How Worshipping the Three Feminine Forces Durga, Lakshmi & Saraswathi during Navaratri can improve Your Self
The nine nights or Navaratri is very sacred and divine for the worship of the Mother Goddess Adi Parashakti. Her various forms of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi are invoked during the nine days and worshipped for their individual aspects. Durga is worshipped on the first three nights, followed by Lakshmi and Saraswathi on the last three nights. After the nine nights the tenth day is celebrated as Vijaya Dasami or the day of victory.
Durga – The One Who Destroys the Tamoguna in Us
Tamo means darkness and it is one of the lowest qualities of the universe. It represents the demons that the goddess battled against for nine nights of Navaratri. Mahishasura was a tyrant who bludgeoned the skies after he received a boon from Lord Brahma that no man or animal could kill him. Therefore, the goddess in her form as Mahishasura Mardini, a female force, annihilated the demon after a long battle. Mahisha means buffalo and the goddess is a destroyer of the buffalo, a term synonymous with tamoguna eg., laziness, ignorance, darkness and inaction. Therefore the goddess when invoked destroys our animalistic tendencies.
Lakshmi – Cultivate ‘Sat Sampathi’ or Six Forms of Wealth
In order to achieve certain things in life, we have to prepare our minds by purifying it. For this we need to worship Goddess Lakshmi who is beyond wealth, riches and rupee notes. Who doesn’t want to perform Lakshmi puja? We achieve material wealth from her but what is the point of having that wealth when we have no discipline in life. We have no kindness, sympathy, or understand basic values in life. What we need to know is that the real wealth is achieved by acquiring spiritual values and which in turn purifies our mind. This is what Goddess Lakshmi does. The ancient saints when they meditated upon the gods and goddesses never asked for material wealth because they did not need any. They asked for noble virtues first and later for wealth. This is because there’s no use of material wealth when noble values have taken a back seat. The rishis decipher that in the absence of good qualities all money will be wasted and we can see the fact for ourselves. True Lakshmi lies in our values, and Adi Shankara in vivekachudamani says that one must cultivate ‘sat sampathi’ or six forms of wealth to attain wisdom. They are self-control, calmness of the mind, self-withdrawal, forbearance, faith and single-pointed ness. This is what we need for victory over the mind so that we are not disturbed by the changes taking place in our life. We achieve this with the rituals that we do
Saraswathi - Represents Supreme Knowledge of the Self
Mind can be conquered through knowledge, through understanding and it’s Goddess Saraswathi who represents highest knowledge of the self. There may be many types of knowledge but the real one is spiritual knowledge. one should realise one’s true self to avoid the huge losses in life. Therefore Goddess Saraswathi signifies supreme knowledge of the self and that’s why she’s invoked during Navaratri.
The Four Types of Navaratri
Do you know that there are four different types of Navaratri festivals celebrated in India during four different periods of a year?
June-July — nine days coming after the new moon day in this period is called Ashada Navaratri
September-October — nine days after new moon day is called Saratha Navaratri.
January-February — nine days after new moon day is called Maha Navaratri.
March-April — nine days after the new moon day is called Vasantha Navaratri.
Saratha Navaratri is the one that is so special that reveres the beautiful goddess Shakthi in her three powerful forms.
Kolu – An Artistic Display of Dolls of Various Gods
Once, there lived an iniquitous demon called Mahishasura who got the boon of immortality and because of that boasted of his powers in the three worlds. He conquered the three worlds, harassed the demigods and mortals and assumed that he’s indestructible. But according to the blessing he could be killed only by a virgin.
The demon’s harassment grew day by day and the gods approached Lord Shiva who in turn created Mother Shakthi or Durga or the Warrior Goddess. When the mighty demon saw this beautiful maiden he got bewitched with her beauty and wanted to marry her. She agreed to marry him but on the condition that he win her over in a battle. He readily agreed. The fight continued for nine nights and on the last day the goddess beheaded him. The tenth day is celebrated as Vijayadasami to mark the victory of good over evil.
In many households in the south, an artistic display of dolls of various deities in set up on platforms erected for the purpose. These platforms are usually in odd numbers of three, five, seven, nine, eleven etc. The Bommai Kolu, as it is called, is decorated with colourful lights and festoons and pujas performed with prasadam offerings during the day and night. The offerings are mainly ‘nava danya’ or nine types of grams that are offered in the form of ‘sundal’. Sometimes even kheers or payasams are offered as prasad to the deity.
In some regions of the north, the festival is celebrated to mark the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. It is said that the lord prayed goddess Durga in her nine aspects so that he could garner enough power to kill Ravana.
Goddess Durga and Her Nine Manifestations
The nine different manifestations of Durga worshipped during Navaratri are:-
Durga — Combats Evil and Demons, Warrior Goddess
Bhadrakali — For Victory, Good Fortune and Prosperity
Amba or Jagdamba — Defends And Protects, A Mother
Annapurna — Provides Nourishment in Plenty
Sarvamangala — Ever Auspicious Goddess
Bhairavi — Destroys Negative Passions In Humans Like Anger, Lust, Jealousy, Etc And Bad Spirits
Chandika — For Domestic Harmony and Happiness
Lalitha — Provides Power and Removes Evil
Bhavani — Eliminates Sorrow, Illness & Unexpected Death
In many parts of eastern India, especially west Bengal the festival is celebrated as Durga puja. Huge pandal or tents for the deity are erected on roadsides and people join in large numbers to sing and dance in great reverence.
Significance of Celebrating Festivals Like Durga Puja
In general, festivals purify the soul making it free from evil that corrupts our mind. That’s exactly why they are organised to bring in tranquillity and positivity to life. Worshipping gods and goddesses is said to be of prime importance because religious rituals provide the perfect platform for unity and brotherhood.