Importance and Science behind celebration of Navaratri

published on September 30, 2011

Navratri started on 28 September, on this year.

How to worship the Goddess during Navratri ?

Sarva mangala mangalye shive sarvartha sadhike I
Sharanye trayambake gauri, Narayani namostute ll

Meaning: O Mother ! You are the personification of all that is auspicious, You are the benevolent form of Lord Shiva, You bestow Divine energy and help people achieve Righteousness, wealth, fulfill desires and Liberation, You are worthy of being surrendered to. Three eyes adorn You. O Narayani Devi, I pay obeisance to You !

History of Navratra
This vrat was advocated by Sage Narad to Lord Ram, so that He could kill Ravan. After completion of this vrat, Lord Ram attacked Lanka and finally killed Ravan.
The Goddess fought with the demon Mahishasur for nine days from Pratipada to Navami and finally killed him on the Navami night. Since then, She came to be known as Mahishasurmardini, the annihilator of Mahishasur.

Importance of Navaratri
Whenever the tamasik, demoniacal and cruel people become powerful and start troubling the sattvik, righteous humans, the Goddess incarnates to reinstate Righteousness. This is the vrat of this Deity.

During Navaratra, the Goddess Principle is a thousand times more active than usual. To benefit most from this Principle, one should chant || Sri Durga Devyai Namaha || as much as is possible during the period of Navaratra.

What is the significance of worshipping Shakti during nine days of Navratra ?

The word asur (demon) means ‘the one who remains engrossed only in enjoying life and in the indulgence of pleasure of the objects’. Such a Mahishasur is present in each human heart. And he has taken control over internal Divine qualities of the human being. It is necessary to perform puja of Shakti to become free from the trap of Mahishasur, by realising the illusory form of this Mahishasur. Therefore, Shakti should be worshipped in the nine days of Navratra. This victory is celebrated on the day of Dashmi and is called Dussehra.

Which forms of the Goddess do we worship during Navaratri?

Sri Mahakali (who has a tama pre-dominant temperament) is worshipped on the first 3 days of Navratri, to reduce the tama component in ourselves. The next 3 days, to enhance the sattva component in ourselves, Sri Mahalakshmi (who has a sattva pre-dominant temperament) is worshipped and on the last 3 days, to intensify the spiritual practice, Mahasaraswati (who has a raja pre-dominant temperament) is worshipped. Chant the Names of these Deities during these days.

Method of performing the Navaratri vrat.

In several families, this vrat is undertaken as a family tradition. This vrat begins on Ashwin Shukla Pratipada.

In a sanctified place in the house, a vedi (sacrificial fireplace) is constructed and the Goddess with eight arms seated on a lion and the Navarna yantra are installed. Beside the yantra a pot (also known as ‘ghat’) is installed and puja of both the pot and the Goddess is performed.
In the festival of Navratra, as per the tradition, rituals of ghatasthapana and mala-bandhan should be performed. A square base with height equal to that of two fingers should be prepared with sand brought from a farm and (five or) seven food grains should be mixed in it. These seven food grains are barley, wheat, sesame seeds, lentils, grams, rale and save (foodgrains found specially in Maharashtra).

In the pot of sand or copper, substances such as water, gandh, flowers, durva, akshata, betel nut, five specific leaves, five gems or coins should be put.

If one does not know the Vedic mantras for installation of the seven food grains and the kalash (signifying Varun, the Deity of rain), then mantras from the Purans should be recited. If one does not know even these, then one should say ‘I offer samarpayami (the name of the substance offered)’ and chant the Lord’s Name. A garland of flowers should be tied in such a way that it reaches inside the pot.

A kumarika (virgin) is worshipped daily for nine consecutive days and is offered meals. A married woman signifies manifest energy while a kumarika represents unmanifest energy. Since some amount of manifest energy is utilised in a married woman, the total energy in a kumarika is more than that in a married woman.

‘The festival of Navratra is celebrated according to one’s financial capacity and ability, with various programmes including akhand deep-prajvalan (continuous burning of a lamp), Chandipath (recitation of verses of the Goddess), Lalita-puja (ritualistic worship of Lalita) and Saraswati-puja (ritualistic worship of Saraswati), fasts, keeping awake as a ritual etc.
Even if a devotee is fasting, naivedya should be offered to the Goddess as usual.

During the immersion of the idol of the Goddess, the germinated seeds are offered to Her. Women carry those small plants for immersion, as the Goddess ‘Shakambhari’, on their heads.

Finally the installed ghat and the Goddess should be immersed in flowing water.
In any religious ritual like Navratra, when a lamp is lit continuously as a part of puja, if it blows out because of the wind or due to lack of oil or carbon formation etc. those causes should be corrected and the lamp should be lit again. As penance, the Name of the presiding Deity should be chanted one hundred and eight or a thousand times.

Blowing into the pots: On the day of Ashtami, women worship Goddess Mahalakshmi and blow into the pots.

Which specific flower should be offered to a specific Goddess?

One prominent objective of worshipping a Deity is that the devotee should derive optimum benefit for his spiritual progress from the chaitanya (Divine consciousness) in the idol of the Deity. Specific flowers have better ability to attract the subtlest particles of a specific Deity’s principle. Naturally, when these flowers are offered to the Deity during worship, they help awaken the idol and the devotee benefits from the chaitanya in the idol. Hence, the importance of offering specific flowers to specific Deities. For eg., Sri Durga Devi – Jasmine; Sri Lakshmi Devi – Rose.

Accordingly, during the worship of Deities, if the incense sticks with the specific fragrances are used, that too would yield maximum benefit.

What to pray to Goddess?

Pray to the Goddess thus – “O Goddess, we have become powerless, attached to Maya (The great illusion) by pleasure and sensual enjoyments. O Mother, be the source of our strength. With Your strength we will be able to destroy evildoers.”

Today, like in other Hindu festivals, many malpractices have crept into this festival, also resulting in public nuisance. The public nuisance includes forcible collection of donation, noise pollution, ‘Garba’ performed to the tune of film songs, obscene dancing in drunken states with obscene gestures, significant rise in the number of unmarried mothers after a few months of Navaratri, all this sounds a death knell for the Hindu religion and civilization. In order to caution the Hindus about this danger, and also to protect and maintain the sanctity of Hindu religion and civilization, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti has undertaken this campaign. Today we are faced with the problems of corruption, terrorism, naxalism etc., along with increasing anti-Hindu incidents wherein Hindu temples, Saints, Scriptures are targeted by the unrighteous (Dharmadrohis). It is high time for Hindus to unite and fight against these evils. With the grace of Shri Durgadevi, devout Hindus will succeed. On the eve of ‘Navaratri’ let us pray to the Goddess ‘Mahishasurmardini’ to give us strength to fight against the evil and protect our Hindu Dharma !

To stop the undesirable practices in Navaratri you can do this !

Do not give or take donations by force.
Avoid disco-dandiya programs which play Hindi film songs or Western music.
If loudspeakers are used after 10.00 p.m. lodge a complaint with the nearest police station.
Avoid immersion processions, where people dance obscenly.
Do not burst crackers or apply ‘Gulal’ forcefully.
Use your contacts to organize programs on Protecting the Nation and
Righteousness.
Learn the spiritual science behind the rites/rituals and share it with as many people as you can.
Be alert! Unite! Firmly oppose immoral practices during the celebration festival.

Contact : Shri. Sudish Puthalat, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti
Phone : 9995876104
Email : [email protected]
Source : www.hindujagruti.org

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