Often chanted during the Navaratri (nine days of worship in the months of April and October), the Devi Mahatmya or Durga Saptashati is a unique book in the world. It is the base and root of the Shakta tradition. Its reading is believed to give whatever one wants. A powerful reservoir of mantras from the beginning to the end, every verse of this text is a dynamic force.
The Devi Mahatmaya describes how Devi assumes many aspects, according to the tasks to be performed by her, sometimes sweet and tender, and at others terrible and devouring. Devi is the deluding power which binds man to the relentlessly moving wheel of samsara; she deludes even the wisest of men. Yet she is the one who bestows liberation on the devotee who pleases her. For the sake of the continuance of her divine play, she as avidya-maya, has veiled the truth from us and bound us to samsara. When she is propitiated through the practice of sincere devotion and self-surrender, she as vidya-maya, removes the veil and enables us to perceive the truth. The Saptashati refers to her as Mahavidya, Mahamaya, Mahamedha, Mahasmriti, Mahamoha, Mahadevi and Maheshwari. She is Parabrahma-Mahishi, the queen and sovereign of all existence. Her compassion takes the form of aspiration in the aspirant, sadhana in the sadhaka, siddhi in the siddha. She is the truth behind thought, willing, feeling, understanding, action, name and form.