Navratra is a Hindu festival that is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga and her nine divine avatars for a period of nine days. Some of us would be surprised to know that there are 4 Navratri in a year but only two of them Chaitra Navratri and Sharad Navratri are celebrated widely across the country. This year Chaitra Navratra had fallen in March and Sharad Navratra began on 16th October and went on till 25th October, one month after the malmass or the extra month.
Chaitra Navratri is celebrated in the Hindu month of Chaitra that falls usually around March and April. Sharad Navratra was started by Lord Rama to get the divine blessings of the Goddess Durga, before his march to the Kingdom of Lanka to slay Ravana and free Sita from the Ashok Vatika.
The period of nine days of Navratri is considered to be very holy for Hindus, as they do all that they can to appease their beloved deity. People wake up and bathe early morning and pray to the Goddess. They perform special poojas and havans to welcome Goddess Durga to come in their homes and be blessed. Offerings in terms of delicious bhog, fruits, panchamrit and flowers are also made to the deity. Devotees also observe ritualistic fasts as a mark of showing their devotion for the divine Goddess.
Both Chaitra Navratri and Sharad Navratri fall around two major seasonal change of the year. Chaitra Navratri marks transition from spring to summer, while Sharad Navratra falls around October – November marking the beginning of shishir ritu followed by winter. During this time our immunities are most vulnerable and one is more prone to encounter a host of sickness and disease.
Bingeing on oily, sugary or very heavy food could further take its toll on our dipping immunity levels, which is why it is advisable to eat light and clean food. By fasting or eating sattvik food you are allowing your body to detox and fortify from within. Real Fasting of Navaratri in the intellectual level means purification of the soul in the following ways:-
Prathama – I will leave all my anger and desires behind;
Dwitiya – I will stop judging people anymore;
Tritiya – I will leave all my grudges and expectations;
Chaturthi – I will forgive myself & everyone;
Panchami – I will accept myself & everyone as they are and will not find any faults in them;
Shashti – I will love myself & everyone unconditionally;
Saptami – I will leave all my feelings of jealousy & guilt forever;
Ashtami – I will leave all my fears of the unknown;
Navami – I will offer gratitude for all the things I have, and all which I may or may not get;
Dashami – There is abundance of everything in the universe for all and I will always tap the same and create what I want through unconditional love, sadhana, nishkama seva and faith.
Wishing all a blessed Navaratri and happy rejuvenation of body, mind and eternal soul.