Navratri is extra special
This year, Navratri is extra special because it is a 10-day-long ritual to be observed. As the Dwitiya tithi falls on two days, Navratri will be celebrated for 10 days instead of the usual nine days ritual. One more reason is that this year, the Pitri paksha period has reduced by one day while the Devi paksha has increased by one day. In this Navratri, Brahma charini Devi Durga will be worshipped on two consecutive days.
This year, Navratri is 10 days long. Appease Maa Durga with special prayers to overcome evils and seek success in life. To know more, click on 10 days Navratri Anushthan.
Durga will be worshipped
It is believed that a 10 day Navratri ushers in greater amount of prosperity, happiness and peace. On the first day of Navratri that is, 1st October, as the Mangal kalash is installed, devotees will offer their prayers to the first form of Ma, the Shailputri. On the second and third days, the second form of Durga will be worshipped. Ashtahmi pooja will be performed on the 9th of October, Navami on 10th and Dashami will be observed on the 11th of October.
What is Navratri?
Navratri is an ancient religious occasion observed by the Hindus. Since antiquity, this festival has remained significant for the masses. The Navratri vrata is vividly mentioned in the ‘Shreemad-devi-bhaagwat’. In it, Maharshi Vyas has revealed the rituals of this vrata to Janmejaya. The great saint stated that in both Spring and Autumn seasons, most of the people fall prey to deadly diseases and many lose their lives. Both these seasons are hence named as ‘Yama-danshtra’. Therefore, people seek blessings from the goddess Durga who is known to be the destroyer of all sufferings, a protector from all negatives and a healer who provides peace, happiness and good health.
A festival for all and sundry
In Bhavishyottar Puran, the significance of this vrata has been described. It is said that all the people, irrespective of caste, class or creed have the right to observe this vrata. It is believed that people who along with the daily pooja rituals, also observe Navratri vrata in the Autumn season are showered with the blessings of Maha-maya. All the hurdles of life are removed and their life is filled with joy and splendor.
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Traditional story of Navratri (Vrata katha)
In Devi-bhaagwat, a story related to Navratri is mentioned. The story goes like this- There lived a poor and grief-stricken businessman named Sushil in a place called Kaushal. He had many relatives who were very poor. Due to their poverty, most of them lived with Sushil in his house. Sushil offered a share of his hard-earned money to gods and his ancestors (pitar). He spent the next share of his money on guests and all the relatives who depended on him for their survival. After making all the expenses, only a small amount of money was left with him that he used to meet his basic needs.
He met a wise Brahmin
One day, he met a wise Brahmin and asked him a way so that he has enough money left for himself after he has made all his expenses. To this, the Brahmin advised him to observe the Navratri vrata which grants knowledge, peace, happiness, prosperity, strength and liberation. Hearing this, Sushil learnt all the rituals of the vrata from the Brahmin and observed it religiously. Moved by his prayers, Devi Maheshwari appeared before him and fulfilled all his wishes of a prosperous and rich life.
Interesting legends related to Navratri
This festival was made popular after Shree Ramachandra observed it. He invoked the divine mother, devi Durga and observed the Navratri rituals to win the battle waged against Ravana. As he had killed Ravana on the Dashami of Shukla Paksha and won over Lanka, Ashwin Shukla Dashami is also known as Vijaya Dashami. Thus as a ritual, he worshipped Jagadamba every year from Ashwin Shukla Pratipada to Shukla Navami and performed the Visarjan ceremony on Dashami.
Devi Durga had overpowered a demon named Mahishashur
Devi Durga had overpowered a demon named Mahishashur after a fierce nine-day-long battle. The Dashami of Navratri marks the victory of ‘Shakti’. This is the day which is celebrated as Vijay Dashami. This day is considered extremely auspicious. It is a good day to begin all vital activities.
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Arjuna offered prayers
Arjuna had offered his prayers to devi Durga on Dashami of Navratri to seek blessings for victory in his battle against the Kauravas. Shree Vyas had told Janmejaya that in Kali yuga, among all charity and pooja rituals, Nava Durga pooja is the highest form of pooja.
Nine forms of energy
Navratri embodies nine energetic powers; each shakti is venerated on each tithi. Devi Durga manifested several forms for the welfare of her devotees. The nine forms are as follows- 1. Shail Putri 2. Brahma Charini 3. Chandra Ghanta 4. Kushmanda 5. Skanda mata 6. Katyayani 7. Kaal ratri 8. Maha Gauri 9. Siddhi dhatri
The king of the mountains, ‘Giriraj Himalaya’ had observed a strict penance and was blessed with a daughter who was none other than goddess Durga herself. Pleased by Himalaya’s devotion, Sati had incarnated as Parvati in his house. Being the daughter of the mountain, the goddess came to be known as Shail putri.
The goddess who is liberated and enables one to attain the Para-brahma is the one who is known as Brahma Charini.
The goddess who wears a crescent moon on her forehead and provides serenity, knowledge and bliss is the goddess Chandraghanta.
The spiritual form of the goddess who destroys all evils is known by the name of Kushmanda
Sanat kumar is also known by the name of Skanda and being his mother, the goddess is known by this name.
Once when the gods faced severe trouble, Rishi Katyayan began a strict spiritual practice (tapa) for the blessings of Goddess Durga. The goddess was pleased with his devotion and was born as his daughter. Thus, the goddess came to be known as Katyayani.
Being the vanquisher of kaal, the devi is known by this name. She embodies the destructive force against darkness and ignorance.
In ‘Kali puran’, it is stated that Parvati had a dark complexion and Lord Shiva used to tease her due to her dark looks. One day, she got furious and took the most fairest and radiant forms and came to be known as Maha Gauri.
The goddess whose blessings liberates a soul of all earthly ties is known as Siddhida. She is also known as Siddha mata and Siddhi mata. These nine Durga forms are worshipped in Navratri to attain siddhi or complete accomplishment. By worshipping these nine forms in sequence, one attains all the four results- dharma, artha, kama and moksha.
The four Navratris
Navratri arrives four times a year- 1. Chaitra 2. Ashwin 3. Aashadh 4. Maagh. The Navratri is of two types- one that happens in Shayan Chaitra and the other that happens in Bodhan Ashwin. In all the four navratris, the worship of Devi Durga holds importance. However, worshipping the goddess in the month of Ashwin has special importance.
Rituals of Navratri
On a bed of mud, covered by silk cloth, install an idol of Devi Durga on it. Instead of an idol, you can also place Shreedurga yantra or a picture of Shree Durga. Install a Mangal kalash or pot filled with holy water with a coin inside it. Place fresh mango leaves and a coconut wrapped in red cloth on top of it. Offer prayers to Ganapati and Nava Graham and then offer prayers to gods. Deep daan has a special importance in Navratri puja. Lighting an Akhand deep is a significant ritual in Navratri puja and is known to please Devi Durga. After the Navratri vrata, the banni tree should be worshipped on Dashami. It should be worshipped in the North east (Ishan-kona) direction or all should be worshipped in the eastern direction. Then is the time
Vrata observer should eat a meal cooked by a family
A vrata observer should eat a meal cooked by a family member once in a day and lead a life of celibacy during the Navratri festival. Prayers should be offered thrice in a day. The devotee should chant the Saptashathi-stotra daily as per the rules defined in the scriptures.
Importance of the holy kalash water
1. Sprinkling the holy water of the kalash on a person is known to fulfill all wishes. 2. A woman who had experienced a miscarriage or one who is facing difficulty in conceiving a baby benefits the most by drinking the holy kalash water.
Sprinkling this water over a sick person helps to restore good health
3. Sprinkling the holy water of the kalash in fields and cow sheds ensures good crops and good milk production. 4. Sprinkling the holy water of kalash at home protects it from all kind of evil spirits and Vaastu defects. 5. Sprinkling this water over a sick person helps to restore good health 6. It also helps to develop the intellect of children who lack intelligence.
Given below are the timings for installing the sacred kalash
The Mangal kalash should be installed on 1st October at- 6.18 am IST to 7.28 am (Kanya Lagna) 7:50 am IST to 9:00 am IST- (Shubha chaughariya) 11:50 am IST to 12: 38 am IST (Abhijeet muhurta) 1:40 pm IST to 3:30 pm IST (Labh-amrit chaughariya)
The powerful sacred grass, Jayanti
The sacred yellow grass, jayanti, used in Navratri is sowed in the Hasta nakshatra and picked in Shravan nakshatra. Its powerful positive effect can be experienced in different areas of life- • Placing this grass behind the right ear on Vijayadashami or Dussehra provides success in all fields throughout the year. • If the jayanti is placed in a yantra and worn around the neck or on the shoulder then success in legal cases is assured. It also ensures peace of mind and protection from all negative energies. • Keeping this divine grass in the wallet or cash box ensures abundant financial gain.
The shodshopachar Durga puja
In the daily pooja rituals, panchopachar (5 worship steps) is used to worship the deity. However, while performing Durga Puja at home shodshopachar (16 worship steps) is used to worship the goddess and chausathupachar (64 worship steps) is used to worship the deity in temples. The shodshopachar used to invoke the goddess Durga at home in Navratri are as follows- 1. Padhya 2. Arghya 3. Aachman 4. Madhupark 5. Snan 6. Vastra 7. Yagyopaveet 8. Aabhushan 9. Gandha 10. Akshat 11. Pushpa 12. Dhoop 13. Deep 14. Naivedya 15. Pushpanjali 16. Taambul
Kumari puja- the soul of Navratri
Kumari puja is the life of Navratri; without it all spiritual practices (japa and tapa) remain futile. From Pratipada to Navami, little girls of different ages are worshipped in a sense of worshipping the Divine mother, Durga. The kumaris are worshipped and offered flowers, clothes and jewellery. After the pooja rituals, a variety of food is served to them in a pure manner. After food, cardamom, betel nut and betel leaf are donated to them. The two year old kumari is worshipped as Kumari, three year old as Tri-murti, four year old as Kalyani, five year old as Rohini, six year old as Kaalika, seven year old as Chandika, eight year old as Shambhavi, nine year old as Durga and 10 year old is worshipped as Subhadra.
The different offerings for Ma Durga
The following chart based on ‘Shreemada-devi-bhaagwat’ gives us a view of the offerings to be made to goddess Durga either as per tithi or as per weekday of Navratri.
Offerings to the goddess
Offerings to the goddess (Devi naivedya) on the different days
Tithi based offerings
Offerings to the goddess (Devi naivedya) based on tithi
We all need power
Navratri is the worship of Shakti- the imperishable, glorious and the most supreme motherhood aspect of the divine power. By invoking Ma Durga, we are bestowed with infinite energy, wealth, success, prosperity, health and auspiciousness. We all seek power in life and Navratri is the best occasion to be showered upon with absolute power.