Navratri......the nine holy and divine nights is celebrated five times a year. They are named according to the name of hindi lunar month in which each of these fall. They are-
Navrati before Dusshera is Sharana Navrati. Navrati in March-April is Vasant Navrati.
Vasant navratri and Shrana Navrati are two most important and celebrated Navratri.
1. Vasanta Navaratri or Basant Navratri is known as Chaitra Navatri and is one of the two most recognised Navratris in a year. Rama Navratri is the festival of nine days dedicated to the nine forms of Shakti in spring (Marchâ€“April).
2. Gupt Navaratri: This Navratri falls in Hindu month-Ashadha so it is called Ashadha Navratri or Shakambhari Navratri. Ashadha Navratri falls in Shukla Paksha or waxing phase of moon in June-July.
3. Sharana Navaratri: Maha Navratri is the second most recognized Navratri, celebrated in Ashwin month. It is also known as Sharadeeya Navratri and falls in September-October i.e. during Sharad.
4. Poushya Navaratri: Poushya Navratri is nine divine nights in Pousha which corresponds with English months, Decemberâ€“January. The Shukla Paksha of Poushya initiates this Navaratri.
5. Magha Navaratri: Magha Navratri is also a kind of Gupt Navratri. The waxing phase of moon in Januaryâ€“February marks the beginning of Magha Navaratri.
The nine days of Navratri is observed with great reverence. Chaitra Navratri and Sharadeeya Navratri are the important days to feel the celestial energies to our souls. Lord Vishnu is worshipped with full devotion in Vasant Navratri while in Sharadeeya Navratri Durga Ma is praised.
The eighth day of Sharadeeya Navratri is believed to be the birth day of Ma Durga. So, eighth day puja is very important. When the puja is performed with systematic procedure as we are describing here will definitely purify your soul and by mother's grace all your wishes get fulfilled.
Tradition of feeding and pujan of little girls or kanya is being performed for years on 8th or 9th day of Navratri.
Essential items for puja
- Picture or image of Ma Durga
- Durga Sapthashati
- Fresh water in a kalash, mango leaves, coconut
- Roli (Vermillion), moli, Akshat (Rice), paan, betle nut (Supari)
- Cloves, cardamom, sindoor, abir, gulal
- Dhoop, deepak, matchsticks
- Fruits and sweets
- Panchpatra with small spoon or achmani
- Asan to sit
Vidhi / Method of puja
Navratri rituals begin with planting barley or wheat kernels called Jhuwara in a bed of mud on the first day of Navratri. It is watered everyday all through the nine days of Navratri.
Make a heap of wheat on a platform then a kalash filled with water and roli is placed over it. The kalash is wrapped with red cloth and Moli is tied around the kalash's neck. A coconut is placed on the mouth of kalash and mango tree leaves are placed around the coconut.
Now place Durga Ma image on the podium and worship with roli, rice, flowers, belpatr, sindoor, abhir and gulal. Offer sweets or complete meal to mother goddess.
Light dhoop and Deepak in front of Ma and perform her aarti. Recite Durga Saptshati or Devi Kavach and Stuti for invoking protection by Devi.
"Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu shri rupen sansthita
namas tasye namas tasye names tasye namo namah"