Navratri

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Sattvik picture by Sanatan Sanstha

Sarva mangala mangalye shive sarvartha sadhike |
Sharanye trayambake gauri, Narayani namostute ||

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 !

1. Introduction

Navratri is a widely celebrated festival by Hindus across the world. This nine-day festival is celebrated by worshipping Deity Shakti (Divine Energy). The festival of Navratra commences< on the first day (Pratipada) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin. During this vowed religious observance, a clay pot is installed (Ghatasthapana) in a sanctified section of one’s home. A lamp is placed in the pot and it is kept lit for nine days. The pot symbolises the universe. The uninterrupted lit lamp is the medium through which we worship the brilliant primordial energy, Adi-shakti, i.e. Shri Durga Devi. During Navratri, the principle of Shri Durga Devi is more active in the atmosphere. When we understand the spiritual science behind the various rites that come under the worship of Shri Durga Devi, we become worthy of absorbing more of the Divine Energy principle, thereby acquiring more of Her grace.

2. History of Navratra

This vrat (religious observances) was advocated by Sage Narad to Lord Ram, so that He could kill Ravan. After completion of this vrat, Lord Ram attacked Lanka and finally killed Ravan.

The Goddess fought with the demon Mahishasur for nine days from Pratipada to Navami and finally killed him on the Navami night. Since then, She came to be known as Mahishasurmardini, the annihilator of Mahishasur.

3. Importance of Navratra and Vijayadashami

Whenever the tamasik, demoniacal and cruel people become powerful and start troubling the sattvik, righteous humans, the Goddess incarnates to reinstate Righteousness. This is the vrat of this Deity.

During Navratra, it is believed that the Goddess Principle is a thousand times more active than usual. To get the most spiritual benefit from this Principle, one should chant || Sri Durga Deviyai Namaha || as much as is possible during the period of Navratra.

The word asur is derived from ‘असुषु रमन्ते इति असुर: |’, meaning ‘the one who remains engrossed only in enjoying life and in the indulgence of pleasure of the objects is an asur (demon)’. Such a Mahishasur is present in each human heart and he has taken control over the internal Divine qualities of the human being. It is necessary to perform puja of Deity Shakti to become free from the trap of Mahishasur, by realising his illusory form. Therefore, Deity Shakti should be worshipped in the nine days of Navratra. This victory is celebrated on the tenth day or Dashami and is called Dasera.

4. Method of performing the vrat

In several families, this vrat is undertaken as a family tradition. This vrat begins on Ashwin Shukla Pratipada. In a sanctified place in the house, a vedi (sacrificial fireplace) is constructed and the Goddess with eight arms seated on a lion and the Navarna yantra are installed. Beside the yantra a pot (also known as ‘ghat’) is installed and puja of both the pot and the Goddess is performed.

In the festival of Navratra, as per the tradition, rituals of ghatasthapana and mala-bandhan should be performed. A kumarika (virgin girl or a young girl who has not indulged in sexual intercourse) is worshipped daily for nine consecutive days and is offered meals. A married woman signifies manifest energy while a kumarika represents unmanifest energy. Since some amount of manifest energy is utilised in a married woman, the total energy in a kumarika is more than that in a married woman.

‘The festival of Navratra is celebrated according to one’s financial capacity and ability, with various programmes including akhand deep-prajvalan (continuous burning of a lamp), Chandipath (recitation of verses of the Goddess), Lalita-puja (ritualistic worship of Lalita) and Saraswati-puja (ritualistic worship of Saraswati), fasts, keeping awake as a ritual, etc.

Even if a devotee is fasting, naivedya should be offered to the Goddess as usual. During this period, as part of good conduct one should not shave, should observe strict celibacy, should not sleep on a bed or mattress, should not cross the border of the village and should not wear footwear.

Attributing significance to the number of the day in the Navratra, some observe it even on the last day; although according to the scriptures it should be concluded on that day. On that day, after the prasad in the form of food is served to people, if time permits then all the Deities should be removed, abhishek performed and shodashopchar-puja performed. If there is no time, then the abhishek and puja of all Deities should be done on the following day.

During the immersion of the idol of the Goddess, germinated seeds are offered to Her. Women carry those small plants for immersion, as the Goddess ‘Shakambhari’, on their heads.

When installing and concluding the Navratra, it is necessary to sanctify the Deities. As usual lemon, bhasma, etc. are substances used in the abhishek. One should not use rangoli or powder used to clean vessels for the abhishek.’

Finally the installed ghat and the Goddess should be immersed in flowing water. In any religious ritual like Navratra, when a lamp is lit continuously as a part of puja, if it blows out because of the wind or due to lack of oil or carbon formation, etc. those causes should be corrected and the lamp should be lit again. As penance, the Name of the presiding Deity should be chanted one hundred and eight or a thousand times.

Pray to the Goddess thus – “O Goddess, we have become powerless, attached to Maya (The great illusion) by pleasure and sensual enjoyments. O Mother, be the source of our strength. With Your strength we will be able to destroy tama.”
Blowing into the pots: On the day of Ashtami, women worship Goddess Mahalakshmi and blow into the pots.

Regional variations: In Gujarat to symbolise the matrushakti during Navratra, a deep-garbh (lit lamp placed in an earthen pot with many openings) is worshipped. The word Garba-garbho-garbo or garba, deleting the word deep became prevalent because of the ‘deep-garbh’ worshipped during the nine days, to represent female reproductivity.

5. What Name should we chant during Navratri?

Navratri begins on Ashwin Shukla Pratipada i.e. 25 September 2014 this year. According to one school of thought, Sri Mahakali (who has a tama pre-dominant temperament) is worshipped on the first 3 days of Navratri, to reduce the tama component in ourselves. The next 3 days, to enhance the raja component in ourselves, Sri Mahalakshmi (who has a raja pre-dominant temperament) is worshipped and on the last 3 days, to intensify the spiritual practice, Mahasaraswati (who has a Sattva pre-dominant temperament) is worshipped. Chant the Names of these Deities during these days. To learn more, obtain your copy of the Holy text ‘Shakti’, published by Sanatan Sanstha from the Sanatan centre nearest to you.

How should we chant Goddess Durga’s name ?

ll Shri Durgadevyey Namah ll

Listen to the jap:

6. Rituals performed during Navratri

malabandhan_342

6A Ghatasthapana

A square base with a height equal to that of two fingers should be prepared with mud brought from a farm and five or seven food grains should be mixed in it. These seven food grains are barley, wheat, sesame seeds, lentils, grams, rale and save (foodgrains found specially in Maharashtra).

In the pot of mud or copper, substances such as water, gandh, flowers, durva, akshata, betel nut, five specific leaves, five gems or coins should be put.

If one does not know the Vedic mantras for installation of the seven food grains and the kalash (signifying Varun, the Deity of rain), then mantras from the Purans should be recited. If one does not know even these, then one should say ‘I offer (say the name of the substance offered) समर्पयामि’ and chant the Lord’s Name. A garland of flowers should be tied in such a way that it reaches inside the pot.

6B Akhand deep (Continuous burning of a lamp)

Nandadeep_Clr_bk

One of the observances during Navratri is that a lamp is kept lit continuously for nine days. Material required

  • 1 Lamp (Brass lamp is generally used)
  • Oil (Sesame oil for maximum spiritual benefits, if not possible, one can use any other vegetable oil)
  • A small plate (for keeping the lamp on it)
  • Cotton wicks (at least 50mm in length, one can buy it from an Indian store or it can be made at home from cotton)

Where to place this lamp and how to light it?

Select a safe place in the house (preferably near the altar in the temple room). For carpeted floors, one should use PVC matt or similar to prevent the lamp from falling on the floor. Take care if there are children / pets in the house. Place the brass lamp on a plate. Take 2 wicks (rolled together) and place it in the lamp keeping 5mm wick projecting out of the lamp. Ensure that the wick (when lit) does not face the South direction.

Pour oil in the lamp (sufficient to fill up to the rim of the lamp). Be careful that it should not spill over onto the floor. Light the projected wick with a match stick or a lighter. One can pray – ‘O Shri Durgadevi, please let Your Divine principle and Tej principle remain in this house, and let all of us derive its benefits.’

Spiritual significance of lighting the lamp

During Navratri, the environment is filled with the waves of Tej (radiance) from the Goddess. Lamp is a symbol of Tej; therefore, the waves of Tej from Goddess are attracted towards the flame of the lamp. Due to lighting the lamps, the waves of Tej continuously circulate in the home; thus increasing the Tej. As a result, one obtains its spiritual benefits. Hence, it is important to keep the lamp continuously lit during the Navratri.

The following are the benefits of this ritual

  • The distress of negative energies reduces and hence the pressure in the atmosphere is reduced.
  • Due to the radiant vibrations emanating from the lamp, the embodied soul (jiva) benefits at the level of his spiritual emotion.
  • The Divine Energy (Shakti) principle present in the universe gets attracted to the lamp light, thereby benefiting everyone around it.
  • The spiritual purity (sattvikta) and Divine consciousness (Chaitanya) in the atmosphere increases.
  • The embodied soul gets the experience of bliss and peace.

Atonement for interruptions in the burning of the lamp

If the lamp extinguishes due to some reasons – like the oil running out, wind, wick burning out, etc. then one should seek forgiveness from the Deity, and as atonement, pray to the Deity and chant that Deity’s Name. For example, if one is worshipping Shri Durgadevi, then one should seek Her forgiveness on the lines – ‘O Shri Durgadevi, I (say your full name) seek Your forgiveness because the lamp has extinguished. I pray to You to forgive me and get done 108 beads of chanting done (or 1000 beads) from me as per Your expectations.’ After this prayer, chant the Deity’s Name, for example, ‘Shri Durgadevyai Namaha’, or ‘Shree Ganeshay Namaha’, etc.

Another way to atone is to fast for the entire day without a single morsel of food or drink (absolute fast).

6C Fasting during Navratri

If one observes a fast then the embodied soul benefits up to 3% and depending upon one’s spiritual yearning, the six basic vices (shadaripu) also get reduced.

6D Staying awake

During Navratri, the Divine Energy Principle is raging a continuous battle with the unrighteous elements. Hence it is considered very inauspicious to sleep during this period. Therefore people usually stay awake for a longer time as a token of gratitude and respect towards the Divine Energy Principle. Also one should not wear footwear, not sleep on a bed or mattress and observe strict celibacy during this time.

6E Worship of a virgin girl (kumarika pujan)

Kumarika_Pujan

During this festival, a virgin girl is worshipped for nine consecutive days and is offered meals. A virgin girl is a symbol of unmanifest energy and by worshipping her, the unmanifest energy in her gets activated. Due to this the radiant frequencies in the universe get attracted and the devotee benefits by it.

How is the ritual of Kumarika pujan performed?

A. During each of the nine days of Navratri, respectfully invite a kumarika (a young virgin) to your house. If this is not possible, the custom is to invite nine kumarikas on any one of the days in Navratri.

B. Offer them a mat made of wool to sit on.

C. Perform their padyapuja (Ritualistic worshipping of their feet) with a bhav (spiritual emotion) that the Goddess principle in them is activated.

D. Offer them a meal of their liking on a banana leaf. The Goddess likes kheer (a sweet made of milk and rice) and puris (type of fried Indian bread).

E. Offer all kumarikas new clothes, consider them to be representative of Shakti and pay obeisance with utmost bhav.
Significance and science underlying the worship of kumarika

A kumarika symbolises Shakti in unmanifest form. Worshipping a kumarika activates the Shakti present in her and helps attract the absolute Fire principle frequencies from the Universe. Later, this principle is transmitted very easily to the atmosphere through the medium of the kumarika in the form of frequencies carrying chaitanya (Divine consciousness) and benefit the people. To accumulate the frequencies of the Goddess principle active during Navartri, the kumarika is worshipped with utmost bhav and efforts are made to appease her. The degree of manifestation of impressions on subconscious mind of the kumarika is less too and this helps in deriving maximum benefit of the ‘with attribute’ form of the Goddess; hence the importance of kumarika pujan during Navratri.

7. Worship of Goddess (Devi-pujan) during Navratri

7A Establishing Goddess Ashtabhuja and Navarnav Yantra

A. Process of inviting the Goddess and establishing Her ritualistically: The first step in the worship of Goddess during Navratri is inviting Her and establishing Her ritualistically. Due to the resolve in the invitation the energy waves remain activated for a longer time at the site of worship.

B. Ritualistic establishment of the Goddess Ashtabhuja: Goddess Ashtabhuja is the destroyer form of Shakti (Energy principle). Navratri symbolises the actual existence of the primal Shakti which is absolute Fire principle laden. The weapons in the hands of the Goddess Ashtabhuja symbolise the pro-activeness of Her destroyer form. These weapons laden with the destroyer principle act as eight guardians of the eight directions. With the help of the absolute Fire principle they protect the Universe by putting a check on movements of the evil spirits and by blocking their activities.

C. Establishing ritualistically the Navarnav yantra : The Navarnav yantra symbolises the ascending of the Goddess on Her throne established on the Earth. There is confluence and solidification of the destroyer frequencies of the nine forms of Goddess in the Navarnav yantra. Hence, this throne symbolises the presence of the attributeless form of the Goddess. The ‘with attribute’ form of the Goddess that appears into the active motion of the Universe from this yantra is believed to symbolise the practical action oriented principle.

7B Malabandhan

Hanging garlands over the idol of the Goddess. Due to the colours and fragrance particles of the flowers, the energy frequencies of absolute Fire principle from the atmosphere get attracted towards these flowers and thereby move quickly to the idol and assists the activation of Goddess principle in the idol in less time. This Divine principle is transmitted to the house and thus helps in its purification. The embodied souls residing in the house also benefit from this. – Pujya (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil.

7C Offering Naivedya (consecrated food) to the Goddess on all the nine days

During Navratri we should prepare spiritually pure dishes for the Goddess, as is customary. Apart from the regular food items, we should make a sweet made of split chickpeas and jaggery (puran) and plain curry (varan) made of yellow lentils (toor-dal) for the meal. This consecrated food radiates the activated Raja component. The absolute fire element frequencies (Tej-tattva) from the Universe get attracted to it quickly. When one consumes this consecrated food as holy sacrament (Prasad), one benefits from the energy and frequency of the absolute fire element, which purifies ones gross and subtle-bodies.

7D Spiritually correct way of performing rituals in the worship of the Goddess

Every Deity has a specific spiritual method of worship. There is a definite science behind performing every ritual in a specific way when worshipping a particular Deity. The following table gives information about some common rituals in the worship of the ‘Primal energy’, that is, Sri Durgadevi and Her different forms.

Action of Worship Information about action
1. How should a worshipper
apply gandh to himself ?
It should be applied vertically with the
middle finger on the adnya chakra
2.With which finger should
one apply gandh to the
Goddess ?
With the ring finger
3. Offering flowers
a. Which ones ?b. In what number ?c. What is the method of
offering ?d. In which pattern should
flowers be offered ?
Mogra, Chrysantemum, Tuber-rose,
Lotus and JasmineOne or in multiples of nineThe stalk of the flower should face
the GoddessIn circular pattern keeping the centre
of the circle empty
4.Waving an incense stick
a. Which fragrance
should be used for
saviour worship ?b. For Destroyer worship?c. In what numberd. What should be the
method of worship ?
Sandalwood, Rose, Mogra, Kevada,
Champaa, Chameli, Jasmine, Khus,
Nightqueen and AmberHenna and DarbarTwoThe incense stick should be held
between the index finger and the
thumb of the right hand and it should
be waved three times in a clock-wise
direction in a full circle
5.Which fragrance should be
offered ?
Mogra
6. How many circumambulations
to the minimum should be
taken ?
One or in multiple of nines

- Pujya (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil, 2nd January 2005, 9.42 p.m.

7E Spiritual science underlying offering specific flowers to specific Deities

Specific flowers have better ability to attract the subtlest particles of a specific Deity’s principle. When these flowers are offered to the Deity during worship, they help awaken the idol and the devotee benefits from the chaitanya in the idol. Read More…

7F What is the correct method of saying Arti to the Goddess?

The Goddess principle that is the Divine Energy (Shakti) Principle is a confluence of the saviour (tarak) and destroyer (marak) forms of energy. Hence it is only appropriate that the Arti hymns be sung in a low pitch, at a medium pace and with intense yearning and bhav. Read More…

7.G Worshipping the Goddess’ idol by bathing it with vermillion (kumkumarchan)

Kumkumarchan650

Vermillion is made from turmeric powder. It is used for religious markings in Hinduism and is regarded as an auspicious symbol.

How to worship the Goddess using vermillion ?

One should do this worship by constantly chanting the Goddess’ name and simultaneously bathing her idol with vermillion starting from her feet and going up towards the crown. Alternatively, one can also bathe the idol as shown in the picture above while chanting her name.

The science behind worshiping the Goddess using vermillion.

The original active Divine Energy principle was created from red coloured rays. Hence, as symbolic of it, the Goddess is worshipped with vermillion. The fragrance associated with vermillion attracts the Universal Divine Energy Principle very quickly towards the idol and this helps in the effective invocation of the idol. Vermillion also symbolises the fragrance waves which please the Goddess. The fragrance of the original principle seed (bij) is similar to the fragrance of vermillion. Therefore, using vermillion is a much revered and indispensable aspect of the Goddess’ worship.

7H What is the importance of ‘offering a sari’ for the Goddess?

Invariably offering Her a sari and a blouse-piece concludes the ritualistic worship of a Goddess. Offering this to a Goddess is akin to praying to Her attributeless form to work for one’s spiritual progress and welfare through the medium of ‘with attribute’ form. Read More…

8. Worshiping the Goddess on specific days

8A Performing the Lalita Pujan on the fifth day of Navratri

A fragrance that is Shakti oriented is called Lalita. The manomaya kosh (mental sheath) of the devotee is purified by the fragrance present in the Universe on the fifth day of Navratri. – Pujya (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil

8B On the eighth day of Navratri, an idol of the Goddess in standing posture is worshipped

The all accommodating destroyer waves of Sri Durgadevi, present in vast amounts on the eighth day of Navratri are imbibed in the face mask made of rice flour and that benefits the devotees. Celebrating Navratri is worshipping the destroyer form of primalShakti. During Navratri, the intensity of destroyer principle of Sri Durgadevi increases gradually. On the eighth day, the proportion of red colour absolute Fire element frequencies amongst the destroyer waves of the Sri Durgadevi is higher. These waves are related to the absolute Air and Ether elements. Hence, the idol prepared on Ashtami (with a face mask made of rice flour) is draped in a red saree. Rice has the quality of being all accommodating and responds with equal intensity to the ‘with attribute’ frequencies as well as attributeless frequencies. This quality attracts the frequencies dominant with the absolute Fire principle. – Pujya (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil

8C Worship of Goddess Saraswati during Navratri (8th and 9th night)

On the day prior to Vijayadashami i.e. 9th day, Goddess Saraswati should be worshipped through the mediums associated with Her origin. But on the day of Vijayadashami the Saraswati principle becomes active in a larger proportion, adopts a ‘with attribute’ existence and then dissolves to a dormant state. So it is desirable that Goddess Saraswati be worshipped on that day prominently.

Thus on Vijayadashami, first the rite of Her worship and then that of immersion are carried out ceremoniously. From the Ashthami (8th day) to Vijayadashami (10th day) the Energy form of Goddess is adorned with all Her knowledge-filled genius. When Goddess Saraswati’s saviour frequencies touch the devotee, his soul-energy is instantly activated and is transformed into a flow of genius. As he is linked with the knowledge-facet of the Goddess, he gets a spiritual experience of bliss.
– Pujya (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil

8D Worship of the Goddess on Gauri tritiya

‘Chaitra Gauri’ celebrations commence from the day of Gudhi Padva (first day of the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra). On this day chaitanya in the form of the absolute air element flows from the universe towards the earth. During the period from Gudhi Padva to Gauri tritiya (third day of Chaitra) the generation of Brahma’s primal energy flow that is in its teens takes place. The flow is attributeless and is active in respective time cycle. This period is the most Blissful because the Divine energy principle that rides the absolute air element principle is active in the entire universe. The invocation of Goddess Gauri on Gudhi padva enables purification of the subconscious mind. As a result all the tasks performed by the worshipper during the subsequent year are without body awareness. Because of this these tasks turn out to be more effective and fruitful. Without body awareness means performing these tasks under the firm influence of the impression on subconscious mind that, ‘the one doing the tasks is not the cage of flesh and bones meaning the physical body but the chaitanya within it’.

The Energy principle generated from the flow of the absolute air element after invoking Goddess Gauri on Gudhi Padva becomes radiant on day of Gauri tritiya. This aura of its radiance spreads all over the universe and is described as the ‘Brilliance of the Energy principle’. This is the phase where the Energy principle enters the stage of teens. This implies that from Gudhi Padva the attributeless form of the Primal energy begins to assume a form ‘with attributes’ with the help of the radiance and attains an optimal level on the third day.

Benefits derived by worshipping the Goddess on Gauri tritiya: Worship of the Goddess on Gauri tritiya activates the worshipper’s talent. Hence during this period many talented souls emerge with new creations. – Pujya (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil, 7th September 2006, 2.57 p.m.

8E Worship of the Goddess on Haratalika

‘On Hartalika (third day of the Hindu lunar month of Bhadrapad) the Energy principle manifests in the universe in the form of flow of absolute fire element particles and under the influence of God Shiva. Due to the combined energies of Shiva and Divine energy there is accumulation of the Energy of action at respective levels in the body of the woman who worships the Goddess.

Accumulation of the Energy of action provides the strength for activity throughout the year. Besides, permeation of these frequencies into the physical body causes purification of the physical body and also that of the vital energy body along with that of the vital sheath.’ – Pujya (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil, 7th September 2006, 9.48 p.m.

8F What is the science underlying the act of ‘gondhal’ for Goddess ?

Objectives : ‘In order to reduce the suffering of other family members, caused by negative energies, the Goddess is awakened with a loud sound and is invoked to undertake Her mission of destruction. ‘Gondhal’ is performed as a remedy to the suffering caused by age old spiritual defects in the premises and also to terminate distress caused by negative energies, continuing for generations.

Effects : During gondhal a loud absolute fire element oriented sound is generated by impact and Energy frequencies get attracted to this sound. This restricts the movements of the negative energies within the room and many of them are destroyed in a short span of time. As a result the benefit of the Energy frequencies lasts for a longer period. During Navaratri since the Energy principle associated with the absolute fire element is active, a gondhal done then derives greater benefits from it.
‘Gondhali’ : These embodied souls are included in the devotees of the Goddess because for generations they have been worshipping Her. They are also termed as messengers or servants. Using their powerful energy laden speech they invoke the Goddess and are able to awaken Her destroyer form. If the bhav of the embodied soul doing the gondhal is 30 % then on the spiritual plane he receives chaitanya to the extent of 30 %. If the bhav is higher and ego less, than the benefit can be as high as 50 %. Action devoid of bhav gives a benefit of only 10 %.

gondhali1

Gondhali

Undertaking spiritual practice is more important than gondhal : Doing the gondhal as a duty to preserve the family tradition carries only 10 % importance. On the other hand going beyond duty and fulfilling the religious duty of spiritual practice of chanting the Name of the family Deity carries 30 % importance.

8G What is the science behind the ritual of ‘jogva magne’ ?

Meaning : ‘Jogva’ means beckoning the Goddess with an earnest, wholehearted prayer and pleading before Her to fulfill one’s wish. This pleading symbolises a decrease in the ego of the embodied soul and is directed towards merging the Goddess principle within oneself into Her holy feet.

A form of worship as a servitor (dasyabhakti) : ‘Jogva magne’ is a form of worship as a servitor. The true form of this worship is partaking of food cooked from alms of ingredients like flour, salt, etc. obtained by begging, as a servitor of the Goddess, from five households. This act not only reduces the ego but also helps in developing detachment.

Importance : ‘The ritual of ‘jogva magne’ helps one to detach oneself from the Great Illusion and become a servitor of the Energy principle. This act amounts to taking assistance from the manifest form, to reduce one’s ego and to experience detachment in that unmanifest form.’ – Pujya (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil, 8th September 2006, 6.49 to 7.44 p.m.

9. Rangoli’s that attract the Energy (Shakti) Principle

Rangoli is one of the most popular art forms in India especially drawn during various rituals and festivals. It is a form of sand-painting that uses finely ground coloured powders.

From a spiritual point of view, each Deity represents a specific Divine principle. Therefore there are specific shapes that have the capacity to attract the Energy principle, just like specific flowers are used to attract specific the Goddess Energy principle. Below are some shapes and also the Divine Energy Principle vibrations that they attract.

  Goddess principle Shape associated with the principle Proportion of colour (%)
1. Shri Durga Devi   Red
2. Shri Mahalakshmi   Red + Saffron (60+40)
3. Shri Lakshmi   Red + Yellow (40+60)
4. Shri Saraswati   White
5. Shri Mahasaraswati   White + Red (60+40)
6. Shri Kali   Violet
7. Shri MahaKali   Violet + Red (80+20)

The Divine Energy principle gets attracted towards the rangoli based on the colours used. When the rangoli is drawn and the colours associated with respective Divine Principles are used, then about 7 % Divine Energy Principle can reside within the rangoli, which is the maximum that can be attracted.

The rangoli diagram given below attracts the Divine Energy Principle.

Deity’s principle gets attracted to the rangoli as per the spiritual emotion.

A rangoli drawn by an embodied soul who has good spiritual emotion (bhav) can attract twenty percent Divine principle. When the colours are filled inside the rangoli, God has to expend less energy to come there. This also benefits those embodied souls, who may not have spiritual emotion.

If the spiritual emotion of the soul is more than 60%, then a specific Deity’s principle gets attracted to a specific rangoli.
If the spiritual emotion of the soul is more than 80%, then any Deity’s principle can get attracted to any rangoli.

10. Performing Garba

Performing Garba

10A The spiritual importance and the meaning of the word Garba

In Gujarat during the Navratra festival a lamp is kept in an earthen pot with multiple holes as a symbol of ‘MatruShakti’ (mother energy) and worshipped. With the omission of the word ‘Deep’ from the word ‘Deep Garbh’ the symbol of fertility in female worshipped for 9 days, the word Garbh and later Garba is currently used.

10B Cultural significance of the traditional Garba

In the olden times earthen pots with multiple holes were kept on one another in front of the Goddess on the first night. A lamp with four lit wicks was placed in the first pot and the lamp was uninterruptedly kept lit. Rounds of dance were performed around the lamp. There are two types of folk dances performed during ‘Garba’. The dance preformed by the males standing in a circle singing while clapping with simple feet movements is called ‘Garbi’ and the dance performed by females with delicate body gesticulations is called ‘Garba’. The songs praising Amba, Kalika, Randalmaa and other goddess are sung during ‘Garba’. At that time, in order to generate chivalry, instruments like drum and clarion are used. Over a period of time there was dance on songs based on Krushnaleela composed by saints, description of seasons, or related to social issues. Instead of claps there was use of instruments like Khanjiri, Manjiri and stack of lamps were used in the dance.

10C Garba means worship of goddess

According to Hinduism, performing ‘Garba’ means singing devotional hymns praising the Goddess with rhythmic clapping. Singing devotional hymns means awakening Shri Durga Devi from Her meditation through the medium of the manifest spiritual practice of rhythmic clapping, and appealing to her to assume the destructive form for Her activity in the Universe.

The organizer of Garba program for the last 55 years Shri. Nyaas from Kolhapur in this context says ‘Mother Goddess protected us by slaying the Demon. We cannot pay her back; so in order to gratify her, to please her, this dance is performed. This dance is a form of worship to please the goddess like Kirtan and Bhajan’. The priest of Radhakrishna temple at Kolhapur says ‘The ‘Dandiya’ in the ‘Garba’ dance is the symbol of ‘Khadag’ (sword like weapon in the hand of the Goddess).’ It is used to tell the Goddess that, ‘We are doing your worship’. The Dandiya dance should be done with the attitude of being a warrior. The movement of the ‘Dandiya’ should be like that of the sword. At the time of this dance the song should be in relation to the Goddess.

10D Reason for performing Garba with three claps

The destroyer form of the Goddess is awakened by the musical rhythm of three claps through the frequencies of desire (ichha), action (kriya) and knowledge (dnyan), representing the Deity Bramha, Shrivishnu and Deity Mahesh principles.
Deity Bramha, Shrivishnu and Deity Mahesh are the three main manifest energies of God. During Navratri the destroyer principle of Goddess Durga gets awakened slowly and gradually. The destroyer form of the Goddess is channeled through these three energies. By clapping three times, the energy of Her resolve (sankalpa) gets activated. Hence it is more desirable and fruitful to praise the Goddess through the rhythmic movement of three claps. The meaning of the three claps is as follows -

The first clap is related to the Deity Brahma principle which is symbolised by the energy of desire. As a result, the energy of desire of Deity Brahma gets awakened in the universe. This energy also gives approval to the wishes in the mind of the embodied soul (jiva), according to his spiritual emotion.

Through the medium of the second clap, the action related waves of the Shrivishnu principle give energy to the embodied soul for performing actions.

Through the medium of the third clap, the knowledge waves of the Deity Shiva principle bring about the actual act and from its result give the desired fruits to the embodied soul.

The act of clapping generates the fire element, so it is possible to awaken the destructive form of the Goddess through the striking of the claps. The act of clapping is symbolic of the worship of the fire element. Invoking the Goddess by the singing of devotion filled hymns and moving around in a circle while clapping helps in the awakening of spiritual emotion towards the Goddess.

11. Spiritual experiences of seekers related to the Navratri celebration

A. During the Navratri festival experienced a sharp saw being kept in the middle of my head and at times also experienced its touch

On the first day of Navratri, on 23.09.2006, we visited the Navratri celebrations at the “Congo Hindu Mandal” in Congo. Over there, I felt as if someone had placed a sharp saw on the middle of my head. Sometimes, I also felt the saw actually touching me. After the Navratri festival, this reduced to some extent; although sometimes all of a sudden I continue to have the same experience

- A Seeker, Congo, Africa

B. On the fourth night of Navratri, I dreamt that I was inside the Goddess’s temple and the next morning discovered a Holy offering, on my blanket

On 26.09.2006, which was the fourth night of Navratri that year, I dreamt that I was inside the Goddess’ temple. The idol of the Goddess was made of solid rock, yet I could not make out which Goddess’ idol it was. Some of our fellow seekers were also visiting this temple. I could also see a Shree Ganesh idol inside the temple. All through the night, I was inside this temple and when I woke up in the morning I saw a red coloured cloth (which is offered to the Goddess) on my blanket.

- A Seeker, Ramnathi Ashram, Goa, India

C. While looking at the rangolis of Shri Lakshmi and Shrikrushna Principle, experienced Shrikrushna smiling and playing his flute and observed a Divine yellow light around the rangoli.

On the morning of 25.09.2007, rangoli pictures taken for the ‘Shakti’ book were sent for printing. As I was verifying the contents of the pages before giving them for printing, while looking at the rangoli pictures for the Shri Lakshmi and Shrikrushna principle, my chanting started occurring slowly. I experienced goose bumps. After some time, while gazing at the same pictures, saw Shrikrushna smilingly playing his flute and experienced a state of Divine Bliss. For a few moments, saw a Divine yellow light around the rangoli. At that time felt immense gratitude at H.H. Dr. Athavale’s feet that, due to His grace, through the rangolis, the Deities principle will reach many homes.

- A Seeker, Sanatan Ashram, Devad, India

D. Spiritual experience after worshipping the Goddess with vermillion

On 27.01.2004, we went to the temple to do kumkumarchan. After completing our worship, the priest in the temple gave us the vermillion which was used in kumkumarchan. While receiving this vermillion, I prayed to the Goddess, “Please let this Holy vermillion impart us with the energy to make our prayers and chanting more effective.” Since then, whenever I apply that vermillion on my forehead, my chanting starts and I am filled with some sort of Divine enthusiasm.

- A Seeker, Ponda, Goa

12. Through the eyes of a Sculptor

Programs held during Navaratri should be based on Righteousness and culture. Mr. Sudesh Surve, a resident of Mandavi, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra has been sculpting idols of Shree Ganesh and Goddess Durga for the past six years. He is also a member of the Navratrotsav Mandal in Mandavi. His thoughts on the art of sculpting and Navaratri celebrations are given below.

12A Sculpt idols from clay (Shadu); not from Plaster of Paris (POP)

Mr. Surve explained that sculpting idols is an art and not a profession. He uses Shadu clay (a type of clay) for making the sculpture and not plaster of Paris since it does not dissolve in water completely. After immersion some parts of such idols may be seen floating near the seashore or riverbank. He feels distressed on seeing the remnants of these plaster of Paris idols floating around.

12B Goddess gets the sculpting done through Him

Sometimes after completing an idol, Mr Surve realizes that it was the Goddess Herself who got it sculpted, using him as a medium. He has noticed that the atmosphere at home is blissful when an idol is being sculpted. Also, ever since he started sculpting idols, he has never experienced any constraints. He sculpts idols of different forms of the female deity, such as sitting on the lion or tiger, destroying the demons, seated, etc.

12C Unity in the town increases during Navaratri

Mr. Surve explained the difference of the Navratri celebrations in his town as against the recent trend of celebrations elsewhere. Before the Navratri celebrations begin, everyone from various parts of the town come together to discuss and plan the celebration. Accordingly, they celebrate it collectively in the main areas of the town, instead of celebrating it individually. They celebrate Navratra not only for the Garba and Dandiya ras, (traditional dance) but also with the intention of uniting all the people. During the celebrations, they organize spiritual programs, such as singing holy songs (bhajans), performing ritualistic fire offerings (Chandiyag), etc. They play only holy songs on the music system instead of film songs. Members of their organization are each given a responsibility during the days of Navratra celebrations, wherein they organize a variety of programs for the children. For the award ceremony, they invite a person of righteous character, rather than inviting politicians. During this period most people from their town do not consume meat, alcohol or tobacco.

13. Malpractices during Navratri

Festivals bestow bliss !

A religious festival is a collective religious rites performed by the people. People celebrating such festivals and participating in the rites experience joy and bliss.

Festivals help to imbibe Divine qualities!

Every action in relation to God is an attempt to increase the ‘Sattva’ component in ourselves. A ‘Sattva’ predominant person tries to make others happy even if it is at the cost of his own happiness. Giving happiness to others does not reduce one’s own happiness. A ‘Raja’ predominant person strives only for his own happiness or contentment; whereas a ‘Tama’ predominant person aims to gain happiness at the cost of others’ happiness. If religious festivals are celebrated only with a purpose of increasing ‘Sattva’ component, it helps to obtain spiritual benefits and also to imbibe Divine qualities. Festivals help to combat ‘Tama’ frequencies. Most of the Hindu religious festivals are celebrated in the ‘Chaturmas’, i.e. four months from ‘Shravan’ to ‘Kartik’ as per the Hindu Calendar. During these four months ‘Tama’ predominant ‘Yama’ frequencies come to Earth. To combat these frequencies, it is essential for humans to increase their Sattva component.

13A Desecration of Culture in Modern Garba

Modern Garba

Hindus, there is ongoing perversion of our public festivals. Most of the times, forgetting the religious, spiritual and social reason behind the celebration of the festivals, the festivals are only looked upon as pleasure and fun. If one has to obtain the best example, then if one goes through the newspapers to see preparations of Navaratra, then one can see from the news with photographs everywhere of various garba classes and various costumes, the amount of time required for this, along with the order given by the court in relation to the dispute of noise pollution. There is no mention of God in the festival we celebrate and whose blessings we are trying to invoke. While defining the festival in the science of religion it is said that – the function that gives bliss to everybody is a festival. If one sees the present day festival then one will have to make a new definition that, ‘Making others unhappy in order to enjoy happiness (not bliss). As a result, barring a specific age group an average individual has started saying that, ‘We do not want this festival, let us live in peace’. Hindus, now prove your selves ready to face the various malpractices in ‘Navratra’ as on the occasion of Shree Ganeshutsav. Forcible collection of donation, sound pollution, garba played to the tune of film songs, the ugly dance performed in a drunken state with obscene gesticulation, the significant increase in the number of unmarried mothers after few months of Navratra are the various malpractices which are the warning bell of decline of Hindu religion and civilization. In order to caution the Hindus about this danger, so also in order to protect and maintain the Hindu religion and civilization, we have undertaken this task of writing the article! These malpractices are harmful to our Dharma and culture. Today, putting an end to these is a part of abiding by Dharma. For the past few years, Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti has been conducting public awareness campaigns against such malpractices; you too can participate in these campaigns!

13B The modern Garba and Dandiya pervert the main intention of Garba

A. Unscientific: It is necessary that Garba is played with Krushnaleela, songs composed by saints played on the combined tune of traditional instruments; but presently Garba is played to the tune of film songs and the deafening sound of modern musical instruments.

B. Indecent body gesticulations: It is necessary that certain rhythmic movements of the body occur during the Garba. But presently there is quenching of one’s dancing enthusiasm by diverse gesticulations. In such dances as there is more of boisterousness, incidents of dashing each other, intentional body touching occur. In the Dandiya dance one has to gently touch the stick in the other’s hand, but presently in the Dandiya dance they are struck anyhow in a forceful manner.

C. Absence of piety: Garba is a form of worship of the Goddess. Thus, it is mandatory to safeguard piety while performing Garba. The feeling of devotion that one has while worshipping a deity should also be fostered while playing Garba. However, in the present times, people are seen wearing gaudy and revealing costumes for Garba! Thus, it has become a medium of show and pomp, rather than that of fulfilling spiritual pursuits! People performing Garba mostly comprise of drunkards in large numbers. Also, people perform it with their footwear on. All these malign the sanctity of the festival.

D. Sexual Attraction: In recent times, young boys and girls who are sexually attracted to each other consider Garba a medium to come together ! This results in immoral acts. After performing Garba, these boys and girls loiter on the roads instead of going home. Police Officials report that, such youngsters leave their homes under the pretext of Garba and indulge in drinking and misbehaving on the streets. A Gujarati periodical brought out the shocking news that there is a significant rise in the incidence of abortions by unwed mothers in Mumbai and Gujarat, a few months after the Navratri festival!

13C Commercial nature of Garba

A. Collection of Funds – A source of earning money ! : In the name of Garba, donations are demanded in some places, based on the size of residential flats in the colony, that is depending upon the standard of living of the donor, e.g. in Vapi, Gujarat, in one of the years, Rs. 1,500/- & Rs. 1,000/- respectively were collected from residents of 3 & 2 BHK flats in a prestigious colony.

The entry fees for ‘Disco Dandiya’ vary from Rs. 100/- to Rs. 1,000/- per day. In cities like Mumbai, popular actors and actresses are invited for Garba. To participate in such a Garba, one has to pay a huge entry fee. Garba organisers earn rupees 25 to 30 crores through this medium. People who accumulate wealth through illegal means have also viewed Garba as a medium of earning money.

B. Garba Organisers lead people into gambling: In some places, there is a practice of awarding a person who purchases entry tickets worth thousands of rupees for playing Garba, Dandiya/Disco-Dandiya, as a lucky winner, with gifts worth Rupees 5,000 – 10,000/- on a lottery basis. Garba organisers fill their coffers by taking advantage of the faulty attitude prevalent amongst general public to ‘get rich overnight’! Many such Organizers attract Garba and Dandiya lovers enticing them with expensive cars as gifts. Thus, they indirectly encourage gambling habits in the society.

13D Failure of politicians in curbing malpractices

Malpractices prevalent in Garba, which have an adverse effect on Hindu Dharma, are on the rise. These can put an end to Hindu customs, traditions and cultural values. Despite all this, the politicians whose duty is to put an end to such practices remain passive. Politicians, with a view to safeguard their political interests, allow people to do whatever they desire, instead of guiding them on the correct path. During the festive period, rules prevalent with regard to noise pollution and morality are given a backseat. Although these are well-known facts, both, politicians and the administration ignore them. Hence, the judiciary has to interfere in such issues.

13E What do we achieve through the modern Garba?

On seeing this pitiable state of Modern Garba, a question that comes to mind is, ‘What do we achieve out of all this?’

A. No benefit of the Divine principle: As a matter of fact, the purpose of Garba is to acquire the grace of the Goddess through her worship. However, nowadays the malpractices prevalent in the name of Garba result in a failure of this objective.

B. Rise in spiritual pollution (‘Tama’ components): There has been a rise in the ‘tama’ component and reduction in the piousness of the Navratri festival due to incidents of looting of devotees, immoral activities that take place in the name of Garba, etc.

C. Loss of future generations: Festivals and religious celebrations are the best available opportunities for impressing values of loyalty to Dharma (Righteousness) and the Nation. However, the ongoing Garba celebrations do not facilitate this. On the contrary, they result in impressing wrong values!

To stop the undesirable practices in Navratri you can do this !

  • Do not give or take donations by force.
  • Avoid disco-dandiya programs which play Hindi film songs or Western music.
  • If loudspeakers are used after 10.00 p.m. lodge a complaint with the nearest police station.
  • Avoid immersion processions, where people dance obscenely.
  • Do not burst crackers or apply ‘Gulal’ forcefully.
  • Use your contacts to organize programs on Protecting the Nation and Righteousness.
  • Learn the spiritual science behind the rites/rituals and share it with as many people as you can.
  • Be alert! Unite! Firmly oppose immoral practices during the celebration of festivals.

14. Denigration of the Goddess

Goddess Durga in sexual union with a Tiger

Goddess Durga in sexual union with a Tiger

Denigration of the Goddess

 

Anything, which is in consonance with the scriptures is ideal and spiritually beneficial. But today Hindu deities are denigrated in advertisements and in other media. Here is an example. Shri Durgadevi depicted nude by Anti-Hindu perverted painter M F Husain.

See some other blasphemous denigrations of the Goddess.

View the extreme denigration of Hindu deities. Click here

MF Hussain’s nude paintings of Goddess Shri Durga, Saraswati and Laxmi

Can you ignore this insult of our mother? Know more

Goddess Durga in sexual union with a Tiger Naked Saraswati Goddess Lakshmi naked on Sree Ganesh's head

Disclaimer: Most of the material posted here is from various Hindu scriptures like Durga Saptashati, Puranas and book “Shakti” and other publications published by Sanatan Sanstha. This material is published with due permission from Sanatan Sanstha. Please do not reproduce the matter without permission. Contact: sanatan.org directly for Books and CDs.

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