Navaratri Begins

24th Sep 2014

      How much does your upbringing influence your decision making? Opinions of your neighbours and society has molded you into what you are today. Even academics and the media has a role in giving you an identity. Everybody needs a relief from such external impact.
      Today has begun an opportunity to rest and to disengage. Not anybody need to know about it. This is the time to get intimate with yourself. It is a very personal me-time for everyone of you.
      This is the beginning of Navaratri. There is something secretive about pregnancy. Similarly there is something mystical about this number 9. Nine months is the duration of pregnancy. Haven’t you heard of ‘navarasa’? And many more auspicious attributes are linked to number 9. In Indian languages, the word ‘nava’ means new. Everybody wants something new and fresh, a new beginning in the way they live. Navaratri provides this opportunity. It is a time to unburden your mind of all the luggage and baggage of the past year. Yesterday was the no moon day. Today is the first day of the waxing moon. It’s ok to stretch your austerity, sacrifice, learning, training and celebration to 14 days till the next full moon.
      The first few days the attention is given to cleansing the mind and detoxifying the body. Exercises, fasting, yoga, breathing techniques and meditation is recommended. Wise people willingly indulge in such austerities. This is a great investment in your own growth and development. People come together in the evenings and choose to chant hymns and prayers in praise of divinity. They read from scriptures and listen to uplifting stories of seers and saints.
      Second part in this duration of festivities is allotted to expressions of gratitude as in poojas. There are sub poojas that are smaller in size and scale. Trained pundits chant aloud the slokas from the scriptures. Then there are the elaborate and detailed poojas. All these are to honour various yet significant attributes of divinity. Thousands of people sit and meditate in the vicinity of this elaborate and accurate rendering of slokas.
      The third part are the homas. Most of what was in the elaborate poojas also has a corresponding homa version. A pit that is kept burning throughout these nine days is called homa-kund. This homa-kund becomes the centralized focus and is considered sacrosanct. Areas surrounding this homa-kund is fortified to maintain sanctity and sacredness. Vast areas where people are sitting to witness this ceremony maintain the serenity through maintaining satvic etiquettes.
      The fourth part of this festival is focussed on the Guru aspect. The Guru is the most revered and presides over the entire Navaratri functions. It is under his sanction that the yajaman gets authority to operationalize the Navaratri functions.
      Navagraha, Rudra, Sudarshana, Ganesha, Chandika Devi, Karthikeya are some of the noted vocabularies for this season. The culmination is in the invoking of Chandika Devi by use of severe chanting of specific mantras. The objective is to capture the holiness of intangibility and give it a tangible shape and definition.
      There is a claim that these unseen and unheard divine vibrations are captured and stored in many pots of water.
      The conclusion of this most elaborate and vast array of piousness comes on the 9th day from the beginning of Navaratri. This day is called Vijayadashmi. On this day all the tools and instruments that are used to bring in resources for you are submitted for its own respective poojas. The entire society and nation participate in such fervors of celebration which are rooted in meditative silences. The attributes of rest, action and innovations are represented in this nine days as days of tamas, rajas and sattva.
      This is an opportunity for a total recycle or even revamp of your past and dominant impressions. The Gurus have designed this formula for transition of your personality. Your participation in such sacrificial season may bring the needed solace to other members of your household. This is the time to reject the grip of regressive fixations in your mind. Any fixations that you have on your entitlements, your identities, your ownerships and activities can be deleted. The sense of freedom and strength is your birthright.
      May your indulgence with Mother Divine bring you the required success and benefits.

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About the Author:
Mr. Vinod Kumar is popular columnist from India who provides amazing insights and perspectives on diverse topics. He is a good writer, motivator, trainer, consultant and a mentor to many. His interests span media, politics, sports, food, travel, leisure, and study of the mind. His articles are provided exclusively on