Significance of Navratri
Navratris are the nine days which are exclusively meant for rendering devotion to eternal consort of Lord Shiva, Devi Durga. The nine days are celebrated to show devotion to mother demigoddess, Maa Durga. These nine days have a huge significance and the devotees can get the best benefit by getting all their desires fulfilled.
The First Three Days of Navratri
The first three days of Navratri are devoted to the worship of the Goddess Durga. This is the period, when her energy and power are worshipped. Each day is dedicated to a different appearance of Durga. Kumari, which signifies the girl child, is worshipped on the first day of the festival. Parvati, who is the embodiment of a young woman, is worshipped on the second day. The destructive aspects of Goddess Durga symbolize the commitment to acquire triumph over all the evil tendencies. Hence, on the third day of Navratri, Goddess Kali is worshipped, who represents the woman who has reached the stage of maturity.
Fourth to Sixth Days of Navratri
When a person acquires triumph over evil tendencies of ego, anger, lust and other animal instincts, he/she experiences a void. This void is filled with spiritual wealth. For the purpose, the person approaches Goddess Lakshmi, to acquire all the materialistic, spiritual wealth and prosperity. This is the reason why the fourth, fifth and sixth day of Navratri are dedicated to the worship of Lakshmi – the goddess of prosperity and peace. Although the individual has acquired victory over evil tendencies and wealth, he is still deprived of true knowledge. Knowledge is required to live the life of a humane, even though he/she is prospered with power and wealth. Therefore, Goddess Saraswati is worshipped on the fifth day of Navratri. All the books and other literature materials are gathered in one place and a ‘diya’ (earthen lamp) is lit in front of the deity, to invoke the goddess and seek her blessings. Till the time the books are kept at the puja room, the students would not study. Seventh and Eighth Day of Navratri The seventh day is dedicated to worshipping Saraswati, the goddess of art and knowledge. Prayers are offered with an aim to seek spiritual knowledge. A ‘yagna’ is performed on the eight day. This comprises of a sacrifice honoring goddess Durga as well as bids her farewell. The sacrifice or offering is made out of clarified butter (ghee), rice pudding known as kheer and sesame seeds.
Ninth Day of Navratri
The ninth day is the final day of Navratri celebrations. It is also known as ‘Mahanavami’. On the day, Kanya puja is performed to worship nine young girls, who have not yet reached the stage of puberty. These nine girls symbolize one of the nine forms of goddess Durga. The feet of girls are washed to welcome the goddess and show respect to her. The girls are offered a set of new clothes as a gift from the devotees at the end of the puja.
The 9 devis of 9 days
She is also worshipped under nine different names for the nine days in Navratri. Every day, she assumes a new character, a new look and a new duty. She is worshipped as Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Maha Gauri and Siddhidatri. For the initial six the Pooja celebrations are limited to home. The celebrations acquire a festive form since the seventh day when the festivities of Navratri surround the atmosphere.
First Day Pooja
The first form of Goddess Durga is called Shailputri . She is considered the daughter of the Himalayas. She is a form of Shakti, the consort of Lord Shiva.
Second Day Pooja
The second form of Goddess Durga is known as ‘Brahmacharini’. Her name is derivative of the word ‘Brahma’, which means ‘Tapa’ or penace. She is also a form of Uma or Parvati, a form of Mata Shakti.
Third Day Pooja
On the third day the goddess is worshipped as Chandraghanta. She is the symbolic representation of beauty and bravery.
Fourth Day Pooja
Kushmanda, is the form of the goddess which is worshipped on the fourth day. It is believed that Kushmanda is the creator of the entire Universe and she has created the entire Universe by her laugh.
Fifth Day Pooja
On the fifth day, the form of Goddess is called Skand Mata. She is actually called so because she is here represented as the mother of Skanda, the chief warrior of the Gods army.
Sixth Day Pooja
On the sixth day, the goddess is worshipped as Katyayani. Seated on her vehicle lion, Katyayani has three eyes and four hands.
Seventh Day Pooja
On the seventh day, the Goddess is worshipped as ‘Kalratri’. As the name suggests, Kalrati is as black as a dark night. She has four hands, she is meant to make the devotees fearless.
Eighth Day Pooja
On the eight day, the Mata Rani is worshipped as ‘Maha Gauri’. She is considered to extremely beautiful, white like snow and accessorized with white colored ornaments. She represents calmness and exhibits wisdom.
Ninth Day Pooja
On the ninth day, Durga is worshipped as Siddhidatri. It is believed she consists of all the eight siddhis. She lives on lotus and is worshipped by all the Rishis-Munis, Siddhas, Sadhakas and Yogis.
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Starting of Navaratri
The countdown has begun for the Navaratris which are about to commence from the commencement of the month of October. Navatras are a much awaited festivals, mostly for the North Indians by which they pay tributes and special offerings for Durga Devi, the external potency of Sri Krishna, the Supreme personality of Godhead and who is the eternal consort of Lord Shiva.
Maa Baglamukhi : A form which protects one from injustice
Till we are in this material world, Durga devi acts as our well wisher and fulfills the material desires of the people who offer her veneration. Since a mother plays different roles in he child’s life, similarly Maa Durga plays different roles. She has many forms. incarnations and expansions which are in different mood.
Maa Baglamukhi is one of the mood or expansions of Devi Durga who is there to protect her devotees from the wrath of injustice. She is one of the main devis and protects her devotees from injustice in the court and allows them to win over the other party.
Navratris are the best time to organise the puja of Maa Durga and her expansions since she is easily pleased at this time and the result gets multiplied a 1000 times.
Problems faced in Legal cases
Since law and order are put at stake in India, there are many chances of getting stuck in legal cases and formalities and they can be a cause of pain to such an extent that all money, resources, time, patience and sometimes our relatives are sacrificed under the name of Court Case.
Benefits of Baglamukhi Puja
Baglamukhi puja is a sure shot hit on the path of criminal and civil cases.
This anushthan, when performed makes the decision in the favour of the person who is performing the puja.
The case gets resolved within a short span of time which is accompanied by relief from anxiety.
There is very less loss of property, money, health, peace of mind and other invaluable things.
Side benefits of Baglamukhi puja
Baglamukhi puja guards the innocent children of the house and other members from evil eyes and their adverse effects.
It guards the house from the effect of black magic
The protection armor is there on the person who organizes it for a long period of time.
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Navratras are celebrated to worship different avatars and forms of Goddess Durga. To please Goddess Durga, a 9 day fast period is observed. During Navratri puja, the Durga Sapshati puja and havan with proper procedures and rituals is conducted where each family member gives ahuti and takes blessings from Durga mata. The last 3 days of Navratre are dedicated to Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of education, art and creativity). The Saraswati puja vidhi and processes need to be properly understood and applied.
- After getting ready and cleaning the puja room, sit facing towards east direction.
- Place a white cloth one platform and place the idol of Ma Sarawsati on it. Decorate the idol with turmeric, kumkum, rice, garlands and flowers. Books and musical instruments can also be placed near the deity.
- Place a green coconut on an earthen pot with a red coloured cotton cloth. Light the diya and remember lord Ganesha first and pray for the successful completion of the puja.
- Chant the following mantra and remain in meditation for a while.
||Yaa kundendu tushaaradhawala, yaa shubhra vastravrutha
Yaa veena varadanda manditakara yaa shweta padmasanaa
Yaa brahmachyuta shankara prabhrutibhi devai sadaa vandita,
Saa maam pathu saraswati bhagavati nishshesha,jadyapaha.
Aum saraswathyae namah, dhyanartham, pushpam samarpayami||
- Then offer the prasadam that you have made on the banana or betel leaf. Keep elaichi and lavanga on it.
- Perform the arti with camphor and diya and ring the bell or conch simultaneously.
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The customary tradition of tying a Mauli on the wrist during any religious ceremony has usually been witnessed by us. In the beginning or at the end of the ceremony, pandits tie a mauli on the right hand of males and on the left hand of females. The ceremonies are considered incomplete without the mauli and it holds various religious and scientific significances.
Relevance of the thread (Mauli):
- The auspicious blessings of Tridev- Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and Tridevi- Lakshmi, Saraswati and Durga; are bestowed upon the devotee by tying mauli.
- Mauli acts as a protecting shield against the evil energies and worldly problems.
- To receive the grace of the Gods which are worshipped during the puja or havan.
- The thread signifies the unconditional promise of serving and surrendering ourselves in the feet of God Almighty.
- The pious thread provides the strength to fight against diseases, enemies and other dangers.
- It is believed that Lord Vishnu during his incarnation of Vamana tied a red thread on the hands of King Bali to grant him immortality.
- As per Ayurveda, our entire body is processed through veins so when we wear a mauli, it helps in creating a balanced blood circulation and proper body functioning.
- The mauli on the wrist helps in controlling the blood pressure.
- It is beneficial in controlling the Vaat (Wind), Pitt (Bile) and Cough (Phlegm) s, when they are in a disordered state.
- It also acts as a commitment of love and care, when tied by a sister on her brother’s wrist.
||Yen baddho bali raja danvedro mahabalah
Ten tvamanubadhnaami rakshe maachala maachala||
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
Many of us believe in the philosophy of quitting their favourite edible or avoiding materialistic luxuries to please the God and receiving blessings in return for fulfilment of the desired wish. This concept is prevalent during the seven or eight days of fasting of Navratras. Yet if you are not one of those who can fast, still you have to abide by the rituals of food pattern in the house.
Remember- Strict NO to Non-Vegetarian food!
All of us are aware about the prohibition of non-veg food items and even onion and garlic during Navratri festival; so let’s explore the cause behind it.
*NAVRATRI occurs during the two major changes of season i.e. fall into winters and then winters into spring. This period has the highest probability of affecting our immune system; and such changes in the nature and environment around us also brings alterations within us. Thus it is better to go for easily digestible edibles which are healthy and nourishing and also activates the positivity within you.*
Other reasons for avoiding non-veg:
- Non vegetarian food is high in Tamasic content that consumes a much longer time for digestion and creates an aura of irritation and negativity.
- The animals are slaughtered inhumanely which leads to a cover of pain and distressing energy around the meat; which keep on growing as we consume them.
- Certain issues like respiratory diseases, heart diseases, indigestion and even cancer can be caused due to excess of proteins.
- The Sattva-guna begins to decline within one, over powered by the violent and ferocious
- Lack of positivity disturbs the spiritual experience of an individual and he deviates from his motive of life.
Though all these points mentioned above will compel you to think about it at least once, but there is no law against it and it is not a sin to eat meat. Yet those of us who prefer Sattvik over Rajasic or Tamasic are able to reach the spiritual destination, much quicker and easily.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
The era of adopting westernized techniques to ideology to dressing style and so on; the air of western culture is widely dominant in India, since more than a decade. As we are saying that our Indian culture is being modified by western views, here I contradict my own statement by highlighting the Indian traditional and cultural norms still being valued in the form of our enthusiastic and bright Indian festivals.
Have you ever wondered that may be these Indian festivals have some connection with the Western world festivals; or rather few of the festivals hold the same significance and motive for celebrating them. If you say yes, then yea you are absolutely correct because here we have unusual similarities between the ‘horror festival of Halloween’ and ‘Indian festival of Kali Chaudas’.
Eerie essence of Halloween:
The Celtic tribe celebrated Samhain, at the beginning of winter season to please the evil ghostly powers, which are said to dominate over the Sun God on this day. The Druid circle performs their own ceremonies on this day along with offering thanks to the dead for the rich harvest of the season. So the entire kingdom is kindled with fire before the new moon day to welcome the wandering dead spirits and offer them with the grand feast to pacify their hungry souls.
Celebration of good over evil of Kali Chaudas:
The Indian festival of Kali Chaudas falls on the fourteenth day of the moon cycle or one day before the new moon day, marked by the bright festival of Diwali. This festival is associated with the period to celebrate the harvest of this season and offer auspicious homage to their ‘Kul-devta or kul-devi’. Before this festival, Indians pay special reverence to their ancestors by organizing Shradh puja and honouring their Pitras or manes. During this shradh period, families prepare great feasts to pacify the hungry souls of their ancestors and receive blessings from them. The also feed the birds as they are considered to be the spirits of dead and messengers of Lord Yama (God of Death).
Rare mystery of ‘Pumpkins’:
The Halloween gives special importance to ‘Pumpkin’ and devilish faces are painted on it and placed outside the house, to prevent the entrance of evil spirits and wandering souls inside the house. In the same way, Pumpkin was also used by Indians to restrict the wanderers to a particular way and it was also used in magical ceremonies of keeping away the evil spirits.
Opportunity for tiny toddlers:
Both the western and Indian world gives opportunity to the kids to enjoy on this festival and celebrate it with zest. In west, children dress up as evil and devilish characters and go from one house to another to collect funds and similarly the Indian kids dress up in their best attire during the festive season of Deepawali.
Devil form of women:
As the evil ‘witch’ is widely prominent in Halloween and people dress up like them to scare them away, and not let them enter their house or destroy their harvest. The story of Adam’s wife Lilith, turning into a succubus is widely known and since then the demon role of women was evident. In Indian context, the furious and devilish form of Goddess Kali is revered on this day for ending Naraksura (demon). This shows that how a beautiful, elegant lady can transform into devilish form when she has been exploited and failed to get the respect as women.
So the two festivals are almost similar as the idea of feeding the ghosts or ancestors for pacifying their soul and celebrating the pious day of Diwali and All Saints Day and All Souls Day respectively; truly signify the connectivity among humanity and one world as a whole.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
The last three days are dedicated to Goddess Saraswati who is the store house of wisdom. She is the supreme source of knowledge, worshipped by her children to receive the knowledge of Truth (Supreme knowledge: Brahmagyan).
These nine days is a journey to discover our true conscious and realize the divine path of success. It offers an opportunity to get acquainted with Lord Almighty through the path of seva, satsang, meditation and Guru’s blessings.
Devi Kaalratri is the ferocious and violent form of Ma Durga, worshipped on seventh day of navaratri festival. She is the powerful form of avatar whose sole mission was to demolish the existence of demon Raktabeej. She killed him by collecting his blood in a vessel and licking it so that it doesn’t fall on the ground and produce further demons. She is a symbol of ‘naari shakti’, consisting of 4 hands, 3 eyes riding on a donkey. Devi Kalraatri puja bestows you with the strength to overcome evil effects and remove the fear of natural elements.
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