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Navratri is a festival of Nine Nights
The Hindus celebrated with devotion, love and fervour all over India. It is also called as Navratras. The mood of Navratri is very colourful & unique. It incorporates veneration along with commemoration by means of song and dance. Navratri basically means “Nine Nights” (“Nav” meaning nine and “Ratri” meaning nights).
These nights are devoted to the reverence of Goddess Durga (Maa Durga) who exists in many forms and is the manifestation of the absolute energy that pervades the Universe. During these days and nights prayers are offered to Mother Goddess. For the devout these days are the sacrosanct for it is during these days when Goddess Durga takes a stock of her devotees and grants all blessings, removes ills and evils and ensures unproblematic life for her devotees.
The Motherhood of God
Navaratri is a festival in which God is adored as Mother. Hinduism is the only religion in the world which has emphasised to such an extent the motherhood of God. To celebrate a good harvest and to propitiate the nine planets, women also plant nine different kinds of food grain seeds in small containers during these nine days and then offer the young saplings to the goddess.
Navratri is celebrated twice in a year
First Navratas are celebrated in the bright two-week period of Shukla Paksha of the lunar month of Ashwani, corresponding to September/October) from the 1st to the 9th date of the two week period.
Second Navratras are celebrated during the first nine days of the bright two-week period of Shukla Paksha of the lunar month of Chaitra, corresponding to mid-March to mid-April. The timing of these Navratras relate to the autumnal and vernal equinox that is also the time when seasons change and we harvest crops which adds to the glory of these revelry.
Navratri’s each night is dedicated to one form of Goddess Durga
That is every ratri of the Navaratri corresponds to worship of different forms of Maa Durga.
1) Mata Shailputri, who was the daughter of Parvatraj Himalaya (King of the Mountain), wife of Lord Shiva and mother of Ganesha and Kartikeya.
2) Mata Brahmachaarini-, who gives the message of pure love to the world.
3) Mata Chandraghanta, who establishes Justice and wears crescent moon on Her head.
4) Mata Kushmaanda, who provides the basic necessities to the world.
5) Skanda Mata, who gives the gift of differentiation of right from wrong to the world.
6) Mata Kaatyayini, who persistently battles against the evil and deceitful entities.
7) Mata Kaalratri, who killed Raktabeej ( a demon who produce a demon from every drop of blood that fell from his body. Goddess eventually licked the blood before it could reach the ground and hence conquered him).
8) Mata Chaamunda, who killed two demons–Chanda and Munda and restored tranquility.
9) Mata Maha Gauri who also liberate the world of evil forces.
10) Mata Sidhidaarti, who is a treasure house of Mystic Powers (Yantra Tantra) and Knowledge (Gnyaana).
Some may also say that the nine days are divided and devoted to the Trinity of God worshipped in a female form in which for:
a. Three days (1,2,3) Maa Durga (Goddess of valor) is worshipped.
b. For three days (4,5,6) Maa Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth).
* On the fifth day, that is, Lalita Panchami books are gathered, lamp is lighted to invoke Saraswati.
c. Three days 7,8,9) for Maa Sarasvati Devi (Goddess of Knowledge and Art). * The eighth and ninth day, Yagnya (sacrifice offered to the fire) is performed to honour heavenly Goddess and bid her farewell.
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