Vasanta Navaratri in 2015 begins on 21st of March and ends on 29th. As the word Navaratri indicates, it is the nine-night festival celebrated during the Spring or Vasant season. On these days, Shakti in Hindu religion, the divine creative feminine energy is welcomed to Earth plane and worshipped with devotion and happiness.
Navaratri marks true devotion to Shakti
Beginning of Spring and Autumn seasons are the two important times when creative forces of nature, Shakti embodied as Goddesses are worshipped with lot of joy and happiness. Navaratri is therefore an important festival, when nine forms of Shakti or Goddesses are worshipped. In many places Nava (Durga) is worshipped in her different manifestations – this nine-day devotion to Durga is called Nava Durga Parva when her devotees pray to her for liberation from sorrows in their lives.
But predominantly, three forms of Shakti are worshipped across India – Goddess Durga, the Universal mother who protects her devotees from demons and negative forces, Goddess Lakshmi, the divine mother who bestows wealth and prosperity, and Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge and arts. Each night will be a celebration of different aspect of Goddess.
The 3 Goddesses will erase negative vibrations, remove darkness and bring prosperity, knowledge, and power. Once you are armed with such positive traits, you will have divine support to get through obstacles, hurdles or struggles in life.
Significance of Navaratri
Change of seasons: There are two festivals of Navaratri celebrated in India, one in the month of Chaitra (March-April) is Vasant Navratri and the other in the month of Ashwin (September-October) is Sharad Navaratri. These are important seasonal changes when Nature turns vibrant with spread of verdure and colorful fruits and blooms. Nature also becomes resonant with human activities of harvesting and sounds of animals and birds. Creative forces reign everywhere making Navaratri an apt time for invoking feminine forces with devotion.
Our Vedas and subsequently the Puranas bring out the importance of sadhana of Shakti or worshipping divine feminine power by following austere, disciplined and simple life-style.
Moon changes signs: The Moon travels through Zodiac signs of Pisces, Aries, Taurus and Gemini during Spring Navaratri. The creative forces of these 4 signs indicate nurturing of four traits in humans such as integrity, authority, prosperity and intelligence. Therefore, this Navaratri, the Goddess will awaken these four traits in those who worship her with devotion. It is similar to initiating your body to make commitments to good things in life that will bring you happiness.
Legend behind origin of Vasanta Navaratri:
Once king Dhruvasindu of Kosala was killed while hunting and Prince Sudarsana was about to be placed on the throne left vacant by him. However, Dhruvasindu’s second wife, Lilavati wanted her son, Shatrujit to become the crown prince. Father of queen Manorama, King Virasena of Kalinga and father of queen Lilavati, King Yudhajit of Ujjain waged a war for the throne of Kosala. After an imminent fight between the two contesting kings, King Virasena was killed in the battle. So his daughter Manorama fled into the forest with Prince Sudarsana and took shelter in the hermitage of rishi Bharadwaj. Thereafter, King Yudhajit placed his grandson on the throne of Ayodhya, capital of Kosala.
In the forest, Prince Sudarsana came across a boy from whom he learnt the Sanskrit word “Kleem” – it is a powerful seed mantra for invoking the Divine Mother. On repeating the mantra many times, the Divine Mother appeared to Sudarsana and blessed him with divine weapons. On a fortunate day, King of Benaras was passing through the forest and his eyes fell on Sudarshana. He wanted him to marry his daughter Princess Sashikala.
King Yudhajit came to know of the ceremony in which Shasikala was to choose prince Sudarsana, and he arrived at the function. When he tried to insult King of Benaras and then Sudarsana, Divine Mother appeared and reduced him and his army to ashes.
Grateful to the Mother, King of Benaras, his daughter and Prince Sudarsana conducted a fire ritual for the Divine Mother and worshipped her. This worshipping of Devi energy came to be known as Vasanta Navaratri.
In 2015, pray to Goddess with devotion and seek her blessings.