Shakthi, A Primordial Power Of Universe
Navaratri is one of the longest and most celebrated festivals since Vedic times. The nine-day festival is dedicated to the most powerful goddess Maha Shakti, the primordial energy that transcends the universe spreading magnificence, valour and power.
The nine-night festival is very popular and widely celebrated with enthusiasm and happiness among the people. it glorifies the goddess devi shakthi in her three beneficial forms Durga, Saraswathi and Lakshmi.
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.
Why Navaratri Is Celebrated
Once, there lives a 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 presented as offerings.
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.