Sunday, April 14, 2024

Navratri-Story behind-How to Celebrate it? Significance

One of the most widely celebrated festivals of India, Navratri has huge religious and cultural relevance in the entire North India. The festival represents the 9 avatars of Maa Durga and how they achieved the victory of good over evil.

The nine holy days are observed twice a year according to the Hindu Calendar. The most well-known Navratri is the Ashwin Navratri, which begins at the beginning of winter (between September and October). Whereas, Chaitra Navratri, takes place between March and April at the start of the summer. Both of these Navratris, as the name suggests, are observed for a total of nine days in remembrance of Shakti, the mother goddess, also known as Durga, Sherawali Maa, or Parvati in various regions of India.



Story of Navratri

          Once upon a time there was a Demon king known as Mahishasura (The one who is like a Buffalo) who always wanted the throne of Indra (the leader of Demi gods). So, to attain the throne in heavens, he attacked Indra. Both Devata and Asura fought with each other with all their might. Eventually the Mahishasura won the battle and dethrone Indra from heavens. Thereafter Indra and his defeated demi gods went to Shiva and Vishnu (the supreme being) for their help to attain the heavens once again. Vishnu and Shiva infuriated after listening to their stories and both of them produced a very bright light out of their body, which resulted in the formation of a Devi (Goddess) who was known as Durga. She was given all sorts of weapons by all the demi gods and Vishnu and Shiva themselves gave her their most ferocious weapons named “Sudarshan” and “Trishul.”


She went to heavens on her vehicle which is “Tiger”. Both started their own battle and eventually she killed Mahishasura and his army single handily. Then the throne of heavens was returned to Indra once again.

How to Observe Navratri

          “Navratri” is a Sanskrit word which itself means the 9 nights. During these 10 days and 9 nights Goddess Durga and her 9 forms are venerated. Goddess Durga is drawn over a wooden slate with vermilion (sindoor) if drawing is not feasible then photo of Durga is placed over it. Barley is sown in a clay pot on the first day, along with a clay lamp that should be lightened for all 9 nights and 10 days. Every morning and evening goddesses are worshiped with observing fast over whole day and eating only at night which exclude every form of cereal.

On the 9th day of Navratri every household assemble 9 girl child and worship them as 9 forms of Durga, arrange a morning meal for them and offer gifts and presents to them and venerate them as Goddess herself.

Every nine day 9 different forms of Goddess Durga is worshipped. Here is the different form of 9 Goddess.

  1. Shilaputri
    1. On the first day, Devi Shailaputri is worshipped. In this form, Devi Parvati is revered as the daughter of Himalaya Raja. Shaila means extraordinary or rising to great heights. The divine consciousness represented by Devi always surges from the peak. On this first day of Navratri, we propitiate Devi Shailaputri so that we may also attain the highest state of consciousness.
  2. Brahmacharini
    1. On the second day, Devi Brahmacharini is propitiated. Devi Brahmacharini is the form of Devi Parvati in which she undertook severe penance to have Lord Shiva as Her consort. Brahmameans divine consciousness and achar refers to behaviour. Brahmacharya is the behaviour or an act that is established in divine consciousness. This day is especially sacred to meditate and explore our inner divinity.
  3. Chandraghanta
    1. On the third day, Devi Chandraghata is the presiding Devi. Chandraghata is the special form that Devi Parvati assumed at the time of Her marriage with Lord Shiva. Chandra refers to the moon. The moon represents our mind. The mind is restless and keeps moving from one thought to another. Ghantais a bell which produces only one kind of sound always. The significance is that when our mind is established at one point, i.e Divine, then our prana (subtle life force energy) gets consolidated leading to harmony and peace. This day thus signifies withdrawing from all vagaries of the mind, with a single focus on Mother Divine.
  4. Kushmanda
    1. On the fourth day, Mother Divine is worshipped as Devi Kushmanda. Kushmandameans a pumpkin. Ku means little, ushma means energy and anda refers to egg. This entire universe which arose from the cosmic egg (hiranyagarbha) is manifested from an infinitesimal energy of Devi. A pumpkin also represents prana as it has the unique property of absorbing and radiating prana. It is one of the most pranic On this day, we worship Devi Kushmanda who showers us with Her divine energy.
  5. Skandmata
    1. Skandamata means Mother of Skanda. On the fifth day, the motherly aspect of Devi Parvati is worshipped. In this form, she is the mother of Lord Karthikeya. She represents motherly affection (vatsalya). Worshiping this form of Devi brings abundance of wisdom, wealth, power, prosperity and liberation.
  6. Katyayani
    1. On the sixth day, Devi manifests as Katyayani. It is a form that Mother Divine assumed to annihilate the demonic forces in the universe. She was born from the anger of the gods. She is the one who slayed Mahishasura. As per our scriptures, anger that supports dharma(righteousness) is acceptable. Devi Katyayani represents that divine principle and form of the Mother Divine who is behind natural calamities and disasters. She is the anger that arises in creation to restore balance. Devi Katyayani is invoked on the sixth day to put an end to all our inner foes that are an obstacle on the path of spiritual evolution.
  7. Kalaratri
    1. On the seventh day, we invoke Devi Kalaratri. Mother Nature has two extremes. One is terrifying and devastating. The other is beautiful and serene. Devi Kalaratri is a fierce form of Devi. Kalaratri represents the dark night. Night is also considered an aspect of Mother Divine as it is night that brings solace, rest and comfort to our souls. It is only at night that we get a glimpse of infinity in the skies. Devi Kalaratri is that infinite dark energy that houses innumerable universes.
  8. Mahagauri
    1. Devi Mahagauri is that which is beautiful, gives momentum and freedom in life. Mahagauri represents the beautiful and serene aspect of Nature. She is that energy which propels our lives and also liberates us. She is the Devi who is worshipped on the eighth day.
  9. Siddhatri
    1. On the ninth day, we worship Devi Siddhidatri. Siddhimeans perfection. Devi Siddhidatri brings perfection in life. She makes the impossible, possible. She takes us beyond the ever-reasoning logical mind to explore the realm beyond time and space




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