NAVARATHRI- THE CELEBRATION OF GODDESS DURGA
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF NAVA (NINE)
The number nine has huge significance in Hindu tradition. There are nine planets. Like wise the Navarathri is a festivity conducted in nine nights and ten days. Each night signifies one incarnation of Durga, the Navadurga. They are:
May the illustrious Shailaputri Durga whom I salute and whose head is adorned by a half-moon, who rides nandi a bull and carries a spear fulfil the desires of my heart
May the supreme Brahmachari Durga, who holds rosary and kamandalu in her lotus hands and whose nature is to attain Sachchidanandamaya Brahmaswarupa the Existence ,knowledge, Bliss absolute.
The Durga Devi, who rides on Garuda, the king of the birds, is endowed with intense anger and violence and is renowned by the name of Chandaghanta
May Kushmanda Durga who holds two pitchers full of blood in her lotus hands and the universe is created
The Durga Devi Katyayani, who holds shining Chandrahasa (Sword) in her hand and rides a magnificent lion and destroys the demons
The Bhayankari Durga who is naked with long lips, riding an ass, shining in various hues looks formidable because of the halo of her lustre and is adorned with multi coloured ornaments remove my darkness of ignorance.
The Mahagauri Durga who rides a white rishaba bull and who wears spotless white clothes and remains ever pure and also provides ever lasting bliss to Mahadeva Shiva
The Siddhidayini Durga, who is always worshipped by the hordes of siddha ,gandharva ,yaksha, asura, and deva, bestow success at my every venture.
SIGNIFICANCE OF NAVARATHRI
The festivities of Navarathri is in celebration of the killing of the Mahishasura by Devi Durga, the victory of good over evil. It symbolises the victory that every person should ensure to fight and win the evil within our selves and bring out the good in our selves. It is a sadhana that one should undertake in the nine days that one should undertake to attain purity.
Dasahara, meaning ‘ten days’, becomes dasara in popular parlance. The Navaratri festival or ‘nine day festival’ becomes ‘ten day festival’ with the addition of the last day, Vijayadhashami which is its culmination. On all these ten days, the various forms of Mother Mahisasura-mardini (Durga) are worshipped with fervour and devotion.
TRADITIONS OF NAVARATHRI
There are five Navaratris devoted to the worship of Shakti, but only three are being celebrated now.
1. Sharad Navaratri - This is the most important of the Navratris, and is simply called Navratri or occasionally, Maha Navratri (the Great Navratri). It is celebrated during Sharad (beginning of winter, Sept-Oct). It celebrates the slaying of Mahishasura by the goddess Durga. The festival is observed in most parts of India, particularly in Northern India, Eastern India, and Western India.
2. Vasant Navaratri - This is celebrated during Vasant Ritu (beginning of summer) (March- April). This Navaratri is celebrated in North India. Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu observes Navaratri during this period.
3. Ashada Navaratri - This Navaratri is particularly important for all Upasakas of Varahi- Celebrated in July-August. This is called Guhya Navaratri in Himachal Pradesh. Varahi is one of the seven Matrikas of Devi Mahamaya
NINE FORMS OF DURGA
Nine forms of Durga are worshipped through out India during Durga Puja. They are Durga, Bhadrakali, Amba, Annapoorna, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandi, Lalitha, Bhavani and Mokkambika.
RITUALS ASSOCIATED WITH NAVARATHRI
Navaratri is celebrated in different ways throughout India. In North India, all three Navratris are celebrated with much fervor by fasting on all nine days and worshipping the Mother Goddess in her different forms. The Chaitra Navratri culmintes in Ram Navami and the Sharad Navratri culminates in Durga Puja and Dussehra. The Dussehra of Kulu in Himachal Pradesh is particularly famous in the North.
The last four days of Sharad Navratri take on a particularly dramatic form in the state of West Bengal in East India where they are celebrated as Durga Puja. This is the biggest festival of the year in this state. Exquisitely crafted and decorated life-size clay idols of the Goddess Durga depicting her slaying the demon Mahisasura are set up in temples and other places. These idols are then worshipped for five days and immersed in the river on the fifth day.
Navratri is divided into sets of three days to adore three different aspects of the supreme goddess or goddesses.
First three days
The goddess is invoked as a spiritual force called Durga also known as kali in order to destroy all our impurities and other things .
Second three days
The Mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth, Lakshmi, who is considered to have the power of bestowing on her devotees inexhaustible wealth. She is the goddess of wealth.
Final three days
The final set of three days is spent in worshipping the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati. In order to have all-round success in life, believers seek the blessings of all three aspects of the divine femininity, hence the nine nights of worship.
In South India, Saraswathi pooja is performed on the 7th day. Eight day is traditionally Durgashtami which is big in Bengal. The 9th day is Ayudha Pooja when everyone gives their tools of the trade -- pens, machinery, books, automobiles, school work, etc. a rest and ritually worships them. They start afresh from the next day, the 10th day which is considered as 'Vijaya Dashami'. Many teachers/Schools in south India start teaching Kindergarten children from that day onwards. Students also pay homage to their respective teachers as they are considered the third god (Maathaa, Pitha, Guru, Daivam - Mother, Father, Teacher & God). On this tenth day of Navratri in October - the holiday of Dussehra or Dasara, an effigy of Ravana is burnt to celebrate the victory of good (Rama) over evil.
During Navratri, some devotees of Durga observe a fast and prayers are offered for the protection of health and prosperity. A period of introspection and purification, Navratri is traditionally an auspicious and religious time for starting new ventures.
During this vowed religious observance, a pot is installed (ghatasthapana) at a sanctified place at home. A lamp is kept lit in the pot for nine days. The pot symbolizes the universe. The uninterrupted lit lamp is the medium through which we worship the effulgent Adishakti, i.e. Sree Durgadevi. During Navratri, the principle of Sree Durgadevi is more active in the atmosphere.
Navratri is celebrated in a large number of Indian communities. The mother goddess is said to appear in 9 forms, and each one is worshipped for a day. These nine forms signify various traits that the goddess influences us with. The Devi Mahatmya and other texts invoking the Goddess who vanquished demons are cited.
In Kerala, the significance is for the last two days. These are the days when the Saraswati and Lakshmi Poojas are performed. Normally on Mahanavami is the Ayudha puja performed. hat is the day when all the tools of the trade are bestowed and Puja's are performed on them. In Kerala Vijayadhashami, many young children are for the first initiated into the world of writing. It is sinonomious with the culture where education is given paramount importance and it is the starting point of the great journey into the world of letters and knowledge. The Bhramins of Tamilnadu also adorne their houses with fancy dolls on all nine days as it is called Kolam. The Navarathri is celebrated as Dusara in Karnataka and as Durga Puja in Bengal
I guess nothing signifies the Navarathri festivities more than Garba dance. Synonymous with Gujarat, it has achieved national and international acclaim and is now regarded internationally as the symbol of Navarathri. The young and the old join in the dance as it is a community get together and a chance of celebration of life. Let us rejoice this holy movement in the name of the great mother of humanity, mother Goddess Durga
AAP SAB KO NAVARATHRI KI SHUBH KAMINAYEM