The great legend of Navaratri dates back to the story of Mahishasura, the mighty demon, who worshipped Lord Shiva and obtained invincible powers. Soon, he started killing the innocent lives on earth and set out to win the seven lokas. He acquired the swarglok. Nobody could save the living creatures from his tyranny. Even the three mighty gods of the Hindu Trinity – Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva – were unable to defeat him. Therefore, all the Gods, including the Hindu Trinity, united their supreme powers and created a divine being called Ma Shakti or Durga, the Warrior Goddess.With all the accumulated power and the weapons given by the Gods, Goddess Durga set her trail to defeat Mahishasura. To accomplish the task, she entered a war with him, which extended for nine long days! After fighting hard with him for nine days, Goddess Durga finally killed Mahishasura on the tenth day. Consequently, she lifted the tyranny of the demon off the innocent lives on earth and restored the swarglok to the devatas (Gods). Therefore, Navaratri is celebrated to commemorate her victory over the demon, which symbolizes the victory of the good over the evil. The Nine Nights of Navaratri symbolize the nine nights of the war between Goddess Durga and Mahishasura.
The beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn are two very important junctions of climatic and solar influence. These two periods are taken as sacred opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother. The dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar.On all these 9 days, the various forms of Mother Mahisasura-Mardini (Durga) are worshipped with great fervor and devotion.
First three days
Second three days
Final three days
In South India, Saraswathi pooja is performed on the 7th day. Eight day is traditionally Durgashtami which is big in Bengal. The 9th day is Ayudha Pooja when everyone gives their tools of the trade — pens, machinery, books, automobiles, school work, etc. a rest and ritually worships them. They start a fresh from the next day, the 10th day which is considered as ‘Vijaya Dashami’. On this tenth day of Navaratri in October – the holiday of Dussehra or Dasara, an effigy of Ravana is burnt to celebrate the victory of good (Rama) over evil.
During Navaratri, some devotees of Durga observe a fast and prayers are offered for the protection of health and prosperity. A period of introspection and purification, Navaratri is traditionally an auspicious and religious time for starting new ventures.
Navaratri is celebrated in a large number of Indian communities. The mother goddess is said to appear in 9 forms, and each one is worshipped for a day. These nine forms signify various traits that the goddess influences us with. The Devi Mahatmya and other texts invoking the Goddess who vanquished demons are cited.
The yogis and tantrics developed secretive methodologies to access the divine feminine both within the body-mind of human men and women. They came up with the sacred diagrams called Yantras and the magical sounds known as mantras, as tools to bring the Goddesses to the earth plane.
Time and space are also important factors. The goddess descends into the earth during these 9 days. This year these 9 days fall on September 19th – 27th. There are three dominant Goddess’ categories that are known as Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswathi. Durga represents the powers to destroy negativity in the form of poverty, laziness, fear and evil and criminal tendencies. Lakshmi is predominantly the energy of luxury, wealth and material power. The third divinity is Saraswathi; who is in charge of inspiration, motivation, discrimination, knowledge, music, fine arts, science and technology. They each share three nights of the nine nights of the Goddesses each; called as Navaratri.
What does Sri Dattatreya Baba say about Navaratri?
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