In our Hindu culture there are many Holy and religious festival. Celebration of festivals is an easy way of leading a happy and blissful life by showing our devotion towards God. Festivals are created by God to make everyone realise the power and existence of God and make all of us happy. Similarly, it enables us to lead an ideal life. However, presently we are unaware as to how to celebrate all these festivals in a scientific and appropriate manner as prescribed by the scriptures. Therefore, many inappropriate practices are witnessed during these festivals. Today, we will learn through this article how to celebrate the festival of Navratri in the appropriate manner and earn the blessings of the Goddess.
1. Science underlying the celebration of Navratri
During the 9 days of Navratri, we worship the Goddesses Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati. Mahakali devi is worshipped for the first 3 days, Mahalakshmi devi for next 3 days, and Mahasaraswati devi for the last 3 days. Let us now see the science behind worshipping different Goddesses.
2. Science behind worshipping
the Goddesses during Navratri
2 A . Science behind worshipping Mahakalidevi during the first 3 days
2 A 1. Personal defects and bad qualities are our enemies which make our life unhappy and full of tension : Mahakalidevi is worshipped with an aim to protect us from dangers in life and to destroy our enemies. Friends, do you know who are our enemies in student life, who make our life unhappy and stressful ? Our personality defects and bad qualities are our enemies. The children who possess many personality defects cannot remain happy. The examples are given ahead.
2A 1A. Quarrelsome nature : If a child is quarrelsome, he will have very few friends and many enemies. Will such a child remain happy ? This means his main enemy is his quarrelsome behaviour. Friends, our personality defects are only our enemies. Let us pray to Mahakalidevi for the elimination of these defects.
2A 1B. Laziness : Suppose a child has the personality defect of laziness. Such a child will not be able to complete his studies in time. Hence, his mind will be under constant tension and fear. The enemy of such a child is ‘laziness’.
2A 2. Pray to Mahakalidevi for elimination of personality defects : Friends, our personality defects are our only enemies which take us away from a happy life. Hence, let us worship Mahakalidevi during the first 3 days of Navratri and say the following prayer, ‘O Mahakali Mata, let me realise that my personality defects are my only enemies which take me away from a happy life. Help me to make constant and sincere efforts for elimination of these personal defects. This is my prayer unto your Holy feet.’
Friends, let us promise the Goddess that we shall make honest and sincere efforts to eliminate our personality defects.
2 B. Science behind worshipping Shri Mahalakshmidevi during the next 3 days : Friends, Mahalakshmidevi endows us with happiness, peace, and satisfaction. Hence, She is worshipped during the next 3 days, that is, from 4th to 6th day of Navratri.
2 C. Science behind worshipping Shri Saraswatidevi during the last 3 days
2 C 1. Saraswatidevi, the Deity of knowledge : During the last 3 days of Navratri, the Energy of Shri Saraswatidevi is active in a greater proportion; hence we should worship Her during that period. Shri Saraswatidevi is the Deity of knowledge and art, that is, She is one who endows upon us knowledge and art. During these 3 days, we should try to increase our virtues, as without increase in virtues we will not be able to acquire the grace of Saraswatidevi and thus be unable to grasp the knowledge and art bestowed upon us. Hence, let us pledge to make efforts to develop our virtues. Since this Goddess is most important in our life as students, we should say Her prayer everyday. The student is a worshipper of knowledge and art. Thus, since the energy of Saraswatidevi, the Deity of knowledge and art is active in a greater proportion during the last 3 days of Navratri, as a student it is very important to worship Her during that period.
2 C 2. Virtues essential for acquiring blessings of Shri Saraswatidevi : In order to receive blessings of Saraswatidevi we should posses the following virtues.
2 C 2A. Learning attitude : Friends, Saraswatidevi showers Her blessings on those who are constantly in a state of learning. We do not possess knowledge of all subjects. If we have an attitude to learn, we can learn different things from various persons, as every person possesses different virtues, knowledge, and arts. In your class, somebody knows how to draw and paint nicely, someone can sing better, somebody is expert in mathematics. If we have a learning attitude, we can learn different things from different students in our class.
2 C 2B. Intense yearning : We must have intense yearning to acquire knowledge and art. Let us pray to Saraswatidevi that, ‘Provide me with such intense yearning for knowledge, that in spite of facing several obstacles I shall be successful in acquiring knowledge.’
2 C 2C. Take guidance : To acquire knowledge about any subject, we should always take guidance from experts in that subject.
2 C 2D. Perseverance : Perseverance means taking constant efforts to acquire particular knowledge. Some children abandon the efforts to learn something, if they cannot understand it easily. Let us vow to imbibe the virtue of perseverance this Navratri.
2 C 2E. Behave as per Dharma : Some students copy answers written by other students in order to score more marks. This is a sort of theft and is against Dharma (Righteousness). Shri Saraswatidevi will never bless such a student. She showers Her blessings only on those who behave according to Dharma. Let us pray to Saraswatidevi, “Help me to always behave according to Dharma.”
2 C 2F. Humility : Without possessing the quality of humility, we cannot acquire knowledge and art. The knowledge appears suitable only to him who is humble. Saraswatidevi also loves the student who is humble. Friends, don’t you want to be liked by Saraswatidevi ? Then, let us resolve to acquire this virtue and pledge to behave with humility from today.
2 C 2G. Sharing knowledge with others : Friends, when we acquire some knowledge or art, the real pleasure lies in sharing it with others. Samarth Ramadas Swami has said that whatever knowledge you acquire, must be shared with others. Some students who do not follow this are called selfish. Saraswatidevi does not like such students.
Friends, let us try to possess all above virtues, only then it will mean celebrating Navratri festival in its real sense.
2 C 3. Features of the idol of Shri Saraswatidevi
2 C 3A. Four arms of the idol : The four arms represent four directions and indicate that the Goddess is all-encompassing.
2 C 3B. Holy books in Her hands : Goddess is a medium of acquiring knowledge. We can acquire knowledge by worshipping Her.
2 C 3C. Japmala (Chanting beads) in Her hand : This is a symbol of concentration. When you concentrate, you are able to acquire knowledge faster.
2 C 3D. Veena : Veena is a musical instrument. When we listen to music, we feel blissful and peaceful. When we acquire knowledge, we can actually experience bliss.
2 C 3E. Various ornaments of the Goddess : Ornaments are a symbol of prosperity. We can become prosperous by worshipping the Goddess.
Friends, today we have studied the essential virtues required for worshipping Shri Saraswatidevi and acquiring Her grace. We have also understood the significance of the various substances held in Her hand. So today, we will share this information with others.
3. Goddesses and their functions
A. Shri Mahasaraswati – Creation of the Universe
B. Shri Mahalakshmi – Maintenance
C. Shri Mahakali – Overcoming obstacles and destruction of enemies
4. Worshipping the Goddess
4 A. Tilak : Apply tilak (vermillion) to the Goddess using forefinger.
4 B. Flowers that attract the Goddess and Her Principle
| Shri Durgadevi
|| Mogara (Arabian jasmine)
| Shri Lakshmi
| Shri Saraswati
|| Ratarani (Night-blooming Cestrum)
| Shri Bhavani
|| Bhui Kamal (Lotus)
| Shri Ambamata
1. The flowers to should be offered to the Goddess in proportion of one or nine and in a circular fashion.
2. Jasmine scent should be applied to Goddess.
3. The circumambulation pradakshina (circumambulation) around the Goddess should be performed in proportion of one or nine.
4 C. Goddesses and colours attracting them
4 D. Why does the Goddess have 8 arms ? : The Goddess with 8 arms has weapons in her hands. The Goddess with 8 arms is called as Ashtabhujadevi, and is the destroyer form of Goddess.
4 E. Asking for Jogava with Goddess : Jogava (Alms asked by devotees of Goddess) is a kind of Dasya-bhakti (Devotion unto God as a servitor). In this, one has to surrender to the Goddess and forget one’s existence, and thus the ego becomes minimum. A bhav (spiritual emotion) of ‘I am the servant of the Goddess’ is developed.
4 F. The importance of ornaments of the Goddess : Friends, as per our Bharatiya culture every woman is a form of Goddess. Goddess has adorned all the ornaments. Goddess has bestowed women with a protection sheath in the form of ornaments in order to endow them with Her Divine energy.
So dear friends, if we ensure that every thought and action of ours is as per the wish of the Goddess, then not only will we be celebrating a fruitful Navratri, our qualities will increase and help us lead a blissful life ahead, is it not?
How to celebrate a pollution-free Navratri ?
Avoid the following acts during Navratri
1. Avoid use of thermocol : Many people use thermocol in the decoration of the Goddess. Thermocol does not dissolve in water. If burnt, it causes air pollution. Hence, its use should be avoided.
2. Do not burst fire crackers : It is inappropriate to burst fire crackers while carrying the idol home. The Goddess does not like sound pollution. By bursting fire crackers the Principle of Goddess gets destroyed and environment gets polluted.
3. Do not play film songs : It is inappropriate to play film songs before the idol of Goddess. Devotion and bhav (spiritual emotion) towards the Goddess will never develop through the music of film songs. Hence, we should oppose this.
4. Avoid dancing with unpleasant gestures : To perform Garba to the tune of film songs is wrong. It will not develop bhav and devotion towards the Goddess. Few individuals dance making ugly gestures while performing Garba. Friends, we should educate people against these wrong acts.
Celebrate Navratri in the following manner
1. Pollution-free decoration : Friends, use paper products while decorating the place where the idol is to be installed. Use festoons of flowers and leaves. These easily degrade in nature and do not cause any pollution.
2. Appropriate way to carry the idol to the place of installation : While carrying the idol, chant “Shri Durgadevyai Namah !”. Say chants hailing the Goddess.
3. Play devotional songs : When people listen to devotional songs, their bhav and devotion unto the Goddess is awakened and they experience Bliss.
4. Perform Garba on the tunes of devotional songs : While performing Garba, play devotional songs praising the Goddess in a ‘trital’ manner. While performing Garba, we should forget our own existence and get absorbed in the devotional songs of the Goddess.
Friends, let us stop the inappropriate practices taking place during Navratri. Let us, and acquire knowledge and art by acquiring the blessings of Saraswatidevi. Let us obtain spiritual benefit by celebrating Navratri festival in the appropriate way as prescribed in the scriptures.