Navratri is a nine day festival of Indians honoring the Mother Goddess and tenth day is celebrated as vijayadashmi or Dussehra, famous for the day when lord Ram killed Ravana. This celebration occurs twice a year. The first one is in the spring during March/April and the second one is in the fall during September/October, based on the lunar cycle. It is celebrated widely in every part of India with great enthusiasm with a different name of Goddess, like in Gujarat devotees worship as Goddess jagdamba while in West Bengal it is named as Durga Puja. In Kolkata people erected huge pandals at various places for Durga Puja and set up great idols of Mata Durga for worship. In Gujarat, Dandiya and Garba are the two popular dance forms which are performed by the people during Navratri festival and in Rajasthan people worship at Sheela Mata mandir especially at Amer fort, Jaipur, Harsha mata mandir,Abhaneri, Mehrangarh fort, Jjodhpur etc.In every state of India worshiping and celebration style is different but the devotion is same.
Navratri is not just a time to celebrate and of joy but is to attain over lasting happiness, peace and bliss through self-discipline, self-control and sacrifice. Every day the festivities begin with aarti focusing on the nine different manifestations of the Goddess each day. Mother goddess is the energy of the trinity as the creative aspect of Lord Brahma, sustaining aspect of Lord Vishnu and destructive aspect of Lord Shiva are all encompassed within her. The trinity of Goddesses Durga (known to remove evil, misery, pain from our lives), Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) and Saraswati (Goddess of knowledge) together represent feminine energy that provides protection, love, prosperity and knowledge.
Nav-Durga is spiritually significant because it represents the three stages of an individual’s spiritual journey:-
- self-purification- eradication of the negative tendencies of our minds and hearts. People pray to Mother Goddess, asking her to use her destructive power to destroy all imperfections and faults.
- self transformation-– after self purification, the next three days of Navratri are devoted to worshiping the Goddess in her prosperity- bestowing form as Lakshmi. Goddess Lakshmi doesnot merely bestow material prosperity but also grants qualities such as calmness, peace, compassion, happiness, positive attitude and love.
- self- realization- during last three days, Goddess Saraswati is worshipped as the bestower of the true light of knowledge, wisdom and understanding.
Navratri is not just a time to celebrate Mother Goddess victory over the demons; it is also the time to pray to Mother Goddess to remove our enemies within us like anger, selfish desires, greed, ego and undue attachments.
Happy Navratri to all of you!