Children whenever a festival comes, we just enjoy the festival without considering its significance. The same is the case with Navratri .Vasantik Navratri is starting from March 8th this year. During Navratri, we invoke the energy aspect of the Goddess in the form of the universal mother, referred to as “Durga,” which literally means the remover of miseries of life. She is also referred to as Devi (Goddess) or Shakti (energy or power). Truly speaking, our worship of Shakti re-confirms the scientific theory that energy is imperishable.
Why Worship the Mother Goddess?
We think this energy is only a form of the Divine Mother, who is the mother to all. A mother’s glory, her cosmic energy, her greatness and supremacy is parallel. Just as a child finds all these qualities in his or her mother, similarly, all of us look upon God as mother. In fact, Hinduism is the only religion in the world, which gives so much importance to the mother aspect of God because we believe that mother is the creative aspect of the absolute.It is rightly said that as God could not be present everywhere so he made mothers.
Why Twice a Year?
Every year the beginning of summer and the beginning of winter are two very important junctures of climatic change and solar influence. These two junctures have been chosen as the sacred opportunities for the worship of the divine power because:
(1) We believe that it is the divine power that provides energy for the earth to move around the sun, causing the changes in the outer nature and that this divine power must be thanked for maintaining the correct balance of the universe.
(2) Due to the changes in the nature, the bodies and minds of people undergo a considerable change, and hence, we worship the divine power to bestow upon all of us enough potent powers to maintain our physical and mental balance.
Why Nine Nights and Days?
Navratri is divided into sets of three days to adore different aspects of the supreme Goddess. On the first three days, the Mother is invoked as powerful force called Durga in order to destroy all our impurities, vices and defects. The next three days, the Mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth, Lakshmi, who is considered to have the power of bestowing on her devotees the inexhaustible wealth. The final set of three days is spent in worshipping the mother as the Goddess of wisdom, Saraswati.
|During the festival nine forms of Durga (Mother Goddess) are worshipped for nine days. These nine forms are:
Shailputri: The first day (pratipada) belongs to “Shailputri”. This name is synonyms with Parvati, daughter of Himalaya. She took an oath to marry Lord Shiva and she is worshiped for her rock solid determination. The underline moral is to work hard for achieving success.
Brahmacharini: The second day (dwitiya) is reserved for “Brahmacharini”. She is considered as a storehouse of knowledge and wisdom. She was created by “Brahma” for sustenance of the world for which knowledge was very important. She wears “Rudraksha” and lives like a “Brahmacharini”.
Chandraghanta: The third day (Tritiya) is the day for the worship of “Chandraghanta”. She emits a cool hallow like Moon and teaches the importance of good behaviour, soft and sweet speech and gentle manners. She is the controller of anger and a protector from evils.
Kushmanda: The fourth day (Chaturthi) is the day for worship of the devi in “pindi form”. This form has produced the name “Kushmanda”. The Goddess possesses eight arms and mounts a tiger. She has the power to save her devotees from trouble.
Skandmata: The fifth day (Panchmi) is the day of “Skandmata”. She has the unique power to transform even the ignorant into knowledgeable. It was because of her blessings that Kalidas created his two epics Raghuvansha and Meghadoot.
Katyayini: The sixth day (Shasthi) is the day of worshiping mother “Katyayini” .She experimented with different techniques and therefore her name is remembered for research. She drives her devotees towards acquiringmore knowledge.
Kalratri: The seventh day (Saptami) is the day for worshiping “Kalratri”. She is the destroyer of darkness and brings light to the world. She protects from enemies and makes her devotees free from fear.
Mahagauri: The eighth day (ashtami) is reserved for the 8th form of Durga. “Mahagauri” is the name of Parvati and her “Siddhpeeth” is at “Kankhal” near Haridwar which is close to Himalayas. She is the mother of Lord Ganesh and Lord Kartikeya.
Siddhidatri: The ninth day (Navami) is reserved for the worship of the ninth form of Durga – “Siddhidatri”. She is capable of awarding every boon and has the ultimate power in this respect.
Navratri is celebrated five times a year. They are Vasant Navratri, Ashadha Navratri, the Sharad Navratri Paush and Magha Navratri. Of these, the Sharad Navratri and the Vasant Navratri are the most important. The period is significant for the worship of Maha Saraswati, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Kali.
The Vasant Navratri is nine days dedicated to the nine forms of Shakti (Mother Goddess) in the month of Chaitra (March–April). The beginning of this Navratri also marks the start of the New Year as per the Hindu mythological lunar calendar (Vikram Samvat). This is celebrated during Vasant Ritu (beginning of summer) (March-April). This is also known as Chaitra Navratri as it falls during the lunar month of Chaitra. Sri Ram and Hanuman are also worshipped with Maa Durga during Navratri. As Sri Ram took birth on the auspicious ninth day of Navratri it is also celebrated as Ram Navami.
Story Behind Navratri
Once king Dhruvasindhu of Kosala was killed while hunting and Prince Sudarsana was about to be placed on the throne left vacant by him. However, Dhruvasindu’s second wife, Lilavati wanted her son, Shatrujit to become the crown prince. Father of queen Manorama the first wife of Dhruvasindhu, King Virasena of Kalinga and father of queen Lilavati, King Yudhajit of Ujjain waged a war for the throne of Kosala. After an imminent fight between the two contesting kings, King Virasena was killed in the battle. So his daughter Manorama fled into the forest with Prince Sudarsana and took shelter in the hermitage of rishi Bharadwaj. Thereafter, King Yudhajit placed his grandson on the throne of Ayodhya, capital of Kosala.
In the forest, Prince Sudarsana came across a boy from whom he learnt the Sanskrit word Kleem–it is a powerful seed mantra for invoking the Divine Mother. On repeating the mantra many times, the Divine Mother appeared to Sudarsana and blessed him with divine weapons. On a fortunate day, King of Benaras was passing through the forest and his eyes fell on Sudarshana. He wanted him to marry his daughter Princess Sashikala.
King Yudhajit came to know of the ceremony in which Shasikala was to choose prince Sudarsana, and he arrived at the function. When he tried to insult King of Benaras and then Sudarsana, Divine Mother appeared and reduced him and his army to ashes. Grateful to the Mother, King of Benaras, his daughter and Prince Sudarsana conducted a fire ritual for the Divine Mother and worshipped her. This worshipping of Devi came to be known as Vasantik Navratri.
There is a special event followed by Hindus during Vasant Navratri and Sharad Navratri. It is of feeding little girls, considering them the symbol of Goddess Durga and these girls are known as Kanjaks in Haryana and Punjab and Kanya at many other places.