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Navratri-Durga Pooja

Navratri-Durga Pooja

*** Happy Navaratri ***
Durge Smrata Harsi Bhitimsheshjantoh
Swasthayeha Smrata Matimteev Shubhaam Dadasi.
Daaridraya-Dukh-bhayaharini ka tvadanya,
sarvopkar-karnaay sadadrachitta..

Navratri in 2012 will start on Tuesday, the 16th of October and will continue for 8 days until Wednesday, the 24th of October. . The most important Navratri in a year is the Sharadiya Navratra which begins on the first day of the bright half of Ashvin or Ashwayuja (September-October) as per traditional Hindu calendar

Nine incarnations of Navratra

N – Nav
A – Arti
V – Vandna
R – Roshni
A – Aradhna
T – Tez
R – Rakhnewali
A – Ambey maa Har manokamna puri kare.

Navratri is a festival of Hindus celebrated with devotion, love and fervour all over India. Navratra is a nine day festival and comes five times in a year. However, Sharad Navratri is the most anticipated event amongst all for the belief that it is highly influenced by the Devi. Navaratri is celebrated all over India in various forms and with different believes. The word ‘Navratri’ is basically a Sanskrit term which was developed after combining two words ‘Nava’ meaning ‘nine’ and ‘Ratri’ meaning ‘night’. Navratra is dedicated to Shakti Ma or Goddess Durga for her nine day visit on Earth. Indians believe that the Shakti or Devi Ma has nine incarnations and each visits a day on Earth. . Worshippers celebrate it as the festival of autumn season to cherish the good harvest. Also, it indicates the victory of Goddess Durga after defeating Mahishasura (symbolizing evil ) and establishing peace and prosperity on Earth. There are many stories related to this festival and each community has their own belief to celebrate accordingly.

Vasanta Navaratri (March-April)
Gupta Navaratri (June-July)
Sharada Navaratri (September-October)
Paush Navaratri (December-January)
Magh Navaratri (January-February

Celebrations

Celebrations of Navratri, all across India, are characterized by the worship of Goddess Shakti. Navratri festival is considered to be the biggest festival of the year in Gujarat and West Bengal. It also involves fun-filled dance performances. Dandiya in Maharashtra and Garba in Gujarat add to the festive celebrations. In West Bengal, devotees of Maa Durga, celebrate Durga Puja which signifies triumph of good over evil. The idols of the Goddess are worshipped and on the tenth day they are immersed in water to bid her adieu. In Gujarat, jaagrans are observed and women perform the popular dance – Garba Raas.

Fast  : Navratri fasting is practiced by the devotees of Goddess Durga to cleanse and purify the body as well as soul. It is believed that the person who fasts get blessed for being a person with virtue. Navratri fast is not strictly banned for foods or liquids. Some sorts of eatables are allowed during these days, such as milk, fruits, potatoes and other root vegetables. It is considered that grains absorb negative energies that is why these are strictly avoided. Further, common salt is also not allowed instead Sendha Namak (Rock Salt) is suggested. The period of these pious Navratri days is considered for purity and believers evade non-vegetarian foods in these days.Now eat one time food that is vegetarian, without grains or salt. You should eat only once

“मम महामाया भगवती प्रीतये आयुर्बलावित्तारोग्य समादरा हि प्राप्तये नवरात्र व्रतमहं करिष्य”.

Worshiping Maa Durga.Maa Durga should be worshiped with PANCHOPCHAR (Fragrances, Flowers, Inceses, Diayas and Rice) or Shodoshopchar.In these Devi Fasts, Kumari Pujan is the most important. If possible one should do kumara pujan all nine days and if that’s not possible then on Navami one should feed nine young girls after washing their feet and offering them flowers and incense .Like this for nine days one should observe fast and on Dashmi, perform Dashansh Hawan ,feed Brahmins and submerge the idol of Durga. This can be done according to individual traditions.

The worship of Naav Durga is the most Important, what one needs is devotion and belief.The mood of Navratri is very colourful & unique. It incorporates veneration along with commemoration by means of song and dance.These nights are devoted to the reverence of Goddess Durga (Maa Durga) who exists in many forms and is the manifestation of the absolute energy that pervades the Universe. During these days and nights prayers are offered to Mother Goddess. For the devout these days are the sacrosanct for it is during these days when Goddess Durga takes a stock of her devotees and grants all blessings, removes ills and evils and ensures unproblematic life for her devotees.Worshipper and his family get blessings of happiness, wealth, health by chanting the mantra
“जयन्ती मंगला काली भद्रकाली कपालिनी, दुर्गा क्षमा शिवा धात्री स्वाहा, स्वधा नामोस्तुते”.

October 16, 2012 – Ghatsthapana

October 17, 2012 – Chandra Darshan

October 18, 2012 – Sindoor Tritiya

October 18, 2012 – Varad Vinayak Chaturthi and Lalit Panchami

October 19, 2012 – Upang Lalita Vrat

October 20, 2012 – Saraswati Awahan in some regions

October 21, 2012 – Saraswathi Puja – Maha Lakshmi Puja

October 22, 2012 – Saraswathi Puja ends – Mahashtami – Annapoorna Parikrama

October 23, 2012 – Saraswati Visarjan – Mahanavami
October 24, 2012 – The tenth day is celebrated as Dasara or Vijaya Dashami. Vidyarambham in Kerala.
Note - Navratri day 3 and 4 are marked on same date in calendars followed in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Note - Navratri day 5 and 6 are marked on same date in calendars followed in North India and other regions. (This clubbing of dates is due to two tithi falling on same date as per Gregorian calendar)

Meathalogy:TheDevi Bhagwat talks about the incomprehensible power of Shakti. Once upon a time due to the blessings of Maha Shakti, the gods won over the demons .This made them too proud. Excessive pride can leads to down fall and so to teach the Gods a lesson, the primordial power of goddess took the form of Yaksha (divine being) and destroyed the strengths of deities of air, fire and water. When the Air and Water Gods together failed to remove or burn a speck then out of sheer shame God Indra expressed his wish to understand Yaksha. Thats when Ma Shakti appeared in her real form and said I’m the All prevailing Ma Bhagwati, I am that impersonal and formless divine power.That’s when all Gods worshipped Ma Bhagwati and received her blessings.From this Katha it is understood that Shakti is Everthing. The ‘Durga Sasshati , talks about all the boundless powers of Ma Bhagwati. It also talks in details about the destruction of demons.Navratri fastival continues for nine days. During this period, the different forms of Goddesses Parvati, Lakshami and Saraswati are worshipped respectively for three days each.

The Nine Forms of Goddess

In addition, the nine forms of Goddess Durga is also worshipped during this period of Navratra.

These nine forms of Mata is known by the name of Navdurga. The nine forms of Mata Durga which is worshipped during Navratra are: Shailputri on Pratipada; Brahmacharini on Dwitiya; Chandarghanta on Tritiya; Kushmanda on Chaturthi; Skand Mata on Panchami; Katyayani on Shashthi; Kaalratri on Saptami; Mahagauri on Ashtami and Siddhidatri on Navami.
This Supreme power Goddess has many names like:

1. Durga Shailputri (Daughter of Mountain): Shailputri is the first among nine Durgas, therefore,First night of Nav-Durga is devoted to the worship of Her.
Her two hands display a trident and a lotus. Her mount is a bull.

2. Durga Brahmacharini The second Durga Shakti is Brahmacharini.
Her one hand holds a “Kumbha” or water pot, and the other holds a rosary of Rudraksh beads (Her most adored ornaments). She personifies love and loyalty.

3. Durga Chandraghanta: The name of third Shakti is Chandraghanta.  She possesses ten hands and three eyes. Eight of Her hands display weapons while the remaining two are respectively in the mudras of gestures of boon giving and stopping harm. There is a half-circular moon on her forehead. She rides a lion. Chandra + Ghanta mean Supreme bliss and Self-Knowledge, showering peace and serenity.

4. Durga Kushmanda: She is the fourth Shakti of Durga.She possessed eight arms, holding a weapons and a mala (rosary). She rides on the lion and She emanates a solar like aura. Kushmanda represents the knowledge of cosmic intricacies in the human race.

5. Durga Skandamata: The Fifth Shakti of Durga is Skandamata.  She holds Her son Skanda (leader of gods) in Her lap. She has three eyes and four hands; two hands holds lotuses while the other two hand display defending and granting mudras, respectively.
.6. Durga Kaatyayani: Kaatyayani is the sixth Shakti of Durga . She has golden colored complexion with four hands and three eyes. One left hand holds a weapon and the other a lotus, while the other two are in the mudras of “blessings” and “protecting.” .

7. Durga Kalratri: Kaalratri is the seventh Shakti of Durga . Kalratri means scourer of darkness; enemy of darkness.She had black or blue skin, beautiful long hair, three eyes and four hands, two clutching a cleaver and a torch, while the remaining two are in the mudras of “giving” and “protecting.” Her vehicle is faithful donkey.
Kalratri is the destroyer of darkness and ignorance.

8. Durga Maha Gauri: Maha Gauri is of eight Shakti of Durga .She has four arms and three eyes with the fairest complexion of all the Durga Shaktis. Therefore, she is known as “Maha Gauri.” She is often dressed in a white or green sari. She holds a drum and a trident. She rides on bull.
9. Durga Siddhidatri: Siddhidatri is the ninth Shakti of Durga.She has four hands and looks pleased. Ensconced upon a lotus. This form of Durga is worshiped by all Gods, Rishis-Munis, Siddhas, Yogis, Sadhaka and devotees for attaining the best religious asset

These are the nine forms of The Goddess. These forms are worshipped during Navratri.On the first day one should do ‘kalash sthapana’ and ‘Dhwaja Rohan’ with devotion. While doing Ghat-sthapana (placing the pitcher), if it is either Chitra or Baidhriti yoga, one should leave the same.Before starting the navratri rituals one must take holy bath, then in a calm place (prefferebly the NE direction) make a Kunda or Vedi using pure soil(vedi is the geomatrical structure made for perofrming Yajnas).Plant jowar and wheat seeds in it. Now place the kalash (kalash made of gold,silver or copper or clay) here and on the kalash place Ma Shakti’s Photo or idol and devotionally start the worship by firstly paying reverence to Lord Ganesha.Sit next to the Goddess facing either east or west and recite ”.

Worshiping Maa Durga.Maa Durga should be worshiped with PANCHOPCHAR (Fragrances, Flowers, Inceses, Diayas and Rice) or Shodoshopchar.In these Devi Fasts, Kumari Pujan is the most important. If possible one should do kumara pujan all nine days and if that’s not possible then on Navami one should feed nine young girls after washing their feet and offering them flowers and incense .Like this for nine days one should observe fast and on Dashmi, perform Dashansh Hawan ,feed Brahmins and submerge the idol of Durga. This can be done according to individual traditions.

The last day of Navratri is also known as ‘Dusshera’. There are many stories related to this day as per the belief of celebrators. One is that, on this day Lord Rama defeated the evil Raavan and saved his wife Sita, second is the victory of Goddess Durga over Mahishasura and there are many other reasons related to Hindu beliefs.

“मम महामाया भगवती प्रीतये आयुर्बलावित्तारोग्य समादरा हि प्राप्तये नवरात्र व्रतमहं करिष्य”.

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