All you need to know About Navaratri – Durga Puja

Culture, Hinduism

All you need to know About Navaratri – Durga Puja

Navaratri, the word for “nine nights”, also called is a major festival held in for the honor of the divine feminine. There are two festivals of Navaratri: Chaitra Navaratri and Sharad Navaratri or Maha Navaratri. Chaitra Navaratri occurs during the spring season.

Navami, the birthday of great Lord Rama, usually falls on the ninth day of Chaitra Navaratri and thus, Chaitra Navaratri is also known as Ram Navaratri. In the north and west India is celebrated in the form of Puja. The Sharad Navaratri is grander and is celebrated throughout India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and .

In , the same Navaratri is named Nauratha and ends with the Bijaya Dasahami celebration on the 10th day.

History and Significance of Navaratri

Many mythological stories are hidden behind the glory and story of the . One such is Devi Mahatmya.

The tale associated with Navratri is the battle between the goddess Durga and the demon . Mahishasura had been granted immortality by Lord and had been told that he could only be defeated by a woman. Trilok (, Heaven, and Hell) was attacked and the were not able to kill the demon.

Finally, along with Lord Brahma, Lord , and Lord , Goddess Durga was created, to defeat Mahishasura. For 9 days, she fought with him, and the demon kept changing its shape. Mahishasura would take various to confuse Goddess Durga. Finally, it’s when Goddess Durga killed him with her Trishul when he transformed into a buffalo. In our life, the ego and represent the demon.

The significance of Navaratri comes from the word . The literal meaning of “Ratri” is a when one turns inward, and when one becomes rejuvenated. That which gives solace from all three misery(physical level, mental level, and casual level) is called Ratri. Thus, Navaratri is the time where the spiritual seekers go deep within to rest and start the year afresh.

The nine days in Navaratri are also compared to nine months we spend in the womb of the mother. When the child is in the womb, it doesn’t have to do anything, similarly, during Navaratri, a person goes deep within and chanting of Devi. The Devi represents the and the demons represent different forms of ego and negative characteristics inside us.

Demon Characteristics
Madhu and Kaitabha Craving and Aversion
Dhumralochana Unclear Vision
Raktabijasura Genetic Problems and Diseases
Shumbha and Nishumbha Doubting Oneself or Doubting Others
Mahishasura Intertia, Dulness, Laziness, Depression
Chanda Who opposes everybody
Munda Don’t listen to anybody

Thus, through Navaratri we invoke the Shakti, we honor and the Devi Shakti so that it may overcome all these negative tendencies in us and make us free from them.

The silence during Navaratri purifies our speech. Then listen to about Devi; which helps in purifying the intellect. They sing the devotional song, Bhajans, that purifies emotions. All in all, these practices, helps us connect with the and increase the Shakti (Life Force).

Throughout these nine days, the first three days are reigned by Maha ; which is the ruler of Tamas, we worship that, we go through that. Then the next three days are connected to , Maha . And then moving through the Rajas, the last three days we come to ; Maha . So finally, moving through all this, when we have conquered all the demons, we get connected to the Devi Shakti.

The Nine Devis

The nine forms of Durga known as Nava Durga, as described in the text Devi Mahatmya is as follows:

All the nine forms of Durga/Devi signify nine different qualities like strength, transformation, , beauty, , , power, and so on.

Shailaputri

, also known as the daughter of the Mountains. She governs the Queen of Planets, the Moon. The literal meaning of Shaila is peak; meaning the highest level of consciousness for spiritual seekers.

Shailaputri “reflects the realization of  Shakti within oneself and is explored in yogic  for greater depths.”

In Navratri pooja, the first day is devoted to keeping ’s  focused on electricity production in Muladhara. This is their spiritual discipline’s starting point.

of Shailaputri

Devi Shailaputryai Namah

Brahmacharini

is the one who practices celibacy. She governs the action planet Mars.

means not indulging in small things, but indulging in the whole, not getting trapped in small, minimal things. So, the consciousness that is all-pervading is Brahmacharini. Her energy is connected to Sacral in our .

Mantra of Brahmacharini

Om Devi Brahmacharinyai Namah

Chandraghantha

Chandraghantha is the one who wears a half-moon on her forehead. She governs the and beauty of planet venus. (Moon) signifies the mind. The mind continues to have its ups and downs. Typically, in our own heads, we fight. Bad come to mind, such as envy, hate, etc., and one begins to struggle to get rid of them, but it does not happen.

The essence here is to take everything together as a collective whole, whether harmonious or negative, taking all , emotions, and sounds as one Naad (sound), like the sound of a or a big gong. That’s the significance behind the name .

Chandraghanta is associated with the chakra Manipura, Solar Plexus.

Mantra of Chandraghanta

Om Devi Chandraghantayayi Namah

Kushmanda

, also the Sanskrit word for ‘pumpkin’. Kushmanda is the one who created this . She governs the of Planets, The .

“Anda” means the Cosmic Egg or the Cosmic Sphere. “Ku” means tiny, “sh” means energy. So, from the smallest to the highest, energy pervades this entire Universe. It becomes big from small and it becomes small from big. It becomes a big fruit from the little seed, and from the big fruit, it returns to the seed.

This whole creation is like a big round ball or pumpkin, both the manifest and the unmanifest. This is where you have all sorts of diversity, from the smallest to the biggest. Kushmanda rules your .

Mantra of kushmanda

Om Devi Kushmandaayai Namah

Skandamata

is the mother of or Skanda. She governs the intellect planet, Mercury. She depicts Shakti (power of knowledge) and Shakti (power of righteous action) coming together. The combination of these two is Skanda. Skandamata is the divine form that brings together practical and action.

When you take knowledge-driven action, it is Skanda  that manifests. And this form of Durga, the goddess is regarded as the mother of Skanda Tattva.

On this day yogis concentrate their mind and energy on Vishuddi Chakra (.)

Mantra of Skandamata

Om Devi Skandamatayai Namah

Katyayani

Katyayani who represents the deep and intricate secret of the Universe governs the fortune Planet, Jupiter. As his serene and caring daughter, Mother Durga was born to Sage Katya, impressed with his genuine devotion and worship for her.

She is known as the Warrior Goddess, the fiercest form of Goddess Durga, and is often referred to as , Shakti, and Chandika. The anger that emerges in Creation to restore and revive the principles of and truth is also represented by Devi Katyayani.

Katyayani rules .

Mantra of Katayayani

Om Devi Katayayanyai Namah

Kaalaratri

Kaalaratri, literally meaning the one who is as black as night. She governs the Karmic planet Saturn.

It is a very fierce and frightening form of the Divine Mother. There can be no more terrifying form in the whole of creation than this. This terrifying form has a maternal aspect to it. Jnana (knowledge) and  (dispassion) are the from the Kaalratri form of the Mother Divine.

Yogi and Sadhaks penance on Sahasrara Chakra on this day.

Mantra of Kaalaratri

Om Devi Kaalaratryai Namah

Maha Gauri

Maha Gauri, the beautiful and resplendent govern the Snake Planet, in astrology. Because of extremely white complexion, she is compared to , moon, and the white flower of Kunda. She leads us to the path of virtue and self-realization.

Nature has two extremes. One of the forms is the most terrifying and devastating Kaalaratri, and Maha Gauri, on the other hand, which is the most beautiful and serene form of the Divine Mother.

She rules the final chakra of liberation.

Mantra of Maha Gauri

Om Devi Mahagauryai Namah

Siddhidhatri

, who bestows the devotee with perfection in every activity governs the Planet, Ketu. She brings fulfillment and totality in every dimension of life.

 implies that even before the  for it arises, you get what you need. To achieve something, you do not even need to  or act. At the simple thought of it, you are able to achieve what you want, without having to work or make efforts for it.

Mantra of Siddhidhatri

Om Devi Siddhidhatryai Namah

Fasting During Navaratri

The most simple reason for fasting is:

when we stay on juice and vegetable fast during the Navaratri, our body becomes light, and is easy to stay in meditation and . And the happens, which is again an important part of . Fasting during Navaratri is also associated with Ritucharya (the discipline of seasonal change). Navaratri falls on the season of Autumn; when the element is dominant in our body. Also, Navaratri Diet (which includes fruits, clarified butter, starchy vegetables like sweet potato) brings down the fire element.

  • First Three Days: Fruit and Green Vegetable Fast
  • Next Three Days: Fruit and Green Vegetable Fast and One Time Grain (like Buckwheat)
  • Last Three Days: Navaratri Food (Starchy Vegetables and Grains)

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