Let us celebrate Navaratri 2023 as Celebrating the Divine Feminine in Hinduism. It is so apt and so majestic and so deep rooted in our culture and great heritage to worship a Mother. For Hindus a Mother is in 9 different forms but one. The literal meaning of “Navaratri,” which translates to “nine nights.” symbolizes the victory of good over evil and the celebration of the divine feminine energy in Nine Forms where each form has specific purpose, it’s own Divine Power.
Navaratri is a nine-night Hindu festival that celebrates the divine feminine in the form of the goddess Shakti. The festival is celebrated twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. The fall Navaratri, also known as Sharad Navaratri, is the more popular of the two and is widely celebrated throughout India and Nepal.
Navaratri, a Hindu festival celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion, holds a special place in the hearts of millions. During Navaratri, Hindus worship the nine different forms of Shakti, also known as the Navadurgas. The Navadurgas are:
Each of the Navadurgas represents a different aspect of the divine feminine. For example, Shailputri represents innocence and purity, while Kalaratri represents the fierce and destructive aspect of the divine feminine.
- Shailaputri (Day 1):
- Shailaputri, the first form of Goddess Durga, is depicted as a young woman riding a bull.
- “Shaila” means mountain, and “putri” means daughter, so she is also known as the Daughter of the Mountain.
- Devotees seek her blessings for strength, courage, and stability.
- Brahmacharini (Day 2):
- The second form, Brahmacharini, is shown as a Goddess holding a rosary and a water pot (kamandalu).
- She is associated with austerity, penance, and seeking divine knowledge.
- Worshiping Brahmacharini is believed to grant wisdom, success, and a focused mind.
- Chandraghanta (Day 3):
- Chandraghanta is the third form, known for her fierce demeanor with a crescent moon-shaped ornament on her forehead.
- She is the embodiment of bravery and represents protection from evil forces.
- Devotees seek her blessings for courage and fearlessness.
- Kushmanda (Day 4):
- Kushmanda, the fourth form of Maa Durga, is often depicted as seated on a lion and holding a lotus flower.
- She is associated with the creation of the universe and is believed to bestow health, wealth, and strength.
- Skandamata (Day 5):
- Skandamata, the fifth form, is shown with her son Lord Skanda (Kartikeya) on her lap.
- She represents motherly love, protection, and compassion.
- Worshiping her is believed to bring harmony and maternal blessings.
- Katyayani (Day 6):
- The sixth form, Katyayani, is known for her fierce aspect and is often depicted with four arms.
- She symbolizes valor and courage and is worshiped for the removal of obstacles and protection.
- Kaalratri (Day 7):
- Kaalratri, the seventh form, is depicted with a dark complexion and a fierce appearance.
- She is a destroyer of ignorance and negativity and is associated with the eradication of evil.
- Devotees seek her blessings for protection and spiritual growth.
- Mahagauri (Day 8):
- Mahagauri, the eighth form, is a serene and white-clad Goddess symbolizing purity and tranquility.
- She grants peace and forgiveness and is believed to fulfill devotees’ wishes.
- Siddhidatri (Day 9):
- Siddhidatri, the ninth and final form, is the bestower of supernatural powers (siddhis) and spiritual realization.
- She is often depicted with four arms and is worshiped for wisdom, knowledge, and spiritual growth.
During Navaratri, devotees meditate upon and worship each of these forms of Maa Durga, seeking her divine blessings, protection, and grace. The festival culminates with Vijayadashami, celebrating the victory of good over evil.
Navaratri is a time for Hindus to celebrate the power and strength of the divine feminine. It is also a time for Hindus to reflect on their own inner strength and to strive to be better people.
Navaratri is celebrated in many different ways, but some of the most common traditions include:
- Worshiping the Navadurgas: Hindus typically worship the Navadurgas in their homes or at temples. They may offer flowers, fruit, and other offerings to the goddesses.
- Fasting: Many Hindus fast during Navaratri, especially on the ninth day of the festival.
- Singing and dancing: Navaratri is a time for celebration and joy. Many Hindus sing and dance in honor of the goddesses.
- Garba and dandiya: Garba and dandiya are two popular folk dances that are performed during Navaratri.
- Wearing new clothes: Many Hindus wear new clothes on the first day of Navaratri.
Navaratri is a special time for Hindus to come together and celebrate the divine feminine. It is a time for reflection, celebration, and joy.