The festival of Navratri has special significance among Hindus, with nine days entirely dedicated to Maa Durga (Goddess Durga) and her nine incarnations. There are four Navratris in a year, out of which two are Gupt Navratris. But only the Navratri of Chaitra and Ashwin months are more popular. Ashwin Navratri is also known as Maha Navratri. One reason for this is that this Navratri falls just before Dussehra as it ends on the day of Dussehra. The one that falls after Pitru Paksha is known as Sharad Navratri. Sharad Navratri begins the day after the Pitru Paksha ends. During these nine days, devotees worship nine forms of Goddess Durga. It is believed that this festival marks the victory of Maa Durga over a demon named Mahishasura. Hence, she is called Mahishasuramardini, which means the destroyer of Mahishasura. It is believed that the demon had the combined powers of Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the protector), and Shiva (the destroyer), a story of which will be discussed down below. The worship of different forms of the Goddess Durga during the nine days of Navratri is also seen as the worship of Shakti.
There are two stories of celebrating the Navratri festival in the scriptures. According to the first legend, there was a demon named Mahishasura who was a great devotee of Brahma. He pleased Brahma with his penance and obtained a boon. According to the boon, no god, demon, or any human living on earth could kill him. After receiving the boon, he became very merciless and started creating panic in the three worlds. Disturbed by his terror, the deities together with Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh gave birth to Durga in the form of Mother Shakti. There was a fierce battle between Maa Durga and Mahishasura for nine days and on the tenth day, Maa Durga killed Mahishasura. So, the tenth day of Navratri is celebrated as the victory of good over evil.
According to another legend, Lord Shri Ram worshiped the Durga for nine days before invading Lanka and going for a war with Ravana. Pleased with his devotion, the mother blessed Shri Ram to attain victory in Lanka. On the tenth day, Lord Rama defeated Lanka king Ravana in battle and killed him, and conquered Lanka. This day is celebrated as Vijayadashami.
The Shardiya Navratri shows the stages of Goddess Parvati’s life. The nine goddesses that we worship in Navratri are:
How to do Navratri Puja?
Before starting the Navratri Puja, it is necessary to establish the Kalash. It is said that without the establishment of the Kalash, the full fruit of worship is not attained. The establishment of Kalash has special significance in the worship of Navratri. It is believed that the Kalash sthapana is considered to be the form of Vishnu. Therefore Ghatasthapana or Kalash establishment is done before Navratri. It is also necessary to take care of the auspicious time to establish the Kalash. Before setting up the Kalash, clean the temple, and after that lay a red cloth. A copper or clay urn is then established, which is kept at the same place for 9
consecutive days. Fill the Kalash with Ganga water or clean water. Now put betel nut, perfume, durva grass, akshat, and coin in this water.
After this, place 5 Ashoka leaves on the sides of the Kalash and cover the Kalash with a lid. Wrap a red cloth or red sardine on a coconut. Wrap some money in it with a chunni or cloth. Now tie the coconut and cloth with Raksha Sutra or Moli. After preparing it, place a barley pot (in which you are sowing barley) on the post or the ground. Now place some soil on it containing barley and then coconut on the lid of the pot. Your Kalash has been set up. Few things to keep in mind:
According to religious texts, the Kalash is considered a symbol of happiness, prosperity, and good luck. It is said that Lord Vishnu resides in the mouth of the Kalash. Rudra in the throat of the Kalash and Brahma in the root. At the same time, divine powers reside in the middle of the Kalash, so it is necessary and auspicious to establish the Kalash on the auspicious days of Navratri. During the establishment of the Kalash, barley is sown around the Kalash.
According to the scriptures, barley represents Brahma. It is said that since the old time, the tradition of offering barley during the Havan in worship has been continued. Apart from this, it also symbolizes the food that we should respect, which is the form of Brahma. It is believed that the barley which is sown during Navratri progresses, gives the blessings of the mother. It is said that if barley sown during Navratri sprouts within 2 to 3 days, then it is considered as a good sign. According to astrologers, the upper and the lower half colors of the barley indicate how the coming year will be for the devotee. That is, having barley of this color means that in the coming year, half the time will be good and half the time will be full of troubles. Apart from this, if the color of barley is green or has become white, then it means that the coming year will be very good.
According to the beliefs, keeping the fast during Navratri purifies the mind, body, and soul. During Navratri, we can purify our mind, body, and soul by fasting for 9 days. Fasting these days gives special results. Due to this not only increasing weight can be controlled, but many types of diseases occurring in the body can also be prevented. If fasting is done properly for nine days in Navratri, then it can have many positive results. In the daily hectic lifestyle, unnecessary and uncontrolled eating affects your entire routine and other things. In such a situation, you can organize this lifestyle and diet plan during Navratri fasting. Normally, we may not be able to consume fruits and juices every day with discipline, but during fasting, we do not have any other option. Therefore, consuming plenty of fruits and juices at this time will benefit you.
Eating fruits, dry fruits will also make a difference in your skin and the quality of hair will be better. Fasting not only gives you physical benefits but also gives you spiritual peace and also solves mental stress and other problems. Fasting is a complete package of physical, mental, and spiritual peace. During fasting, you do not get to pay much attention to food and drink other than fruit, thus consuming more fluids. In this way, the lack of water in your body is also fulfilled and the skin remains hydrated. Taking fruits and beverages during fasting helps in flushing out the toxic and harmful substances present in the body. With 9 days of fasting, changing lifestyle, and eating habits will increase your beauty as well as health.
Fasting is very important in all four Navaratri. While we know why it is important, there are certain precautions that one must take in order to avoid any bad omen. Let discuss 9 mistakes that should not be made during Navratri:
In Navratri, the mother is worshiped according to the scriptures. According to the belief, the fast observed on these days gives amazing results. Although there is a tradition of fasting for 9 days in Navratri, some people keep fast only on the first day, Ashtami and Navami. Fasting brings physical, mental, and religious benefits. According to the beliefs, keeping the fast during Navratri purifies the mind, body, and soul.