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Nava and Navaratri

Navaratri is a celebration of the power of the Feminine principle. The energy of creation is recognized in the universal mother, Durga, literally meaning the remover of miseries of life. She is also called Devi or goddess or Shakti, the energy or power.The worship of Shakti re-confirms the scientific theory that energy is imperishable. It cannot be created or destroyed. It is always there.

Image Source: Internet
Image Source: Internet

The Navratras also celebrates the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana and many chant the famous  Ramrakshastotra in the mornings followed with Sundarakaanda Paarayanam.
Dasara is commemoration of the valour of Rama in vanquishing Ravana which may also mean that the ten heads or vices like Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, Matsarya and their offspring are destroyed.

Navaratri is divided into three sets of three days to worship different aspects of the supreme goddess. 

Nava-ratri and the nine auspicious nights signify the basic principle of yoga that energies should involute back to the primal source to rejuvenate the individual form, which is thehuman body. 

  • The first three days are devoted to Mahakali or Durga to be able to conquer the base earth bound tendencies by purifying the energies of Mooladhara (earth) and Swadishthana (water) Chakras or energy circles and to destroy all our impurities, vices and defects.
  • The next three days are to further eliminate the malefic aspects by purifying the Manipura (fire) and Anahata (heart) Chakras attained by worshipping Mahalakshmi, the giver of spiritual & material wealth. She is invoked to provide prosperity and well-being without which a higher order of thinking cannot come into place.  
  • The last three days are for surrendering to the feminine form of the eternal teacher – Dakshinamurthy, resplendent in pure white as Maha Saraswathi who opens our eyes to the deeper meanings of life, wisdom, knowledge and salvation. The Vishuddha (throat) and Ajna (Third eye/mind) Chakras are cleansed.

 ‘She’ is the supreme Vak or vocality who is the ultimate throb of consciousness, resting in lysis or complete undifferentiated resonance, in the delight of Nadabrahmam. The jeevatma (will-knowledge-action or Icha-Jnana-Kriya Shaktis) incubates, starting from the first night, gestating and mutating & gets metamorphosed on completion of the course of nine nights (symbolising nine months), emerging victoriously united with the transcendental Para Shakti on the tenth day.

The two seasons, summer and winter, are two important occurrences that herald a major change in climatic and solar influences. Navaratri festival celebrates and gives thanks to the divine power that provides energy for the earth to move around the sun and causes changes and maintains the correct balance of the universe. 

Secondly,due to the changes in external nature, the bodies and minds of people too undergo a considerable change. So it is imperative to call upon the divine to give us the Shakthi to maintain our physical and mental balance.The same idea is reflected in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. 

The significant part of the Navratris is the night. These nine nights occur on equinoxes or equal nights when the sun is vertically overhead at the equator or centre. Hence the human body also attains equilibrium with nature and meditation and worship of Shakti with Beej mantras revitalises the body. Therefore forms of Durga are worshipped with their respective yantras. Barley is sown in homes as a symbol of the creative power of the mother Goddess. In recognition of the importance of shakthi or feminine force, traditionally, little girls are symbolically worshipped on the eighth day, Ashtami.

Tradition and the 'Gombe Habba' | Mysore dasara, Mysore, Festival  decorations

Flower Show: Mysore dasara

The highlights of this festival in the regional scene are the Garba Dance of Gujarat, Ramlila of Varanasi, Dusshera of Mysore, and Durga Puja of Bengal.
Navaratri ultimately symbolises the triumph of virtue over vice. It is a time to reflect, to bond and to regroup one’s energies, resources and family and social strands into a whole, a Purnama represented by the number nine.

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