Here is everything that everyone wants to know about Navratri. And, this year’s Sharad Navratri will be from 21st September to 29th September 2017; and it will be super-auspicious.

NAVRATRI



Navratri is one of the most important & popular Hindu festivals. It is widely celebrated in many parts of India. Every festival celebrated by Indians has a deep meaning, reason, and significance attached to it. Navratri is a Sanskrit word which means ‘Nine nights’. Navratri celebrations coincide with the beginning of spring and autumn season.


Kinds of Navratri:

There are four kinds of Navratri festivals celebrated in four relevant periods.
  1. The nine days period of Ashada Navratri has come after the new moon day in the June -July months.
  2. The nine days period of Sharad Navratri has come after the new moon day in the September – October months.
  3. The nine days period of Maha Navratri has come after the new moon day in the January - February months.
  4. The nine days period of Chaitra/ Vasant Navratri has come after the new moon day in the March – April months.

In above 4 Navratri’s, only Chaitra and Sharad Navratri are celebrated by the people.

Chaitra Navratri or Vasant Navratri as it is known as is celebrated during the spring season of the year and it falls in the month of March or April. On Chaitra Navratri, people kept fast on the Navratri & done pooja and havan to please the Maa Durga. The Chaitra Navratri culminates in Ram Navmi which marks the start of the New Year as per the Hindu mythological lunar calendar.

However the Sharad Navratri of the months of September - October is very special and it is widely celebrated by Hindus living all over the world and so Navaratri always refers this particular one. Hindus celebrates this with devotion and enthusiasm throughout India. The celebration is carried on for ten days and the last four days are very important. Goddess Durga is worshipped throughout the nine days& on the tenth day after the pooja, Devi Durga is immersed in holy water. Each and every day has its importance and meaning. Goddess Durga symbolizes purity, power, and divinity.

This festival stands for the victory of positivity over negativity. It removes the negative aspects from people and became them better human beings. There are different types of renowned stories found about the Navratri celebration & each story having their own significance. According to a legend, one of the fiercest evil spirits, Mahishasur was killed by Goddess Durga in a fight that went on for nine days, concur with Navratri festivity. As per another legend, King Ram had spent fourteen years in exile. Around the center of that period, a devil lord Ravana captured his better half, Sita and took her away to his kingdom in Lanka. After much searching Ram found Sita and attacked the 10-headed king with the help of his brother Laxman, friend Hanuman & his army. He had slayed Ravana and restored the balance of good and evil in the world. Lord Rama invoked Goddess Durga’s blessing before taking on Ravana. He fasted and prayed for nine days and on the tenth day killed the ten-headed Ravana, a day which coincides with Dusshera. Navratri celebrates this triumph of good over evil. Yet another tale says that Navratri celebrates the homecoming of Goddess Durga when Shiva allowed Durga to visit her mother’s home. Regardless of the cause may be, Navratri celebration re- our faith in Shakti or energy and invokes the awakening of divinity within us.


Nine Goddesses of Navratri:



During these nine days, Nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped. 





Day 1 is called Pratipada on which Shailaputri Maa is revered. She is the daughter (Putri) of the mountains or Himalayas (Shaila) and is the primal energy of the trident – Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh. 


 या देवी सर्वभू‍तेषु माँ शैलपुत्री रूपेण संस्थिता।
 नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नम:।।



Day 2 is called Dwitiya on which Brahmacharini from is worshipped too. She is representative of austerity and severity and shows the path to moksh and complete blissfulness.


या देवी सर्वभू‍तेषु माँ ब्रह्मचारिणी रूपेण संस्थिता। 
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नम:।।








Day 3 is called Tritiya on which Chandraghanta is worshipped. Durga takes the form of a 10-armed mother riding a lion. She slays all the evil forces and negative energy.


या देवी सर्वभू‍तेषु माँ चंद्रघंटा रूपेण संस्थिता।
 नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नम:।।






Day 4 is called Chaturthi on which Kushmanda form is called upon. She is referred to as the maker of the universe.

या देवी सर्वभू‍तेषु माँ कूष्माण्डा रूपेण संस्थिता। 
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नम:।।








Day 5 is known as Panchmi on which Skandamata is worshipped. Goddess Durga is also known as the mother of Skanda or Karthikeya, the chief warrior of Gods.

या देवी सर्वभू‍तेषु माँ स्कन्दमाता रूपेण संस्थिता। 
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नम:।।




Day 6 is called Shashthi on which Katyayani is prayed to. On this day, Goddess Durga takes a fierce form. She is worshipped as the daughter of sage Katyayan.

या देवी सर्वभू‍तेषु माँ कात्यायनी रूपेण संस्थिता। 
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नम:।।





Day 7 is called Saptami on which Kaalratri form is worshipped. On this day, Durga takes up the most ghastly and heartless shape. She shows the other side of life, i.e. death.

या देवी सर्वभू‍तेषु माँ कालरात्रि रूपेण संस्थिता। 
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नम:।।










Day 8 is called Ashtami on which Maha Gauri form is called upon. She is symbolic of calmness and wisdom. She grants peace and knowledge to her devotees.

या देवी सर्वभू‍तेषु माँ महागौरी रूपेण संस्थिता। 
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नम:।।





Day 9 is called Navami on which Siddhidatri is prayed to. Goddess Durga fulfills all the wishes of her devotees and blesses them with boons in the kind of healthiness, happiness, prosperity, and wisdom.


या देवी सर्वभू‍तेषु माँ सिद्धिदात्री रूपेण संस्थिता। 
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नम:।







Customs:

Generally, Navratri celebrations begin with the Ghat Sthapana. A lighting lamp is put on the pot which is full of water in an important place at home. Another prevalent custom of Navratri is the sowing of barley/jow seeds on the first day of the festival. The seeds are sowed and watered for nine days continuously. The custom coincides with fertility worship. On a ninth day, Khetri or the sprouting of the seeds is indicative of the ‘first fruit’ of worship.

Kanya poojan is yet another famous custom of Navratri. Some people kept their fast on the first seven days while some kept for eight days of the festival. On the Eighth/Ninth day, delicacies like halwa, puri, vegetables and Kala chana are prepared. Young girls are called in home. They are treated as Goddess Devi or Kanjak Devi. Kanya poojan is done by washing their feet, applying tilak on their forehead, giving them food to eat and gifting them bangles, chunni, and other goodies. During Navratri, devotees avoid non-vegetarian food, alcoholic drinks, grains and onion. People kept fast to purify themselves from all the negative energy and start afresh. It is also a period of introspection. Negative traits like hatred, jealousy, anger, greed and violence are got rid of. People pray to Goddess Durga for health, happiness and wisdom. 

Read the hindi version of this 







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Sumegha Bhatnagar

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