Everything You Need To Know About The Navratri Festivity
Indian culture and spirituality go hand in hand. The joyous aspects of the Hindu festivals hide the traditional values but each festival is attached to a deeper meaning. Navratri is one among the most significant Hindu festivals. Navratri is a combination of two words, ‘Nav’ meaning nine while ‘ratri’ meaning night. The festival is celebrated for nine nights with great fervour in various parts of the country.
There are two major Navratris, Chaitra Navratri which will be observed from 18thMarch to 26th March 2018 while the second one is Sharad Navratri which will be celebrated from 09th October to 17th October 2018.
Significance of Navaratri
The festival is associated with the jutting battle occurred for nine days between Durga and demon Mahishasura. Navratri symbolizes the victory of positivity over negativity. These nine days are solely devoted to the nine forms of the goddess Durga where each day is connected to the incarnation of the benevolent goddess.
Importance of Navaratri
The nine days of Navratri are divided into three phases. The first three days are tamasic, the next three days are rajasic while the last three days are sattvic.
The first three days are devoted to Goddess Durga and Kali in order to demolish all our impurities. The Mother of wealth, Lakshmi is adored in the next three days so that the devotees are blessed with inexhaustible wealth. The final three days are dedicated to the Goddess of wisdom, Saraswati to seek success in all aspects of life.
These nine days reminds us of these qualities which help in awakening the divinity. The energy nurtures the positivity and skilfully eradicates the negativity.
Importance of Navratri fast
Navratri is observed at two important junctures of seasonal change, once at the beginning of summer and secondly at the beginning of winter. Since the body is susceptible to fall sick due to low immunity during this time, hence fasting helps in balancing the body.
Fasting is not only an effective method to rekindle the hunger, it also maintains the metabolic rate of the body and restores the immune system. It heals the ruptured body tissues and burns extra toxins in the body.
It is believed that during Navratri, the goddess is thousand times more active than usual days. Since we are in abundance of God’s grace, these nine days can be used for self-realization and to be a better Seeker.
How significant are the nine days of Navratri?
Navratri holds a special significance in Hindu culture. Celebrated with fervour and festivity all over north India, the auspicious nine days are dedicated to Goddess Durga and her nine avatars also called Navdurga.
Navratri Day 1: Goddess Shailaputri
The first day of Navratri is devoted to Devi Shailputri. She is the daughter of Himalaya who represents the strength of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. She is associated with Lord Shiva. The iconography depicts her as a goddess riding a bull holding a trident in her right hand and a lotus in her left hand. The lotus is a symbol of purity and devotion, while the prongs on the trident symbolize the past, present, and future.Devotees wear red colour clothes on this day and offer jasmine flowers to Maa Shailputri.
Navratri Day 2: Goddess Brahmacharini
Devotees worshipthe second form of Navdurga, Devi Brahmacharini on the second day of Navratri. She is the symbol of spirituality and meditation. The idol of Bharmacharini holds a rosary in one hand which represents the special Hindu prayers offered to her while worshipping and a water utensil in the other hand which expresses marital bliss.Indian women observe a rigorous fast on this day to achieve peace and prosperity. She is believed to lead a path of Moksha.
Navratri Day 3: Goddess Chandraghanta
On the third day of Navratri, Devi Chandraghanta is worshipped with great devotion. The third eye of the ten-handed Goddess is always opened and she reveals her angry side when provoked. She is the apostle of courage who owns great power to fight against the evil.
Devotees pay obeisance to Goddess Chandraghantaand seek blessings for courage and bravery. During puja, they offer jasmine flowers to the goddess. She signifies peace, tranquillity, and harmony in life.
Navratri Day 4: Goddess Kushmanda
The fourth dayof Navratri is devoted to the lioness mounting, Devi Kushmanda who rules the celestial body and energizes the Sun. Mythology says that it is her dazzling smile which eradicated darkness from the universe. Devi Kushmanda has multiple limbs like other manifestations of Durga in which she holds glitter, rosary, weapons and other holy objects. Glitter is the most significant as it signifies the sparkling light that she embarks on the world.Devotees are advised to perform Kushmanda Puja with unfathomable devotion as she is the creator of the Universe. They offer red flowers during the Puja.
Navratri Day 5: Goddess Skanda Mata
The fifth form of Goddess Durga, Goddess Skanda Mata is worshipped on the fifth day of Navratri. She is regarded as the Goddess of fire. The iconography depicts Skanda Mata with four arms and three eyes settled on a lotus. She is worshipped for her pure and divine nature. It is believed that she has the power to impart knowledge to a blockhead as well.Devotees offer her red colour flowers during Puja and seek power, wisdom, and prosperity in blessings.
Navratri Day 6: Goddess Katyayani
The sixth day of Navratri is dedicated tolion mountingGoddess Katyayani. This Avatar is addressed as the warrior goddess.Despite her fearsome sight, Hindus believe that they can achieve the state of calmness and inner peace by worshipping her with true dedication. Young women observe fast and offer red roses during Katyayani Puja to seek blessings of a happy married life. She imparts courage to her female devotees to lead a righteous and balanced life.
Navratri Day 7: Goddess Kalaratri
The seventh form of Durga is Goddess Kalaratri who is consideredas one of the most destructive forms of Goddess Durga, Chandi, Chamunda Kali, Mahakali, Rudrani, Bhadrakali, Bhairavi, and Mrityu. She is the one who is to be both honoured and feared. She is worshipped as the protector of devotee lives. Her gesture of defence convinces us of freedom from evil powers.Devotees offer her night-blooming jasmine flowers and pray for eliminating darkness from their lives.
Navratri Day 8: Goddess Mahagauri
The eight form of Durga is Goddess Mahagauri who signifiesthe ray of lightning. The bull mounting goddess adorns only white clothes.Hindus believe that they can wash off their sins of past, present, and future by paying her homage. The idol of Mahagaurimakes mudras of liberation from troubles and bestows blessings.The eight day of Navratri, Maha Durgashtami is highly auspicious where devotees offer night-blooming jasmine flowers to the goddess and pray for purity of life
Navratri Day 9: Goddess Siddhidatri
The ninth avatar of Mother Goddess is Goddess Siddhidatri, who bestows all type of Siddhis to her devotees. Maa Siddhidatri, similar to other manifestations of Durga rides a lion. She has four limbs in which she holds a trident, Sudarshana Chakra, a lotus and a conch shell. The Shankha or the conch shell symbolizes longevity, while the spinning disc represents timelessness. The ninth day, Maha Navami is considered very important because Devi Siddhidatri is believed to fulfill all forms of desire.
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