Today marks the ninth day of Durga puja! This is a day to put all your tools, creative instruments, computer, anything related to your work and creativity on your altar to ask for blessings from Maha Saraswati (goddess of knowledge, music, art and science) also ask her to bless your “vehicle”– your bike, car, legs, tiger, any way you move around in the world. This is also a day to celebrate and honor young girls (Kumaris!) as embodiments of Goddess. Give them red gifts, flowers, cook them special foods and remind them of their power, strength, courage, and beauty! A popular blessing or greeting you’ll hear today is: JAI MAA JAI MAA JAI MAAAAAA! Jai means victory and MAA means Mother – Literally it means “Victory to the Mother” but it’s said to bring awareness to your thoughts and actions, and to bring greater wisdom in your interactions with others. *
If you felt some serious Shakti energy when you woke this morning, you can thank the millions of Hindus around the globe who are celebrating their annual celebration of “Navaratri” – 9 days of Goddess worship!
Navaratri actually means “9 Nights” in Sanskrit, and it’s a major Hindu world celebration, especially in India and Nepal.
During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped and is celebrated for Goddess Durga, the manifestation of Deity in form of “Shakti,” which is the representation of feminine power or feminine energy. These 9 days are spent celebrating Goddesses – human AND celestial – in all their splendor, all of whom are the light of Navratri. Hindu females dress in their most colorful beautiful saris and dance and sing to celebrate creative energy, fertility and the divine feminine.
During Navaratri, Hindus invoke the energy aspect of God in the form of the universal mother, commonly referred to as “Durga,” - which literally means the remover of miseries of life. She is also referred to as “Devi” (goddess) or “Shakti” (energy or power). Hindus believe it is this energy, which helps God to proceed with the work of creation, preservation and destruction. Basically, the belief is that God is motionless, unchanging, and that the Divine Mother Durga creates everything with her Shakti.
Hindus believe that Druga is the Divine Mother (the mother of all) and all of us are her children. They also believe that God’s glory, cosmic energy, greatness and supremacy can best be depicted as the “motherhood” aspect of God. Just as a child finds all these qualities in his or her mother, similarly, Hindus look upon God as mother. In fact, Hinduism is the only religion in the world which gives so much importance to the mother aspect of God because they believe that mother is the creative aspect of the absolute.
Navaratri is divided into sets of three days to adore different aspects of the supreme goddess. The first three days are devoted to Durga (to destroy all our vices, impurities, and defects). The next three day set is devoted to Lakshmi (the giver of spiritual and material wealth), and the last set is devoted to Saraswati (the goddess of wisdom). The 10th day is commonly referred to as Vijayadashami or Dussehra, which is the day Goddess Durga defeated demons known as Shumbh and NiShumbh. The dates of Navaratri are determined according to the lunar calendar. Navaratri is celebrated for 9 nights in order have all-round success in life, and to receive the blessings of all three aspects of the divine mother.
*Thanks to Laura Amazzone for today’s update on Navaratri!