By - Mrs. Meenakshi (Pahal) Soni (Reiki, Angel Cards and Crystal Expert
Navratri falls on September 19th this year and Vijaya Dashami on September 28th. The 9 divine nights are significant with three days each devoted to worship of Ma Durga- the Goddess of Valour, Ma Lakshmi - the Goddess of Wealth and Ma Saraswati- the Goddess of Knowledge.
1st - 3rd day of Navratri
On the first day of the Navaratras, a small bed of mud is prepared in the puja room of the house and barley seeds are sown on it. On the tenth day, the shoots are about 3 - 5 inches in length. After the puja, these seedlings are pulled out and given to devotees as a blessing from god. These initial days are dedicated to Durga Maa, the Goddess of power and energy.
Each day is dedicated to a different appearance of Durga. Kumari, which signifies the girl child, is worshipped on the first day of the festival. Parvati, who is the embodiment of a young woman, is worshipped on the second day. The destructive aspects of Goddess Durga symbolize the commitment to acquire triumph over all the evil tendencies. Hence, on the third day of Navratri, Goddess Kali is worshipped, who represents the woman who has reached the stage of maturity.
4th - 6th day of Navratri
During these days, Lakshmi Maa, the Goddess of peace and prosperity is worshipped. Fifth day is known as Lalita Panchami and all books, pens and literature especially of children studying are place in puja and a lamp is lit to invoke Saraswati Maa, the Goddess of knowledge and art. These books are not touched by the student. When a person acquires triumph over evil tendencies of ego, anger, lust and other animal instincts, he/she experiences a void. This void is filled with spiritual wealth. For the purpose, the person approaches Goddess Lakshmi, to acquire all the materialistic, spiritual wealth and prosperity. This is the reason why the fourth, fifth and sixth day of Navratri are dedicated to the worship of Lakshmi - the goddess of prosperity and peace.
Although the individual has acquired victory over evil tendencies and wealth, he is still deprived of true knowledge. Knowledge is required to live the life of a humane, even though he/she is prospered with power and wealth. Therefore, Goddess Saraswati is worshipped on the fifth day of Navratri.
7th - 8th day of Navratri
These final days belong to Saraswati Maa who is worshipped to acquire the spiritual knowledge. This in turn will free us from all earthly bondage. But on the 8th day know as "ashtmi" of this colourful festival, hawan (holy fire) is performed. Ghee (clarified butter), kheer (rice pudding) and sesame seeds form the holy offering to Goddess Durga Maa.
The festival of Navratri culminates in Mahanavami. On this day Kanya Puja is performed. Nine young girls representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped. Their feet are washed as a mark of respect for the Goddess and then they are offered new clothes or vessels with some fruits (Prasad) as gifts by the worshiper. This ritual is performed in most parts of the country.
The fast is observed for all 9 days beginning from the first day of Navratri; some people observe the fasts for the first and last day only. It is believed a person will overcome obstacles and attain prosperity, happiness and spirituality by observing of this fasts. During navratri non-veg, alcohol should not be consumed and those devotees who smoke should abstain from it during this time. Many people do not shave and cut hair or nails during navratri.
Fruits and milk can be consumed during the fasts and one can observe Ekana means you can eat a complete meal once during the day.
You can read Durga Saptashati, Durga Stuthi and other Devi stotras and chalisas. One can visit temples and pray to the goddess and offer flowers and fruits and light diyas.
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- The Indiaparenting Team