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Worshipping the Goddess.. Reclaiming the Divine feminine- Navratri

Updated on December 22, 2017

What is the festival about?

Navratri is an important Hindu festival of worship and dance. 'Navratri' literally means the 'nine nights'. 'Nava' means 'nine', and 'Ratri' means 'night'.

It is said that Navratri is the time to take rest from the worldly ways and relax. It comes as a reminder that we dwell in the physical world which is an illusion. One must be a part of it to play it like a game but at the same time, one has to be detached of its implications. We are all here for the lesson we missed and need to learn. Do not let role/character of others affect you.

These nine nights comes as a reminder to take a step back from the present scenario, however, and wherever one might be. One should go within oneself and connect with spirituality.

Take time off and try to raise your vibrations to a higher level through silence, meditation, fasting and chants (mantras).

It helps to analyze one's purpose in life and also when these nine days are over, one is refreshed and rejuvenated.

When is it?

Navratri in India follows the lunar calendar and is celebrated in March/April as 'Chaitra Navratri' and in September/October as 'Sharad Navratri'.

Significance

Hinduism views the world stage as a battle between the forces of light(goodness) and darkness. The struggle between Devas (good virtues) and Rakshasas (vile virtues) symbolically are the struggles all living beings face in everyday life.
The common story associated with Navratri is the battle between the great Goddess Durga and the demon Mahishasura, who represents Egotism.
It is the symbolic message of the fact that however glorious and powerful the evil may become, in the end, goodness prevails.

Ram and Ravana

It is also believed that Lord Rama worshiped Goddess Durga in the nine forms for nine days in order to gather the strength and power needed to kill Ravana and liberate his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana, who had kidnapped her. The nine nights thus became Navratri and the tenth day, on which Lord Rama killed Ravana, came to be known as Vijayadashmi or Dusshera, signifying Rama's (good) triumph over Ravana (evil).

Shailputri

She is worshipped on the first day of Navaratri. She is the daughter of the King of the Mountains. 'Shail' means mountains, 'Putri' means daughter in Sanakrit. Also known as Sati Bhavani, Parvati orHemavati.

She is depicted as ridping a bull, carrying a trident and a lotus in her hands, and is the embodiment of the power of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.

Planet: She rules the Moon (Chandra)
Chakra: She relates to the Muladhara (root chakra), where we begin the journey of awakening the divine energy within.

Bharmacharini

Worshiped on the second day of Navaratri, Bharmacharini means one who practices devout austerity. Here “Brahma” means “Tapa”(penance) in Sanskrit.
she is depicted as walking bare feet, holding a “Kumbha” or water pot in the left hand and a rosary in the right. She looks calmness at its best.
This form represents penance and austerity leading to blissfulness and moksha (emancipation).

Planet: It is believed that Lord Mangal (Mars), the provider of all fortunes, is governed by Goddess Brahmacharini.

Chakra: Brahmacharini Mata represents the Swadishtana (sacral) Chakra.

Chandraghanta

Worshiped on the third day of Navaratri, this Golden colored Goddess rides a lion, possesses 10 hands and three eyes. She is seen with a bell-shaped (ghanta) moon (Chandra) on her forehead and is the slayer of evil forces.
She is the embodiment of inner strength and will to win over evil.
Her worship grants peace, tranquility, and prosperity in life.

Planet - It is believed that the planet Shukra (Venus) is governed by Goddess Chandraghanta.

Chakra: Chandraghanta Mata represents the Manipuraka Chakra (Solar Plexus).

Kushmanda

Worshiped on the fourth day of Navaratri, this Goddess is considered the creator of the universe.
Literally meaning little warmth cosmic egg (‘Ku‘ = a little; ‘ushma‘ = ‘warmth’; ‘anda‘ = ‘the cosmic egg’),

She possesses eight arms, mounts the tiger and emanates a solar aura.
Meditating on her, removes all the hurdles from your life and enables one to get rid of all sorts of sorrows.

Planet: It is believed that Goddess Kushmanda provides direction and energy to the Sun. Hence God Sun is governed by Goddess Kushmanda.

Chakra: She relates to the ahahata (heart chakra).

Skanda Mata

Worshiped on the fifth day of Navaratri, this goddess is the motherly form of Durga and is benevolent. She grants her devotees with wisdom, power, and prosperity.

She is called so as She is Mata (mother) of Skanda (Kartik). Skanda is one of the names of Subrahmanya or Lord Muruga or Kartik – the General of the Army of the Devas. She is also known as Padmasana.

Mounting a lion as Her vehicle, She holds Her son Skanda-in the infant form, in Her lap. She has three eyes and four hands; two hands holds lotuses while the other two hand display defending and granting mudras (gestures).

Planet: It is believed that the planet Budha (Mercury), the planet of communication and the intellect, is governed by Goddess Skandamata.

Chakra: Skandamata relates to the vishuddhi (throat chakra).

Katyayani

She is worshiped on the sixth day of Navaratri. Legend has it that there was a great sage called Kata. He underwent long austerities in order to receive the grace of the Goddess by having her as his daughter. The Goddess granted his request. Katyayani was born to Kata as an avatar of Durga.

She has 3 eyes and 4 hands. She holds a sword in Her one left-hand and a lotus in another. The other 2 hands respectively show protecting and allowing mudras. She blesses worshipers with better health and wealth.

Planet - It is believed that the planet Brihaspati (Jupiter) is governed by Goddess Katyayani.
Chakra: She relates to the Ajna (the third-eye) chakra.

Kaalratri

She is worshiped on the seventh day of Navaratri. She is the destroyer of darkness and ignorance. She is the most raw and fierce form of Durga and depicts the death of Kaal (time) thereby, showcases the other side of life - Death.

She has three eyes that shine bright and flames emanate from her breath. Black (or blue ) skinned with bountiful hair and 4 hands, 2 clutching a cleaver and a torch (flame), while the remaining 2 are in the mudras of “giving” and “protecting“. Her vehicle is a faithful donkey.

Legend tells of two demons called Shumbha and Nishumbha, who invaded devaloka (heaven) and defeated the demigods. Goddess Kali (meaning dark in Hindi) came to their rescue. She faced a demon named Raktabija (sent by Shumbha and Nishumbha).
Raktabija had the boon that if any drop of his blood touched the ground, a clone of him would be created. When goddess Kaalratri attacked him, his spat blood, giving rise to several clones of him making it difficult to defeat him and thus infuriating the Goddess. She drank his blood to prevent it from falling down and eventually killed him. She went on to aid goddess Chandi in defeating Shumbha and Nishumbha.

Planet: It is believed that the planet Shani (Saturn) is governed by Goddess Kalaratri.

Chakra: She connects with the sahasrara (crown) chakra.

MahaGauri 

Worshiped on the eighth day of Navaratri, She represents calmness and grants wisdom to her devotees.

MahaGauri, which mean extremely white has four arms and the fairest complexion of all the Durga Shaktis, She is often dressed in a white or green sari. She carries Trishul (Trident) in one right hand and Damaru (musical instrument) in one left hand. The other two right and left hands are in mudras.


Planet - It is believed that the planet Rahu (ascending lunar nodes) is governed by Goddess Mahagauri.

Siddhidatri 

Worshiped on the ninth day of Navaratri, Siddhidatri has supernatural healing powers.


Goddess Siddhidatri sits on Kamal (Lotus) and rides on the lion. She is depicted with four hands. She has Gada (club) in the one right hand, Chakra (discuss) in the other right hand, lotus flower in the one left hand and Shankh (conch shell) in the other left hand.

Planet: It is believed that Goddess Siddhidatri provides direction and energy to planet Ketu (descending lunar nodes). Hence planet Ketu is governed by her.

Vijayadashmi, the day of victory.

After Navratri, the tenth and final day of Dussehra is Vijayadashami – that means one has conquered over all one's fears and vices.

You did not give into any of them, you saw through each one of them. You did not allow them to affect you; you won over them.

That is Vijayadashmi, the day of victory.

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