Navratra / Navratri (Festival)'Navratra ' is the combination of two words 'Nav' and 'Ratri' . Nav means nine and Ratri means night. Thus Navratra is the festival which lasts for nine days. This period of nine days is considered auspicious. It is also the period of Aradhana and Upasana. During this period nine forms of goddess Durga are worshiped. Their names are :-
1. Shail putri 2. Brahmacharini 3. Chadraghanta 4. Kushmanda 5. Skandmata 6. Katyayani 7. Kalratri 8. Mahagauri 9. Sidddhidatri.
According to the Hindu calendar , Navratra is celebrated four times a year :-
1. Chaitra or Basant Navratra
2. Ashavin or Shardiya Navratara.
These Navratras are celebrated with great pomp and show. They are known as open or Prakat Navratra. Apart from them the other two Navratras are -
1. Ashaadh Navratra or Varsha Ritu Navratra
2. Magh or Shishir Navratra.
These two navratras are known as secret or Gupt navratra.
The process of worship :-
Navratra is the period of getting spiritual and moral strength. Those who worship Maa Durga with complete devotion and dedication, get wealth , prosperity and enlightenment with the grace of Maa Durga. Their sufferings from their life are removed.
Ghat / Kalash sthapana :-
On the first day of navratra , Ghat sthapna or Kalash sthapna is done. Ghat or Kalas means a pot made of clay or copper and sthapna means installing. So Ghat sthapna is the installing a pot. The Ghat or kalash is filled with water and it is placed on the Vedi of sand. Seeds of barley are sown in the sand around the Ghat or kalash. By the end of the navratra , these barley plants known as Jaware, would have grown up to four or five inches. The Jaware are given as Prasad to the devotees and the members of the family. (Some people sow the barley seeds in a separate pot.) On the kalash mango leaves and coconut covered with a piece of cloth are also placed. Ghat or kalash sthapana is mainly the prayer and invitation to goddess Durga to stay in the kalash till the navratra ends.
Whom to worship and what to chant or jap during Navratra:-
During Navratra worship godddess Durga and do the Path of Durga Saptshati or chant the Mantras related to Durga.
(or) Read Ramcharit manas or do the path of Sundar kand.
(or) Chant Ram Rakshastotra.
(or) Jap the Gayatri Mantra.
(e) Jap of Mantras according to your choice as Mantra for wealth , Mantra for power, Mantra for removing problems , for getting suitable husband or wife , for getting protection etc.
Kumari Pujan :- On the Ashthami or Navmi Tithi , nine girls ( not above nine years old ) are fed, worshiped and given Dakshina.
Navratra Utthapan :-
On the ninth or tenth day, the Pooja material is immersed in the near by lake or pond. The Jaware ( the plants of barley ) are given to the members of the family and other persons as Prasad. With this Utthapan process the festival of Navratra comes to an end.
Related Posts - (10.7.8) Basant Navrata dates
Click here for the Muhurat of Chaitra or Basant Navratra , Ashivan or Shardiya Navratra ,Gupt Nanratra