The Indian festival of Navratri has been derived from two words—Nav + Ratri, which means ‘nine nights’ in English. This festival is prevalent throughout India. It is a major festival celebrated by the Hindus in India with much pomp and gaiety. Hindus celebrate this festival to express their devotion to the goddess of power, Durga. People worship the nine different forms of the Goddess Durga who symbolizes purity, power and divinity and it is continuous for nine days. Each day, a different form of the goddess is worshiped. Following the nine days of rituals and worship, the 10th day is celebrated as Dussehra, which is also known as Vijayadashmi. It is celebrated to mark the victory of mythical King Lord Rama over the King of Sri Lanka, Ravana. It is the longest Hindu festival of the year, spanning over nine nights and ten days. In a year, Navratri comes four times-one each in the months of Chaitra, Aashadh, Ashwin and Magha. Navratri, falls as Sharad Navratri in the months of September or October. It falls in the lunar month Ashwin, during Sharad ritu. Since it is even more popular and significant Navratri of all the Navratris, that is why it is known as Maha Navratri.
The auspicious time for establishment of the kalash will be:
- Shubha Muhurat – 06:18 to 07:25 minutes.
- Abhijeet Muhurat – 11:36 to 12:24
- Maha Saptami – October 17
- Maha Navami – October 18
- Vijaya Dashmi (Dasara) – October 19, 2018
What should we do on the occasion of Navratri?
This year the Sharadiya Navaratri is starting from October 10 which will run until October 18. During this festival, Goddess Durga is worshiped for nine days and fasting is also kept. Before starting the fast in Navratri, the Kalash is established. The establishment of the Kalash should always be done keeping in mind the auspicious time and worshiping Lord Ganesha before worshiping the ‘mother’. Before placing a coconut in a red cloth and clay in Navratri, it should be noted that the coconut’s mouth should be on your side. Before making worship, make swastic on the urn and make mauli. Then, with the leaves of mango, keep the turmeric lumps, soap, almonds, durva and money in the urn or kalash and provide fruits, sweets and milk to the mother in the Goddess worship for 9 days. Do the lessons of Durga Chalisa or Durga Saptashati at the time of worship and burn the unbroken Diya which is kept burning till fasting. On the last day of Navratri, you should definitely enjoy the halva-purna of Mother.
There are several benefits of chanting Durga Stuti, the best one being the peace of mind. Chanting Durga Stuti is equivalent to doing meditation. It gives a unique sense of satisfaction and one feels calm after chanting it. It also drives evil energies away from one’s life and attracts positive energies. It helps a person grow healthy, wealthy and prosperous. One should recite Durga Stuti and Mantra early in the morning when the sun rises after taking a bath.
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु मातृरुपेण संस्थितः ।
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु शक्तिरुपेण संस्थितः ।
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु शान्तिरुपेण संस्थितः ।
नमस्तस्यैः नमस्तस्यैः नमस्तस्यैः नमो नमः ।
ॐ अम्बायै नमः ॥
During these nine days the devotees abstain from meat, alcohol, onions, garlic and even dishes made with common salt or spice. The more sincere individuals sustain themselves only on milk products, fruits and fruit juices through all nine nights. While some fast for all nine days, some devotees opt to fast on specific days of these nine nights.
Navratri is not just about abstaining from food. During these nine nights, the devotees also try and control one’s temperament, actions and behaviour.