Durga ashtami, or Durga Ashtami, is the eight day of the Navaratri and Durga Puja celebrations. Durga ashtami is also known as Maha Ashtami and is one of the most important days of Durga Puja, and a fasting is undertaken by many people. Weapons of Goddess Durga are worshipped on the day, and it is known 'Astra Puja'. The day is also known as Vira ashtami as there are displays using arms or martial arts. It is one of the most important day for Goddess Worship in Hindu religion. There is also a belief in some regions, that Goddess Kaali appeared from the forehead of Mother Durga on this day to annihilate the demons Chanda, Munda and Rakthabija. During the Durga Puja rituals on Mahashtami day, the 64 Yoginis and Ashta Nayikas – the eight consorts – of Durga are also worshipped. The eight consorts of Durga, also known as Eight Shaktis, are interpreted differently in different regions of India. But ultimately all the eight goddesses are incarnations of Shakti. They are the same powerful Divine Feminine, representing different energies. Sometimes, they are also an attempt to give form to a particular aspect of Shakti. The Ashta Nayikas worshipped during Durga Puja are Brahmani, Maheswari, Kameswari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Narasinghi, Indrani and Chamunda. Numerous minor deities including many attendants and guards of Durga are worshiped on this day. The 8th incarnation of Goddess Durga is called Maha Gauri. On Ashtami day, Devi Maha Gauri is worshiped. She protects the welfare of all Her devotees. All their issues are solved. Devi is said to give effectual results. It is said about Goddess Durga that She rides lion. She is crowned with moon on her head. She is Kantiwali and has four arms. Devi graces us with a conch, Chakra, bow and arrow in her four arms. She has three eyes. Goddess Durga is the destroyer of the evil. The Nava (nine) Durga are the symbols of the 9 powers. Devi's 9 incarnations are worshipped during the Navrathri. These goddesses are the symbol of Brahmacharya, awareness, sacrifice, simplicity, knowledge, fearlessness, patience and sense of service. On this auspicious day of Durga Ashtami and the 8th day of Navrathri celebrations, let us all meditate on the Shakthi energy, the Durga energy, for the destruction of all our sufferings. May Mata Durga's grace and presence fill our lives with bliss and joy!