Ashok Ashtami or Ashokastami is one of the important festivals dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti, the Mother Goddess. Ashokashtami is celebrated in Eastern Indian states, mainly in Orissa and West Bengal. Ashoka means the one who removes and protects from hurdles, obstacles and sorrow. Ashokashtami is also known as Bhavani Ashtami. On the day of Chaitra Shukla Astami, Goddess Bhavani is worshipped as one of the Goddess of Durga Navratri (Chaitra or Vasant Durga Navratri)
When is Ashokashtami Celebrated ?
Ashokashtami is celebrated on the eighth day of the first half of the Chaitra month (Chaitra Shukla Astami), which falls between March and April. In 2013, Ashokashtami is observed on April 18.
Legend and Story of Ashok Ashtami
According to the Hindu sacred texts and puranas, Lord Sri Ram performed the Ashok Astami Puja in order to slay demon Ravana. The myth says that Lord Sri Ram was unable to demolish Ravanasura as he was being saved by the Mother Goddess, Goddess Shakti. Ashokastami is the day when Lord Sri Ramachandra got rid of sorrow by the blessings of Lord Shiva and the Mother Goddess, Shakti.
Vibhishana, one of the brothers of Ravana, devotee of Lord Sri Ram, advised Lord Sri Ram to observe the rituals dedicated to the Mother Goddess and Lord Shiva for seven consecutive days. Lord Sri Ram did as Vibhishana told and blessed with the Goddess Shaktis divine energy. He demolished Ravana on the eighth day.