Significance of Navaratri
- Calendar of events and Navaratri daily schedule are included below
- Flyer for the Dhandiaya & Rass Garba on Saturday, September 23rd is also included below
Why do we celebrate the Navaratri Festival?
Ratri means “night” and Nava means “nine”. At Navaratri (“nine nights”), the Lord in the form of the Mother Goddess is worshiped in Her various forms as Durga (to gain noble virtues), Lakshmi (preparing our minds for the knowledge and wealth) and Saraswati (for knowledge and understanding to dawn within us). Though the Goddess is one, She is represented and worshiped in three different aspects. On the first three nights of the festival, Durga is worshiped. On the following three, Lakshmi and then Saraswati Devi on the last three nights. The following tenth day is called Vijayadasami. Vijaya means “victory”, the victory over our own minds that can come only when we have worshiped these three: Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati.
This is the time to prepare (remove the weeds – negative qualities) from the soil (Chitta – Mind) for the sowing of the proper seeds (Viveka – Knowledge) for cultivating in preparation for realizing the supreme knowledge of the Self (Atman) for the benefit of all mankind.
Durga: (in the form of Mahishasura Mardini) is worshiped to gain noble virtues and to destroy all evil tendencies within the mind. Mahish-asura – Mahisha means buffalo, Asura means demon. Here the buffalo is equated to the mind qualities which are similar to that of a buffalo – laziness, darkness, ignorance and inertia. So by worshiping and observing the evil tendencies within our mind, we are killing them just as Durga slays the demon Mahishasura. That is the significance of Durga Puja.
Lakshmi: is worshiped to preparing our minds for the knowledge and wealth. Today in society, we equate Lakshmi to money but having an abundance of money without the proper preparation of the mind is fruitless. And so the Rishis of Upanishads asked for the noble virtues to be fully developed for the proper use of the wealth for the benefit of all mankind. Similarly, Adi Shankaracharya in Vivekachudamani describes Sat Sampati (six forms of wealth) as calmness of mind, self-control, self-withdrawal, forbearance, faith and single-pointed-ness as the virtues to be cultivated to attain wisdom. Victory comes only when the mind is prepared and that is the significance of Lakshmi Puja.
Saraswati: is worshiped for gaining proper knowledge and proper understanding and it is through these two paths that one can gain the knowledge of the Self (Atman). Although there are many kinds of knowledge in the Vedas such as sciences, archery, astronomy, architecture, economics, building societies none is more valuable than the real spiritual knowledge of knowing the Self. In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna refers to the “Knowledge of the Self” as “It is my vibhuti, my glory“. Putting it simply, one may have knowledge of many subjects and sciences but if we do not know our own Self, then that is the greatest loss. That is the significance of Saraswati Puja.
Thus, during Navaratri, we first invoke Goddess Durga to remove all the impurities from the mind. We then invoke Goddess Lakshmi to cultivate the noble values and qualities in our mind. Finally, we invoke Saraswati for gaining the highest knowledge of the Self. This is the significance of the three sets of three nights when all these three are gained subjectively and then at the end will be Vijayadasami, the day of true victory!
During the Navaratri festival, the Rasa & Dhandiya dance (dance of joy) is performed to signify that as the mind become purer, calmer, quieter and cheerful and greater understanding is gained – we are filled with utter joy and happiness and so it is dance of joy and realization.
# Excerpt taken from an online discourse given by Swami Tejomayananda (Disciple of Chinmayananda) on the topic of Navarathri
Join us in celebration of the Self this Navaratri [September 20th through September 28th] at the Murugan Temple. Bring your family and children to participate in the Dhandiya & Raas Garba on Saturday, September 23rd at 6PM-10PM. We look forward to seeing you!
Don’t Forget The Dhandiya & Rass Garba On Saturday, September 23rd