March 24, 2017: Papavimochana Ekadasi, Chaitanya Prabhu Jayanthi
March 25, 2017: Sani Trayodasi
March 26, 2017: Maasa Sivaratri
Devi Navrathri / Dasarah Navaratrulu / Dushera
Devi Navaratrulu is being celebrated across the country with pomp and gaiety. During the period, devotees perform pooja according to the prevailing customs of Hinduism. According to Hindu texts, Goddess Durga is considered to be inaccessible and a form of Devi, the Supreme Goddess. Goddess Durga is said to be the mother of Lord Ganesh and Subramanya Swamy. She is considered as demon fighting form of Lord Shiva's wife Parvathi. Durga is depicted as a warrior aspect of Devi Parvathi with 10 arms who rides a Lion, carries weapons and assumes symbolic hand gestures. This form of the Goddess is the embodiment of feminine and creative energy called Shakti.
The Navaratri, also called Navadurga resembling the nine fierce manifestations of the warrior Goddess are worshipped over the first nine nights of the waxing moon of Ashiwn as she battles the buffalo-demon Mahisa. Goddess Durga form is blindingly bright lotus eyes, ten powerful hands, lush hair with beautifully curled hair, a re golden glow from her skin and quarter moon on her forehead. She wears a shiny blue attire emitting fierce rays. Her ornaments were carved beautifully with gold, with ocean pearls and precious stones embedded in it. According to Devi Mahatya of the Amarkandeya Purana, the form is created as a warrior of Goddess to fight a demon. The demon's father Rambha, king of Demons fell in love with a water buffalo, and Mahishasur (buffalo)was born to change between human and buffalo at will of union. In spite of prayers to Brahma, Mahishasur had the boon that he could not be defeated by any man or God and unleashed a reign of terror on earth and heaven. Eventually, since only a woman could kill him, the Hole male Trinity went down to the river and prayed the mantra imploring of the great Goddess Devi to save their realm from ruin. They were blessed with her compassion when the Goddess Durga was born out of the river.
On the ninth night, in the avatar of Durga, She triumphs over the demon and on the tenth day is celebrated as Vijaya Dasami. She celebrates Her victory before returning to Her abode.
In Andhra Pradesh, She is the Mother-Durga Matha and decorated in nine different forms. On the second day of Navarathri, Asweeja Suddha Vidiya, she is worshipped as Balatripurasundari, the beautiful young girl. On the next day Truteeya, She takes the form of Lalitha Triupurasundari. On Chaturthi, she appears as Goddess Gayatri Devi, the Veda Matha, and origin of all mantras. On Panchami, She becomes Annapurna, giver of food. When Lord Shiva Himself seeks alms, as His consort She serves Him food. On the sixth day or Shahti, She is decorated as Saraswati with a veena in hand is considered most difficult during Navarathris and puja to Her is performed on Moola Nakshtram day. The next day is Saptami when Sri Mahalakshmi is worshipped, followed by Durgasatami when Durga Puja is performed to celebrate the annihilation of Durgamasura, the demon who tormented all worlds. On Mahanavaratri, She takes the form of Mahishasuramardhani, the killer of the buffalo faced demon. Mahishasura along with his generals Chikshuru, Chamara, Udara, Bhashkala, Bidala and others. And on the final day, Vijaya Dasami, She is worshipped as Sri Rajarajeswari.
In Maharastra, the festival is celebrated as Shard Navaratri, Puja to Bhairava, Bhavani and Khandoba is performed on a large scale. The temples of Mumbadevi and Mahalakshmi in Mumbai also organize the festival in a grand manner with lighting of Akhanda Jyoties for ten days. Kumkum is distributed as Prasad and on Vijaya Dasami, the Taliya Utsava is observed. Chandi temple in Cuttack, renowned for pujas festivities.
In Bengal, Durga is seen as a manifestation of Parvati, Shivaís consort. On the sixth day, She visits her fatherís house with Her daughters, Lakshmi and Saraswati and Her sons Ganesh and Kartikeya. On the tenth day she returns and three of these nights are dedicated to Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, three to Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and three to Shakti, the goddess of power.
The Goddess is worshipped either in the form of idols as in East India or in the form of a sacred pot, the purna-kumbha. The sacred pot is set up by women on the first night. This ceremony is known as Ghata Sthapana. In Gujarat, women carry these sacred ports on their head, place it in the centre of the count yard and dance round it singing grba of the divine womb that extol the glory of the Goddess.
On Dassera, people worship the tools of their trade in the hope that Devi empowers them with Her grace.
The day of Goddess Durga's victory is celebrated as Vijayadasami or Dussehra and these words mean the victorious tenth day. The actual period of worship however may be on the preceeding nine days ie., Navaratri and the last day is called as Vijayadasami. Nine aspects of Goddess Durga is known as Navadurga are meditated upon one by one during these nine days. Navaratri is a Sanskrit word and a Hindu festival of worship and dance. Nava means nine and Ratri means night. During these nine nights, nine forms of Durga is worshipped. The nine forms of Durga are Durga, Bhadrakali, Jagadamba, Annapurna, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandi and Lalitha.
In the first three days, the Goddess is invoked as spiritual force called Durga also known as Kali in order to destroy our impurities, vices and defects and in the second three days, the Mother is adorned as a giver of spiritual wealth, Lakshmi, who is considered to have the power of bestowing on Her devotees in exhaustible wealth. She is the Goddess of Wealth. During the last three days in spent of worshiping, Saraswathi in order to have all round success in life, believers seek the blessings of all three aspects of the divine femininity, hence the nine nights of worship.
During Navaratri, some devotees of Durga observe a fast and prayers are offered for the protection of health and prosperity. A period of introspection and purification, Navaratri is traditionally an auspicious and religious time for starting new ventures.
During this vowed religious observance, a pot is installed (ghatasthapana) at a sanctified place at home. A lamp is kept lit in the pot for nine days. The pot symbolizes the universe. The uninterrupted lit lamp is the medium through which we worship the effulgent Adishakti, ie. Sree Durgadevi. During Navaratri, the principle of Sree Durgadevi is more active in the atmosphere. Navaratri is celebrated in a large number of Indian communities. The mother goddess is said to appear in 9 forms, and each one is worshipped for a day. These nine forms signify various traits that the goddess influences us with. On the tenth day the victory is celebrated as Dussearah.
By reciting Devi Sooktam both in the morning and evenining during Devi Navaratrulu, natives will get improvement in all aspects.
Ya Devi Sarvabhooteshu
Dasarah Navaratrulu falls on the following days in the respective years:
2012: October 16 - 24, 2012
2010: October 8 - 17, 2010
2009: September 19 - 28, 2009
2008: Starts from September 30, 2008
2007: Falls on October 21, 2007
2006: Falls on September 23, 2006