Sharad Navratri or the Durga Puja is a joyous festival celebrated in almost all parts of India in different styles. But the main basic aim of this 9 days of Navratri celebration is to pacify Goddess Shakti in her various forms. This is to bestow Power, wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, knowledge and wisdom (both sacred and secular).
Navratri, nava meaning ‘nine’ and ratri meaning ‘night’ is celebrated for nine days, where the Mother Goddess Shakthi, is worshiped in her various forms as Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. Goddess Durga is worshiped on the first three nights of the festival to remove impurities from the mind. Goddess Lakshmi on the following three days to cultivate the noble values and qualities. Goddess Saraswati Devi on the last three nights for gaining the highest knowledge of the Self.
The following tenth day is called Vijayadasami. Vijaya means “victory”, the victory over our own minds that can come only when we have worshipped these three Goddess Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Let’s understand the Spiritual Significance in detail and ways to worship Mother Goddess during these 9 days of Navratri Celebration in 2017
9 days of Navratri 2017 – Spiritual Significance
Sharad Navratri in 2017 is celebrated from September 21st to September 19th.
Before starting the Navaratri Celebration, on the Previous day (20th Sept 2017) Lord Ganesh is worshiped. Since Lord Ganesha is said to control both material and Spiritual worlds. Before getting started with Navratri Vrat, usually one take’s an oath in front of Lord Ganesha on the negativeness that you want to let go in your life and positiveness that you want to acquire or any wishes that you might have. This is to complete your 9 days of Navratri Sadhana without any obstacles, you need blessings of Lord Ganesha. Since He is the one who gets rid of all the obstacles from our lives.
Worshiping Goddess Durga – The first 3 days of Navratri
Goddess Durga is mainly worshiped to gain the noble and spiritual qualities within us. If one has to gain the noble qualities then all the evil tendencies in the mind must be destroyed. This demolition of evil tendencies is represented by the Mother Goddess Durga. This is why she is also named as Mahishasura Mardini, the one who destroyed Mahishaasura (the demon), mahisha meaning “buffalo”.
Don’t you think that there is a buffalo in all of our minds as well? Which means the quality of laziness, darkness, ignorance and inertia (spiritually called as tamoguna). All of us have these qualities too. We love to sleep and be lazy. Though we may have a lot of vigour and potential within us, we prefer to do nothing, similar to the buffalo that likes to just lie in pools of water always. Hence Goddess Durga destroying Mahisha demon symbolically represents the destruction of tamoguna within us which we know is very difficult to destroy.
During the first 3 days of Navratri celebration, Goddess Durga is worshiped in various ways in different parts of the country. How we worship does not matter as far as we perform it with devotion and with whole heart. It is also said that Goddess Durga can help to deal with the problem of Rahu and Ketu in our lives apart from blessing us with divine energy in all aspects of life.
Worshiping Goddess Lakshmi – The next 3 days
Let us understand the symbolic significance of worshiping Goddess Lakshmi during 4th, 5th and 6th day of Navratri. Today, when we think of Lakshmi, we think only of money and gold. Everybody wants to perform Lakshmi Puja as they think she represents material wealth. But what is the use of having material wealth without having real wealth like self-discipline, self-control, values of love, kindness, respect and sincerity.
Don’t you think that all our material wealth will be lost or destroyed without the real wealth qualities within us? The real wealth happens to be the inner wealth of spiritual values that we daily practice in our lives, by which our minds become purified. Only when we have these noble values will we be able to take care of our material wealth and make good use of it. Otherwise, money itself becomes a nightmare.
For knowledge to origin within us, we have to prepare our minds. The mind must be clean, determined, and single-pointed. This cleansing of the mind is obtained through worship of Goddess Lakshmi. Our goal is victory over the mind, where we do not get worried by every change that happens in our lives. This victory comes only when the mind is prepared, and this mental preparation is the significance of worshiping Goddess Lakshmi.
Worshiping Goddess Saraswathi – The last 3 days
Goddess Saraswati represents the highest knowledge of the Self. Although there are many kinds of knowledge on various subjects like sciences, economics, architecture and so on, but the real knowledge one should have is on our own self which is the spiritual knowledge. We may have knowledge of various other subjects but if we do not know our own Self, then that is the biggest failure. Therefore the supreme knowledge is the knowledge of the Self that is represented by Goddess Sarswathi.
By invoking the blessings from Goddess Saraswathi a person can start gaining the spiritual knowledge and wisdom to move in the path of self-realization and transformation. Being a symbol of purity, divinity and truth, Goddess Saraswathi has the capacity and divine power to assist every spiritual seeker on transforming oneself.
Vijayadashmi – The 10th Day
The 10th day marks the end of Navaratri and is celebrated as Vijaya Dashami, the day of Victory. It is only after we have contented with something that we can gain victory over it. This day is celebrated as the victory of Mother Goddess over the evil forces.
All worshipers is in an excited state of joy; for they have received the Ultimate Assurance that they will always receive strength and support from Mother Goddess in their extremity and distress. It is absolute day of confidence, strength and courage for all seekers.
9 Days of Navratri Celebration – 2017
Fasting on all days
Most Devotees observe fasting on all the 9 days of Navratri celebration. Fasting is an effective way to ignite the digestive fire and burn away accumulated toxins from the body and mind. It also removes gas, lightens the body, increases mental clarity, provides a hygienic tongue and fresh breath, and preserves overall health. This will bring in positive effects on our mind and body.
It is dangerous to do any fasting without food. Instead it is always safe to do fasting with satvick foods that is light and easily digestible, having plenty of water and fruit juices, eating steamed vegetables, dry fruits, nuts and sprouts. This will keep the mind light and easy and enable better quality of prayer.
Note: Please do not continue with fasting if you feel very weak. Kids, Pregnant and old aged should not do this fasting.
Yoga Asana’s & Pranayama
Mild exercise like Yoga is important during fasting. Yoga has the tendency to enhance the physical process of detoxing at the same time also working on the mental and spiritual levels. It purifies and rejuvenates the body, eradicates toxins and negativity caused by an unbalanced life style, and connects us back to our Self. Yoga accompanied by pranayama, helps to shift the stressed out nervous system into a state of calm, uplifting, and healing mode.
Meditation & Chanting Mantra’s
Navaratri is the perfect time for widespread intense Sadhana. These 9 days of Navratri celebration is very auspicious and are considered as the most sacred days for havan, puja and mantra chanting. The Mantras work as the bridge to connect person to the Divine being. The mantras work at the level of the consciousness.
The meaning of every mantra is eternity. It is a sound vibration beyond the reasoning of the mind. When the mind is unable to cognize, it simply liquefies and moves into a meditative space. Repetition of the Mantras calms the mind, get it centered and turns inward. Only a mind turned inward can experience the vastness and beauty of the Divine consciousness.
This creates a spiritual or mental response that is very deep and beyond the realm of words or expression that can only be experienced. As a result of mantra chanting, our mind is free from tension, the way we interact and communicate with people is so much more pleasing and effective. This leads to a lot of positivism in our attitude and progress in life.
Here are few mantra’s to chant on all the 9 days of Navratri celebration.
- Lalitha Sahasrsnama – It is always good if we recite them knowing the meaning and using correct pronunciation. The vibrations create a spiritual atmosphere and offer a blissful experience to the devotees. Chanting regularly will be an awakened soul with subtle energies.
- Mhishasura Mardini Stotra – Stotra of Goddess Durga expressing her powers on defeating demon Mahisasura. You can chant this to gain the powers of Maa Durga, to gain victory in all your work and overcomeall sorrows from your Life.
- Argala stotra – This is s a prayer from Durga Saptashati. It is believed that reciting these prayers during navratri will help person get health, wealth and prosperity to achieve your set goal in life.
- Narayani Stuti – This sloka is an extract from Devi Mahatmyam, describing glories of Divine Mother Lakshmi in Her numerous forms. It praises Her compassion in destroying evil forces and granting upon Her worshippers fullest grace and divine protection always.
By reciting these sacred Navratri mantras, you can get blessing of the Goddesses in the form of health, wealth, knowledge and happiness for you and your beloved ones.
During auspicious occasions of Navratri, let’s observe fasting, increase the state of awareness, joy and giving and incorporate light exercise, yoga, meditation and mantra chanting for all 9 days of Navratri. Enjoy its merits of purifying the mind to remove all negativeness, nurture positive qualities, gain spiritual knowledge and surpass limitations. This happens to be the real victory.
Wish you all a Very Happy Navratri 2016. May Mother Goddess Bless You and keep you Blissful throughout your Life.