Celebration of the Divine Mother
Navaratri is a very special time of honouring the Divine Mother. Exact translation of the word “Navaratri” is “9 nights”. Navaratri happens in Spring and in Autumn of every year. It begins on a New Moon. Each of the days honours a certain aspect of Divine Mother and gives a focus to the energy of that day. These are known as the Nava Durga (9 Names of Durga).
Sailaputra – Daughter of the Himalayas
Brahmacharini – She Who remains celibate
Chandraghanta – She Who is Beautiful as the Moon
Kusmanda – She Who brings happiness
Sk andamata – Mother of Skanda, the leader of armies against evil
Katyayani – Aspect of Mother Kali
Kalaratri – Kali Night of no Moon
Mahagauri – The Great White Goddess
Siddhidatri – She Who is of great spiritual Powers and knowledge
The days are also subdivided into 3 sets of three days:
KALI : The first three days are devoted to Kali , the Goddess of Destruction and Restoration, wife of Shiva; it is a time of purification, a time to let go of all that is not “on purpose” for your life. This is like “cleaning out your closets” to make way for new things.
LAKSHMI : The second three days are devoted to Lakshmi , the Goddess of Prosperity, wife of Vishnu; it is a time of preservation and taking care of things or acquiring what is necessary to make your life full of prosperity and fulfilment. This is like receiving the proper things you need to make your life happy.
SARASWATI : The last three days are devoted to Saraswati , the Goddess of Wisdom, Knowledge and the Arts, wife of Brahma; it is a time of receiving Divine Guidance on how to properly use all resources sent your way. This is like making most efficient and purposeful use of everything you are given.
All three aspects, in balance, are important for a fulfilling and happy life.
Traditional Ways to Honour Divine Mother during Navaratri:
Usually, certain “sacrifices” or personal offerings are made during the nine days, such as giving up some certain food or drink or something you are accustomed to having or doing each day. Some people restrict themselves to only one meal per day throughout the nine days. Some give up their favourite beverage, like coffee or tea; in the West, some give up watching TV or some other daily ritual they usually engage in. You could also add something you don’t usually do, such as reading the “Sapta Sati” or parts of the “Ramayana” or “Mahabharata” or other sacred scripture for 20 to 30 minutes each of the nine days. Whatever it is you choose, the idea is that each time you think of this thing you are doing, you offer up that thought and say a prayer to Divine Mother to increase your devotion to Her.