NAVRATRI FESTIVAL (ON 18TH MARCH 2018)
Truly speaking, Nav means nine
Ratri stands for night
Navratri is the festival of repute
Wherein the devoted disciples
Of all shades celebrate this festival
Twice in a calendar year
First, it is in the March – April, as Chaitra Navratri
Thence October – November as the Shradha Navratri
This festival is related to Durga Goddess
This ‘Shakti’ with her immense prowess
Overpowered the ferocious
Demons that maimed the hapless Sadhus
Even while performing their sacred Yajunas
And in the process defiled the sacredness of Yajna fires.
Goddess Durga in her red attires
Mounted on the lion so fierce
With all the weapons in her custody
Which could inflict havoc on the adversary
Legends abound about Navratri
Demon king Maheshasura worships Lord Shiva
The penance was so severest
That Lord Maheshwara had to grant him a boon of invincibility
That nobody, not even the Gods could kill him
Thence he starts killing innocents with impunity
Then he with forcefully
Conquered the Seven Lokas
Including the throne of Indra.
To eliminate demon Maheshasura
Then there was confabulation between the Trinity
Along with others God too in the company
To defeat and kill this demon turned killer and usurper
Created Maa Shakti
The Mother with a boundless energy
Or Durga, the Warrior Goddess
The war between Maheshasur and Mother Divine
Which lasted for Nine Day
On day 9th she killed this evil demon
Navratri symbolizes the victory of good over wickedness
On day ninth which is termed as Mahanavami
Nine young girls are worshipped
Personifying Nine Forms of Durga Goddess
These venerated young girls’ feet are washed
With fresh water and given clothes and food
Navratri too is linked with fertility of land
On these days, the fold observe the fitness of the earth
By testing seed germination in the posts earthen
Devotees observe with rigidity
For keeping oneself chaste during these days most holy
Which keep their mind and body pure.
There is another legend
King Daksha – the kind of Himalayan Kingdom
He was blessed with a daughter named Uma
A most beautiful one
With all the traits of a princess she possessed
She worshipped Lord Shiva most reverently
So that He may accept her in marriage so willingly
Having pleased the Lord Shiva
She married Uma
But against the wishes of King Dhaksha
One day King Dhaksha held a grant Yagna
With no invitation to Lord Shiva
Uma wanted to join the Yagna and all accompanying celebrations
While Lord Shiva had his own reservations
She came to attend the Yagna
Being attended by Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma
Besides all the deities
King Dhaksha did not like her daughter’s presence
She felt slighted at the treatment meted out to her in presence of all deities
In utter rage, she jumps into Agni Kund (Fire grate) and perished
The reason why we call her Sati also
Lord Mahadev (As Virbadhara) punished King Dhaksha for this injustice
ON REBIRTH (As Parvati) she marries Lord Shiva again
She comes to her parents house to stay for NINE DAYS
That is why we celebrate thse Nine Days as Navratri.
Legend also it that Lord Rama
Worshipped Goddess Durega’s Nine Forms
For Nine Days with deep reverence
On day 10th Lord Rama could kill demon king Ravana
This way, 10th day is celebrated as Vijaydashami,.
First three days are dedicated to Goddess Durga
In the form of child, young girl and mature woman
The three forms of womanhood
Symbolizing victory of evil over falsehood
Next three are dedicated to Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity
Her name is Lakshimi
Last three days are commemorated in the name of Goddess Saraswati
The Goddess of knowledge and wisdom
In snowy white dress
Mounted on a white swan
The Navratri is a sign of purity in all forms
Let these Nine Days be observed with great reference
For gaining blessings from Goddess Durga
Let this Nine Days wonder
Be the game-changer
And engenders peace and prosperity
And enough Wellness for all and sundry
This is my the most sincere prayer to thee, my Mother Divine
Different festivals provide the devout different lessons while the underlying message of all these festivals is to enlighten us humans to follow a path which helps us to have connectivity with Higher Self/Higher Intelligence, by following a spiritual oriented path through meditation, contemplation and prayers. The main purpose of celebration and observance of certain modes of behavior in such festivals is to keep ourselves chaste with our mind focused on God. The purpose is to focus on the special prayers and chants is to seek connectivity with God and dispel the thought of anxiety or disillusionment that pervades in our system. As there is purity of thoughts and actions during these festivals, there is every possibility for transformation and help in unfolding of spiritual life naturally.
The main purpose of celebrating the religious festivals is to seek balance in our life at the altar of God while observing all immutable laws of nature and aspire for transformation and enlightenment – journeying from one festival to another one helps the devotees to learn social etiquettes, social adaptability and finally God’s connectivity.
The word NAVRATRI is composed of two syllabuses; NAVwhich means NINE and RATRI mean NIGHTS. Meditation/prayers and fasting are observed by devout during these nine days. A lighter refreshment of milk made products besides fruits, if taken at all, to keep light and pure in body and mind thus helping an individual to keep the body and mind pure. This also provides the devotees’ freedom from adulteration and contamination both in body and mind besides purifying still more the eternal soul along with keeping it taint-free.
Navratri is one of the most sacred festivals that the devout celebrate. It is not merely celebrated by observing some particular rituals but the devotees live a spiritually oriented life in all manifestations. The purpose is to follow the way of life which puts more stress on the subjective experience of sacred dimension. We undertake those karmic deeds during Navratri which transform some of the debit-karmic-deeds to credit-karmic-deeds which helps in personal growth and development individually and also collectively who celebrate it with religious fervor and enthusiasm. Moral and ethical values when followed sincerely could be imbibed as permanent habits to be followed in future too thus Navratri could prove to be a life-changer.
A lighter refreshment consisting of milk made product, fruits, and nuts, keeps the body light and the digestive system gets improved thus there is a spread of fragrance of Satoguna and alleviation of Tamoguna and Rajoguna traits. Freedom from contaminated thoughts purifies our mind. Thus observance of fast or vrat (also means resolve) continuously for nine days brings about the stability of our mind and helps in enhancement of our concentration. Besides these, we exercise maximum restraints in our thoughts and deeds and behave in a dignified manner by remaining within confines of decency. All these facilitate generation of the feeling of love and affection for others, enhances peace and tranquility, a feeling of compassion for others and above all a Godly feeling.
The devotees observe fasts during the duration of Narratri. All these traits enhance the credibility of an individual devotee who observes the fasts and also offers sincere prayers during these days with utmost devotion. The fasts help us to purify our mind, provides lightness to our body provides us an opportunity to devotees for prayers to Goddess Durga Maa – an embodiment of SHAKTI or reservoir of energy.
Mention of Goddess Durga has been found in Vedas and Puranas. Durg was a ferocious demon and Durga, the invincible warrior who killed Durg with her immense prowess. She is the warrior Goddess since she fought evil and forces which spread death and destruction. She works for demolishing demonic forces who want to establish their writ and establish the reign of terror and mayhem amongst the society besides spreading prosperity and goodwill in general masses. She defeats mythical buffalo demon – Meheshasura who had obtained a boon of invincibility from Lord Maheshwara. She is Goddess Parvati, also termed as Durga Saptashati – the consort of Lord Shiva. With her prowess, she proved herself to be unbeatable with limitless mystical powers.
Besides observing fasts, devotees organize congregations in the form of fairs and also enact programs and cultural functions in the form of group dances and devotional songs in praise of Goddess Durga and beseech her blessings.and she being such a benevolent Mother comes to their succor.
Different states celebrate Navratri differently but the spirit of all the celebrations is similar in nature. 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 phone. 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-around 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 the whole universe by the power of her laughter.
- Fifth Day. Here on this day, Skandha – 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.
- Ninth Day. On a ninth day, Maan Durga is worshipped as Siddidatri – with all the eight siddhis. In this form, she is worshiped by all.
Benefits of Navratri:-
- Strict observance of fasts keep our digestive system in order and helps maintain our body healthy.
- Fasts help in purifying our mind because we pray Goddess continuously for nine days/nights. It also enhances our focus on the subject we contemplate for completion.
- Purification of body and mind means spiritually directed conscious mind thus a shift from negativity to positivity
- Congregations in melas and group processions help the people to people contacts thus animosity, if any, gets obliterated and a feeling of fellow feeling and cooperation sprouts. Contact with each other enhances our outreach in the society.
- 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 getting their problems solved and get ETERNAL PEACE in their lives as a reward of this worship.