UNDERSTANDING THE SIGNIFICANCE OF NAVRATRI
The uniqueness of Hindu festivals is that they are all related to some or the other significant astronomical events or change. Navratri is not an exception to this rule. The nine nights of Navrati help us tune with the creative energies and rejuvenate ourselves, both physically and mentally.
Change of seasons in a year is directly connected to both the Equinoxes and the Solstices. Equinoxes and Solstices are astronomical evens that mark the sun’s apparent movements in the sky.
Summer Solstice marks the time when the sun reaches the highest point in the Northern sky. While winter Solstice marks the movement of the sun to the lowest point in the Southern sky. Equinoxes are the periods when the plane of the Earth’s equator is in line with the center of the Sun’s disk.
There are two Equinoxes in a year — in March and September. Days and nights are generally of equal duration then. The two Solstices occur in June and December.
Correspondingly there are four Navratris celebrated in India:
Vasanta Navratri (March-April) — marks the beginning of summer season.
Ashadha Navratri (June-July) — marks the beginning of the monsoon season.
Sharada Navratri (September-October) — marks the beginning of the winter season.
Pausha/Magha Navratri (January-February) — marks the beginning of the autumn season.
Of these, the Vasanta Navaratri and Sharada Navaratri are observed and celebrated by the householder and spiritual seekers alike. Ashadaha Navratri and Pausha/Magha Navratri are known as Gupt (Secret) Navratris — these are largely observed by people who perform Tantra Vidya or seek to obtain Siddhis (psychic powers) or the Shaktas (Devottes of Goddess Shakti). Of the four, the Sharada Navratri (also known as Maha Navratri) are celebrated with much gusto and fervor by all.
These four periods are the focal points of changes. They mark the end of what is old, spent, harmful and birth of something new. One can also see this as a period of retrospection, rejuvenation and rebirth — on all the three planes: physical, mental & spiritual. This is the time to bring everything in balance.
Equinoxes and the Solstices mark the transition period between two seasons. This is the time when bacteria thrive and viral infections/diseases are at their peak. At the same time, the body needs time to adjust to the changes in the climate and environment. Excessive and wrong eating habits, disturbed sleeping patterns and onslaught of the climate result in low immunity and creates imbalance in the body by disturbing the three bio elements — Vata (Gas), Pitta (Bile) and Kapha (Phlegm). Navratri is the right time to detoxify and revitalize the body by balancing these three humors.
Fasting is an essential part of the Navratri celebrations. Some people have only one meal a day. Most of them, however, abstain from certain high energy food stuffs and have only selected food items. Meat, grains, alcohol, onion, garlic etc. are totally avoided; so are processed foods. The emphasis is on gluten free grain alternatives, fresh fruits, yoghurt, etc. which are easy to digest. The Divine Energy symbolized by the Goddesses are invoked to help control and cleanse the nine openings of the physical body: 2 Chakshu (Eyes), 2 Karna (Ears), 2 Nasika (Nostrils), 1 Vadana (Mouth), 1 for Malotsarjan — Anus & 1 for Mutrotsarjan — Urinary opening.
Navatri is also the period of cleansing the mind of the nine evil forces –
1. काम — lust
2. क्रोध — anger
3. लोभ — greed
4. मोह — delusion
5. अहंकार — ego
6. ईर्ष्या — jealousy
7. संशय — doubt
8. राग — attachment
9. द्वेष — hatred
Fasting also has psychological benefits include strengthening one’s will power and removing emotional blocks. This is the time when one reflects inwards. Self-control and discipline help to rid the mind of its impurities and nurture noble values.
Mental control coupled with control over physical urges help elevate ones spiritual status. People involve themselves in spiritual practices such as meditation, pranayama, etc. All the forms of AdiShakti (Primal Energy) are worshipped to help us destroy our basic, gross carnal tendencies and invoke the Divine Power within ourselves. This is the time for recharging one’s latent energies and activating one’s progress to the transcendental world.
Navratri is a festival of nine ‘nights’. There is a reason for this. Indian scriptures mention that “ रात्रि रूपा यतोदेवी, दिवा रूपो महेश्वर ”. Meaning that Shiv represents daytime while Shakti is active during the night time. Shiv and Shakti are one; so also a day and night represents one complete day. The day is full of activity; while energies are invoked and recharged in the silence of the night. Hence worshippers of the Feminine Primal force always choose the night time to worship the Devis — the Goddesses.
To read about the various NAVRATRI MANTRA REMEDIES, click HERE: http://astrologyindailylife.com/2017/09/20/effective-astrological-remedies-navratri/.