Happy Navratri....Jai Mata Di...
by Chitragupt Pariwar (Hum Kayasth) on Friday, October 8, 2010 at 2:22pm
Om Sarva Mangala Mangalye Shive sarvartha sadhike l Sharanye trayambake Gauri Narayani namostute ll
Meaning: O Mother ! You are the personification of all that is auspicious, You are the benevolent form of Lord Shiva, You bestow Divine energy and help people achieve Righteousness, wealth, fulfill desires and Liberation, You are worthy of being surrendered to. Three eyes adorn You. O Narayani Devi, I pay obeisance to You !
Every year during the lunar month of Ashwin or Kartik (September-October), Hindus observe ten days of ceremonies, rituals, fasts and feasts in honor of the supreme mother goddess. It begins with the fast of "Navaratri", and ends with the festivities of "Dusshera" and "Vijayadashami."
Goddess Durga is the mother of the universe and believed to be the power behind the work of creation, preservation, and destruction of the world. Since time immemorial she has been worshipped as the supreme power of the Supreme Being and has been mentioned in many scriptures - Yajur Veda, Vajasaneyi Samhita and Taittareya Brahman.
The word "Durga" in Sanskrit means a fort, or a place which is difficult to overrun. Another meaning of "Durga" is "Durgatinashini," which literally translates into "the one who eliminates sufferings." Thus, Hindus believe that goddess Durga protects her devotees from the evils of the world and at the same time removes their miseries.
There are many incarnations of Durga: Kali, Bhagvati, Bhavani, Ambika, Lalita, Gauri, Kandalini, Java, Rajeswari, et al. Durga incarnated as the united power of all divine beings, who offered her the required physical attributes and weapons to kill the demon "Mahishasur". Her nine appellations are Skandamata, Kushmanda, Shailaputri, Kaalratri, Brahmacharini, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, Chandraghanta and Siddhidatri.
Durga is depicted as having eight or ten hands. These represent eight quadrants or ten directions in Hinduism. This suggests that she protects the devotees from all directions.
Durga's Three Eyes
Like Shiva, Mother Durga is also referred to as "Triyambake" meaning the three eyed Goddess. The left eye represents desire (the moon), the right eye represents action (the sun), and the central eye knowledge (fire).
Durga's Vehicle - the Lion
The lion represents power, will and determination. Mother Durga riding the lion symbolises her mastery over all these qualities. This suggests to the devotee that one has to possess all these qualities to get over the demon of ego.
Devi Durga stands on a lion in a fearless pose of "Abhay Mudra", signifying assurance of freedom from fear. The universal mother seems to be saying to all her devotees: "Surrender all actions and duties onto me and I shall release thee from all fears".
The festival of Navratri begins on the first day of Ashwin of the bright fortnight. On the first three nights Durga is invoked for her strength and ferocity which are required to cut out from the mind it's strong rooted, deep-seated negative tendencies. Noble virtues and the knowledge of self can only be gained when all evil tendencies in the mind are destroyed. The killing of Mahishashura (Mahisha demon) by Durga Devi actually symbolizes the destruction of the evil tendencies of the mind. To destroy our innate evil tendencies is very difficult. The buffalo stands for the malefic qualities in everyone of us. It reminds us that despite having a lot of energy and potential inside us, we prefer to do nothing for our spiritual emancipation. Just like the buffalo that likes to lie in pools of water, we too like to rest and spend our time and energy in worthless pastimes. Our worship of Goddess Durga during the first three nights of Navaratri is actually our invocation to the Divine Power within us to assist us in destroying our animalistic tendencies.
On the next three nights, Goddess Laxmi is worshipped. For the knowledge of self-realization to dawn on us, we have to first prepare our minds. Our worship of Goddess Lakshmi is actually our attempt to seek the blessings of the divine being to help us in obtaining the purification of mind. Goddess Lakshmi represents wealth that we assume to be only material wealth. But material wealth is needed only in this world and without self discipline, respect, sincerity, kindness and love, wealth can make our life miserable. The real wealth is the spiritual wealth that we can gain by the practice of the right values in our lives, which purifies our minds and takes us closer towards self-realization. Goddess Lakshmi is our source of this true wealth. By our worship, we invite her to bring into our homes her wealth of noble values to nourish and purify our minds.
The final three nights are spent in the invocation of Goddess Saraswati. Victory over the mind can be gained only through the proper knowledge and thorough understanding; Goddess Saraswati symbolizes this highest knowledge of the Self. Lord Krishna himself says in the Bhagavad Gita: "The knowledge of the Self is the knowledge"; and He adds, "It is My vibhuti, My glory." If we do not have the knowledge of the Self, then our knowledge of all other subjects has no real worth. The knowledge of the Self that is represented by Goddess Saraswati.History & Origin Of NavratriIn different parts of India, different legends describe the history of Navratri:
North India The legend in North India goes that Mahishasura, the mighty demon, worshipped Lord Shiva and obtained the power of eternity. Soon, he started killing and harassing innocent people and set out to win all the three lokas. The gods in swargaloka appealed to Lord Shiva, to find a way to get rid of the demon. To protect the world from the atrocities of Mahishasura, the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva united their powers and created a divine female warrior, known as Goddess Durga. Mahishasura, when he saw the divine beauty of Goddess Durga, got mesmerized.
So fascinated was Mahishasura by Goddess Durga's beauty that he approached her with the intention of marriage. The goddess agreed to marry him, but put forth a condition - Mahishasura would have to win over her in a battle. Mahishasura, proud as he was, agreed immediately! The battle continued for 9 nights and at the end of the ninth night, Goddess Durga beheaded Mahishasura. The nine nights came to be known as Navratri, while the tenth day was called Vijayadashmi, the tenth day that brought the triumph of good over evil.
Eastern Belief As per the legend prevalent in East India, Daksha, the king of the Himalayas, had a beautiful and virtuous daughter called Uma. She wished to marry Lord Shiva, since her childhood. In order to win over the Lord, she worshipped him and managed to please him as well. When Shiva finally came to marry her, the tiger-skin clad groom displeased Daksha and he broke off all the relationships with his daughter and son-in-law. One fine day, Daksha organized a yagna, but did not invite Lord Shiva for the same.
Uma got so angry at her father's rude behavior, towards her husband, that she decided to end her life by jumping into the agnikund of the yagna, where she was united with eternity (since then, she came to be known as Sati). However, she took re-birth and again won Shiva as her groom and peace was restored. It is believed that since then, Uma comes every year with Ganesh, Kartik, Saraswati and Laxmi and two of her best friends or 'sakhis', called Jaya and Bijaya, to visit her parent's home during Navratri.
Another Legend - Ram and RavanaYet another legend of Navratri relates to the Hindu epic Ramayana. It goes that Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga in nine aspects, for nine days, in order to gather the strength and power to kill Ravana. He wanted to release Sita from the clutches of powerful demon king Ravana, who had abducted her. Those nine nights became to be known as Navratri and the tenth day, on which Lord Rama killed Ravana, came to be called Vijayadashmi or Dusshera, signifying Rama's (good) triumph over Ravana (evil).
Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanstita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha