NAVARATRI("Nava" + "ratri") literally means "nine nights." This ritual is observed twice a year, in spring and in autumn. "Vasanta Navaratri" or Spring Navaratri is nine days of fast and worship that Hindus undertake during spring every year. This festival is observed twice a year, once in the beginning of summer and again at the onset of winter. "The Divine Mother or Devi is worshipped during the Vasanta Navaratri. This occurs during the spring. She is worshipped by her own command.
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 calledDurgain 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.
The Story Behind the Origin of Vasanta Navaratri/Chaitra Navaratri.
Vasant Navratri, also known as VasantNavratri begins on March 23, 2012. This festival of nine nights in Hinduism is dedicated to Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. It is also known as Chaitra Navratras or Spring Navratri or Basant Navratri. As this Navaratri coincides with Ram Navami, it also referred as Ram Navratri. The dates are fromMarch 23, 2012to April 1, 2012.
In days long gone by, King Dhruvasindu was killed by a lion when he went out hunting. Preparations were made to crown the prince Sudarsana. But, King Yudhajit of Ujjain, the father of Queen Lilavati, and King Virasena of Kalinga, the father of Queen Manorama, were each desirous of securing the Kosala throne for their respective grandsons. They fought with each other. King Virasena was killed in the battle. Manorama fled to the forest with Prince Sudarsana and a eunuch. They took refuge in the hermitage of Rishi Bharadwaja.
The victor, King Yudhajit, thereupon crowned his grandson, Satrujit, at Ayodhya, the capital of Kosala. He then went out in search of Manorama and her son. The Rishi said that he would not give up those who had sought protection under him. Yudhajit became furious. He wanted to attack the Rishi. But, his minister told him about the truth of the Rishis statement. Yudhajit returned to his capital.
Fortune smiled on Prince Sudarsana. A hermits son came one day and called the eunuch by his Sanskrit name Kleeba. The prince caught the first syllable Kli and began to pronounce it as Kleem. This syllable happened to be a powerful, sacred Mantra. It is the Bija Akshara (root syllable) of the Divine Mother. The Prince obtained peace of mind and the Grace of the Divine Mother by the repeated utterance of this syllable. Devi appeared to him, blessed him and granted him divine weapons and an inexhaustible quiver.
The ceremony at which the princess was to choose her spouse was arranged. Sashikala at once chose Sudarsana. They were duly wedded. King Yudhajit, who had been present at the function, began to fight with the king of Benares. Devi helped Sudarsana and his father-in-law. Yudhajit mocked Her, upon which Devi promptly reduced Yudhajit and his army to ashes.
Thus Sudarsana, with his wife and his father-in-law, praised Devi. She was highly pleased and ordered them to perform her worship with havan and other means during the Vasanta Navaratri. Then She disappeared.
Prince Sudarsana and Sashikala returned to the Ashram of Rishi Bharadwaja. The great Rishi blessed them and crowned Sudarsana as the king of Kosala. Sudarsana and Sashikala and the king of Benares implicitly carried out the commands of the Divine Mother and performed worship in a splendid manner during the Vasanta Navaratri.
Sudarsanas descendants, namely, Sri Rama and Lakshmana, also performed worship of Devi during the Vasanta Navaratri and were blessed with Her assistance in the recovery of Sita.
As we all know, time is the key to many things in life. For every event to attain success or run smoothly, grow and thrive well, it is essential that the event must begin at right time for it develop and grow successfully. Nature reflects this example with the onset spring, resulting in the growth and re-growth of all grass, plants, trees, flowering etc. Similarly for all our mental (Manasika), spiritual (Adhyatmika), material (Lokaika) progress, prosperity and success, it is important that we initiate things or events during the Holy, Auspicious time of Vasantha Navaratri. Just like seedlings grow fast, nurture and establish well during the spring, with right amount of sunlight, soil and water. Similarly, Birds build nests, lay eggs and take good care of their little ones. Our prayers offered to the Mother Divine with humble devotion and unlimited gratitude, during this auspicious time of Vasantha Navaratri will result in yielding mental peace and good health, financial growth and prosperity, victory over obstacles and success in all events and such many other benefits.
It is the duty of the devout Hindus to worship the Devi (Mother Goddess) for both material and spiritual welfare during the Vasanta Navaratri and follow the noble example set by Sudarsana and Sri Rama. He cannot achieve anything without the Divine Mothers blessings.
So, sing her praise and repeat Her Mantra and Name. Meditate on Her form. Pray and obtain her eternal Grace and blessings. May the Divine Mother bless you with all divine wealth"
Courtesy: story is from Hindu Fasts Festivals by Sri Swami Sivananda and various sources.
Aano bhadra krtavo yantu vishwatah.(- RIG VEDA)
"Let noble thoughts come to me from all directions"
Miss.Shaija Vallikatri Bhaskaran
Posted by: Shaija v bhaskaran <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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