WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF NAVARATRI OR THE NINE-DAY WORSHIP OF DEVI ?
WHAT IS NAVRATRI?-
1-Outwardly, the nine days' worship of Devi or the Mother, known as Navaratri Puja, is in the nature of a Vijaya-Utsava. The nine days' triumphs are offered to the Mother for Her successful struggle with the formidable demons led by Sumbha and Nisumbha.
2-But, to the spiritual aspirant in his life of Sadhana, the particular division of the Navaratri into sets of three days to adore different aspects of the Supreme Goddess has got a very sublime (of very great excellence), yet thoroughly practical, truth to reveal. MYTHOLOGY OF NAVARATRI;--
02 FACTS;- 1-This nine days' worship was advocated by Sage Narad to ShriRam, so that He could kill Ravan. After completion of this vrat, ShriRam attacked Lanka and finally killed Ravan. 2-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 NAVRATRI;-
07 FACTS;- 1-Whenever the tamasik, demoniacal and cruel people become powerful and start troubling the sattvik, righteous humans, the Goddess incarnates to reinstate Righteousness. 2-During Navaratra, the Goddess Principle is a thousand times more active than usual. 3-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. 4-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), etc. 5- 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. 6- 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 our evilness. 7-Regional variations: In Gujarat to symbolise the matrushakti during Navratra, a deep-garbh (lit lamp placed in an earthen pot with many openings) is worshipped. The word garbha-garbho-garbo or garba deleting the word deep became prevalent because of the ‘deep-garbh’ worshipped during the nine days, to represent female reproductivity. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NINE-DAY WORSHIP OF DEVI; --
03 FACTS;- 1-The meaning of the word 'Asu'r is ‘the one who remains engrossed only in enjoying life and in the indulgence of pleasure of the objects is an asur (demon)’. 2-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. 3-Therefore, Shakti should be worshipped in the nine days of Navratra. This victory is celebrated on the day of Dashami and is called Dussehra. HOW TO WORSHIP DIVINE MOTHER DURING NAVRATRI ?--
07 FACTS;- 1-According to one school of thought, Shri Mahakali is worshipped on the first 3 days to reduce the Tama component in ourselves. The next 3 days, to enhance the Raja component, Shri Mahalakshmi, & On the last 3 days, to intensify spiritual practice, Mahasaraswati is worshipped.
2-In its cosmic aspect, it epitomises (a perfect example of) the stages of the evolution of man into God, from Jivahood to Shivahood. In its individual import, it shows the course that his spiritual Sadhana should take. 3-The central purpose of existence is to recognise our eternal identity with the Supreme Spirit. It is to grow into the image of the Divine. The Supreme One embodies the highest perfection. 4-It is spotless purity, Niranjana. To recognise our identity with That, to attain union with That, is verily to grow into the very likeness of the Divine. The Sadhaka has, therefore, as the initial step, to get rid of the countless impurities and the undivine elements, that have come to cling to him in his embodied state. Then he has to acquire lofty (high ,deep ) virtues and auspicious divine qualities. Thus purified and rendered full of Sattva, Knowledge flashes upon him like the brilliant rays of the sun upon the crystal waters of a perfectly calm lake. 5-FIRST THREE DAYS WORSHIP OF MA DURGA/MAHAKALI (The Eradication of Vices ''Tama component'' ) 5-1-This process of Sadhana implies resolute will, determined effort and arduous struggle. In other words, strength, infinite Shakti, is the prime necessity. It is the Divine Mother, Supreme Shakti of Brahman, that has to operate through the aspirant. On the first three days. Mother is adored as Power, Force — 5-2-We pray to Mother Durga to destroy all our impurities, our vices, our defects. She is to fight with and annihilate the baser animal qualities in the Sadhaka, the lower Asura in his nature. Also, she is the power that protects our Sadhana from its many dangers and pitfalls. 5-3-Thus, the first three days, marking the first stage of destruction of Mala (impurities) and determined effort and struggle to root out the evil Vasanas in our mind, and set apart( to show something to be different or special) for the worship of the Destructive Aspect of the Mother 6-THE NEXT THREE DAYS WORSHIP OF MA LAKSHMI (The Cultivation Of Virtues ''the Raja component'' -
6-1-Once we have accomplished our task on overcoming the negative side, that of breaking down the impure Vasanas, propensities and old habits, the next step is to build up a sublime spiritual personality, to acquire positive qualities in place of the eliminated Asuric qualities. 6-2-The divine qualities — Daivi Sampat — that Lord Krishna enumerates in the Bhagavad-Gita have to be acquired. The Sadhaka must cultivate and develop all the auspicious qualities. 6-3-If this development of the opposite qualities is not undertaken in right earnest, the old Asuric nature will raise its head again and again. Hence, this stage is as important in an aspirant's career as the previous one. The essential difference is that while the former is a ruthless, determined annihilation of the filthy, egoistic, lower self, the latter is an orderly, steady, calm and serene effort to develop purity. 6-4-This pleasanter side of the aspirant's Sadhana is depicted by the worship of Mother Lakshmi. She bestows on Her devotees the inexhaustible wealth or Daivi Sampat. Ma Lakshmi is the Sampat-Dayini aspect of Brahman. She is Purity Itself. Thus, worship of Goddess Lakshmi is performed during the second set of three days. 7-ON THE LAST THREE DAYS WORSHIP OF MA SARASVATI (The Dawn Of Supreme Wisdom ''to intensify spiritual practice'')- 7-1-Once the aspirant succeeds in routing out the evil propensities (an inclination or natural tendency to behave )and in developing Sattvic, pure, divine qualities, he/she becomes an Adhikari. He is ready now to receive the Light of Supreme Wisdom. He/she is fit to obtain Divine Knowledge. At this stage comes the devout worship of Sri Sarasvati, who is Divine Knowledge personified, the embodiment of Brahma Jnana. 7-2-The sound of Her celestial Vina awakens the notes of the sublime Mahavakyas and the Pranava. She bestows the knowledge of the Supreme Nada and then gives full Atma- Jnana as represented by Her pure dazzling snow-white apparel. To propitiate Sri Sarasvati, the giver of Jnana, is therefore, the third stage. 7-3-The tenth day — Vijaya Dasami — marks the triumphant ovation ( approval of something with loud and long clapping)of the Jiva at having attained Jivanmukti through the descent of Knowledge by the grace of Goddess Sarasvati. 7-4-The Jiva rests in its own supreme Self of Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute). This day celebrates the victory, the achievement of the Goal. The banner of victory flies aloft (overhead).. Chidananda Rupah Shivoham, Shivoham....... IS IT A METHOD THAT ENSURES SPIRITUAL SUCCESS ?--
05 FACTS;- 1-This arrangement has also a special significance in the aspirant's spiritual evolution. It marks the stages of evolution which are indispensable for every Sadhaka, through which every one should pass. One naturally leads to the other, and to short-circuit this would inevitably result in a miserable failure. 2-Nowadays, many ignorant Sadhakas aim straight at the appropriation of Knowledge without the preliminaiies of purification and acquisition of Daivi Sampat, and complain that they are not progressing in the path.Knowledge will not descend till the impurities are washed out and purity is developed. The Sattvic plant can't grow on impure soil. 3-After following this method, our efforts will be attended with sure success. This is our path. No other path is known for salvation.We have to destroy all evil qualities and develop their opposite virtues . By this process we would soon bring ourself up to that perfection which would culminatein the identity with Brahman, which is our Goal. Then all knowledge will be ours, we will be omniscient and omnipotent, and feel our omnipresence i.e.. see ourself in all. 4-We canl achieve eternal victory over the wheel of birth and death, over the demon of Samsara i.e.can become Jivanmukta. No more of pain, no more of misery, no more of birth, no more of death for us. 5-The nine days of Navratri are classified as to the three basic qualities of tamas, rajas and sattva. It is good to enjoy Navratri and make use of it. For those who are on certain type of sadhana, it doesn’t matter what day it is. But for all others it will matter. It is good to make use of the little supports that nature offers. .....SHIVOHAM.......