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We Wish you happy Navratri and Dussehra may Maa Durga bless all

October 7th, 2010 by ramnath rajaram Leave a reply »

We Wish you happy Navratri and  Dussehra may   Maa Durga bless all 



Navratri Hindu FestivalNavratri CelebrationsFestival of NavratriNavratri Festival



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What is Navratri?

Navaratri or Navaratra is a Hindu festival of worship and dance. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit
Nav
= nine and Ratri = nights. It is celebrated during the period of Sarad
Masi Aswin by Hindu lunar calendar, all eight days and nine nights have
its importance and is divided into sets of three days to adore three
different aspects of the supreme goddess or goddesses.

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1st – 3rd day

These days are dedicated to Durga Maa; the Goddess of power and energy.
On the first three days, the goddess is invoked as a powerful spiritual
force called Durga in order to destroy all our impurities, vices and
defects.

4th – 6th day

During
this period people worship Lakshmi Maa, the Goddess of peace and
prosperity. During 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.

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7th – 8th day

Saraswati Maa is worship during this period, to acquire the spiritual knowledge

9th day

On
this day Kanya puja is performed, nine young girls representing the
nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped.T he final set of three days
is spent in worshipping the daughter of Brahma as the goddess of
wisdom, Saraswati. In order to have all-round success in life, we need
the blessings of all three aspects of the divine femininity, hence, the
worship for nine nights.

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To
celebrate a good harvest and to propitiate the nine planets, women also
plant nine different kinds of food grain seeds in small containers
during these nine days and then offer the young saplings to the goddess.
During Navratri, some devotees of Durga observe a fast and prayers are
offered for the protection of health and property. A period of
introspection and purification, Navratri is traditionally an auspicious
time for starting new ventures


Navratri: The 9 Divine Nights
 

Nine Goddess

 

     
     

Literal meaning – ‘nine nights’, this
nine-day period from the new moon day to the ninth day of Ashvin is
considered the most auspicious time of the Hindu Calendar
and is hence the most celebrated time of the year. Although it has
different names in different parts of India, it is celebrated by Hindus
from all regions. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm as the
conquest of good over evil. Every region has its own myths and reasons
to explain this.
 
Nava DurgaThe
nine different aspects of Devi are worshipped over the nine days. These
are the most popular forms under which she is worshipped:



  1. Durga :goddess beyond reach;
  2. Bhadrakali the auspicious power of time;
  3. Amba or Jagdamba: mother of the world;
  4. Annapurna: giver of food and plenty;
  5. Sarvamangala: auspicious goddess;
  6. Bhairavi: terrible, fearful, power of death;
  7. Chandika or Chandi: violent, wrathful, furious;
  8. Lalita: playful; and
  9. Bhavani: giver of existence.

The festivities culminate on the tenth day, called variously Vijayadashmi, Dushehra when people in most parts of the country burn effigies of Ravana, Meghanatha and Kumbhakarna.

 

Some people fast on all nine days, eating
only fruit and milk dishes. Some fast only on the eighth or ninth day.
As the festival is dear to the mother goddess, on the
eighth or ninth day many people invite over nine young girls from the
neighborhood. These girls are treated as the goddess herself. People
ceremonially wash their feet, worship them and then offer food to the
“girl-goddesses” .

On the first day of the Navaratras, grains of
barley are planted in the puja room of the house. A small bed of mud is
prepared in which barley seeds are sown after a small puja has been
performed. Every day some water is sprinkled on it. On the tenth day,
the shoots are about 3 – 5 inches in length. After the puja, these
seedlings are pulled out and given to devotees as a blessing from god.
The seedlings are placed on their caps, behind their ears, and inside
books to bring good luck. This custom suggests a link to harvesting.
The sowing and reaping of barley is symbolic of the “first fruit“. Soon after this festival, the sugarcane crop is harvested and the winter crops are sown.

 
The Legend

 

This festival commemorates the victory of Goddess Durga over a demon, Mahishasur. Endowed with power by the blessing of Lord Shiva,
the demon started destroying innocent people. The gods then invoked
Goddess Durga and asked for her help. The goddess, astride a lion,
fought with the demon and cut off his head.

 

According to one hypothesis, in ancient
times, this was a festival intended for the Kshatriyas. After the
four-month long monsoon when military activity was not possible, this
was considered a good time to start afresh on one’s conquests. For nine
days before starting on the war journey, kings prayed to the nine
different aspects of Devi or Adishakti. They also prayed for their arms
and ammunition. The tenth day was when the journey for the conquest
began.

 

The origin of this custom can also be traced to the Ramayana. According to it, Rama
had to pray to the nine different aspects of Devi to be able to kill
Ravana. He then accumulated enough power to kill Ravana on the tenth
day, which was called Vijayadashmi or Victory Day. Since
then, the tradition of praying to Devi for nine days has continued and
was especially pronounced amongst the Kshatriyas who believed that by
doing so, they too would be able to defeat the most powerful enemy.
 
Today, it is celebrated more for its
mythological significance and reaffirms the Hindu faith in the triumph
of good. Even today, the nine different forms of the goddess are
worshipped. Though several communities of Hindus are staunch
vegetarians, Navaratri is one exception. On the eighth day, many
communities, especially Gurkha and other hill tribes who are believers
in the Devi cult sacrifice an animal. This blood sacrifice is a form of
thanksgiving to the goddess for a wish that has been granted. People
often sacrifice a buffalo symbolic of the killing of Mahishasura by
Durga

 

In Bengal, this period is celebrated as Durga Puja.
. Groups and residents’ associations in towns and cities erect
beautiful marquees, where they install the idol of the Mother Goddess.
In Calcutta, as also other places, there are competitions held and the
most beautiful and creatively done marquee gets a prize. For all the
nine days, the marquee becomes the center of all activity where
cultural events and competitions are organized every day.

 

In Gujarat, this is the time for the joyous Garba
and Dandia dances and people pour out at night to participate in this
community festival. Women and girls in all their fineries dance around
the garb a pot, clapping their hands in rhythmic movement. The pot is
decorated with flowers, betel leaves, and has its mouth covered with a
coconut.

 

In Tamil Nadu, the first three
days of the festival are dedicated to Lakshmi, the next three to Durga
and the last three to Sarasvati. The nine-day celebration is
compartmentalized in certain parts of the country, dedicating three
days each to a trinity of goddesses: to Durga the goddess of valor, to
Lakshmi the goddess of wealth and to Saraswati the goddess of
knowledge.

 

The one thing that remains constant in most
parts of the country is that daytime is exclusively for prayers,
fasting, and solemnity while the nights are spent in joy and revelry.
Men, women, and children, who have fasted during the day, have a light
repast of fruit or other non-cereals at night before going out to enjoy
the festive season.
 
In Punjab, people organize Jagrans to sing
devotional songs all night in praise of the Mother Goddess. Solemnity
and piety mark these nine days as even those Punjabis who do not keep a
fast, stop eating non-vegetarian and impure food items like onion and
garlic.


Another part of the Navratri celebrations
is the Ramlila. In places like Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, almost every
locality has its own group of actors re-enacting episodes from the life
of Lord Rama. This is probably because, the day after Navratri,
i.e. on the tenth day of Ashvin called the Vijaya Dashami, it is said
that Lord Rama killed Ravana and other demons to rid the earth of evil.
 
Rituals
 
The tempo of life changes perceptibly in
every family, in markets, in Mata’s temples, long before the festival
commences. In homes, the corner or room reserved for puja becomes the
scene of intense preparation. A coconut, saffron or sandalwood paste, a
garba (perforated earthen pot), a kumbh (earthen pot),
grains of wheat or barley, ghee (clarified butter) or mustard oil for a
lamp that will burn incessantly all through the nine special nights,
are placed in readiness for the ceremonial ritualistic initiation of
the festival.
 
Housewives draw designs and emblems with
rice flour, turmeric powder-and vermilion. Each of the motifs
symbolizes abundance and represents hope for the future.

 

The eagerly awaited first day of the
festival witnesses a flurry of ritualistic activity. On a small
platform of fresh earth in front of the idol of the Mother Goddess, all
the things collected for the puja are placed and the lamp is lit. As
evening falls, people gather around the sacred flame that is constantly
fed with ghee or oil, and soon, mellow voices singing bhajans can be
heard from home after home.

 

On Lalita Panchami (the fifth day),
children gather all the books in the house before a sacred lamp and
invoke the blessings of Saraswati. It is also the occasion for all
artisans to lay down their tools before the goddess and seek her
benediction upon their trade.


On the eighth and ninth days of the
festival, yagnas are performed as a final act of farewell that marks
the termination of the ceremonies. Ghee or clarified
butter, a sweet concoction of rice cooked in condensed milk (paayas or
kheer) and sesame seeds are traditional items used in the yagna to the
chanting of mantras conveying the theme–”This is my offering to God”.
 
On the tenth day or Vijaya Dasami, more
popularly known as Dussehra, enormous effigies of Ravana stuffed with
firecrackers are torched with flaming arrows to the delight of throngs
of revelers.
 
People read “The Devi Mahatmyam” (Glory of Divine Mother) having 700 Mantras on Shri Durga Mata.


5 Things you need to know about
“Nava-ratri”
literally means “nine nights.” This festival is observed twice a year,
once in the beginning of summer and again at the onset of winter.
What’s the Significance of Navratri?

During
Navaratri, we invoke the energy aspect of God in the form of the
universal mother, commonly 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). It is this energy,
which helps God to proceed with the work of creation, preservation and
destruction. In other words, you can say that God is motionless,
absolutely changeless, and the Divine Mother
Durga, does
everything. Truly speaking, our worship of Shakti re-confirms the
scientific theory that energy is imperishable. It cannot be created or
destroyed. It is always there.
Why Worship the Mother Goddess?

We
think this energy is only a form of the Divine Mother, who is the
mother of all, and all of us are her children. “Why mother; why not
father?”, you may ask. Let me just say that we believe that God’s
glory, his cosmic energy, his greatness and supremacy can best be
depicted as the motherhood aspect of God. 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.

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
junctions 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 & Days?

Navaratri
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.
In order have all-round success in life, we need the blessings of all
three aspects of the divine mother; hence, the worship for nine nights.

Why Do You Need the Power?

Thus,
I suggest you join your parents in worshipping “Ma Durga” during the
Navaratri. She will bestow on you wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity,
knowledge, and other potent powers to cross every hurdle of life.
Remember, everyone in this world worships power, i.e., Durga, because
there is no one who does not love and long for power in some form or
the other.




Karmaniye
wadhikaraste

 
R.RAMNATH&FLY

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