SHARAD NAVRATRI – A NINE DAYS’ SPIRITUAL WONDER
FROM 17TH OCTOBER 2020 TO 25th OCTOBER
NAVRATRI – A NINE DAYS’ SPIRITUAL WONDER
Let these Nine Days wonder
Be for us, the huge game-changer
And engender peace and prosperity
With sufficiency in Wellness for all and sundry
This is the most sincerest prayer to Thee
O My Mother Divine – THE DURGA MATA JEE!
The most compassionate ONE.
Nav means lasting for days NINE
Ratri stands for night.
Navratri is the festival of repute is so very well-known
Wherein the devotees with so much devotion
Worship the Great Deity, the Divine Mother – Devi Bhagwati
Devotees of all hues celebrate Navratri
Which is celebrated twice in a calendar year
First, it is in the March – April, as Chaitra Navratri
Thence September – November as the Sharad Navratri
This time from 17th October to 25th October 2020 for days nine
This festival has connection with Durga Maajee’s
The embodiment of power ‘Shakti’
Who eliminates the demonic power, the heartless ones
Demons who kill the hapless (Sadhus) hermits
Even while performing their sacred Yajunas- rituals
They rudely defile the sacredness of Yajna fires
By throwing besmirching agents
Like flesh and filth of all kinds.
Goddess Durga in her red attires
Mounted on the lion so ferocious
With all the weapons of mass destruction
With all the prowess in Her possession
To award punishment to the devils so unkind.
Legends abound about Navratri
Demon king Maheshasura worshiped Lord Shiva
The penance went on for a long period of time
By which Lord Shiva granted him the boon
As Lord Shiva has the trait of getting pleased very soon
With the sincerest Bhakti of a Bhakta
With simplest items like Bel Patra, Berries, etc
Shiva was constrained to grant Maheshasura a boon of invincibility
That nobody – not even the Gods who have immortality
Thence thereafter this demon king started killing innocents without fear of death
As he was having a boon of the Lord of all Lords
With his brutal prowess
Conquered the Seven Worlds – Lokas
Including the renowned throne of Indra
The king of Heaven (Svarga) & Gods – Devas
Termed as the God of Heavens
Responsible for war, storms and rains.
Then there was discussion between the Trinity
Along with others Demi-Gods too in their company
To defeat and kill this demon turned killer and usurper
All of them shared powers together
Created Maa Shakti with their combined effort
The most Benevolent Mother Divine for those who are compassionate
And killer to the brutes with a boundless powers
The Durga, the Warrior Goddess with all the splendor
They contributed differently in bestowing Her with traits rarest of rate.
The war between Maheshasur and Mother Divine
Continued interrupted for Days Nine
On 9th day She killed this wicket demon – Maheshsura.
Navratri symbolizes the victory of good over wickedness or evils
On day NINTH which is termed as Mahanavami
Nine young girls are worshipped by the devotees
These venerated young girls’ feet are ritually washed
With fresh water and given clothes and food to eat
The sacred earthen pot (Kalsh) full of water is established
Covered with mango leaves and a coconut
At the place where we daily meditate
On each of these nine days fasting is observed
Wherein devotees take fruits and milk products
To maintain purity of body and mind
Thus ensure purity of soul.
Personifying and signifying Nine Forms of Godess Durga
Navratri too is linked with fertility of terra-firma
On these days, the farmers observe the fitness of the earth
By testing seed germination in the earthen pots
Devotees observe the fast for nine days strictly
Keeping oneself chaste in thoughts and deeds
With avowed premise of Karma is our Dharma
During these days considered holiest
To ensure purity of mind, body and with it our Soul.
There is another legend attached with it all
King Daksha – the king of Himalayan Kingdom
Was blessed with a daughter named Uma
A most beautiful one
With all the traits of a princess she possessed
She worshiped Lord Shiva most reverently
So that He may accept her in marriage so willingly
Having pleased Lord Shiva, he 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 Brahma and Lord Vishnu
The Lords of Creation and Evolution
Besides all the deities were in the list of invitation
King Dhaksha did not like her daughter’s presence
She felt slighted and hugely insulted at the treatment
Meted out to her in presence of all deities
In utter anger so severest
She jumps into Agni Kund (Fire grate) and thus got perished
A plausible reason why we call her Sati also
Lord Mahadeva (As Virbadhara) punished
King Dhaksha for this injustice meted out.
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 these Nine Days as Navratri.
Legend also has it that Lord Rama
Worshiped Goddess Durega’s Nine Forms
For Nine Days with deepest 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
Representing three forms of womanhood
Symbolizing victory of evil over falsehood
Next three days are dedicated to Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity
Her name is Goddess Lakshimi
Last three days are commemorated in the name of Goddess Saraswati
The Goddess of knowledge and wisdom which we acquire thru Bhakti
She is in dress, white snowy
Mounted on a white swan
The Navratri is a sign of purity in all its manifestations
Let these Nine Days be observed with great appreciation
For gaining blessings of all powerful Goddess Durga
So that we live in peace and harmony with all.
MEANING OF NAVRATRI
The word NAVRATRI is made up of two syllables; NAV which means NINE and RATRI means NIGHTS. Meditation/prayers and fasting are observed by devotees during these nine days. A lighter refreshment of milk made products besides fruits, if taken at all, to keep our body light and pure mind thus helping us to keep the body and mind pure. This also provides the devout’ freedom from adulteration and contamination both in body and mind besides purifying still more the eternal soul along with keeping it taint-free from external influences.
NAVRATRI – A MOST SACRED FESTIVAL
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 forms and 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 thus helping in personal growth and development individually and also collectively – those 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 for the ardent Bhakatas.
OUR PRAYER IN COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE
As this sacred festival has come during Covid-19 pandemic conditions, our prayers have special significance since when we pray with purity of body, mind and soul our prayers would be heard and answered by our Divine Mother who is the reservoir of benevolence. We all should have belief that in the domain of God, nothing is impossible. She will deliver us from all miseries which are bedeviling us. For this, these NINE DAYS WONDER can do wonderful things for the humanity in general.
PURIFICATION OF BODY, MIND AND SOUL
A lighter refreshment consisting of milk made products, fruits, and nuts, keep the body light and the digestive system get 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 thus purification of our eternal Soul.
OBSERVANCE OF FASTS
The devotees observe strict 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 huge energy.
MENTION OF GODDESS DURGA IN VARIOUS SCRIPTURES
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 and powerhouse of energy, she proved herself to be unbeatable with limitless mystical powers which she used to obliterate and destroy the ferocious and evil demons.
Besides observing fasts, devotees organize congregations in the form of fairs and also enact programmes 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 Divine comes to their succor.
NINE DAYS WONDER – FORMS AND MANIFESTATION OF MATA DURGA JI
First Day (17 October 17th – Pratipada, Ghatasthapana). On the first day, Mata Durga is termed as Shailputri – the daughter of Himalaya and the consort of Lord Shiva.
Second Day (October 18th – Dwitiya). 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 (October 19th – Tritiya, Sindoor Tritiya). On the third day, the Goddess is venerated as Chandraghanta. She is the embodiment of power and beauty.
Fourth Day (October 20th – Chaturthi, Kushmanda Puja). 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 (October 21st – Panchami, Skandamata Puja). Here on this day, Skandha – the main warrior of Gods’ army.
Sixth Day (October 22nd – Shashthi, Katyayani Puja). On the sixth day, Mataji takes the form of Katyayani with three eyes and four hands – all powerful and with immense grace.
Seventh Day (October 23rd – Saptami, Kalaratri Puja). 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 (October 24th ). On the eighth day, the Mata Durga takes the form of Maha Gauri – with beauty besides having calmness and exhibits immense wisdom.
Ninth Day (October 25th) . On a ninth day, Maan Durga is worshipped as Siddidatri – with all the eight siddhis. In this form, she is worshiped by all.
LESSONS FROM NAVRATRI
Different festivals provide the devotees 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 while being spiritually oriented. The purpose is to focus on the special prayers and chants 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 to usher in positive transformation in ourselves which may bestow us peace and prosperity.
PURPOSE OF NAVRATRI CELEBRATION
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.
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.
BENEFITS TO THE DEVOTEES
Strict observance of fasts keep our digestive system in order and helps maintain our body healthy and with it our immunity system gets improved thereby warding off any infections like Covid-19 pandemic.
Fasts help in purifying our mind because we pray Goddess continuously for nine days/nights. It also enhances our focus on the subject we undertake for fructification.
Purification of body and mind means spiritually directed conscious mind thus a shift from negativity to positivity which assist us to lead a balanced life to withstand ups and downs of our lives.
Congregations in melas and group processions help the people to people contacts thus animosity, if any, gets removed thus generating a fellow feeling and cooperation between people. Contact with each other enhances our outreach in the society and there is prevalence of peace and harmony 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.
Devotees meet the needs of the needy during these NINE DAYS. My pray to all is to see to it that they meet the needs of others on all days and earn the goodwill of DURGA MAA – who herself is the most benevolent One.
My earnest prayer to the Durga Maaji, the Mother Divine, a reservoir of immense Power (Shakti), to grant all the humankind peace and prosperity, thereby, a feeling of cooperation and brotherhood between the humanity as a whole.
Last but not the least, my most sincere prayers to the MOTHER DIVINE to bestow Her graces onto the humanity in general so that all humanity live in peace and harmony in these hard days of Covid-19 pandemic.