Navratra ~ The Auspicious Nine days
by Dr. Anjna Agarwal
‘NAVSHAKTIBHI SANYUKT NAVRATRATDUCHAYATE’
Navratra is a period when nine shakti (power) combine together into one and become Mahashakti (superpower).
The Navratra commences on the first day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Ashwini. Navratra means Nine Nights which are dedicated to Maa Durga. On this occasion, devotees worship all nine forms of Goddess Durga. The festival is celebrated for nine nights once every year during the beginning of October, although as the dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar, the festival may be held for a day more or a day less. Bhajan, Kirtan, Jagran, adorning the house, feasting and fasting take precedence over all normal daily activities in these nine days amongst the Hindus.
In Samvat ..67, year 20.0, Shaaradiya Navratra will start from Friday sunrise. From 11:45 am to 12:.3 pm, there is Abhijit Mahurat. Those who start Navratri during this time will be blessed with prosperity and success. The auspicious Chaugharia will start from 12:08 pm and Rahu-Kaal will also be finished by then. Shubh Chaugharia is believed best to establish Kalash in temples. It will finish on October 16, 2010 on Mahanavami.
Navratra is a sacred festival solely devoted to the divine form of Maa Shakti. Hindus invoke JAGDAMBA ‘Mother of the Universe’ during these days and take her blessings. She symbolizes a woman in all its forms. She is “Adishakti” who represents woman’s energy, She is “Annpurna” who feeds the universe, She is “Virtuous” who grants all wishes of devotees. She is Trigunatamaka–Mahalaxmi (Goddess of wealth) represents power of wealth and prosperity, Mahasaraswati (Goddess of wisdom) represents power of wisdom, Mahakali (Goddess of valour) represents will power that helps to win over own negativity and wickedness.
There are four Navratra’s in one Samvatsar in India. Navratra in Ashad and Magh months are called Secret Navratra (Gupt Navratris). Tantriks perform tantric sadhanas at secret places in these navratra. Chitra Navratra is ‘Vasantic Navratra’ and Ashwin Navratra is ‘Sharadiya Navratra’. Navratra is the time when change in season takes place. According to Ayurveda this is the time when body is purified. Extra vaat, pitt and cough in the body is destroyed.
‘Shardiya Navratra’ takes precedence on all the Navaratras that is why they are called annual Navratra’s. During these days Mahapooja is organized. In ‘Chiatra Navratra’ Ramnavami is celebrated, while in ‘Ashwini navratra’ Shri Durga Navami is celebrated. Goddess’s energy is manifested during these nine days, that is the reason worship of Durga has special significance. During this nine night long festival of Navratra, nine different forms of Maa Durga signifying power, wealth, prosperity and knowledge are worshipped. Each day is dedicated to different aspect of divine almighty. The nine shaktis which are invoked during Navratras are–
Maa Shailputri is the daughter of Himalaya and first among the nine aspects of Maa Durga. Mounting on a bull, Maa Shailputri holds a trishul in the right hand and a flower in the left hand. Maa Shailputri’s glories are endless.
“Brahma” means “Tapa”. Maa Brahmacharini is the second form of Navdurga and is worshipped on the second day of Navratra. Maa Brahmacharini practices Tapa and is very gorgeous giving the message of love to the whole world. She holds a rosary (mala) in her right hand and Kamandal in left hand. The goddess is full with merriment.
Maa Chandraghanta is the third manifestation of Maa Durga. She is always in a gesture as if prepared for fighting. Her roaring voice makes all Danava, Daitya and Rakshasas tremble. The Goddess establishes justice by saving her devotees from all kinds of danger. This form of Navdurga is known as Chandraghanta as there is a half-circular moon in her forehead. This face of Maa Durga is very charming and bright. She possesses three eyes and ten hands holding ten different types of swords, weapons and arrows etc and mounts on a Lion.
Maa Kushmanda, the fourth aspect of Navdurga is adored on the fourth day of Navratri. Maa Kushmanda represents the source of providing basic necessities to the whole world. This form of Durga is said to be the creator of the universe and resides in the innermost core of the earth. She has eight hands which hold seven types of weapons in seven hands and a rosary in her right hand. She seems brilliant riding on a Lion.
Skandamata is the fifth form of Navdurga therefore she is worshipped on the fifth day of Navratri. Skandamata bestows her devotees with the gift of differentiation of right from wrong to the world. She holds her son, “Skanda” in her lap while displaying three eyes and four hands; two hands hold lotus while the other two hands respectively display defending and granting gestures.
On sixth day of Navratri, the sixth form of Maa Durga known as Maa Katyayani is worshipped. It is believed that Maa Katyayani persistently battles against the evil and deceitful entities. She has three eyes and four arms. One left hand holds a weapon and the other a lotus. The other two hands respectively display defending and granting gestures. Her mount is a lion.
Maa Kaalratri is the seventh form of Navdurga. Maa Kaalratri is also known as Maha Kaali. Kalaratri is the one of the fiercest forms of Maa Durga and her appearance itself evokes fear. This form of Goddess is believed to be the destroyer of all demon entities. Mounted upon a Donkey the goddess possess black skin with bountiful hair and four hands, two clutching a cleaver and a torch, while the remaining two are in the mudras.
Mahagauri is the soft spoken and simplest form of Maa Durga. She is calm and kind and exists in peaceful style. She has four arms and fairest complexion of all the Durga Shakti. She holds a drum and a trishul and is often depicted riding a bull. Durga Ashtami Puja is also held on this day in many parts of the country.
Navdurga’s ninth aspect is Maa Siddhidatri. Maa Siddhidatri showers knowledge over all her devotees making their soul pure. The Goddess drives on Lion. She has four hands and looks are very pleasing. The day is also observed as Mahanavami in many parts of the world.
MAA DURGA not only manifests power required to destroy devilish tendencies in all of us, she also manifests vital force of energy required for life. Lord Rama invoked Durga maa before going to the battle with Ravana in Navratri and got victory of this demonic force on Vijayadashami. She is not only a nurturing factor which takes care of all her children like Mother. She is an epitome of Shakti who kills all the demonic forces whether visible or invisible, and thus brings balance & harmony which is required for regulation & mobilization of the universe.
If one worships mother of entire unverise goddess Durga with selflessness and devotion and recite Durga Saptashati once throughout these nine days, all of his/her problems get resolved certainly and life becomes blessed with divinity. The way we worship Maa Durga, we should similarly worship our mother too, only then it will be called a true worship.
SIDDHSAMPUT MANTRAS OF SRI DURGASAPTASHATl & SRIMAD BHAGAVAT :—
Mantra for wealth
“Durge Smrita Harasi Bhitimshesh Jantoh Swasthaih Smritamati Mateev Shubhaam Dadasi Daridray Duhkh Bhayaharini ka Twadanya Sarvopakarkaranay Sadadrachitta.”
Mantra for welfare—
“Sarv Mangala Mangalye Shive Sarvarth Sadhike
Sharanye Trayambke Gouri Narayani Namostute.”
Mantra for power—
“Srishtisthiti Vinashaanam Shaktibhute Sanatani Gunaashraye Gunamaye Narayani Namostute.”
Mantra for overcoming problems—
“Sharanagat Deenart Paritranaparayane Sarvsyartihare Devi, Narayani Namostute.”
Mantra for overcoming fear—
“Sarvaswarupe Sarveshe Sarvashakti Samanvite Bhaye Bhyastrahi No Devi! Durge Devi Namostute.”
Mantra for getting protection—
“Shulen Pahi No devi! Pahi Khadagen Chambike Ghanta Swanen Nah Pahi, Chapajyanihswanen Cha.”
Mantra for health and good luck—
“Dehi Saubhagyamaarogyam Dehi Me Paramam Sukham Rupam Dehi Jayam Dehi, Yasho Dehi Dwikho Jahi.”
Mantra for the eradication of an epidemic—
“Jayanti Mangala Kali, Bhadrakali Kapalini Durga Kshama Shiva Dhatri Swaha Swadha Namoastute Te.”
Mantra for getting suitable wife—
“Patni Manormam Dehi, Manovrittanusarinim Tarineem Durgsansarsaagarasya Kulodbhavaam.”
Mantra for getting suitable husband—
“Katyayani Mahamaye Mahayoginyadheswari
Nandogopa sutam Devi Patim Me Kurute Namah.”
Navratra ~ The Auspicious Nine days