Spring, or the Indian season of fruitfulness, Vasant sets in after the cold months of Winter, and the change of season brings brightness, colorfulness and warmth. Nature turns charming with its beauty of greenery and multiplicity of colors of fruits, flowers and birds. It is also the time to enjoy fertility of Nature, its beauty and creative powers. Vasant Navratri is celebrated with lot of mindfulness and sincerity by the Devotees of Shakti.
Worship of Shakti: Worshipping Shakti is the ritual of invoking the creative force of the cosmic power. Navratri is the time that empowers us with the consciousness of the Universe. It is celebrated during Shukla paksha (waxing moon phase), in the month of Chaitra (April-May). Vasant Navaratri in 2014 is 31st March through 8th of April. As the name connotes, it is nine-day festival begins on the 1st day of Chaitra and ends on the 9th day. Vasant Navratri is observed by devotees by fasting throughout the 9 days and praying to the different manifestations of Shakti. The ninth day is also celebrated as the birthday of lord Rama and called Rama Navami.
Worshipping Shakti in different forms:
- On the first three days, Shakti is worshipped as the Goddess of Positive force, the triumph of good over destructive and evil forces. Goddess Durga, or Kali is worshipped on these days. At some places the Goddess is worshipped in different forms on these three days too:
i) On the first day, She is worshipped as the creative force of Durga, on the second day, She is Goddess Bhadrakali and on the third day, She is Goddess Jagadamba or the Mother of the Universe.
- From the 4th through 6th day, Shakti is worshipped in the form of Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on these days. Different forms of the Goddess are invoked during the three days:
ii) On the 4th day, She is worshipped as Annapurna, the Goddess of harvests, on the 5th day, She is Sarvamangala, the one who brings harmony, and on the 6th day, She is Bhairavi, the consort of fierce Bhairava.
- From the 7th through 9th day, Shakti is worshipped in the form of Knowledge, and peace. Goddess Saraswati is worshipped on these days. On the 9th day, fire rituals are also performed. In certain households, Kanya pooja is also performed, where nine young girls not yet in their adolescence (representing nine forms of Shakti) are invited and rituals of pooja are performed for them. The Goddess is worshipped in different forms on these three days too:
iii). On the 7th day She is worshipped as Chandika, on the 8th day She is Goddess Lalita, the goddess of beauty and on the 9th day, She is worshipped as Bhavani, establishing good-will and well-being in society.
Mostly celebrated in Northern India:
The Spring, Vasant or the Chaitra Navratri is celebrated in Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and in other parts of North India. Devotees visit places of pilgrimage such as the Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu.