NAVRATRI FESTIVAL – FESTIVAL WHICH PURIFIES BODY AND MIND MAY THIS NINE DAYS’ WONDER OF NAVRATRI BRINGS HAPPINESS AND PEACE FOR ALL NAVRATRI / NAVRATRA
Fact stands out India is a land rich in cultural mores
Here the festivals are galore
Commemorated on certain seasons or occasions
Amongst the venerated festivals in Hindu traditions
Navratri attracts all shades of people for celebrations
Celebrated two times in a year
March-April – as Chaitra Navratri,
October-November – as the Shradha Navratri.
Nav-ratri is the created from two Hindi expressions
‘Nav’ meaning nine
And ‘ratri’ meaning night
Related to Goddess Durga – the Warrior
Attired in mesmerizing dress in red colour
Mounted on the lion so ferocious
Navratri too is linked with fertility of land
Folks observe the fitness of earth
By testing seeds germination in pots earthen
Folks also observe fasting rigidly
And keep themselves chaste
In words and in deeds indeed.
Legends abound about Navratri.
Meheshsura the demon king worshipped Lord Shiva
Who grants him the boon of invincibility even from Gods
Starts killing people most innocent
And even acquired the Seven Lokas by force
Including the thrown of Indra.
To annihilate the powerful Maheshsura
The Trinity & other Gods confabulated
For creating a power supreme for defeating the demon
Created Ma Shakti – Mother the most powerful one
Or Durga, the Warrior Goddess.
The war between Maheshasur and Mother Divine
Lasted for days nine
On day tenth She killed him
Navratri thus symbolizes the victory of good over evil
On (9th day) Mahanavami nine young girls are worshiped
As Nine Forms of Durga Goddess
And gifted food and new dresses.
Another legend has it
King Daksha the King of Himalayan Kingdom
Was blessed with a daughter
He named her Uma – a most beautiful one
She worshipped Lord Shiva immeasurably
So that He may accept her in marriage easily
Having pleased Lord Shiva
Thus marries Uma
Against the wishes of King Dhaksha
One day King Dhaksha held a grand Yagna
All Gods except Shiva were invited
Uma wanted to attend
Yagna with Lord Shiva’s reservation even
And against His wishes
King Daksha reprimanded her for coming uninvited
In rage she jumps into Agni Kund (Fire-grate) and perished
And was termed as Sati
Madev as Virbadhara took King Daksha task for this
On rebirth (as Parbati) she marries Lord Shiva again
She comes to Her parents to stay for Nine Days
And thus we celebrate these Nine Days as Navratri.
Legend also has it that Lord Rama
Worshipped Goddess Durga’s
Nine Forms for nine days
On day tenth He was able to kill powerful demon king Ravana
Thus day tenth is celebrated as Vijaydakshmi or Dussehra
First three days are dedicated to Goddess Durga
In the form of child; young girl and mature woman
The three varied stages of womanhood
Symbolizing victory of evil over falsehood
Next three days are dedicated to Goddess of Wealth & Prosperity
Her name is Goddess Lakshmi
She symbolizes wealth; peace and prosperity
Last three days are commemorated in the name of Goddess Saraswati
The Goddess of knowledge
In snowy white dress
Mounted on a white swan
Thus Navratri is termed as the sign
Of purity and well-being.
Undoubtedly, India is a land of festivals, with diverse history besides diverse cultural mores. All festivals are occasioned either on change of certain seasons or based on certain historical events. People call the same festival differently in different regions but spirit behind all these remains just vibrant. Enthusiasm and gaiety remain the guiding force behind all the celebrations. It may be dussehra; diwali; holi; lohri; Eid; Good Friday; Guru Purabhs or any other festival of any religion, the spirit of celebration remains the binding force.
Literally, the word, NAVRATRI – NAV means NINE and RATRI means NIGHTS. Prayers and fasting is observed by devout during these nine days. A lighter refreshments, if taken at all, to keep light and pure in body and mind like mountain air and helps an individual to pray with a focused mind. This also provides the devotees a freedom from adulteration and contamination both in body and mind besides purifying soul along with keeping it taint-free of any sort. All these traits enhance the Karmic Credit and credibility of an individual devotee who observes the fasts and also offers sincere prayers during these days with utmost devotion. This lightness in body and mind provides us an opportunity to devote our mind in our prayers to Goddess Durga maa – an embodiment of power ‘shakti’.
Besides observing fasts, devotees organize congregations in the form of melas and also enact programmes and cultural functions in the form of group dances and devotional songs. For example famous ‘garva dance’ is organized in the state of Gujarat and devotional songs and dance competitions are organized in West Bengal besides prayers in the specially erected and decorated pandals is a usual pheno. People visit the famous temples of Vaishno Devi in Katra (in Jammu province) besides all the temples of Goddess Durga in its different forms / manifestations attract devotees in these nine days.
The main driving force of the Navratri is to purify our thoughts and deeds thereof. In these nine days devout observe strict fasts; remain chaste and desist from telling lies. Wish that people always behave like this all the days!
The first three days are celebrated on the name of Durga Mata – Goddess with immense power
For next three days she is worshipped as spiritual wealth – Mata Lakshmi.
Subsequently for next three days, she is Goddess of wisdom – the Goddess Saraswati. It bestows spiritual enlightenment besides showering an individual with all round success.
It is useful for our benefit to know the importance of each day.
- First Day. On the first day, Mata Durga is termed as Shailputri – the daughter of Himalaya and the consort of Lord Shiva.
- Second Day. Mata Durga on the second day is called as Brahmacharini which represents worship. She is the embodiment of huge reserve of power – Shakti.
- Third Day. On the third day, the Goddess is venerated as Chandraghanta. She is the embodiment of power and beauty.
- Fourth Day. On the fourth day, Maan Durga is worshipped in the form of Kushmanda – the creator of whole universe by the power of her laughter.
- Fifth Day. Here on this day, Eskandha – the main warrior of Gods’ army.
- Sixth Day. On the sixth day, Mataji takes the form of Katyayani with three eyes and four hands – all powerful and with immense grace.
- Seventh Day. On this day, Maan Durga takes the form of Kalratri – she is shown as black as dark night with four hands and makes the evil doers fearless.
- Eighth Day. On the eighth day, the Mata Durga takes the form of Maha Gauri – with beauty besides having calmness and exhibits immense wisdom.
- Nineth Day. On the nineth day, Maan Durga is worshipped as Siddidatri – with all the eight sidhis. In this form, she is worshipped by all.
Benefits of Navratri:-
- Fasts keep our digestive system in fine and helps maintain our body healthy.
- It purifies our mind because we pray Goddess continuously for nine days/nights in the way it is done by Muslims in RAMZAN FASTING.
- Purification of body and mind means spiritually directed conscious mind thus a shift from negativity to positivity
- Congregations in melas etc help in people to people contacts thus animosity, if any, gets obliterated and a feeling of fellow feeling and cooperation sprout.
- Group dances and spiritual song competitions enhance competitive spirits in the youth and also help them direct their latent energies to productive use.
- Devotees, in their zeal to show earnest desire to have total connectivity with Goddess Durgaji, offer singular devotion to Her during these auspicious days, reap the harvest of answering their problems faced and get PEACE OF MIND in their lives as a reward of this worship.
I recite mantras like: OM GURUJI SARV MANGAL MANGLE SHIVE SARVARTH SADKE SHARANUM JAI AMKE GAURI NARAINI NAMON SHIVEYE. Also: AUM EHN HERIN KALIN NAMON SHIVAYE. OR ELSE SIMPLY JAI AMBKE JAI JAGDAMBKE. It gives me immense peace and connectivity with my Goddess.