Navaratri | The Nine Days of the Goddess by KOMILLA SUTTON
28 September to 6 October 2011
Vijaya Dashami/ Dusshera - 7 October 2011
Navaratri is a very special time of honoring the Divine Mother. Navaratri means nine nights. Navaratri happens in Spring and in Autumn of every year. It begins on a New Moon in the month of Ashwini and Chaitra. Both sets of nine days are also connected to Lord Rama. The Chaitra shukla Navaratri is known as Ram navami. I will be writing about that in the march next year. Lord Rama fought with the demon Ravana for nine days and nine nights when the Sun went in Virgo all those centuries ago.Lord Rama prayed to Durga to give him strength to fight the demon ago and on the 10th day he emerged victorious on Vijaya dashami also known as Dussherra.
According to the Puranas, Durga also fought the demon Mahishaasura in her form as Goddess Chamundeshwari and on the 10th day she emerged victorious. These wars, for a spiritual aspirants are the wars we fight with our inner demons so that we can progress on the path of self realisation. The nine days are nine steps to moksha and the goddesses give our power to find our higher self.
Rahu represents the demon in our chart. Those who want to pacify Rahu; this is the best time.
Although this festival is celebrated in a big way, people forget the spiritual aspect of it and its connection to our spiritual development. To fight the fears of Rahu, the rejections of Ketu, it is important to fast during the day during these nine days with the mind set to overcome our inner fears and the resolve to confront and overcome our weaknesses.
The divine mothers are representation of Shakti and they alone give the power to their devotee to conquer all. These divine mothers are known as the Nava Durga (9 Names of Durga). Each of the days honours an aspect of Divine Mother and step by step the aspirant.
Day One: Sailaputra - Daughter of the Himalayas
Day Two: Brahmacharini - She Who remains celibate
Day Three:Chandraghanta - She Who is Beautiful as the Moon
Day Four: Kusmanda - She Who brings happiness
Day Five:Skandamata - Mother of Skanda, the leader of armies against evil
Day Six:Katyayani - Aspect of Mother Kali
Day Seven: Kalaratri - Kali Night of no Moon
Day Eight:Mahagauri - The Great White Goddess
Day Nine:Siddhidatri - She Who is of great spiritual Powers and knowledge
The days are also subdivided into 3 sets of three days:
Kali:The first three days are devoted to Kali, the Goddess of Destruction and Restoration. She is the wife of Shiva. It is a time of purification, a time to let go of all that is not right for your life so that the heart is clear to accept the new energy from the divine. This is also a time to control the demons of Rahu, the desires, the needs , the fears that keep us tied to the world and give rise to more and more desires and therefore disappointments in life.
Lakshmi:The second three days are devoted to Lakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity and wealth. She is the wife of Vishnu; it is a time of preservation of your good nature and what is good in your life and acquiring new things ethically that make your life wealthy and prosperous. Think about preserving and acquiring spiritual wealth.
Saraswati:The last three days are devoted to Saraswati, the Goddess of Wisdom, Knowledge and the Arts. She is the wife of Brahma. This is the time of receiving Divine Guidance on how to properly use all resources.
With each set of three days, you move closer to your spiritual goals. Goddess Kali helps to purify your mind and free it up for new possibilities. The mind has to be free of its old obsessions and desires, only then it is ready to take on new information. In the second set, Goddess Laxmi help you preserve what is good already and make positive steps to make yourself wealthy both materially and spiritually. Finally Goddess Saraswati gives the knowledge and the wisdom to embrace the path of Brahman and overcome any obstacles on the path to moksha. If we do this ritual annually then we will slowly but surely find the path to realisation.
Swami Sivananda says that to the sincere spiritual aspirant, the particular division of the Navaratri into sets of three days to adore different aspects of the Supreme Goddess has a very sublime, yet thoroughly practical truth to reveal. In its cosmic aspect, it epitomises the stages of the evolution of man into God, from Jiva, living soul to Shiva, the state of Self-realisation.
Pacifying Rahu during Navaratri
Those who would like to do upaye for Rahu, the best way is to fast for nine days. Fast during the day on fruits and eat one meal each evening. Vegetarian ( no meat, fish, eggs, chicken) and no alcohol.
Clear the mind of negative thoughts by studting spiritual text, doing mantras and taking part in celelbrations. (Check in your local temple)
Ask for strength from the Devis to take you on a spiritual path.
You will need to do this regularly every year. You can also worship Durga twice a month on Navami tithi.
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