The nine divine nights of Navratri shower supreme bliss, knowledge, peace and serenity to all believers. Maa Durga riding on a tiger with a smile animates a glorious aura in all 10 directions. Maa Shakti is worshipped for nine days and on the day of Ashtami, the eighth day, she is offered prasad (sacrificial food) with all heart and devotion. The day is celebrated as Durga Ashtami across all india. The fasting period comes to an end on this day and everyone. The nine-day puja is incomplete without offering bhog to nine forms of Durga mata on Ashtami.
Maa Durga personifies love and loyalty- a super powerful deity ‘Shakti’ in the Hindu mythology is worshipped in various forms. She is Uma, Gauri, Kali, Bhairavi, Parvati and the mother of the world – Jagat mata.
People prepare Ashtami Prasad in their houses. It consists of kala chana (black chickpeas) paired with sooji halwa and puri. During this puja, young girls are worshipped and the ritual is referred as Kanjak poojan. People wash their feet, apply kumkum on their foreheads and tie sacred moli on their hands. Later, they are offered Ashtami Prasad and given gifts in the form of money and toys. Weapons of goddess are also worshipped on this day and thus it is known as Astra Puja. Shakti temples conduct special pujas and are visited by millions of devotees on the day of Ashtami.
The next day of Durga Ashtami is Rama Navami. The birth of Lord Rama is celebrated on this ninth day of Chaitra Navaratri. The leelas of Lord Rama are celebrated in the social spirit. People recite the holy Hindu religious epic Ramayana, take part in bhajans and kirtans in temples or homes. They engage themselves in the services at temples of Rama with highly devotional mood. Few also take part in the Abhishek ceremony of the Lord at big temples. Lord Rama is an ideal whose life story makes us learn the art of performing our duties as an obedient son, a loyal brother, a true husband and a humble soul towards the tumbled and the troubled. His life inspires the devotees to remove the bad powers and enter divine strength into them.
On the day of Rama Navami, people generally take bath in the sacred river Saryu in Ayodhya and offer jal to the Hindu God Sun who is believed to be the ancestor of Rama. They chant Vedic mantras and the whole process is observed with a belief that their body and soul will get purified with the blessings of supreme power.
Chariot processing is also a great event of Rama Navami to show the peaceful Rama Rajya. The statues of Lord Rama, Lakhshmana, Mata Sita and Hanuman are decorated everywhere. They are worshipped and offered sweets and prasad for the good future and health of near and dear ones.
Both the days are auspicious and of great significance in Hindu mythology.
Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Shakti Rupena Sansthita
Namastawai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namah.