Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Navratri (9 nights)

Navratris (9 nights)

Some scriptures, like the Shakti, and Vaishnava Purana reveal that in Hinduism, this nine-day long celebration is observed four times in a year. Sharad and Chaitra Navratri is celebrated by all, while the other two, preferable the Gupt Navratris are observed only by sages and priest.

Hindu religion is a religion of festivals. People celebrate all events those inject life and joy and give opportunity to pray the deities. Navratri celebration is one of such events. Hindu Calendar has 12 months from Kartik to Ashwin. There are four Navratris. Every third month there is Navratri: in Posha, in Chaitra, in Ashadha and in Aswin. 

The two Navratris are considered major, the Navsari of Chaitra and the Navratri of Aswin. Chaitra Navratri falls near Spring Equinox and Aswin Navratri near Autumn Equinox. One after the post Rabi harvesting season and another Kharif harvesting season. Food is life, therefore, the agricultural produces in the farm inject the joyful dance in the body mind and soul. The Posha Navratri falls near Winter Solstice and Ashadha falls near Summer Solstice.

Chaitra Navratri is celebrated for Creation of Life and Sharad Navratri is celebrated for Protection of Life. 

It is believed that Brahma created the universe and it’s creatures with the help of Navdurga (nine powers/energies) during 9 days of Chaitra Navratri. The Navdurgas were saving lives from the evil forces. Lord Rama was born on the 9th day of Chaitra Navratri (Spring). The Navratri of creation is celebrated with fasting and prayers of Navdurga for getting her blessings to grow. Hindu Calendar therefore starts with Chaitra as first month, Gudi Padvo, the first day of the month is celebrated as Happy New Year in some parts of the country. 

The second major Navratri is symbolised with protection of life from the evil forces. It falls in Ashwin/Sharad, the post monsoon time. Sharad Ritu is a mother of many diseases. Many humans die during this season. Therefore, there is a tradition in India to give blessings: शतम् जीव: शरद: There are two stories of victory over evils during this Navratri: When the Tridevas (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva) failed to defeat Mahishasura (because of Brahma’s boon) who conquered the Kingdom of Indra, they created Durga (Mahalakshmi) from their powers/energies. She carried the energies of Devas and their weapons, fought with Mahishasura/evil forces the demon for 9 days and killed him. Another victory of Lord Rama (Soul) over Ravana (Ego) after a war of days, killing the demon Ravana (the ego) on the 10th Day.Therefore, Durga’s victory over Mahishasura and Rama’s victory over Ravana are celebrated as Vijayadashami, the 10th day, post Navratri. The Navratri of Protection of Life is celebrated to gain vital energies to fight against the diseases, celebrated with fasting, prayers and dancing. Dance for the good crop and dance for the joy. The season further celebrated as Sharad Purnima (fool moon day) and thereafter, Diwali, the festival of light celebrated on Amavasya/the darkest night, असतो मा सदगमय ॥ तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ॥ मृत्योर्मामृतम् गमय ॥ 

The other two Navratri the Posha and Ashadha are considered secret Navratris in which the sages and Rishis perform some rituals. In Ashadha Navratri, when the sky is invisible due to clouds (mind is in confusion), the Guru preaches knowledge to his disciples and then the parva is celebrated as Guru Purnima on full moon day as mark of prayer of the disciples to their Gurus. 

27 March 2018


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