Navratri, a festival celebrated in India, is dedicated to Devi Durga, the goddess of power and strength. People celebrate the festival for nine days, symbolizing the nine forms of the goddess, also known as Navdurga. The festival derives its name from two Sanskrit words “Nava” meaning nine and “Ratri” meaning night.
Significance of Navratri
Navratri is a celebration that lasts for nine nights and holds immense spiritual significance. The festival derives its name from two Sanskrit words that mean “nine nights,” and it is an opportunity for devotees to observe spiritual disciplines such as fasting, meditation, and prayer. This festival is a time for people to rest, recharge, and rejuvenate themselves.
Dates of Celebration in 2023 and 2024
The Navratri Festival, an important Hindu festival, is celebrated across India and other parts of the world with great enthusiasm and devotion. It is a nine-day festival dedicated to the nine divine expressions of Goddess Durga.
In 2023, Sharadiya Navratri will be celebrated from 15th October to 24th October. Additionally, Magha Gupt Navratri 2024 will be celebrated from 10th February to 18th February.
When is Sharadiya Navratri Celebrated?
Sharadiya Navratri occurs around the autumn equinox, usually in October, and is one of the most popular Navratri celebrations. It is a time of vibrant festivities and fervent devotion to the goddess Durga. The festival spans nine nights and ten days and culminates with the celebration of Vijayadashami, which marks the triumph of good over evil.
What is Sharadiya Navratri?
Sharadiya Navratri gets its name from the Sharad Ritu (autumn season) during which it falls. It is celebrated during the Ashwin month of the Hindu calendar, which corresponds to September or October in the Gregorian calendar.
This auspicious festival is celebrated for nine whole days with great enthusiasm and devotion by Hindus, and its festivities are also embraced by people of various ethnicities across India.
During Sharadiya Navratri, devotees worship Goddess Durga and Her nine divine forms. Each day of Navratri is dedicated to one of the nine forms of Maa Durga, and prayers and rituals are offered accordingly.
Sharadiya Navratri concludes on Vijayadashami, also known as Dussehra, which marks the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana and is symbolic of the triumph of good over evil. It is a time for grand processions, cultural performances, and the burning of effigies of Ravana.
How to Celebrate Sharadiya Navratri?
Navratri is a significant Hindu festival dedicated to the divine feminine power in the universe, Goddess Durga. The festival is celebrated for nine days and is a time of great joy and festivity in India.
During this period, devotees engage in various rituals and practices to honor the goddess and seek her blessings. Chanting of holy hymns, dancing to the beats of garba and dandiya, and attending Jagrans are some of the popular ways that devotees express their devotion to their favorite goddess.
It is crucial for the younger generation to understand the significance of Navratri and its rituals to keep the rich Indian culture alive for generations to come. By passing on the knowledge of the festival’s meaning and practices, they ensure that the vibrant and colorful celebration of Navratri continues to be an essential part of Indian culture.
Ghatasthapana is an essential Navratri ritual that marks the beginning of the nine-day celebration. It is a sacred act of invoking Goddess Shakti, and performing it at the wrong time or in a wrong way can lead to negative consequences. It is advisable to follow specific rules and guidelines when performing Ghatasthapana.
The most auspicious or Shubh time to perform Ghatasthapana is during the first one-third of the day while Pratipada is in effect. It is also possible to perform it during the Abhijit Muhurta if the auspicious time is not available. However, it is not recommended to perform Ghatasthapana during Nakshatra Chitra and Vaidhriti Yoga, even though it is not prohibited.
It is also important to avoid performing Ghatasthapana on Amavasya and at night. The act of Ghatasthapana is also known as Kalash Sthapana or Kalashsthapana, and it is crucial to perform it before Hindu noon time while Pratipada is in effect.
Understanding the proper way of performing Ghatasthapana is essential to ensure that one can reap the maximum spiritual benefits of Navratri and avoid any negative consequences.
Growing Khetri or barley seeds during Navratri is a tradition that symbolizes growth, prosperity, and abundance. The practice of growing barley seeds is believed to have originated in ancient India, where farmers used to sow barley seeds in their fields to invoke the blessings of the Goddess for a bountiful harvest.
Today, this tradition is still prevalent in many parts of India, where families and communities participate in the ritual of growing Khetri during Navratri. The barley seeds are nurtured and cared for during the nine-day period, and it is believed that the growth of the seeds represents the growth of wealth, happiness, and prosperity in the family.
On the last day of Navratri, the Khetri is taken to a nearby river or stream and immersed in the water, which is believed to release the energy and blessings of the Goddess into the environment. Alternatively, the Khetri can also be placed under a Peepal tree, which is considered a sacred tree in Hinduism.
The tradition of growing Khetri during Navratri is not only a way to seek the blessings of the Goddess but also a way to connect with nature and celebrate the abundance of life. It is a beautiful way to honor the cycle of growth and renewal that is an essential part of the Hindu philosophy.
Fasting During Navratri
Fasting is a significant aspect of this nine-day festival. The purpose of fasting is not to appease the deity, but rather to cleanse the mind, body, and spirit. According to Ayurveda, fasting allows the abdomen to be empty, which generates more jatharagni or digestive fire, eliminating toxins from the body. This results in a calm mind, increased focus, and improved mental strength.
During an austere fast, a person does not eat anything for the entire festival, which lasts for nine days. They may only consume water during this period. The fast is broken on the tenth day after performing a puja (worship) and offering food to young girls (Kanya Pujan).
In a partial fast, one can consume permitted foods such as fruits, sabudana, rajgira, kuttu ka atta, dairy, and nuts during the day, and have a one-time meal at night. It is important to keep drinking water during the fast, and one can also consume coconut water, buttermilk, lemon juice, and other juices to avoid dehydration and weakness.
It is recommended to offer whatever food is prepared to the deities and then share it as Prasadam. Keeping the home clean at all times is important, as a clean home is believed to invite the Goddess. One should avoid consumption of alcohol, drugs, eggs, non-vegetarian food, onions, and garlic during this period.
When can one break the fast?
Navratri is not only a time for celebration and festivities but also a period of spiritual significance, observed by families all over northern India. The seven-day fast, known as Navratri Parana, is a tradition that is followed by many. Some may choose to fast only on certain days, while others observe it for the entire festival.
Breaking the fast after performing Kanya Puja is a common practice, but it is important to note that there is no need to seek out the Navratri Parana Muhurat if you follow this tradition. Fasting during Navratri is believed to bring spiritual purity and blessings from Goddess Durga, and many people also choose to donate food or money to the needy during this time, as a form of charity and seeking the blessings of the goddess.
Nav Kanya Pujan
During Navratri, families invite nine young girls below the age of 13 to their homes and worship them as embodiments of the nine goddesses or nine manifestations of Goddess Shakti. This age-old tradition, known as Nav Kanya Puja, is highly regarded for its ability to please Goddess Durga. The belief behind this tradition is that the feminine gender embodies the primordial energy of creation and these girls represent the very first force that inspired the creation of the universe and the gods, making them deserving of utmost respect and admiration.
During Kanya Puja, the family washes the girls’ feet, ties a red mauli on their hands, and applies a tilak on their forehead. Then, they worship and offer prasadam, including puri, dry black chana, and halwa. Some families also invite and worship a boy of the same age as the form of Bhairava (Shiva). The coconut kept at the altar is cracked open and shared as prasadam among the girls.
This ceremony, also known as Maha Ashtami Kumari Puja, holds great significance in the Navratri festivities. Performing Kanya Puja is believed to help one gain the blessings of Goddess Durga and acknowledge the feminine power bestowed in the female child. Additionally, all the offerings made to the goddess during the nine days are offered to the young girls, making this ceremony an important aspect of Navratri celebration.
Rudraksha you should wear during Navratri
Nine Mukhi Rudraksha
The Nine Mukhi Rudraksha is highly recommended to be worn during Navratri, as it is believed to be blessed by Devi Durga herself. This Rudraksha is associated with the nine forms of Durga and is believed to bring peace, prosperity, and success to the wearer. It is also believed to help overcome obstacles, provide protection from negative energies, and enhance spiritual growth.
Eighteen Mukhi Rudraksha
The Eighteen Mukhi Rudraksha is believed to be blessed by Devi Bhumi, the earth goddess, who is revered as the mother of all creation. Wearing the Eighteen Mukhi Rudraksha is believed to bestow abundance, prosperity, and good fortune upon the wearer. It is also believed to enhance intuition, promote spiritual growth, and protect the wearer from negative energies. This Rudraksha is also said to help remove obstacles and bring success in all endeavors.
Navchandi Mahapuja at Rudralife
During Navratri, the Navchandi Puja, a revered Hindu ritual, is conducted to pay a profound homage to the Goddess Chandi. It is a nine-day Mahapuja from October 15th to October 24th, 2023, with precise timings guided by the auspicious Muhurat.
This sacred ceremony involves chanting verses from the Chandi Path, invoking divine blessings. Devotees gather to channel powerful energies, seeking protection and guidance from the Goddess. It’s a beautiful blend of devotion and tradition, creating a spiritual experience that’s both enriching and deeply meaningful. Performing pujas like the Navchandi Mahapuja can bring in immense blessings of Devi Durga.
Each day, we pay homage to one of Devi Durga’s incarnations, commencing with Devi Shailputri and concluding in grandeur on the tenth day. These rituals, prayers, and introspection encourage new beginnings and spiritual purification.
As a special note, we cherish Rudraksha beads, particularly the 9 Mukhi Rudraksha, believed to carry Devi Durga’s blessings. Wear or gift these beads during Navratri for spiritual elevation.
Our comprehensive Puja includes various rituals, such as Abhishek, Mantra Japa, Homam, and Aarti, to seek the blessings of Devi Durga and invoke her divine grace for prosperity and spiritual growth.
As Prasad, devotees will receive Energized Chunri and Mata ka Shringar, Rudraksha & Cat’s Eye Bracelet (Indonesian), Dryfruits, Mouli, Akshat, Kumkum & Rudralife’s Devi Durga Booklet ( Facts, Stories and Mantras )
To register for Navchandi Mahapuja, click here.