Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy Navratri

Navratri, the festival of nine nights is dedicated to Goddess Durga and her nine forms. According to the Hindu calendar, Navratri begins from the first day of the bright fortnight of Ashwin which usually coincides with the end of the rainy season.The nine days have great religious significance as Goddess Durga, the divine mother, had destroyed the evil force (in the form of the demon Mahisashura) during this period.
The festival is celebrated with true devotion and purity all over the country. People from various sections of the society irrespective of caste and creed celebrate this festival by visiting temples and offering pujas at the Mother’s feet.


Navratri is divided into sets of three days to adore three different aspects of the supreme goddess or goddesses. During Navratri, different forms of Mother Goddess are worshipped. On the first three days Durga or Goddess of Energy is worshipped.

The next three days are devoted to Lakshmi or Goddess of Wealth and the last three days for Saraswati or Goddess of Knowledge. On the fifth day, it is traditional to worship Saraswati to invoke our spirit and knowledge. On the eighth and ninth day, Yagna (sacrifice offered to the fire) is performed to honor Durga Mata and bid her farewell. The 10th day, on which the goddess kills Mahishasura, is celebrated as Dusshera or Vijayadashami as the victory of good over evil to commemorate the victory of Lord Ram over Ravana. On Dusshera, an effigy of Ravana is burnt to celebrate the victory of Lord Ram.
Fast is observed by devotees during all the nine days of Navratri. Prayers are also offered for good health and prosperity. Navratri, besides being a period of introspection and purification, is also considered an auspicious time for starting new ventures. During this period, a pot is installed (ghatasthapana) in a sanctified place at home and a lamp is kept lit in the pot for nine days. The pot symbolizes the universe and the uninterrupted lit lamp is considered as a medium for worshipping the effulgent Adishakti, i.e. Sree Durgadevi.

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