prAsAda parameshvarAya namaH
Traditionally, these are the days when shrI devasenA is propitiated for attaining health, progeny and prosperity. The details of her worship can be seen in the revatI kalpa of kAshyapa samhitA where guha states that she will be known by the following names:
vArunI, revatI, brAhmI, kumara, bahuputrikA, shuShkA, ShaShThI, yamikA, dharaNI, mukhamaNDikA, shItavatI, mAtA, kandU, pUtanA, niru~nchikA, rodanI, bhUtamAtA, lokamAtA, mahI, sharaNyu and puNyakIrti. These various goddesses are considered to be none else than ShaShThI herself. Traditionally, ShaShThI was propitiated on the sixth day after child birth and her association with skanda, frequently described as a durgraha, thus seems natural. On the sixth day after child birth, she is worshipped along with skanda within the sUtikA grha. It can be inferred that various inflicting and wrathful divinities came to be associated with ShaShThI and got to be identified as her different aspects. revatI was first deployed by skanda during a battle between the devas and asuras to slay a demon named dIrghajihvI. revatI killed the demon assuming the form of a she-wolf. To escape from her, the asuras took shelter in the garbha of humans and other beings. She then assumed the form of jAtahAriNI to slay the demons. Her attack is described as occurring in successive stages starting from conception upto an year after birth. Though her initial conception seems to be that of a duShTa-graha or a bAla-graha, she eventually earned the status of asurAntakI (kaumAra samhitA) where she only attacks the children of those who do not follow varNAshrama dharma.
jAtahAriNI is not an exclusive epithet of a specific goddess but rather representative of a class of goddesses who attack the new-born. They are classified into three:
a. sAdhya - curable
b. yApya - chronic but curable
c. asAdhya - incurable
The first group includes shuShkA revatI, kaTambharA, puShpaghnA, vikuTA, parisrutA, aNDaghnI, durdharA, kAlarAtrI, mohinI, stambhinI, kroShanA etc. These goddesses do not kill the mother. The yApya category includes nAkinI, pishAchI, yakShI, AsurI, kAlikA, vAruNI, ShaShThI, bhIrukA, yAmyA, mAtangI, bhadrakAlI, rudrA, vardhikA, chaNDikA, kapAlamAlinI and pilapicChikA. The third category of asAdhya include vashyA, kulakShayakarI, puShyajanI, pauruShAdinI, karkoTakI, indrabaDavA, baDavAmukhI etc. All of these are revatI-s and can also be classified based on when they attack the child: in the womb, after child birth or during infancy. It is interesting to note that different castes have different corresponding revatI-s, like AyaskarI of ironsmiths, takShiNI of potters etc. Thus, ShaShThI assimilates in herself the various grahas that attack children and skanda, her husband, is in control of all these grahas.
The sixth day of bhAdrapada mAsa, also known as akShaya ShaShThI, is highly suitable to worship ShaShThI along with skanda for the well-being of one’s progeny.