GODDESS DURGA – THE MAHASHAKTI
Durga means the One who is impenetrable
One who is invincible
Who is undefeatable
By any demonic force imaginable
In Vedic literature we find Her narrative
Even in epics such as Mahabharta and Ramayana
In both these epics, She was invoked for elimination of evil from the earth
In the form of Kaurva in Mahabharta and Ravana in Ramayana
Legend has it that Durg a ferocious Asura
Sequel to his severest meditation
God had granted him the boon of invincibility
But killed only a Devi Shakti – feminine nature of the God
Due to which he was filled with ego-centric tendencies
Started killing the hapless gentry
Even the Gods did not remain unaffected by his cruelty
A meeting by the Trinity – Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva
Thus came into existence the Mahashati in the form of Durga
The warrior Goddess for fighting demonic forces for establishing Dharma
Mahashakti Durga appears in various manifestations
All put together, She helps the Gods and populace to attain liberation
From the demonic forces which prevailed then
And even now general masses pay their reverence
Such as remembering Her every time they face difficult moments
And pray for deliver them from their enemies within and without
Goddess talks to us in the language of silence
When mind is in peace
And is away from the desires numberless
Her music could be heard
Everything in the universe is created
Sustained and finally destroyed
To be again Created
That is everything that we make out
Has been created by the Mother Divine, so benevolent
With Her prowess so unlimited.
Navratri is a festival with a difference
The Nine Days have got its own importance
Truly speaking in a Nine days’ wonder
Which helps us to look within
About our own faults
And seek ways to rectify
The way we can to add to our growth spiritually
By observance of strict regime of fasts
Which helps purify our thoughts
And thereto our deeds
Thus purifying our body, mind and soul
And with it enhancing our Karmic credit
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
The ‘Shakti’ with her immense prowess
Who overpowered and killed the ferocious
Demons who killed the hapless Sadhus
Even while performing their sacred Yajunas and meditations
And also defiled the sacredness of Yajna fires.
Goddess Durga in her red attires
Mounted on the lion, so fierce
With all the weapons at her command
Which could inflict havoc on the adversary
Legends abound about the Navratri festival
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
Thereafter Maheshasura starts killing innocents with impunity
Conquered the Seven Lokas
Including the throne of Indra.
To eliminate demon Maheshasura
Then there was confabulation between the Trinity
Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma
Along with Demi-Gods too in the company
To defeat and kill this demon turned killer and usurper
Maa Shakti was thus created
The Mother with a boundless prowess
Or The Durga, the Warrior Goddess
The war between Maheshasur and Mother Divine
Which lasted for Nine Days
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 Goddesses
These venerated young girls’ feet are washed
With fresh water and given clothes and food
Navratri too is linked with fertility of land
Folks observe the fitness of earth
By testing seeds germination in earthen pots.
Another legend tell us
King Daksha the King of Himalayan Kingdom
Was blessed with a daughter named Uma
A most beautiful one
She worshipped Lord Shiva immeasurably
So that He may accept her in marriage easily
Having pleased Lord Shiva
Thus she marries Uma
Against the wishes of his father 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
And against His wishes even
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 to task for this
On rebirth (as Parvati) 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 Vijayadashami 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
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
NAVRATRI – THE FESTIVAL FOR USHERING PURITY OF BODY, MIND AND SOUL
MEANING OF NAVRATRI
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.
PURPOSE IS TO PURIFY BODY, MIND AND SOUL
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. mind and soul pure.
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.
INTENTION IS TO LIVE A SPIRITUAL ORIENTED LIFE
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 makes our personal growth and development individually and also collectively who celebrate this festival 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-evolving.
All these traits enhance the credibility of an individual devotee who observes the fasts and also offers sincere prayers during these nine 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.
GODDESS DURGA WHO KILLED THE FEROCIOUS DEMON KING DURG
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.
SINGING OF DEVOTIONAL SONGS IN PRAISE OF THE GODDESS
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.
FESTIVAL IN ALL THE STATES OF INDIA CELEBRATED DIFFERENTLY
Different states in India 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. During these nine days, the devout observe strict fasts; remain chaste and desist from telling lies or do anything which may tarnish their Karmic deeds. My fond wish is that people should always behave like these NINE DAYS WONDER.
NAVRATRIS ARE THE FORERUNNERS DUSSEHRA FESTIVAL WHICH TELLS US ABOUT THE WIN OF TRUTH OVER EVIL
The Navratri festival is the forerunner for Dushera festival wherein the effigies of demon king Ravana, his brother Kumbhkaran and Meghnath (Ravana’s son) are consigned to flames to showcase to the general public as a lesson that evil, in all its dimension comes to an end and truth wins ultimately.
The first three days are celebrated on the name of Goddess Durga Mata – Goddess with immense power. For next three days she is worshipped as possessing 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 success in life.
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 worshiped as Siddidatri – with all the eight siddhis. In this form, she is worshiped by all.
Benefits of observing Navratri with devotion:-
- 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 positive thinking.
- 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 worshiping.