Nav = nine and ratri = night. As the name implies, Navratri is a festival of nine consecutive nights. A festival so important that it takes nine nights to celebrate it. Let’s inspect a few reasons why we celebrate Navratri. There are in fact four such congregations of nine days, one for each season, in lunisolar year. But the most popular remains the one celebrated after monsoon.
Just like every Hindu festival has a religious reason of why we celebrate it, Navratri does too. We all know about the story about the demon Mahisasur, who was granted a boon from Lord Brahma that only a woman could defeat him. His atrocities and ambitions knew no bounds. Finally, trinity of gods - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva came together and created Goddess Durga. Cunning Mahisasur kept changing his forms each day to confuse Goddess Durga, but on the final day, when he was in the form of a buffalo, Goddess Durga killed him with trishul. This battle lasted nine straight days. This was also the time when Lord Ram battled with Ravan and emerged victorious on the tenth day, celebrated as Dusshera. Navratri honors Navdurga - nine forms of Durga. They are:
These nine forms celebrate, honor and worship nine different incarnations, nine different colors and nine different qualities. It is, in essence, to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate feminine power. Power of endurance. Power of sustainability, power of truth and the power of conviction. All of which can be summarized in one word - Shakti - a powerful force of energy.
Religious reasons are usually the reasons why a festival sustains and remains within the fabric of our culture. In a simplistic way, it’s a story about good over evil. But the social reasons generally popularize the festivals. Depending on part of India, it is celebrated differently. Northern part of India enacts Ramayan by performing Ram-Lila. Eastern part performs several Durga puja rituals. But it’s the western part of India, state of Gujarat, where Navratri brings out the the biggest celebrations to life in the form of Ras-Garba. Nowhere does a folk-dance so large, so organized, so festive, so loud and so colorful take place outside of Gujarat. It is truly marvelous sight and one must include that in the bucket list. Rhythmic dance exercising virtually every part of one’s body provides a full-body workout without one realizing it. It is the workout that we all need before indulging in the Diwali sweets. All kidding aside, change of a season generally impacts the ones with low immunity…and the form of workout keeps that at bay.
For the same health reason, a lot of people observe different versions of fast during these times. It is the time to stop focusing on material objects and look within. It is the time to reinvigorate your inner core energy by reciting prayers that let you look inside.
Sameedh proudly offers the Navratri playlist with following prayers -
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3
- Chapter 4
- Chapter 5
- Chapter 6
- Chapter 7
- Chapter 8
- Chapter 9
- Chapter 10
- Chapter 11