“Navratri” literally means nine nights.
The worship of the feminine has been the most ancient form of worship, widespread in India. The Indian festival of Navratri is dedicated to the feminine nature of the Divine and is the exploration of the three forms of goddesses namely; Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. These three Goddesses are seen as three dimensions of the feminine.
Those who aspire for strength or power, worship forms of Durga or Kali.
Those who aspire for wealth, passion or material gifts worship Lakshmi.
Those who aspire for knowledge, worship Saraswati.
During Navratri most Hindus invoke the energy aspect of God in the form of the universal mother, commonly referred to as Maa Durga who is known to be the remover of miseries of life. Whenever evil and demonic tendencies start becoming dominant in society troubling the pious, the righteous and the spiritual, the divine Energy principle is incarnated to destroy these unrighteous elements.
It is this Shakti (energy) which helps God to proceed with the work of creation, preservation and destruction.
Our worship of Shakti reconfirms the scientific theory that energy is imperishable, it cannot be created or destroyed. It is always omnipresent.
During the nine days of Navratri, the first three days are dedicated to Durga, the next three to Lakshmi, and the last three to Saraswati.
The tenth day, Vijayadashami, signifies the triumph over all these three aspects of life.
Navratri comes four times in a year but the more popular ones are celebrated twice in a year. The Ashwina Navratri, starts at the beginning of winter (between September and October-This year it starts on 10th October till 18 October) and the Chaitra Navratri, comes during the beginning of summer, between March and April. The dates for the festival are based on the Hindu Lunar calendar.
Navaratri is celebrated in different ways throughout India. Some fast, others feast. Some revere the same Mother Goddess in her nine different aspects. To some, Navratri is a cultural and social festival which marks family time, along with the celebration of various performance arts ,dance. etc.
Scientifically speaking, just before the beginning of summer and winter, Mother Nature undergoes a major change. Fasting or abstaining from certain foods during this time is considered beneficial to the body as it prepares to face the seasonal changes ahead.
May MAA DURGA empower you and your family with her nine Swaroopa (forms) namely; Name, Fame, Health, Wealth, Education, Grace, Bhakti (worship) and Shakti.