Navratri, translated means Nine-Nights and is a celebration of nine forms of the Goddess Durga (the energy behind the creation, preservation, and destruction).
‘Navratri’ officially marks the beginning of winter, determined according to the lunar calendar and is celebrated from the ‘pratipada’ (first day) of the bright fortnight (Shukla paksha) of the lunar month of Ashvin.
It is the time for a spiritual holiday. Giving your mind, body and soul a well deserved, needed rest – a period of retrospection, rejuvenation and rebirth, to bring everything in balance.
“Navratri is a journey from the outer world of names and forms to the subtle world of energies; to the innermost core of our being – the Self.” ~ Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi ShankarNavratri 2020 officially starts Saturday 17th October until Sunday 25th October and here’s what you can do during this time:
- Align your mind and body with nature: immediately after the night of ‘no moon’, we start the countdown from phase one of the moon until phase nine, to culminate with the tenth day grandeur. The new moon day marks the threshold of the Dhussehra festival.
- Renew your commitment towards yourself: Navratri is a time to begin things afresh.
- Group consciousness: when you meditate when others are meditating it has the power to elevate you faster.
- The time is right: when you meditate during Navratri the benefits and energy linger on throughout the year and meditation is effortless.
The nine days of Navratri are solely dedicated to Goddess Durga and her nine Avatars – the Navadurga – each day a different incarnation is honored and worshipped:
Shailaputri (day 1), Brahmacharini (day 2), Chandraghanta (day 3), Kushmanda (day 4), Skandamata (day 5), Katyayani (day 6), Kaalratri (day 7), Mahagaur (day 8), and Siddhidhatri (day 9). Tap the deity’s name for more information about each form and what she represents as well as her associated mantra that you can chant 108 times.
You can also join the ‘9 Days of Navratri’ mantra chanting challenge on the Japa 108 app which gives all 9 forms of Durga mantras to chant consecutively during this period, to fully absorb and experience the scintillating energy of the divine Mother.
Goddess Shailaputri, represents Mother Nature and literally means “Daughter of the Mountains”. She is Devi of the Muladhara (root) chakra – the goal of every yogi is to keep the attention concentrated on the Muladhara chakra on the first day of Navratri so that they can experience the bliss of the upward journey of the energy as the days progress during Navratri.
Goddess Brahmacharini teaches us to achieve perfect control of our senses, to not indulge in small things but to indulge in the whole – essential to attain bliss and moksha (ultimate freedom). The word Brahmacharini signifies celibacy and one who is present and moves in the infinity. Brahmacharini is the consciousness that is all-pervading.
For those who have a weak Mars, Mars as their Atma Karaka, Mangal Dosha in their horoscope or who are running Mars Dasha/Antardasha, by worshipping Goddess Brahmacharini you can spark the qualities of sacrifice, devotion, and self-restraint. Self Restraint is what we call the “Yamas” – Code of Conduct as prescribed by Sage Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras.
Goddess Chandraghanta’s third eye is always open which depicts her complete awareness and her readiness to fight against evil. Chandra signifies the various feelings or shades of emotions and thoughts (similar to the different phases of the waxing and waning moon). Ghanta means a bell from which only one kind of sound arises. She bestows bravery and courage and with her grace we are able to fight our inner demons and move towards the divine consciousness. People who are troubled with fear and anxiety find relief by worshipping Chandraghanta.
Goddess Kushmanda depicts warmth and empowerment and is said to be the creator of the universe, the cosmic mother. She is said to dwell in the core of the Sun (Surya) and advises the Sun on cosmic affairs. She provides energy and light to the Sun God, bringing the entire universe to be filled with light.
The 4th house in Vedic astrology represents warmth, happiness and also the mother (creator). Goddess Kushmanda has a big role to play when it comes to 4th house indicators such as happiness, warmth and the unconditional love of a mother who carries us in her womb.
Goddess Skandamata symbolises fearlessness and power and represents the very origin of Jnana (knowledge) and Kriya (the principle of action or activity), signifying the coming together of knowledge and (righteous) action in our life. She holds her son Lord Skanda or Kartikeya the divine warrior God in her lap, who offers us courage and strength and is the deity of the planet Mars. One can eradicate the negative influence of Mars by worshipping him with sincerity and purity.
The subtle world which is invisible and unmanifest is ruled by Goddess Kātyāyanī and she has the power to free us from sins accumulated from all our past lives when we honor her. When we meditate on Goddess Kātyāyanī by keeping our attention on the Ajna Chakra (center of the forehead), she blesses us with profound wisdom, happiness and prosperity. In this form, she represents everything that cannot be seen or understood and the deep and most intricate secrets of divinity.
Goddess Kālarātri, eliminator of fear and suffering, is one of the fiercest forms of Goddess Durga and is known to offer us courage and power. Although her appearance invokes fear she is known to make you fearless, helping you to get the courage and wisdom needed to fight and defeat your own inner demons. Lord Shani (Saturn) has a lot of correlation in the mode of operation to Goddess Kālarātri.
Goddess Mahagauri represents the epitome of beauty, purity, serenity and tranquility. Mahagauri gives you all the you need for your material gains so that you can become content from within and move forward in life.
Rahu is the planet connected to Mahagauri and is all about desires. Rahu gives you the power and passion to fulfill your ambitions, but leaves you feeling empty, realising that desires whether fulfilled or not, lead to misery. Similarly, Goddess Mahagauri gives you the power to achieve your materialistic desires, so you are satisfied and search for the deeper meaning to life, or so you realise the pointlessness of focusing on desires and prompted to seek true happiness and peace from within.
Goddess Siddhidhatri blesses you with Siddhi’s (extraordinary capabilities) so you can do everything with perfection. Siddhi means supernatural power or meditative ability, and Dhatri means giver or awarder. It is believed that one side of Lord Shiva’s body is that of Goddess Siddhidatri and that he attained all his Siddhis by worshiping this Goddess. Siddhi brings fulfillment and totality in every sphere of life.
MAHA DURGA ASHTAMI – Friday 23rd October
Maha (great) Durga Ashtami is one of the most important days to honor Goddess Durga, the power behind the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe and, when called upon, can give these aspects to us.
This includes her ability to alleviate problems related to the influences of the shadowy north node of the moon, Rahu, who can lead us astray in the material world. Align with her all-encompassing energy by writing her mantra, “Aum Dum Durgaye Namaha,” 108 times.
Many who do this practice notice feelings of great peace or ecstacy, as the act of writing this sacred language has powerful energetic effects.
Tap HERE for rituals you can do on Maha Durga Ashtami.
Vijayadashami also known as Dussehra – Sunday 25th October
Vijayadashmi, also known as Dussehra, is a major Indian festival celebrated on the tenth day of Ashvin month according to the Hindu calendar and culminates the 9 day period of Navratri.
The day is celebrated to commemorate the killing of Ravana by Lord Rama and the killing of demon Mahishasur by Goddess Durga. Largely, the day is celebrated to commemorate the prevalence of good over evil.
A day for “victory of faith over doubt, compassion over anger, magnanimity over pettiness and contentment over anxiety”, as shared by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
Vijayadashami is an incredibly auspicious day for new beginnings. It is considered an excellent day to start learning something new; new projects, new skills, new launches, new anything.
Tap HERE for rituals you can do on Vijayadashami.
SHARAD PURNIMA – Friday 30th October
Sharad Purnima is one of the most important days for strengthening the Moon which is the most important planet in your birth chart.
It is a day dedicated to Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi descends on earth on this day searching for people who are awake to bless them, so people often stay awake and fast to seek her blessings. On this day the Moon shines with all the 16 Kalas (phases) and its rays have healing qualities.
“Sharad Purnima is considered to be the best, the biggest and clearest Full Moon of the whole year. It is said that the face of Mother Divine (Devi) is like the moon of Sharad Purnima. Meditation on Full Moon is umpteen times more effective than meditation on other days.” ~ Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Tap HERE for rituals you can do on Sharad Purnima.
FASTING WITH YOGA
Navratri occurs during a seasonal change when our bodies become more susceptible to imbalances. Observing fasts during this time makes the inner journey towards bliss and joy easier for it to turn inwards and meditate, by reducing the restlessness in the mind.
Some people have only one meal a day and some abstain from certain high energy foods. Meat, grains, alcohol, onion, garlic should be avoided as well as processed foods. The emphasis is on gluten free grain alternatives, fresh fruits, yoghurt and foods which are easy to digest. The diet should be one that pacifices our digestive fire – eat small quantities of easily digestible food.
When you break your fast in the evening or at night, have a light meal. Avoid heavy meals as it not only becomes difficult for the system to digest, but also undoes the cleansing process and positive effects of fasting.
Gentle yoga poses, stretches, twists and bends complement the fasting process. It speeds up the detoxification process, and you will feel uplifted and energized.
“We fast not to please the divine, but to cleanse our body.” – Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
JOIN PUJAS / HOMAS ONLINE IN YOUR HOME
Navratri pujas and homas are a perfect opportunity to turn your desires into intentions. The pujas and homas make the mind rested and alert. From a peaceful mind, only powerful intentions arise. There is also an ancient process that taps the immense energy created during homas and pujas to make our sankalpa more powerful.
“There are three levels of existence – the outer world, the subtle world of different energies and Divinity or God. All the yagnas being performed aim to achieve, both, spiritual and material benefits. When you go deep inside yourself, from where everything has come from, you experience the supreme peace. Only when you are in deep meditation, these mantras have an effect. These are very powerful and beautiful and enrich the subtle creation. We are so fortunate to be able to be a part of this.” ~ Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Learn more about the Navratri and the science behind the pujas and rituals: https://www.artofliving.org/navratri/science-behind-navratri
THE COLOURS OF NAVRATRI
There are specific colours associated with each of the nine days of Navratri. You can honor the Goddess of the day by wearing something of this colour.
Rest, rejuvenate, refresh – the ultimate mantra for this highly auspicious month of October.