Navaratri – Spiritual Significance

published on October 16, 2012

Importance of festivals

1. A religious festival is a collective religious rites performance of people. People celebrating such festivals and participating in the rites experience joy and bliss.

2. Every action in relation to God is an attempt to increase the ‘Sattva’ component in ourselves. If religious festivals are celebrated only with a purpose of increasing ‘Sattva’ component , it helps to obtain spiritual benefits and also to imbibe divine qualities.

3. Knowledge of the science behind celebrating religious festivals benefits all. Ideally, human behaviour should be regulated through self-control. However in real life this is not the case. Thus, the idea behind celebrating festivals is that at least on these particular days, human beings show restraint and exercise self-control!

4. In the present times tension, strife and competition in every field, monotony of day-to-day life can be driven away with the help of public celebration of religious festivals. The festivals provide an opportunity to people to exhibit their skills and creativity. Religious festivals offer a platform to people to forget differences, come together and create something new. However, the prime objective of celebrating religious festivals is to increase devotion towards God and to learn more about one’s own religion.

NAVARATRI

The festival of Navaratra commences on the first day (pratipada) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin. During this vowed religious observance, a clay pot is installed (Ghatasthapana) in a sanctified section of one’s home. A lamp is placed in the pot and it is kept lit for nine days. The pot symbolises the universe. The uninterrupted lit lamp is the medium through which we worship the brilliant primordial energy, Adi-shakti, i.e. Shri Durga Devi. During Navaratri, the principle of Shri Durga Devi is more active in the atmosphere.

Durga Devi – the Nation’s strength and wealth! : Various meanings of the word ‘Durga’ – destroyer of demons, destroyer of obstacles, one who wards off ill-health, cleanser of sins, one who eliminates fear and enemy. The idol of Goddess Durga is consecrated during Navaratri festival. The form of goddess Durga is a symbol of this nation’s power. It depicts the form of nation, mental strength, prosperity and spiritual wealth.
To reduce Tama component, Devi Mahakali is worshipped during the first 3 days of Navratri. In the next 3 days, Raja-predominant Devi Mahalakshmi is worshipped to increase the Raja component. And, during the last 3 days of Navratri, Sattva-predominant Devi Mahasaraswati is worshipped to increase the intensity of our spiritual practice.

Historical perspective of Navratri

A. This religious observance was advocated by Sage Narad to Shriram, so that Shriram could slay the evil Ravan. After the completion of this observance, Shriram attacked Ravan’s kingdom, Lanka, and slayed Ravan.

B. Devi combated the demon Mahishasur for nine days from the first day (Pratipada) to the ninth day (Navami) and finally slayed him on the ninth night. Since then she has come to be known as ‘Mahishasuramardini’, ‘The slayer (mardini) of Mahishasur’.

C. During the nine days of Navratri, Shri Durgadevi along with her nine weapons, pervades the Universe. By traversing every day in different forms, she completely annihilates the distressing frequencies coming to Earth from the seven regions of hell. Also during these nine days there is a continuous war between the distressing frequencies transmitted by the negative energies and the divine consciousness (chaitanya) frequencies of the destroyer form of the Devi.

D. During this war, Shri Durgadevi mounts effective and fierce attacks of radiance with lightning speed using her weapons. The pot (established during Navratri) and the Holy lamp within it are worshipped during this time, as they symbolise the above. The heat generated by the lamp inside the pot, denotes the scorching atmosphere created as a result of the continuous war that goes on in the Universe for these nine days. The Holy lamp is the symbol of the radiance that is created by the weapons and missiles of Devi. The act of worshipping the pot also awakens the destroyer aspect of Shri Durgadevi and wipes out the distressing frequencies present in the premises.

Significance of Navratri

“Whenever evil and demonic tendencies start becoming dominant in society; troubling the pious, righteous and the spiritually inclined, the Divine Energy (Shakti) principle incarnates to destroy these unrighteous elements.”

         Throughout these nine days, various spiritual practices are performed; such as the recitation of holy verses in praise of the Goddess principle, the continuous burning of a ghee or oil lamp, garlanding of the Goddess, etc. Rituals and penances that help in spiritual progress are also undertaken with ardent devotion.

         During Navratri, the Shakti (Divine Energy) principle is about 1000 times more manifest than normal. Therefore one should chant ‘Shri Durgadevyai Namah’ as much as possible during this period.

VIJAYADASHAMI (DASERA) – A triumph of good over evil

‘Dashami’, the tenth day, is popularly celebrated as Dassera, which symbolises triumph of good over evil. Dassera is the last day of the Navaratri festival. Dassera is festival of celebrating victory and valour. On this day, kings, farmers and artisans worship their weapons and armour. This is one of the most auspicious times (mahurat) of three and a half most auspicious times in a year.
One derivation of the word Dasera is from dashhara. ‘Dash’ means ten and ‘hara’ means defeated. Nine days before Dasera, in the nine days of Navaratri, all the ten directions are saturated with the female Deity’s (Devi’s-Shakti) energy. ‘Shakti’ has control over creation in all the ten directions (dikbhav), attendants (gan), etc. That is why this day is known as Dashhara, Dasera, Vijayadashami, etc.
The immersion of the Navaratri (female Deity) is done on the ninth day (navami) or the tenth day. Four rituals namely crossing the territory (Simollanghan), worship of the Shami tree (shamipujan), worship of the Deity Aparajita (Aparajitapujan) and worship of instruments (Shastrapuja) should be performed on this day.

Malpractices during the festival of Navratri

Navaratri is a festival where we worship the Goddess Shakti. It is celebrated over a period of nine days; they signify the nine days and nights during which the Goddess fought the Demon Mahishasura. She then destroyed him on the tenth day. The performing of garba and dandiya are ways to worship  the Goddess. The Navaratra festival has been celebrated for thousands of years. Today, like in other Hindu festivals, many malpractices have crept in which result in public nuisance. The malpractices include the forcible collection of donations, noise pollution, garba performed to the tune of film songs, lewd dancing with obscene gestures performed under the influence of alcohol, a significant rise in the number of unmarried mothers a few months after Navaratra, etc. All this sounds a death knell for the Hindu religion and civilization.

To stop these undesirable practices you can do the following:

-    Do not give or take donations by force.
-    Avoid disco-daandiyaa 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 obscenely.
-    Do not set off firecrackers.
-    Use your contacts to organise programs on Protecting Righteousness.
-    Learn the spiritual science behind the rites and rituals and share it with as many people as you can.
-    Be alert! Unite! Firmly oppose immoral practices during the celebration of this festival.

Navaratri wishes to all! Let us pray to Durga Devi to ‘destroy the enemies of Hindustan and let Hindu Rashtram be established!’

Welcome to Haindava Keralam! Register for Free or Login as a privileged HK member to enjoy auto-approval of your comments and to receive periodic updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

 characters available

Latest Articles from Dharma Smriti

Did You Know?