Friday, September 30, 2011


Navaratri is a important Festival of Hindus and in India it is celebrated in all states and all parts of this vast Nation.We believe that Mother Goddess, who is 'Aadi Parashakthi'(The origin of Power or energy) also known as Durga Devi,Mahishasura Mardhini,Bhuvaneswari, etc is worshiped for Nine days and nights and on the 10th day is celebrated as 'Vijaya Dasami Day(Victory Day).To eradicate the evils from the society and the darkness of ignorance from our minds and to allow the rays of knowledge to shine in and around us we pray to the Goddess.The first three days generally is given importance to Durga Devi and we pray to that Goddess form to give us strength and energy to perform our duties, the next three days we give importance to Lakshmi Devi who is the authority of wealth and pray to her to give us prosperity.The last three days we give importance to Goddess Saraswathi who is responsible for wisdom,knowledge,arts etc and pray to her to bless us with knowledge and make us truly wise.
There are 4 Navaratris celebrated in all 4 main seasons and known as Vasantha Navaratri,Ashada Navaratri,Sharada Navaratri and Megha Navaratri.Vasantha Navaratri and Sharada Navaratri are mostly celebrated but prime importance is given to Sharada Navaratri which is celebrated in Sept-Oct every year which is celebrated on same days all over India and by Hindus living abroad.It is calculated according to the lunar calendar.It is the period which comes after the Amavasi day(No Moon Day) of 'Kanni Month' for ten days the tenth day being celebrated as Vijaya Dasami.
Nine forms of 'Aadi Para Shakti' is worshiped on the Nava Ratri days and the forms of the Devi changes as according to the tradition of the region.
Generally Durga,Bhadra Kali,Amba,Annpoorna,Sarva Mangala,Bhairavi,Chandika,Lalita,Bhavani and Saraswathi are worshiped on each day.In some places from Pradhama day to Dasami day  Kumari,Trimurthi,Kalyani,Rohini,Kali,Chandika,Sambhavi,Durga,Subhadra and Shodasi are worshiped.
In some places Kali is worshiped on Pradhama day,Dhoomavati on Dwithiya day,Chinnmastha on thrithiya day,Bhuvaneswari on chaturthi day,Bhairavi on Panchami day,Bahala Mukhi on Shashti day,Thara on Sapthami day,Mathangi on Astami day,Kamalathmika on Navami day,and Srividya Saraswathi on Dasami Day.
Observances are performed by many people on these days.Many people eat only once during the lunch time,some others eat the usual vegetarian meals as lunch and for breakfast and supper takes uncooked food or milk and fruits.For nine days sleeping on the floor on a mat is also widely practiced.
Reciting 'Devi Mahatmya',Lalita Sahasranama etc are done by the devotees.
                                 "Sarva Swaroope Sarvese
                                    Sarva Sakthi Samannithe
                                     Bhayebhya  Sthrayine Devi
                                      Durga Devi Namosthuthe"
Chanting this 'Mantra' several times a day is performed by devotees and chanting
"Saraswathi Namasthubhyam Varade Kamaroopinee, Vidyarambham Karishyami Sidhir Bhavathu me sada" is also nice.
Those who can not perform 'Vrat' for nine days can perform it for three days, easily on Astami day,Navami day and Dasami day by taking meals at lunch time and other meal times consume uncooked foods as well as milk and fruits.
There are certain  stories regarding the origin of Navaratri.One Demon by name 'Durgavan' did penance to please Brahma Deva and got several boons.He started to do cruelties against Indra and other Devas and 'Mahishasura Mardhini' who later killed 'Darika Demon'   was requested to help.Since the Demon was highly powered with the boons he received it was not an easy task to defeat him.So even the Devi
on the 'Ashtami day' kept her weapons for 'Pooja'; took them back before sunrise on Dasami day, and attacked the Demon.He was killed before noon.Devas and humans   were all very happy that their enemy was killed and celebrated the event.
Another story is that Lord Rama before attacking Ravana performed Pooja to Goddess Durga for nine days and in the battle which followed he became victorious. Thus Navaratri pooja was started
Another story is that Pandavas were sentenced for 12years forest life and one year exile life. They kept their weapons safely inside the cavity of a large tree before entering the forest.When it was needed to fight the Kauravas later they took it back and performed Pooja for Nine days to Goddess Durga.Thus Navaratri festival was started to commemorate this event.Since Vijayan(another name of Arjuna) performed the Pooja the tenth day was celebrated as Vijaya Dasami.
What ever be the reason, the Mother Goddess is revered with prayers,Bhajans,Offerings of flowers,fruits,milk, honey and sweets.In several parts of India particularly in Gujarat State the people perform 'Garba Dance' and Dandiya dance with live orchestra which is very lovely and spectacular.The traditional songs which they use during the dance are very sweet and melodious.Men and women in large groups participate in these dance ceremonies.
In Karnataka Navaratri festival is celebrated as Dussehra festival which is celebrated with colour,pageantry and enthusiasm.In West Bengal beautiful Idols of Durga Devi will be made, adorned with colorful dress and ornaments and used to worship at public places during Navaratri period.They will be immersed in rivers or Sea after the festival.
In Kerala Vijaya Dasami day is celebrated as 'Vidyarambham' day on which Goddess Saraswathi Devi is worshiped and small children are initiated to read and write on that day.Starting new courses and new firms on Vijaya Dasami day is considered auspicious.Students keep their books for pooja on the Ashtami day and take them back on Vijayadasami day early morning.Artisans,technicians etc keep their workshop tools for pooja on Navami day and take them back on Dasami Day.In Tamil Nadu they place small idols of insects,birds,animals,humans,Devas and Gods on a step like structure which is known as 'Kolu' which reminds that each and every creation is done by Mother Goddess.Everybody is eager to get the grace and energy from the Mother Goddess for their smooth journey to Victory.

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