The beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn are two very important phases of climatic and solar influence. These two periods are taken as sacred opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother. The dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar.
Navaratri represents the celebration of Goddess Durga, the manifestation of a deity in the form of Shakti [Energy, or Power]. The Navaratri, or the ‘nine nights’ festival’ becomes ‘ten days’ festival’ with the addition of the last day, Vijayadashami, which is its culmination. On all these ten days, the various forms of Mother Mahisasura-mardini (Durga) are worshipped with fervor and devotion.
Nine forms of Shakti are worshipped during the Navaratris. The devis worshipped depend on the tradition of the region.
The Navratri commences on the first day (pratipada) of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Ashvin. The festival is celebrated for nine nights once every year during the beginning of October. As the dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar, the Navratri is divided into sets of three days to adore three different aspects of the supreme goddess or goddesses.
First set of three days
The goddess is separated as a spiritual force called Durga, also known as Kali, in order that all our impurities are destroyed.
Second set of three days
The Mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth. Goddess Lakshmi is considered to have the power of bestowing on her devotees inexhaustible wealth, as she is the goddess of wealth.
Final set of three days
The final set of three days is spent in worshipping the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati. In order to have all-round success in life, believers seek the blessings of all three aspects of the divine femininity, hence the nine nights of worship.
Navratri is celebrated in a large number of Indian communities. The Mother Goddess is said to appear in nine forms, and each is worshipped for a day. These nine forms signify the various traits that the goddess influences us with. The Devi Mahatmya and other texts invoking the Goddess who vanquished demons are cited.
We celebrate the auspicious festival of Navratri every year at our Bangalore Ashram. Mata Annapoorneshwari is the image of Shakti we worship throughout the year at the Annapoorneshwari temple in Maralwadi. Special Pujas are conducted and festivities of Navratri are a blessing for one and all.