January 21, 2020
THE GLORY OF NAVARATRI
Navaratri is a time to worship Goddess Durga. It is a time to remember our Divine Mother, to celebrate Her, and to come a few steps closer to Her.
The root "nava" means nine and "ratri" means nights, so during Navaratri we celebrate the Goddess for nine nights and celebrate victory on the 10th day called Vijayadashami.
Each year the Lalita Chandika Temple celebrates Navaratri four times – winter, spring, summer, and fall. During Navaratri, there is a special astrological confluence that creates a very pure energy.
This pure energy exerts a positive influence on our sadhana, and devotees undertake special vows of worship during these times to maximize the spiritual benefit.
The Winter Navaratri is called Magha Gupta Navaratri. It is observed from the Pratipada (1st day) to the Navami (9th day) during the Shukla Paksha (the waxing phase of moon) in the Magha month of the traditional Hindu calendar.
The word "Gupta" means "secret". So the Magha Gupta Navaratri is not well known and not widely celebrated, but for the serious spiritual seekers and tantriks.
Magha is the month which typically falls between January and February. In 2020, Magha Navaratri is celebrated from January 25th through February 3rd. You are all invited to join us at the Lalita Chandika Temple for worship during Navaratri.
BENEFITS OF SADHANA DURING NAVARATRI
The festivals in India are all designed to serve as a reminder to celebrate God, and one of the most special times for spiritual seekers is during Navaratri.
It is over these nine nights that we realize a path to spiritual evolution as we worship the nine different forms of Durga. These forms represent stages of spiritual evolution, or advancement as we work our way from our individual nature to a divine nature. Devi helps us along this path.
The discipline of sadhana during Navaratri is to progress us on the path of purity. The practices help us to discard our lower natures and elevate our goals, and ultimately help us to acquire divine attributes. Mother provides the strength, resolve, and shakti (energy) to do this.
During this time, the Goddess helps to move us from an impure nature to the pure divine nature, from the six vices to a divine personality. She protects the spiritual practices, and helps keep us focused.
After She eradicates the impurities within us, She moves our consciousness into spiritual pursuits and helps us to possess divine qualities, making us content and peaceful in all situations. Finally, she blesses us with Divine Wisdom.
This is the process of spiritual evolution, from darkness to light, and Navaratri gives us a reminder of the spiritual process through worshiping Her nine forms of Durga.
This purification process we must all go through. There are no shortcuts or skipping steps. It is the process of spiritual evolution. We can do all the sadhana in the world, but if we don't take the introspective time to look at our own actions and purify them, then no progress will be made. We can dive into the knowledge of the scriptures, but the True Wisdom comes after we purify ourselves and make every act an offering to God.
Every day over the the nine days of Navaratri, take a shower preferably before the sunrise. Clean up your altar and prepare to worship the Goddess.
Perform a Durga Puja, or chant 108 names of the Durga Mantra for the particular form of Durga associated with the day of Navaratri. There are nine forms of Durga with nine mantras for each of the nine days.
At the Lalita Chandika Temple we will perform the Samasti Upasana puja every day along with the Chandi Homa.
If you have more time for sadhana, consider reciting the Chandi Path or performing the Samasti Upasana puja, which is a puja to all of the major deities.