|Navratri –The Procedure, Purpose, Intent and Spiritual Practices|
|Written by Satyendra Chauhan|
|Friday, 08 October 2010 14:32|
Navratri –The Procedure, Purpose, Intent and Spiritual Practices
Navratri (or nine nights) is celebrated in Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism) as a day that honors Shakti or the Divine Feminine/Mother power and prays to her for spiritual cleansing, guidance, and enlightenment, this period is of nine nights and ten days. In 2010 the Navratri begins on Friday, October 08, and ends on October 16, 2010. Such nine nights are divided into three sets of three days each and during each set a particular aspect of the Divine Mother is meditated upon with a particular spiritual goal and task in set of three days.
These days are also separated as - first three days of Navaratri, are ‘Tamasic’ days, followed by three ‘Rajasic’ days and ending with three ‘Sattvic’ days, so, Navaratri, dedicates three days each to worshiping the Divine in the forms of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. The tenth day, though, is the most important; it is known as Vijayadashami, the 'tenth day of victory.'
he reason behind the worshiping of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati lies rooted in the philosophy that the attribute less absolute can only be known through the world of attributes? The journey is from the known to the unknown. Hence it is said that Shiva, who symbolizes pure consciousness, can only be known through Shakti, who represents divine energy. That is why people worship Shakti, also known as Devi, in her various manifestations.
The different stages of spiritual progress are reflected in Navaratri. During the first three days, Durga is worshipped. She personifies that aspect of “Shakti or Divine Power” which destroys our negative tendencies / effects. The process of trying to control our senses are also akin to a war for the mind which resists all attempts at control. So the first three nights are spent meditating upon the Divine Feminine in her powerful and destructive aspect known as Durga or Kali. We ask “Maa” to help us identify and eliminate the negative aspects of our self, such as greed, procrastination, laziness, gossiping, envy, etc. and also to protect our spiritual practice from dangers, obstacles and pitfalls.
However, getting temporary relief from the clutches of negative aspects does not guarantee permanent liberation, because their seeds will remain within in latent form. Therefore, we should displace them with positive qualities; even Bhagwat Geeta refers these positive aspects as “Daivi-Sampat” or “Divine Wealth”. So, in next three days we worship Goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi is not just the giver of gross wealth or prosperity; She is the Mother who gives according to the needs of Her children. We ask the goddess to help us develop and maintain helpful qualities, such as patience, forgiveness, compassion, loving-kindness, and integrity. .
Since, a person who endowed with daivi-sampat or Divine Wealth alone is fit to receive the knowledge of the Supreme. So, the last three days of Navaratri are dedicated to worshiping Saraswati, the embodiment of Knowledge, depicted as wearing a pure-white sari, which symbolises the illumination of the Supreme Truth. We ask the goddess to help us to achieve self-realization and understand universal truths such as our divine nature and the interconnectedness of living beings. . And the tenth day is spent offering gratitude to the Divine Mother and is spent celebrating in a state of sat-chit-ananda or truth-consciousness-bliss.
Hence to reap the spiritual benefits during these Navratri days this is suggested to perform the following: .
• One should Chant any Divine Mantra or the name of “Maa” throughout these nine days.
• Practice meditation in whatever form one is doing.
• While meditating or after one should practice to inculcate the positive habits and let go the negative, so one can practice breathing in way that while inhale, say the quality you are trying to cultivate say “Love” “Compassion” etc. and when you exhale, the quality you are trying to let go of. Say “envy” “Greed’ and should feel with faith that such quality is cultivating and negative is releasing.
• As suggested above that 3-3 days are dedicated to different form Divine Mother Energy so one should spent time each of the nine days or at least once every three days to meditate or focus on the three aspects of the divine feminine energy that are within you i.e. Maa Durga, Laxmi and Saraswati in the following manner:
First three Days: Mediate or Focus on your inner aspects of power and strength.
Next three Days: Mediate or Focus on your inner aspects of life-giving force and nurturer.
Last Three Days: Mediate or Focus on your inner wisdom and guide. During our thinking / focusing this will also be beneficial to write down the qualities or habits or wisdom you wish to cultivate.
Spiritual Practices during these days reap manifolds benefits as the divine spiritual energy flows abundantly during these days and this become relatively easier to get your soul engulfed in Divine Spiritual Energies. Further, mediating on energies which are available in abundance also make this easier to reap maximum benefits out of the spiritual practices.
|Last Updated on Friday, 08 October 2010 17:27|