THE NAVRATRI FESTIVAL – A NINE DAYS WONDER

NAVRATRI FESTIVAL (ON 18TH MARCH 2018)

May-This-Navratri-Fulfil-All-Your-Dreams

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.

  1. First Day. On the first day, Mata Durga is termed as Shailputri – the daughter of Himalaya and the consort of Lord Shiva.
  2. 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.
  3. Third Day. On the third day, the Goddess is venerated as Chandraghanta. She is the embodiment of power and beauty.
  4. 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.
  5. Fifth Day. Here on this day, Skandha – the main warrior of Gods’ army.
  6. Sixth Day. On the sixth day, Mataji takes the form of Katyayani with three eyes and four hands – all powerful and with immense grace.
  7. 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.
  8. Eighth Day. On the eighth day, the Mata Durga takes the form of Maha Gauri – with beauty besides having calmness and exhibits immense wisdom.
  9. 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.
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6 thoughts on “THE NAVRATRI FESTIVAL – A NINE DAYS WONDER

  1. Good morning dear Harbans and thanks for this nice account of one of the most revered deities in the Hindu religion. I wish you a Happy celebration, full of family fun and good food! I previously read you post on the need for stronger educational policy in rural India, especially girls’ education. Pity you closed the commentaries but I can understand your reticence to hear from all quarters; there are vicious politics and over-passionate bigots in all societies, including the USA. I agree that educating a girl means educating a whole family. My late Italian grandfather Morizio did not allow my dear mother Gladys to study beyond Primary School in Colon, Uruguay, because she had to be primed to become a good housewife. She wanted to become a teacher and she liked to play the piano, which was forbidden by my grandmother because it might have interfered with Morizio’s mandatory napping before going back to the winery to continue his long.arduous workday. Sad state of mind, which my mother resented all her life while at the same time prodding us to study in earnest. Today March 14th is the day of Saint Joseph,her patron saint, and we remember her words very tenderly.
    Gracias Mama!
    A big hug form your spiritual friend across the oceans. Arrivederci!

    1. Good morning Dr. Sahib. Thanks a ton for your good wishes. Our entire family keeps a strict regime of fast during these days. This not only keeps us physically agile since our digestive system (since we take only fruits and milk products such as cheese during these days) has to work less and mentally we remain praying for the blessings of Goddess Durga and Her different manifestations.

      As far as the girls education is concerned, I am for their education. A society which looks after the girls’ education, its next generations would be educated, well behaved, civilized with positive traits and knowledgeable besides wisdom effusing. I had not completed the commentary since the question posed by the person concerned was that much.

      Thanks also to share about your late Italian grandfather Morizio. Fact stands out that in every societies, we humans, have some negative thinking based on gender and its discrimination. Lucky to have such a considerate mother who utilized her experience and prodded you people to study in right earnest and that is why you people are changing the lives of people around with your knowledge

      Thanks sharing the pious thoughts on Saint Joseph, ‘her patron saint’, all these legacies are the reminders for humans to follow a path which brings us near to our Lord.

      A big-hug to you too, Dr. Sahib. HARBANS

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