Navratri, the festival of nine nights, was celebrated recently with great pomp and show by the devotees of Maa Durga. Navratri is a popular Hindu festival celebrated to revere various forms of Maa Durga, the Mother Divine through performing various holy rites. Devotees hymn chants in praise of the Devi, practice meditation, observe fast and practice other spiritual rituals to evoke the Mother Devine.

Significance and True Spirit of Navratri

The word ‘Navratri’ derives from Sanskrit words ‘nava’ and ‘ratri’, which mean nine and night respectively, thus Navratri translates into the festival of nine nights. Nights are synonymous with rest and rejuvenation. We sleep at night to get some rest and feel revived for the next morning. In short, we turn inward to connect with our heart and mind, and also for the revival of the mind and the body. If we don’t get proper rest for even a single night, it becomes difficult for us to carry on with our daily routine the next day. Similarly, Navratri is the relaxing time for the spirit in you. It is the time of the year when we withdraw ourselves from the worldly senses and turn inward towards the ultimate source of energy. This retraction from all the worldly senses helps us go deeper within ourselves and connect with our inner-self, which is the ultimate source of bliss in our lives. Most of the people do not get to experience this eternal bliss because we are constantly busy in over routine work. Our mind is constantly engaged. Navratri is the time to give mind some time to relax and rejuvenate. It is the time of the year when we evoke Maa Durga and strive to connect with her and also with our inner self and nurture ourselves by performing various spiritual rituals.

Navratri is commemorated to elevate the life-force in us. This life-force or spirit alone can help us overcome and destroy our negative qualities like lethargy, vanity, obsession, cravings, aversions, etc. During Navratri, when we meditate, we connect with our true-self and invoke positive qualities that are already within us. These positive qualities enable us to overcome all the negative qualities and thus leaving us feels rejuvenated and devoid of any vices. When we worship and evoke the Devi during the Navratri by chanting her different names and praising her qualities, we invigorate those merits within us and they become noticeable in us as per the need of the hour.

Understanding Devi

Maa Durga is the sole source of the energy of the entire universe. She is revered as the Divine Mother, who has given birth to the entire creation. Everything that exist in this creation, ranging from the tangible beings to the imperceptible energies, all are the manifestation of the ultimate energy into different forms. This ultimate energy is called Devi. This is the reason why Maa Durga is often called Shakti, which is the Hindi word for energy or driving force. We require energy to even blink our eyes. The fact that there is nothing in this world that can be accomplished without having strength manifests that the entire universe is governed and driven by Shakti. And, Navratri is all about evoking this Shakti. We worship Maa Durga paintings and idols, and perform spiritual rituals. All these practices are a means of evoking this Shakti. That is why, during Navratri, Devi is adored and revered in the form of Nav-Durga, the nine embodiments of Mother Divine. The nine forms of Devi are:

  • Shailputri
  • Brahmacharini
  • Chandraghanta
  • Kushmanda
  • Skandmata
  • Kathyayini
  • Kaalaratri
  • Maha Gauri
  • Siddhidhatri

These nine forms of Devi are worshiped to evoke the Shakti that acts like an armor to ward off all evils and negativities. Whenever you face an obstacle or have a mental block, just remembering these forms of the Devi can eradicate the obstacles and mental blocks. Those who suffer from anxiety, insecurity and fear, should chant the different various names of the Devi. Chanting the name of the Devi not only helps you stabilize your heart and mind, but also augments the consciousness and makes you balanced, courageous and composed.