Navratri Religious Significance and Puja Vidhi

Published: 23rd September 2009
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Navratri - Religious Significance and Puja Vidhi
Navratri is a festival popularly known as the festival of worship and dance. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit; Nava meaning Nine and Ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi i.e. female divinity are worshipped. The nine-day festival of Navratri is held in honor of the nine manifestations of Goddess Durga.
The religious significance behind the celebration of Navratri is that the nine days are divided and devoted to the Trinity of God worshipped in a female form.



In Hindu mythology the festival is hugely celebrated around the world as the victory of good over evil as the Goddess Shakti (Maa Durga) killed buffalo - headed demon, Mahishasura after a long battle of nine days and night on the tenth day, which is celebrated as Vijaya Dashmi Such adoration to Mother Goddess is unique to Hinduism.Also dusshera is celebrated on the same day as Lord Rama with the blessings of Maa Durga has won over Ravana. The festival also marks the arrival of winter season, a period when nature undergoes several climatic changes. Goddess Shakti in the nine forms, Maa Shailputri, Maa Brahmachaarini, Maa Chandraghanta, Maa Kushmaanda, Skanda Maa, Maa Kaatyayani, Maa Kaalratri, Maa Mahagauri and Maa Sidhidaarti is worshipped during these nine days for good heath, wealth, prosperity, knowledge and auspiciousness.
Navratri in 2009 will begin from September 19 till 27 September.



Rituals for performing Puja during Navratri
Navratri puja is very simple and not very complicated. One can easily observe the fast; even if one cannot observe the fast he can simply recite mantra "Om Ang Haring Kalimg Shreeng Maha Durgay Namah". One must carefully work upon his/her aahar (food), vyavhaar (behaviour) and acharan (character) during the time of Navratri.
Aahar - One should always avoid non vegetarian foods and "Satvik" food like fruits, Kutu Ka Aata, Singara Ka Aata, Curd and Potatoes should be consumed. Usage of Onion and Garlic should be avoided.



Vyavhaar and Acharan -



During Navratri festival all devotees should worship the female deity with spiritual emotion (bhav)



Here is the method for performing Navratri PujaGet your house cleaned and ready. You are inviting Goddess into the home. Usually this is done on the Amavasya, a day before the beginning of Navratri. On the first day of the Navaratri, a small bed of mud (taken from any auspicious place) is prepared in the puja room of the house and barley seeds are sown over it. On this Bed a Kalash made of Earthen/ Copper is kept and filled with water. Above the pot a bowl filled with rice is kept. A dry Coconut wrapped with mango leaves is then kept over this kalash. This Kalash is believed to be a symbolic form of Goddess Durga. By keeping kalash one invocates the goddess in the Kalash. 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. This Kalash must not be touched during the nine days. One diya is lit close to this Kalash which is supposed to burn endlessly for nine days. This is known as Akhand Jyoti.
Many people believe that the length of the Shoots determines the Quantum of income that they will have in coming six months. This belief could have been because India is basically an agrarian economy wherein the productivity of the land determined one's income.



Mahaashtami
The day begins with a recital of Sanskrit hymns by the devotees; they offer prayer to the goddess. Kumari Puja or the worship of little girls as the mother goddess is a special part of the rituals observed in a number of traditional and household pujas.



Mahanavami
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 feets are washed as a mark of respect for the Goddess and then they are offered food mainly consisting of kala chana, halwa and poori along with coconut pieces and dakshina (money) and Red chunri is offerd to the kanjaks.



Vijaya Dashami
After the nine days of Puja, on Dashami, the final day also called Vijaya Dashami, the images of Goddess Durga are carried in processions around the locality by the devotees and finally are immersed in a nearby river or lake.



Colors of Navratri
Durga Navratri is the most sacred and most celebrated festival season in India which has a unique tradition of colors. Colors also play a vital role during this festival. People should opt colors according to each aspect of Devi. The colors represent the nine avatars or incarnations or manifestations of Goddess Durga Maa.



1st day
The 1st day is contributed to Durga Shailputri. She is the daughter of Himalaya and first among nine Durgas who holds trishul in the right hand and a flower in the left hand. Wearing White/Red color will be auspicious on this day



2nd day
The 2nd day signifies Durga Brahamcharini. Here "Brahma" means "Tapa". The idol of this Goddess is believed to be very gorgeous giving the message of love to the whole world. There is rosary (mala) in her right hand and Kamandal in left hand. She is full with merriment. People can wear Saffron/ Peach/ Light Yellow on the day



3rd day
The 3rd day is of Durga Chandraghanta. The Goddess establishes justice everywhere and wear crescent moon on her forehead. She is charmful and bright is seated on Lion and ready for going in war to fight. She is unprecedented image of bravery. Wearing White/ Red color on this day would be very fruitful for the devotees.



4th day
Dedicated to Durga Kushmanda the day represents the source of providing basic necessities to all. This form of Durga is said to be the creator of the universe. People should wear Blue/ White/ Saffron color on this day.

5th day
The fifth day of Navratri signifies Durga Skanda. The Goddess gives the gift of differentiation of right from wrong to the world. Wearing Green/ Red/ White colored clothes will be auspicious for the devotees.

6th day
The sixth day of Navratri is dedicated to Durga Katyayani. It is believed that Maa Katyayani persistently battles against the evil and deceitful entities. Red/ White colour should be used to wear on this day.

7th day
The seventh day of Navratri is dedicated to Durga Kalratri. Kalaratri is the one of the fiercest forms of Durga and her appearance itself evokes fear. This form of Goddess is believed to be the destroyer of all demon entities. Blue/ Red/ White color should be used to wear on this day.

8th day
The eighth day of Navratri signifies Maha Gauri aspect of Goddess Durga. Durga Ashtami Puja is held in many parts of India. Wearing Red/ Saffron/ Yellow/ White/ Pink colour would be auspicious for the devotees on this day.

9th day
Dedicated to Goddess Siddhidatri form of Durga the day is also observed as Mahanavami in many parts of the country. This form of Goddess Durga showers knowledge which makes each soul pure. People can wear Red/ White colour on this day.


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