Apart from the legend and stories in Puranas, there is another important story or Navratri Vrat katha in some scriptures. This Navaratri Vratha Katha is associated with a Brahmin girl who observed Navratri vrat and led her remaining life happily with her husband and children. The story goes like…. Once, Brihaspati asked Lord Brahma to tell him the Navratri vrat katha. Brahma replied – “Guru dev! You asked a good question for prosperity of the world. Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month (March – April), Ashada month (June – July), Ashwin month (September – October), and Magh month (January – Febraury) are very auspicious to observe Navratri vrat. Among these, Chaitra Navratri and Ashwin Navratri are most meritorious to observe.I will tell you the story of a woman who observed Navratri vrat for first time”.
There was a Brahmin called ‘Sunatha’ in a town, ‘Peetatha’. He was a staunch devotee of Goddess Durga. He used to do Durga Puja daily. His wife delivered a beautiful baby girl on a good day. The couple named the girl ‘Sumati’ and grew her up with great care. She also became a devotee of Goddess Durga. But she used to pay attention to her beauty and makeup rather than puja. Sunatha observed it and scolded her many times but she never changed her attitude.
One day, Sunatha scolded Sumathi due to her negligence in puja and told that he will give her hand to a leprosy patient for marriage. She replied that Goddess Durga will save her from any problem in life. With the irresponsible words of Sumathi, Sunatha’s anger reached the peek of his head and married her to a leprosy patient.
Sumathi was confident that Goddess Durga would save her from all problems in life. The newly married couple sat in a forest and she worshipped Durga Mata throughout the night with utmost devotion. Durga Mata satisfied with her devotion and appeared in front of her. Durga Maa wanted to bless her with boons. Sumathi asked Mata – “Ambe, I didn’t do any sin in my present birth, Did I do any paap in my previous birth, Ambe Maa please let me know?”. Maa Durga pleasantly smiled and replied – “Sumathi! You were a great Pativrata in your previous birth. Your husband was a thief and because of him you were also imprisoned for 9 days. During the imprisonment you were not given any food and water. Unknowingly, you observed Navratri vrat with fasting for 9 continuous days. That only good dead made you to born in a devoted family in this birth. With the result of your one-day fast during Navratri, I will make your husband healthy and handsome. With the result of remaining 8 days-fast I will bless you with prosperous life and a son called ‘Uddalaka’ who becomes very popular with his great charity and devotion”.
Navratri Pujan Vidhi – Navratri Puja Procedure
Sumathi felt very happy and asked the Goddess to explain her Navratri pujan vidhaana or pooja vidhi (puja procedure). Goddess replied – “In Ashwin month (Ashwayuja masam), from Shukla Paksha Pratipada (Padyami) to Navami thithi, Navaratri vrata is observed. Those who are not able to observe fasting can also take meal one time a day. Ghatasthapana / Kalasha Sthapana is performed on Pratipada tithi. Grow seeds of grains in a clay pot or bowl. Install Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, and Maha Saraswati and worship the Goddesses. Offer Arghyam with flowers, fruits, and other puja material. On the day of culmination of Navratri vrat, offer ‘dakshina’ to the Brahmin. Peforming Homa or Yagna during Navratri is highly meritorious. Those who perform Navratri vrat will be blessed with the similar merits of ‘Ashwamedha Yaga’.