Sharing this beautiful article about Navaratri (with permission and gratitude) written by the very wonderful Indu Arora.

For Your Soul – Nine Nights, Goddess, Revelations

In Vedic texts, the feminine is celebrated in many divine forms and one of them is Durga. Four times in a year, there are 9 days and 9 nights which are considered to be filled with nine forms of divine feminine energy each of them symbolizing a form of Durga. These nine days are called – Nava-Ratri. Nava means nine and Ratri means the night that nurtures, nourishes and protects.

“Durg” means a state which is impossible to transcend, accomplish or win over. Durga as a Goddess is the energy that has accomplished the impossible and the impossibility.

Both “Durg” as well as “Durga” resides within each one of us. That is the power hidden/ sleeping/inert as well as innate in each of us. A Goddess is not just a sculpture, Yantra or a Mantra. She is the direction, re-direction and consolidation of our scattered energies.

These 9 days and nights begin from the first day of the journey of the moon – from new moon towards its fullness.

Each day in these nine days the sap of our kundalini Shakti rises (if invoked with sacred intention, dedication and practices) chakra by chakra to reach the crown.

Day 1: Ma Shailapurti

Durga as “Ma Shailaputri”. Ma means mother, Shaila (from shila) means a huge mountain, here symbolizing the Himalayas, Putri means the daughter. She is the daughter of the great Himalayas. She has made up her mind to rise from the great earth below to the heavens above.

She is invincible and immovable like the great Himalayas itself.

Once we become grounded and determined with 100% conviction of what we deserve, we are ready to break through the earth upon which we stand but we remain still like Ma Shailaputri. Ma Shailaputri motivates us to be stirred and yet maintain still. She holds a trident in the right hand, which symbolizes the victory over three kinds of sufferings; karmic (adi-daivika), cosmic (adi-bhautika) and manic (adhyatmika)), over three Gunas (sattva, rajas and tamas) and in the left hand she holds a lotus. In order to be strong we don’t have to lose the grace, gentleness and kindness. When you invoke Ma Shailaputri within, no one can take your kindness as your weakness and your silence as your ignorance.

Colour: Orange

Japa: Use Japa Mala to chant the mantra 108 times “Om Dum Shailapurti Hreem Namaha

Offering: The offering to the Goddess is ghee (clarified butter) to invoke inner radiance, good agni, and tejas.

Day 2: Ma Brahma-charini

Durga as Ma Brahmacharini. Brahmachara is righteous actions of austerity, love and dedication. Charini means the follower. This Goddess symbolizes the path of unconditional love with complete surrender. One who walks the paths of austerity, tapas, truth, righteousness and love is the devotee of Ma Brahmacharini. She motivates us to walk on such path with simplicity and devotion.

She is the embodiment of vairagya (detachment). She left the comforts of the royal kingdom as Shailaputri (daughter of Himalayas) in order to attain the state of consciousness (Shiva). She walked the path with bare foot just holding a water pot and Japa Mala with her.

One has to let go of the old to renew itself. In order to move ahead, we have to leave the ground right beneath us one step at a time. As long as we cling to our limited knowledge, attachments, desires, accomplishment, sorrows, losses, fears, victories and comforts we cannot move ahead. Drop the attachments one at a time.

The day is celebrated by concentrating on what you are ready to leave in order to rise, in order to simplify life, in order to move ahead.

Hold the Mudra in your hands and resolve to let go of that one thing which is becoming a limitation. Walk like Brahma-Charini who is pure in her desire, knowledge and action.

Colour: White

Japa: Use Japa Mala to chant the mantra 108 times “Om Dum Brahmacharini Hreem Namaha

Offering: Sugar – for longevity of life and purity of heart.

Day 3: Ma Chandra-ghanta

Durga as Ma ChandraGhanta. Chandra means crescent of the moon (like a smile) and Ghanta means bell. This forms of Durga wears moon on her forehead like a crown. This moon is the peaceful state of the mind. The sound of the moon-bell on her forehead expel all type of negativity away from the seekers. Her pilgrimage to self (Shiva/ consciousness)/ with her marriage to Shiva has brought shanti (complete inner peace) to her. Her moonlike face peace, balance, harmony and complete mastery on emotions.

The seeker is blessed with the gift of Samatvam– inner balance and equilibrium along with the fulfilment of desires.

May we be bright as the Sun, calm .as the moon. May we be still as we move. May we be silent as we speak

Colour: Wear red clothes today

Japa: Use Japa Mala to chant the mantra 108 times “Om Dum Chandraghantaye Hreem Hreem Namaha

Offering: Milk- for the freedom from emotional misery

Day 4: Ma Kushm-anda

Durga as Ma Kushm-anda. Ku means little, tiny, minuscule or small, Ushma means heat, warmth, love, smile and anda means cosmic egg. Kushm-anda is the creator of The Universe. This Goddess creates the Universe merely with a gentle and little warm smile.

We often underestimate the power of smile, softness and gentleness.
Devi Kuhsm-anda resides in our hearts which receives its energy from Surya mandala. Sun is not just determination, courage, fierceness, aggression but also light, brilliance, warmth and life. We often have fear to be established in the heart, to be taken for granted by being gentle, humble and kind, but there is the presence of Sun like strength in this softness. The Goddess inspires us to be nourished by this Sun, to be like the Sun, to stay in our heart, reside in the Sun and yet be smiling with light and not burning with the heat of it. She rides a lion which symbolizes Dharma.
As we ride on our righteous paths, may the rays of the warmth and gentleness of smile allow us to touch millions of hearts and establish a spiritual family wherever we go.

Colour: Royal Blue

Japa: Use Japa Mala and chant the mantra 108 times:” Om Dum Kushmandeshwari Hreem Namaha

Offering: Malpua (Indian donut) – for freedom from the obstacles in the dharmic path and fulfilment of sankalpa

Day 5: Skanda Ma

Durga as Skanda Ma. She is the mother of Skanda. The Devi today rises from the Manipura with fierce light and clarity and resides in the Vishuddhi Chakra warning us to be mindful of what we ask for in life. Vishuddhi Chakra is the seat of our divine expression. Demon Tarakasura asked a boon from the Virgin Goddess (of Durga) that the only way he will die would be by the hands of her son. The Goddess in her married form gave birth to Skanda/ Kartikeya who became the destiny of Tarakasura. Skanda is a 6 headed God. These 6 heads symbolize 5 senses and the mind.

Once we give a re-birth and redirection to our senses (pratya-hara in Yoga) by internalizing them, our Shakti gives birth to Skanda within, the chief of strongest army against negativity
This Skanda can puts an end to our own malicious, tamasic, desires (Tarkasura).We have an immense Shakti in our desire and action.

Be careful what you ask for as the Shakti conspires for all that you sincerely wish to become true.

Colour: Pink

Japa: Use Japa Mala to chant the mantra 108 time, “Om Dum Skanda mateshwasri Hreem Namaha

Offering: Banana for the awakening of intellect

Day 6: Ma Katyayini

Durga as Ma Katyayani. This Goddess is born from the sparks which radiated from the eyes of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva (the three Gods symbolic the Tri Gunas and their seat of mastery is center of eyebrows) to slay the buffalo headed demon Manisha-asur (symbol of tamas, inertia, laziness, dormancy and sloth).

Yoga is one of the finest practices to build the fire and insight of discernment.

May the fire of tapas and practice lead us from tamas to sativa and from darkness to light. Sing, chant or listen to Mahishasura Mardini Strotam today with the intention to be victorious over your laziness, procrastination and inertia.

Colour: Purple

Japa: Use Japa Mala to chant the mantra 108 times, “Om Dum Ma Katyayani Hreem Namaha

Offering: Honey for the pleasantness of the mind and the honey like kundalini energy to rise from the Muladhara to Ajna chakra

Day 7: Ma Kala Ratri

Durga as Ma Kala Ratri. Kala means the ultimate time or the present moment. Ratri symbolizes the darkness that annihilates the duality of past and future.

Goddess Kala-Ratri is dark as the darkest of the nights (Ratri) and rises beyond any possible measure of strength to transcend time to timelessness. This Goddess Shakti is fierce, ferocious, dark, angry and ready to slay. She rises from Ajna towards Sahasrara, transcending time and space.

She is the slayer of all that is a limitation/ obstacle in the path to timelessness.

Time is one of the biggest bondage and one of the biggest fear in humankind. When it is good, it becomes an attachment and when it is unfavourable it is an aversion.

Devi Kala-Ratri guides us to become aware of the temporary nature of time and become free of any such bondages.

Colour: Yellow

Japa: Use Japa Mala to chant the mantra 108 times, “Om Dum Ma Kala Ratri Hreem Namaha

Offering: Jaggery with the intention to be free from the attachment of good and bad times.

Day 8: Maha Gauri Ma

Durga as Ma Maha Gauri. Maha means great and Gaurl means one whose complexion is pearly white.

This Goddess Shakti is in her full grace, beauty, calm and serenity. When the virgin form of the Goddess energy took the sankalpa to meet Shiva (her consciousness), she performed severe austerity and tapas. As a result of this austerity, she was covered with dust, dirt and darkened by the scorching heat of the sun. Upon the awakening of Shiva (consciousness), she was bathed in the pure, serene, healing waters of the Ganges which made her shine brilliantly like the pearly white moon. She transformed to Maha Gauri in this moment.

We all have to go through penance, hardships and challenges to grow beyond our own defined limits.

Everything is possible only if we are ready, if we have unblemished intention, purity of Sankalpa and readiness to transform. We receive only what we feel we are worthy of. If we are in a situation that we feel we should not be in, then by looking inside, we can change the thought process that brought us to this point.

This realization converts the darkness into light- the Grace of MahaGauri.

Colour: Green

Japa: Use Japa Mala to chant the mantra 108 times, “Om Dum Ma Maha Gauri Hreem Namaha

Offering: Coconut with the intention to be free our limited minds and knowledge.

Day 9: Ma Siddhi-datri

Durga as Ma Siddhi datri. Siddhi means the boons; accomplishments, unusual divine gifts, victories and datri means the giver of.

Self-grace is the biggest of blessings one can have. Today the Goddess Siddhidatri brings this wisdom that the biggest of the accomplishments is not the ability to walk on water, fly in the air, be untouched by fire, to expand as much as the horizon or to be as minimal as to disappear at will, but to know one’s real Self, to be able to have Self-Grace. Once we have that, we have it all. Be Siddhidatri unto Self.

Be kind to yourself, be curious about your own mind, start a self-inquiry and grow. Be patient as you take one step at a time. May the Goddess be with you as she is already within you.

Colour: Grey

Japa: Use Japa Mala to chant the mantra 108 times, “Om Dum Ma Siddhi Datri Hreem Namaha

Offering: Grains with the intentions to be free from the 10 evils (described below)

Day 10: Vijaya Dashami

Durga as vijaya dashami. Vijaya means universal victory and dashami means 10 (negativities or evils)

These 10 Evils are
1. Kama vasana (Lust)
2. Krodha (Anger)
3. Moha (Attachment)
4. Lobha (Greed)
5. Mada (False Pride)
6. Matsara (Jealousy)
7. Swartha (Selfishness)
8. Anyaaya (Injustice)
9. Amanavta (Cruelty)
10. Ahankara (Ego)

“There is a battlefield in our minds where there is a constant war between the two opposing forces good and bad. The 10 evils constantly make us give in to the battle of righteousness and let the bad/ negative win.

Every time a confused mind becomes clear, it is a celebration!”

Indu Arora – Author, sharing and teaching the Yogic & Ayurvedic wisdoms on a global platform.

https://www.yogsadhna.com

 

Picture credits: Pexels – Shiva by Abhilash Subbayyan