This is the most important navratri among all the 5 navratri of the year, fall’s in Sharad season (Oct –Nov) and is simply called Maha Navratri and is celebrated in the month of Ashivina as per hindu calendar. Sharad Navratri celebrated all parts of the India on very big scale including Gujrat and West – Bengal. Commences on the first and ends on the tenth day of the bright half of the lunar month Asvina. Sharad Navratri is the autumnal celebration of good harvest. Goddess Durga the symbol of Shakti is worshipped with great ardour. She slays the evil to establish peace and prosperity on the earth. This festival is celebrated almost throughout the country and especially the East.
Lord Brahma of the trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara, granted Mahishasura the “buffalo demon,” a boon that protected him from any man in the world. Empowered by this gift, Mahishasura set out to conquer the world, heaven and the world, and brought about the defeat of the king of deities, Indra. At the pleading of Indra, the king of the Gods, Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva created Devi Durga, by combining their own divine powers (shakti). Endowed with the trinity’s shakti, Durga proved to be a formidable opponent who fought Mahisa for nine days, beheading him on the tenth. The nine nights known as Navratri, symbolize the nine days of battle between Devi Durga and Mahisasura, while the tenth day, which is vijayadashami-literally means the victorious tenth day of conquest of good over evil.
Daksha, the king of the Himalayas and the plains, and his wife, Menaka, had a daughter called Uma. Uma, was a devotee of Shiva since she was a child.She worshipped the Lord as her husband. Shiva, satisfied by her devotion and faith agreed to marry her. Daksha did not approve of a tiger-skin clad groom with ash and dirt spread over all of his body. Despite all the opposition from her father,Uma got married to Lord Shiva but was prevented by her father from moving to Kailash, the abode of Shiva.
Daksha, later on, arranged for a ‘yagna’ where everyone except Shiva was invited. Uma, feeling ashamed of the behavior of her father and shocked by the attitude towards her husband, committed Sati (the woman immolates herself in a burning pyre). Shiva came to know about this and went to Daksha’s house. He lifted the body of Uma on his shoulders and started dancing madly.(Taandav) With the supreme power dancing, the World was on the verge of destruction. Narayana, (Lord Vishnu) one of the trinity, came forward as a saviour and used his ‘Chakra’ to cut the Body of Uma into pieces. Those pieces started falling off from the shoulder of the dancing Shiva into different parts of the World. At fifty-two places these pieces fell, the three in Gujarat being; Ambaji in Banaskantha, Bahucharaji in Chunaval and Kalika on Pavagadh hill in Panchmahals. Shiva was finally pacified when the last piece fell off from his shoulder. Narayana revived Uma for a new life. Daksha, who was extremely sorry about his misdeeds, prayed for mercy and was finally forgiven. The places where the pieces had fallen are known as the ‘Shakti Piths‘ or energy pits, few of these places being Kalighat in Calcutta, Kamakshya near Guwahati among others. Ever since peace was restored, Uma, with her four children, Ganesh, Kartick, Saraswati and Laxmi and with her two ‘sakhis’ – Jaya and Bijaya, comes to visit her parent’s home each year during the season of ‘Sharat’ or autumn when Durga Puja is celebrated.
In West Bengal Navratri, and vijayadashami are respectively celebrated as Durga Puja and Dasara. In South India the festival includes other female deities an dedicates three days of the festival to Lakshmi, the female archetype of wealth and fortune, and another three to Saraswathi, the female archetype of learning, music and knowledge.
In northern India it takes the form of the great epic Ramayana where Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu is victorious over the evil king Ravana.
Determination of Date
Navratras start on Ashwin Shukla Pratipada falling at Sun Rise. If Pratipada falls on two days and falls or does not fall at Sun Rise then Navratras start on the first day. If Pratipada Tithi ends before the completion of only one Muhurat after sun rise then Navratras shall start one day before.
How to Celebrate
- During Navratri fasting is observed.
- People chant Durgasaptashati Paath daily and seek the blessings of goddess to get rid of poverty, sorrow and fear.
- Some people eat only fruits and drink milk during the entire nine days and nights.
- Some eat meal one time a day and that meal should be satvik, which means vegetarian meal which is prepared without the use of onion and garlic.
- Fasting is not compulsory and even after few years if the devotee feels that he or she is not capable of continuing fast during Navratri, he or she can discontinue also.
- It is good to keep mind, body and thoughts pure during the time of Navratri.
If possible try to light a Jyot in front of Goddess Durga's statue or at least a picture throughout the nine days and nights.
- Start the prayers with praying for Lord Ganesha and then perform aarti in front of Goddess Durga.
- Men do not shave or cut their hair during this period.
- People do not wear black clothes during this period and avoid keeping leather goods with them.
- People worship young girls and feed them with sweets and different types of traditional and delicious food items. They consider them as form of Goddess Durga.
- Since it is believed that Goddess is fond of red flowers and red colour, women and young girls prefer wearing clothes in red and yellow colour.
- People pray to Goddess Durga to destroy the evil during Navratri. They ask help and strength from the Goddess to fight against the evil and protect the Hindu dharma. In West Bengal, men and women celebrate Navratri festival as Durga Pooja and worship huge idols of Goddess Durga. In Gujarat people perform traditional dance which is known as Garba almost throughout the night. They wear colourful dresses and mostly Indian traditional dresses are preferred.
Navratri / Durga Pujan Vrat
(For worshipping Goddess Durga and getting peace, prosperity and glory)
By observing Navratri Vrat one easily gets rid of sorrow and poverty.
Method of Observing Navratri / Durga Pujan Vrat (Fast)
Navratri festival is worshipped thrice in a year. First one starts from the Shukla Pratipada of Chaitra and continues till Navami similarly 2nd Navratri festival starts from Shukla Pratipada of Ashwin and continues till Navami. According to Shastrik texts 2nd Navratri festival is more significant and auspicious. Nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped on these nine nights of Navratri. Establish an idol of Goddess Durga with a pitcher (Kalash). After worshipping Ganpati one should worship Matrikas. Light a lamp near the Kalash for these 9 nights. During Navaratri Chadipath should be done or one can read or listen Devi Bhagwat Katha. During Navratri one should have food only once in a day. Nine small girls should be worshipped on the day of completion. None of these girls should be less than 2 years or more than 10 years of age. Goddess can be appeased easily by worshipping these girls. So, it is very essential. According to Tantras also it is the easiest way of receiving the blessings of Goddess. The best form of worship is chanting of Navaran mantra followed by Durgasaptashati Paath.
"Om Aing Hreeng Kleeng Chamundayai Vichai"
Aarti Shri Durga Jj Ki
jay ambe gauri, maiya jay shyama gauri |
tumko nishidin dhyavat, hari brahma shivri || Om jay.......
mang sindur virajat, tiko mrigamad ko|
ujjval se dou naina, chandra vadan niko || Om jay.......
kanak saman kalevar, raktambar raje |
rakta-pushp gand mala, kanthan par saje || Om jay.......
kehri vahan rajat, khadg khappar dhari |
sur-nar-muni-jan sevat, tinke duahkhhari || Om jay.......
kanan kundal shobhit, nasagre moti |
kotik chandra divakar, sam rajat jyoti || Om jay.......
shumbh nishumbh bidare, mahishasur ghati |
dhumra vilochan naina, nishidin madmati || Om jay.......
chand mund sanhare, shonit bij hare |
madhu kaitabh dou mare, sur bhay hin kare || Om jay.......
brahmani rudrani, tum kamla rani |
agam nigam bakhani, tum shiv patrani || Om jay.......
chainsath yogini mangal gavat, nritya karat bhairon|
bajat tal mridanga, aru bajat damru || Om jay.......
tum hi jag ki mata, tum hi ho bharta |
bhaktan ki duahkhahatrta, sukh sampatti karta || Om jay.......
bhuja char ati shobhit, var mudradhari |
manvanchit fal pavat, sevat nar nari || Om jay.......
Kanchan thal virajat, agar kapur bati |
shri malketu men rajat, koti ratan jyoti || Om jay.......
shri amba ji ki arti jo koi nar gabe |
kahat shivanand svami, sukh sampati pave|| Om jay......