Navratri or Navaratri is one of the most important religious festivals celebrated by the Hindus. It is in commemoration of the divine powers of Gods and Goddesses like Rama and Durga.
Though there are four occasions on which Navratri is celebrated in a year, Sharad Navratri that occurs after monsoon during September-October in the month of Ashwin is the most significant one. Next important one is the Vasanth Navratri and the other two are Magadh Navratri and Ashada Navratri.
‘Nav’ means nine in Sanskrit and ‘ratri’ means nights. Nine nights are celebrated in the worship of Goddess Durga or (Lord Rama as in some regions).
In the north-eastern parts and southern parts of India, Navratri is celebrated to worship Durga who killed the demon Mahishasuran and emerged victorious on Vijayadasmi (the tenth day of worship). Along with Durga, Sarasvati and Lakshmi are also worshipped during Navratri.
In the western and northern states of India, it is called Ramlila and Dussehra which signifies the victory of Ram over Ravana.In all the cases, it is the victory of the Good over the Evil and the destruction of the Evil by the Good.
Navratri is the time for worshipping Sakthi in the form of Durga, Lakshmi, and Sarasvati. It bestows positive energy, optimistic outlook, removes negative energy and purifies the heart and soul. It brings new energy and spiritual awakening for the worshipper.
Navratri celebrates the decimation of Mahishasuran in the hands of Goddess Durga. Mahishasuran is the bull which signifies the evil forces in us. Its destruction symbolises the destruction of evil forces in us through worshipping the divine Sakthi (Durga).
Navratri is the most auspicious time for Sakthi pooja and those who observe Navratri vrata and indulge in Navratri pooja as per the rules prescribed get divine blessings and prosper in life to a great extent.
The South Indians have the custom of worshipping Goddess Sakthi in the form of Durga, Lakshmi and Sarasvati for three days each. We worship Durga for power for the first three days, Lakshmi for spiritual wealth and material prosperity for the next three days and Sarasvati for true knowledge for the last three days.
Let us see the alankaram for the Goddess per day
The Goddess looks angry with sharp teeth (தெத்து பல்) as she destroys the demon Mundan on this day.
She looks angry as she has incarnated this form to correct the erring people and safeguard justice.
The Goddess has the face of a boar(Varaha) with sharp teeth. She has trident on hand and bears a big chakra. She is the army chief of Goddess Sakthi. She bears the earth on Her teeth. To get rid of the ill effects caused by evil magic and other negative forces in life, we need to pray to this Goddess. Dhandini, Bagalamukhi, Mangalamaya Narayani are the other names for this Goddess.
The Goddess has the other names like Mahendri and Samrajyadhayini.She incarnates the power of Indra and so has crown and Vajrayudham.She has 1000 eyes and contains the energy of an elephant. She is the Goddess who destroyed Viruthasuran.To get good job position and high salary, one has to pray to this Goddess.
The Goddess has conch, chakra, gatha and bow. She has Garudan as her vehicle. She decimates all evil forces.
Maheshwari has embodied the power of Lord Shiva. She has a bull (rishaba) as her vehicle and is adorned with a trident, crescent and snake. She is the embodiment of Dharma and has a big physical stature. She bestows all good things on the devotee. Those who are hardworking and want to get the maximum results for their hard work should pray to Maheshwari.
The Goddess Kaumari has a peacock as her vehicle and cock as her flag. She is the representation of the power of Lord Muruga. She bestows valour on us and removes our sins. She is the incarnation of the Pranav mantra ‘Aum’.
The Goddess for worship on the seventh day is Goddess Mahalakshmi.She has conch, chakra, japamala (ஜபமாலை), axe, spear, vajrayudham, bell, bow and arrow, gatha, lotus and kamandalam with her. She is the wife of Maha Vishnu and has a red complexion like that of coral. She is seated on a red lotus and bestows innumerable items of wealth on the person who prays to her.
Narasimhi has a human head and the body of a lion. She has a lion as her vehicle and has conch and chakra with her. She has sharp nails. She removes the hurdles created by one’s enemies.
The ninth day is the last day of Navratri. Brahmi is known as Saraswati.Brahmi has swan as her vehicle. She is the epitome of knowledge. To get a good education, one has to pray to this Goddess.
Let us worship Goddess Sakthi in Her 9 different forms and seek Her grace and blessings.