Famous Indian Festivals
Navratri is said to be the nine forms of Goddess Durga that represents different qualities of human beings – Shailputri, Brahmcharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandmata, Katyaini, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhatri. So everything controlled and maintained by these nine forms (roopas) is related to the human mind and psychology. It is believed that during the nine days of Navratri, people worship one form of Durga each day and seek blessing for physical, psychological and mental strength. Though the Goddess Durga is represented first as eight powerful expressions, it is in the ninth form that is popularly worshiped. In the ninth form all the eight expressions combine and strengthen the Goddess Durga.
The two significant points of climatic and solar influence is during the beginning of spring and autumn. The earth experiences maximum gravitational pull since it is closer to Sun. It is believed that divine energy mediates with extra power and helps the earth to pass this stage smoothly. This divine energy according to Hindu mythology is associated with Goddess Durga. The Navratri festival is a symbol of thanks to Goddess Durga for helping and protecting Mother Earth.
In order to let the divine energy reach them, devotees avoid taking fish, meat, egg, onion, alcohol, lentils and garlic. It is believed that these food items obstruct the divine energy in any form. Moreover, the negative karmic energies accumulate from the environment and other living being.
As said above, the nine days of Navratri adore different characteristic of Goddess Durga, and so the nine days is divided into a set of three days. The mother Durga is represented as the most powerful force on the first three days, where she is said to clear impurities, defects and evil forces.
The Goddess Laxmi is worshiped in next three days. Lakshmi is a symbol of prosperity; the giver of spiritual wealth. It is believed that she bestows her devotees with unlimited wealth.
Goddess Saraswati is worshiped on the final set of three days. This is said to be the Goddess of wisdom, and according to Hindu mythology we need the blessing of all forms of Goddess Durga to have all round success in life; hence, they worship for nine nights. In some places in India the last three days is known as Durgashtami, Mahanavami and Vijayadasami, which is considered to be holier.
Navratri Chanting Mantras
पंचमं स्क्न्दमातेति षष्ठं कात्यायनीति च ।सप्तमं कालरात्रीति महागौरीति चाष्टमम् ।।
नवमं सिद्धिदात्री च नवदुर्गाः प्रकीर्तिताः ।।
Navratri in India symbolizes innumerable forms of devotion while upholding the fundamental theme of good over evil. The Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu witnesses large number of devotees during Navratri. The Navratri Mela in Himachal Pradesh marks the beginning of Navratri. In West Bengal, people celebrate ‘Durga Puja‘ and they show Goddess Durga killing the demon ‘Mahishasura‘. The occasion is marked with great devotion.
Gujarat is the place to be during Navratri celebration. The state soaked in traditional music & dance defines both religious and cultural themes including the night-long devotional dance called Garba using ‘dandiya’ or thin wooden stick. This dance is inspired from the story of Lord Krishna’s singing and dancing with gopikas (cow-heard girls).