Navratri – The nine days of contemplation

Posted by on Sep 20, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Navratri – The nine days of contemplation

“Navratri” is a Sanskrit word derived from conjunction of two different words – “Nav” which means nine and “ratri” which means night. Hence the word navratri means nine nights. It is one of the longest festivals in Hindu tradition which goes on for 9 days and is dedicated to goddess “Durga” who is also known as the “Shakti”( Meaning power, energy).

Why worship energy in form of Goddess only

It is because mother is the original aspect of the supreme. The abstract absolute (Shiva – consciousness) can be known only through the world of attributes (Durga – energy) – journey of indefinite through definite.

Singnificance of Navratri

This festival is celebrated to get the blessing in different aspects of person’s life from all the goddesses which are known for their symbol of energy.

As we all know, according to Newton’s law, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be transformed from one form to another. This is exactly what we do in these nine days. The energy within us is invoked and transformed for the betterment.

According to Bhagvad-Gita, the cosmic matter is made up of three basic energies/forces:

  1. Sattva
  2. Rajas
  3. Tamas

Sattva arising from knowledge, is that part of matter, which when rules an individual, makes him steady minded leading him to peace and happiness. He develops a harmony with the environment.

Rajas arising from desire is that part of matter, which when rules an individual, makes him disturbed and passionate when he sees the matter of desire, leading him to act restlessly and aggressively. He has the strength but gets worried because of his desires. His mind is generally in equilibrium, but he loses its equilibrium when sees the matter of desire & works with full strength to get the desired matter.

Tamas, arising from ignorance, is that part which when rules makes an individual egocentric. He loses his sense of right & wrong and does things just for himself & not for the betterment of the society, thus leading to discontent & frustration.

It is believed that every individual has all the three psychological forces. These nine days are used to invoke within us these powers to bring out the heavenly quality in us. One can acquire divinity only with the help of “Sadhana” for which these nine days are devoted.

The celebration of nine days is progressed accordingly :

Day 1 – Day 3

Goddess Durga, who is also known as “Shakti” is worshipped which destroys all the negative tendencies within us. However worshipping temporarily will not let one attain permanent solution. And so the seeds of positivity are supplanted on the first day( sowing of seeds on a bed of mud), which invokes the Sattva in us.

Day 4 – Day 6

Goddess Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and desires is known to bestow blessings according to one’s needs. She invokes one with the difference between desire & needs, thus leading to Rajas negativities destruction.

Day 7 – Day 9

Goddess Saraswati also known as goddess of knowledge & wisdom, bestows ones with wisdom which guides one in his rights & wrongs, thus leading to destruction of negativities of Tamas. Thus one is lead to the supreme truth.

Thus by the end of the festivities, one if filled with good thoughts & deeds for betterment of society & thus himself.

The tenth day being Vijaydashmi, it symbolizes the victory of good over evil, the moment when truth is drawn within.

Significance of Fasting

People generally fast during these nine auspicious days of Navratri to gain the blessings of goddess Durga.

This festival is celebrated twice a year: First during onset of summer & second during onset of winter. During the climate changes, even our body requires time to get accustomed to the changes in the climate. And so we decrease the acidic nature in our body by fasting.

Also,it is believed that for “Sadhana” one needs to fast to attain the final enlightenment.

Prayers & offerings

On the first day, goddess durga’s face is inscribed on paper & established in the pooja attic.Kalash sthapana is done near the diety,with ganges water in the kalash covered with mango leaves & coconut on the mouth & moli being tied around.Barley seeds are sown in the small tub of mud prepared in the Puja attic. Roli & rice along with vermillion,flowers & fruits,sweets,betelnuts are offered each day with prayers.Sari is offered to goddess on the first day.Durga saptashati is recited everyday along with arti.For the first three days reciting & offering for Goddess Durga ( shailputri on first day,bramhacharini on second day & chadraghanta for beauty & bravery for 3rd day) are done , for next three offerings are done for Goddess Laksmi(Kushmanda on 4th day,skandmada on 5th day & katyayani on 6th day) and for last three days the offering are done for Goddess Saraswati(Kalratri on 7th day,Mahagauri on 8th day,Siddhidatri on 9th day). On the last day, Kanya puja is performed, when nine young girls, each girl denoting each goddess, are worshipped & offered food. It is believed in young girl / kids, god himself resides as they are unfamiliar to the worldly desires.After the final day the goddess durga inscribed paper is immersed in river.

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