India is known as the land of colorful, vibrant festivals across the world. Here, religion and spirituality are an inseparable part of the social as well as cultural fabric; thus, every festival celebrated by Indians has a deep meaning, reason and significance attached to it. The revelry, pomp and show are all joyful aspects of the festivals but the core remains the traditional values inculcated in one generation from the other. Navratri is one of the most significant Hindu festivals, celebrated twice a year, once on the onset of summers and next, on the onset of winters. As the name suggests, Navratri is celebrated for nine nights. During this festival, people pray to Goddess Durga as she is believed to be the representation of positive celestial energy. Each of the nine days of Navratri is dedicated to the worship of different forms of the benevolent Mother Goddess. Browse through the following lines to understand more about the significance of Navratri.
Worship of Goddess Durga
The first three days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga, a warrior incarnation of the supreme mother. During these days, her power to vanquish all evils and vices is venerated. On each of the three days, three different incarnations of Durga are worshipped. On the first day, the Goddess is prayed in Kumari form, which signifies her in the form of a girl child. On the second day, she is worshiped as Parvati, which is a personification as a young woman. And on the third day, she is worshiped in the form of Kali, which symbolizes her lethal force and will to destroy all evil. Goddess Kali also signifies the mature stage of a woman.
Worship of Goddess Lakshmi
It is believed that after the heartfelt three-day worship of Goddess in the Durga form, a person attains victory over his/her inner vices, like ego, anger, lust, fear etc. and only then he/she can move forward to attain spiritual wealth. Thus, Goddess Lakshmi, who is believed to be the bestower of spiritual, materialistic wellbeing and prosperity, is worshipped from the fourth to the sixth day of Navratri. However, on the fifth day, the Mother Goddess is worshipped in the form of Saraswati, the deity of knowledge and wisdom as per the Hindu religion. On this day, all learning instruments, like books, pen, and musical instruments of the household, are placed in front of the deity and a diya is lit. This ritual also signifies that wealth and wisdom go hand in hand.
Worship of Goddess Saraswati
On the seventh day of Navratri, the pious and all knowing form of Mother Goddess, Saraswati is worshipped. People pray to her for true spiritual guidance and purity of mind. On the eighth day, an elaborate yagna (ritualistic fire sacrifice) is performed to appease Goddess Durga, before she is bid farewell. During the yagna, the sacrifice of clarified butter (ghee), rice pudding known as kheer and sesame seeds are made.
Worship of Kanyas
The final day of Navratri festival is known as ‘Mahanavami’. This day is considered very auspicious as per the Hindu religion. On this day, nine girls, who still have to reach adolescence, are worshipped with great devotion. These nine girls represent the nine incarnations of the divine Mother Goddess. The girls are welcomed into the home by washing their feet and are offered prasad and new set of clothes at the end of the puja by the devotees. Thus, Goddess Shakti represents the cosmic power of God, which does the work of creation, preservation as well as destruction. The worship of Goddess Shakti re-confirms the scientific theory that energy is imperishable. It cannot be created or destroyed, it is always there.