Kanya Puja – a night dedicated to worship the nine forms of the Hindu Goddess Mother Durga – was held at the Reform Shiva Mandir on Thursday night.
Nine girls, all under the age of nine years, represented the Devis (female aspect of God) and one boy, represented the Devta (protector of the Devis) were worshipped.
The celebration, a Hindu holy ritual, was held during the nine-night Navaratri festival being celebrated at temples across the country.
President of the Reform Shiva Mandir, Ronald Jaskaran, said nine young girls ages three to nine years, were chosen to represent the Hindu Goddesses.
Jaskaran said the Kanya puja consists of the washing of the feet, garlanding, aarti, tilak, offering of food and gifts to the Devis and the Devta.
“Sacred books of Hindus describes that every human has a God within but provided the human should have innocence and purity. Children are the purest form of human beings as they have no evil emotions instilled,” he said.
Officiating pundit Vishnudath Maharaj, said the ritual was a means of honouring and worshiping God in the purest form – through young children.
He said Kanya Puja was a general prayer for the nation and world to be rid of difficulties.
“We are worshiping God and the divinity of everything. Today, when we do puja we do puja for a general purpose not only for individual purpose. So when we worship Ma Durga at this time on Navaratri and especially in this beautiful way Nau Kanya it is going to help the universe and the world at large because all people are in some kind of difficulty. People do have problems in this world and we need to address it, we need to pray and ask God to bless the world we are living in. We will honour God through these forms,” he said.
Navaratri began last week Sunday and is expected to end on Monday.
During Navaratri, Hindus fast and perform puja to Mother Durga – the remover of miseries of life.
She is also referred to as Devi (goddess) or Shakti (energy or power).
Maharaj said it is this energy that is needed to survive and perform the work of God.