katyayini devi is especially respected by the vaishnavas, as in this form she was worshiped by the Vraja Gopis with the desire to attain Sri Krishna as their husband. Every year in the month of Margashirsha(nov-dec), the Gopis keep a fast for the pleasure of Katyayini devi, in which they eat only unsalted khichadi once a day, bathe in the Yamuna early in the morning and worship devi Katyayini. They earnestly pray to her and beg to have Krishna as their husbands, while reciting the following prayer:
Katyayani Mahamaye Mahayoginyadheeshwari
Nandgopsutam Devipatim Me Kuru te Namah
During these Navaratre, we pray to Durga devi, the external energy of the Lord, to bess us so that we may be able to fix our minds at the Lotus feet of Sri Shyamsundar and thus free ourselves from this material world. And we pray to Katyayani devi that we may be able to serve the Vraja Sakhis who were performing Katyayani vrata for attaining Krishna as their husband.