Navaratri is a Hindu festival that is celebrated for nine nights and 10 days. Each day is dedicated to distinct incarnation of Goddess Durga. Her swaroops include Kali, Bhagwati, Bhavani, Ambika, Lalita, Gauri, Kundalini, Jaya and Rakeshwari. The divine power of these Goddesses is combined to form Goddess Durga. The nine Goddesses who are worshipped during Navaratri are Shailputri, Brahamcharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Maha Gauri and Sidhidatri.
As the festival’s nine nights are dedicated to different aspects of the divine feminine principle or ‘Shakti’, offerings are made to the Goddess and her various aspects. Many rituals are performed in her honour. As these are the pious days and holy nights, it is the best time to fast, chant mantras and meditate spiritually.
There are four different Navaratri festivals celebrated in India throughout the year. However, out of four, two are very popular and celebrated with full fervour across the country in different ways. These include Chaitra Navaratri and Sharad Navaratri. As the Chaitra Navaratri is round the corner, devotees are gearing up to indulge in rituals and festivities. Chaitra Navaratri usually takes place in late March or early April. The dates of the festival differ every year as they are decided according to the Hindu lunar calendar. This year Chaitra Navaratri will take place from March 25 to April 3, 2020. This Navaratri is most widely celebrated in Northern India.
During the first three days of Navaratri, Goddess Durga is worshipped to destroy negative tendencies fostered in human minds. Worshipping the Goddess the next three days can bring positive qualities and thoughts. It is believed that during the last three days, the devi blesses her worshippers with knowledge and illuminates the supreme truth. The ninth day of this Navaratri is also celebrated as ‘Rama Navami’, the birthday of Lord Rama. Fasting, chanting and meditating during this spiritual period cleanse and purify body, mind and soul of the observer. The goddess is believed to bestow her devotees with virtue during these days. Many people go into deep introspection through meditation and experience the supreme peace. Yagnas are performed to achieve spiritual and material benefits. The pious days and holy nights also provide an environment to meditate effortlessly. Chanting the devi’s mantras and prayers help to get into a meditative mode more easily and effectively.
Navaratri is the most pious period celebrated in the Hindu custom that happens to commemorate the worship of Goddess Durga with nine incarnations. It is believed that people who worship Maa Durga with devotion are blessed with health, wisdom and prosperity.
Happy Chaitra Navaratri 2020!