Monday, September 26, 2016

Navratri -Three Festivals at One Time-Navratri, Durga Pooja,Dusshera

Navratri , Three Festivals at One Time

What is Navratri

The word Navratri means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit – ‘nava’ meaning nine and ‘ratri’ meaning nights. During this time, nine different forms of the female divinity known as ‘Shakti’ (female power), ‘Devi’ (Goddess) or ‘Durga’ (name of a Goddess) are worshipped. During Navratri many people fast for the first and last day, the first eight days, or all nine days. Some sing devotional songs and perform rituals every morning and night in their home. Many families make a place for the goddess in their home and call her to stay there for the nine days. For many people, particularly women,Navratri is the most important time of worship throughout the year.

The days of Navratri are actually the time for three major festivals - Navratri, Durga Puja, and Dusshera, each of which are celebrated with different customs and importance depending on the region. 

The festival of Navrātra commences on the first day (pratipadā) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin. During this vowed religious observance, a clay pot is installed (Ghatasthapana) in a sanctified section of one's home. A lamp is placed in the pot and it is kept lit for nine days. The pot symbolises the universe. The uninterrupted lit lamp is the medium through which we worship the brilliant primordial energy, Ādi-shakti, i.e. Shrī Durgā Dēvī. During Navratri, the principle of Shri Durga Devi is more active in the atmosphere. When we understand the spiritual science behind the various rites that come under the worship of Shri Durga Devi, we become worthy of absorbing more of the Divine Energy principle, thereby acquiring more of Her grace.

 Navratri is the detoxification of body, mind and soul. Body detoxification involves Navratri diet containing eating less devoid of cereals. In Navratri diet flour is replaced with Kuttu or Singhara flour; pulses with amaranth or Rajgiri and Rice with Samak rice. Mental and soul detoxification involves practicing Yoga Sadhna as described in nine forms of Durga.

Various Parts of India Celebrate Navratri

 In North India, this time is marked by intense fasting during the nine days of Navratri.
In the Kulu valley of Himachal Pradesh, the hill-folk celebrate Dasara with a grand mass ceremony. On the day of Dusshera, village deities are taken out in elaborate processions.
Navratri is celebrated in Punjab by fasting for seven days. On the eighth day or Ashtami, the fast is broken by worshipping young girls who are believed to symbolize the Goddess herself. This festival is predominantly linked with harvest. The young girls are offered puris (sort of deep-fried Indian bread), halwa (a dessert primarily made of flour and sugar), chanas (Bengal gram) and red chunnis (long scarves).

Western India celebrates with a special dances called Garba. According to Hinduism, performing 'Garbā' means singing devotional hymns praising the Goddess with rhythmic clapping. Singing devotional hymns  means of awakening Shri Durga Devi from Her meditation through the medium of the manifest spiritual practice of rhythmic clapping, and appealing to her to assume the destructive form for Her activity in the Universe.

Reason for performing Garbā with three claps:
The destroyer form of the Goddess is awakened by the musical rhythm of three claps through the frequencies of desire (ichhā), action (kriyā) and knowledge (dnyān), representing the Bramhā, Vishu and Mahēsh principles.
Bramhā, Vishu and Mahēsh are the three main manifest energies of God. During Navratri the destroyer principle of Goddess Durga gets awakened slowly and gradually. The destroyer form of the Goddess is channeled through these three energies. By clapping three times, the energy of Her resolve (sankalpa) gets activated. Hence it is more desirable and fruitful to praise the Goddess through the rhythmic movement of three claps. The meaning of the three claps is as follows
·         The first clap is related to the Brahma principle which is symbolised by the energy of desire. As a result, the energy of desire of Brahma gets awakened in the universe. This energy also gives approval to the wishes in the mind of the embodied soul (jiva), according to his spiritual emotion.
·         Through the medium of the second clap, the action related waves of the Vishnu principle give energy to the embodied soul for performing actions.
·         Through the medium of the third clap, the knowledge waves of the Shiva principle bring about the actual act and from its result give the desired fruits to the embodied soul.
The act of clapping generates the fire element, so it is possible to awaken the destructive form of the Goddess through the striking of the claps. The act of clapping is symbolic of the worship of the fire element. Invoking the Goddess by the singing of devotion filled hymns and moving around in a circle while clapping helps in the awakening of spiritual emotion towards the Goddess.
In Maharashtra, celebrations are slightly different. Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Durga while the Vijayadashami is dedicated to Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge. Here, this day is considered auspicious to start education, buy new homes, and start new ventures.

In South India and Nepal, it is the day of Dusshera that is given the most importance.
In Tamil Nadu, the first three days are dedicated to the worship of Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. During this time they perform puja every night and regular cleaning is maintained all throughout because it is believed that Lakshmi would not enter if the place is dirty. The next three days are devoted to Saraswati, the Goddess of learning and arts and the last three days to Shakti (Durga).


                                                               Bommai Kolu
In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, women arrange 'Bommai Kolu', a special placing of dolls in various costumes decorated with flowers and ornaments on specially prepared steps. Nine young 'kanyas' or virgins are offered new clothes and sweets as the goddesses and married women share flowers, kumkum and snacks among themselves.
In Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, families arrange dolls (Bommai Kolu) on artificially constructed steps and prepare an elaborate spread of lamps and flowers. Women traditionally exchange gifts of coconuts, clothes and sweets.

  The Dusshera of Mysore is also quite famous where decorated elephants lead a colourful procession through the gaily-dressed streets of the city. During Navaratri Chamundi, the royal deity of the Mysore royalty is worshipped with pomp and religious fervor.

                                                                     Durga Puja
In the East, Durga Puja is the largest and wildest celebration of the year. In West-Bengal, Navaratri is celebrated in the form of Durga Puja. This festival is essentially religious in nature. Celebrated with true devotion, huge idols of the Goddess Durga posed as killing the demon Mahishasura are worshipped everywhere in West Bengal. Huge 'pandals' are set up every where and devotees in large numbers visit to worship Goddess Durga. Men and women and children all dressed up in new clothes visit different ‘pandals’ to offer prayers to the Mother Goddess.

All three festivals overlap in many ways.

 Navratri - Pratipada(First Day)
Pratipada (First day) of Navratri

The first night of Navratri festival is dedicated to Shailputri. Shailputri is believed to be the protector of forest.

 Maa Shailputri Worship:1st Chaitra Navratri:


Goddess Parvati is Maa Shailaputri. Her First Incarnation was that of Maa Sati.
From the time Maa Sati was a Child, She had only one focus and aim in life, Lord Shiva. As She grew up Her Love and devotion for The Lord grew deeper. She began Her penance to please Lord Shiva and She pleased The Lord, and The Lord manifested in front of Her to grant Her a boon. Maa Sati asked The Lord for His eternal companionship as Man and Wife. It was granted.

But there was a catch. Maa Sati’s father Daksha Prajapati for some odd reason wasn’t too kosher about this heavenly Union. When he organized a major puja - havan (those days they called it a Yagna), our man Daksha Prajapati, on purpose decided to call all the Gods and Their progeny but did not invite Lord Shiva. Maa Sati was furious and told Lord Shiva that this was an insult which She would not tolerate and expressed a desire to confront the father and give him a piece of Her mind. Lord Shiva tried His level best to talk Maa Sati out of this meeting but to no avail. He warned Her that this meeting could lead to disaster but Maa Sati was furious and beyond reason. Eventually Lord Shiva gave in.

When Maa Sati entered the place of the Yagna, to her disbelief, She realised that Her father, along with a few of the household staff and Her sisters too, were bad mouthing Lord Shiva.
Maa Sati, who loved and worshipped Lord Shiva all Her life, could not take the humiliation and the harsh words directed to The Lord. Already angry, this was the final straw, and She through Her Yog Shakti engulfed Herself in Fire.

When Lord Shiva realised that His beloved Sati was no more in the body He ordered His army to destroy the place and went into silence for a long time.  
Sati Maa’s love was so pure and innocent that She was reborn as Maa Parvati and is also known as Sahilaputri. She is the daughter of the Lord of the Mountains, Himalaya. Maa again won Lord Shiva through Her love, devotion and penance, and the First Day and Night of Nav Ratras, Maa Shailaputri is worshipped. She is the First Form of Nav Durga.

Maa holds The Trishul in the right hand and a Lotus in the other. Her vehicle is The Bull, Nandi.
According to Yogis and other spiritual practitioners, Maa Shailaputri represents the root Chakra or the Muladhara Chakra and it is considered the first or initial platform for all spiritual practices to commence.     

The Prayer for Maa Shailaputri given by Baba Sai of Shirdi is given below.
I worship Goddess Maa Shailaputri,
She who has a crescent moon on Her head, rides on a bull, carrying a Trishul and is ever known,
Bless me with the same love and devotion Thou had for Your Lord,
Let me always be filled with Thy fire of Oneness
You are the First One, Thy name is Sati,
I chant Your Name, worship You, praise You forever more Maa Shailaputri

1. In mythology Mata Shailputri is a daughter of mountain king – Himalaya. She is the first among nine avatars of Durga and worshiped on the First day of Navratri.
2. In yogic language it represents the lowest chakra, Muladhara chakra. And the bija sound to chant is LAM in the sacral root area. In allopathic language it represents activation of sacral plexus.
3. The Mother Goddess has a half moon in her forehead & she is holding a trident (trishul) in her right hand & lotus flower in her left hand. She rides on mount Nandi a bull.
4. Bull in mythology represents ‘desires’. On the first day we must let go our desires.
5.Trishul in mythology represents balancing Tamas, Rajas and Satwa
6.Lotus in mythology indicates practicing detached attachment.
7.Moon in mythology means thinking with a cool mind.
8. Shailputri represents the shakti or power of the root chakra, who, upon awakening, begins Her journey upwards in search for the last crown chakra (Shiva).
9. In Navratri pooja on the first day Yogi keep their mind concentrated on Muladhara chakra as the starting point of spiritual discipline or Yoga Sadhna.

What to do on first day
    1. Let go your desires
    2. Keep the mind cool
    3. Practice detached attachment
    4. Balance Tamas and Rajas guna with Satwa. or to stay in balance.
    5. Concentrate on Muladhara chakra (sacral root)
    6. Chant LAM reducing the respiratory rate to 2-4 per minute.
    7. . In Ayurveda Muladhara chakra represents the earth element.
      Gist: On the first day we control (riding), our desires (bull) by balancing (Trishul) the mind with cool thoughts (moon) and practicing detachment (lotus). This can be assisted by chanting LAM focusing on sacral chakra.
 Maa Brahmacharini: 2nd (let go your impure thoughts)

  “Spiritual summary: Purify the mind (white cloths) with continuous efforts (japa mala) by accepting the things and situations as they are (kamalandu) and building humility in the mind (egoless state)”This can be assisted by chanting VAM focusing on 2nd gonadal chakra.

Brahmacharini (Tapasyacharini)

In reality Maa Brahmacharini is once again Maa Parvati. This Second Form of Nav Durga is the One related to the most severe penances connected with Devi worship. This Form of Maa Durga is connected with the penance done by Maa Sati and Maa Parvati to get the boon of eternal companionship with Lord Shiva. But this Form is related more with Maa Parvati’s penance for Lord Shiva which went on for thousands of years.
We are already aware of why Maa Sati set Herself ablaze in the holy Fire. She takes birth again as Maa Parvati. One day Lord Vishnu’s eternal disciple; the Sage Narada, visited the kingdom of King Himalaya. The moment He saw Maa Parvati, who was then a very young Woman, the revered Sage bowed down to Maa Parvati. Himalaya and his wife were astounded as to why Sage Narada would bow down to their Daughter. It was then, that Narada revealed to her parents the true origin of Maa Parvati and how Maa Parvati in the former Form of Maa Sati had won over Lord Shiva, became The Lord’s Wife and how She couldn’t bear the humiliation meted out to Her by Her extremely strange father and thus immolated Herself, and now, here She was, as Maa Parvati.

I am sure the very Energy behind Her Past Incarnation, which was spoken by Narada, must have evoked long lost memories and Maa Parvati requested the Sage to reveal how She could win over Lord Shiva again. The Sage revealed that now, for Lord Shiva to again accept anybody as His wife and companion, Maa Parvati would really have to raise the bar of asceticism and penances.
So, Maa left Her parents, the palace, the comforts and began Her quest for pleasing Lord Shiva. Her penances are considered the most severe. For the first thousand years Maa meditated and prayed to Lord Shiva and lived on fruits and roots. Then, for the next three thousand years She lived on only leaves and then only on water, disregarding Her physical state or the elements of nature. It was but natural that She became skin and bone, and Her only emancipation was being the Spouse of Lord Shiva.
Maa’s penance eventually forced all the Gods and Sages to approach Lord Brahma who then blessed Maa Parvati that She would become The Divine Spouse of Lord Shiva. He also blessed Her, through which Her health and beauty were regained and thus titled Her ‘Brahmacharini’, which means ‘The One who is a celibate Woman’.

Lord Shiva then married Maa Parvati.

All the severe penances and fasts / upvaas that women do and keep are to please Maa Brahmcharini who is none other than Maa Parvati who is none other than Maa Sati who are the Forms of Shakti or Woman Energy. Thus, They are all One, and worshiped as the Second Form of Maa Durga.
Maa as Brahmacharini, wears simple white and in some places shown as wearing a pink saree. Maa carries a rudraksha mala or rosary in Her right hand and in the other hand a Kamandalu (a pitcher carried by Sages). She is, and appears very calm, serene and is always in the state of meditation. She stands for renunciation, patience and penance; and endows Her devotees and disciples with dedication, Will Power, focus, courage, strength as well as wellbeing and eternal peace.

Yogis and spiritual practitioners who pray to Maa Brahmacharini focus on the Third Chakra, which is below the navel, the Manipura Chakra. This Chakra is thus associated with Maa Bhramacharini and according to Baba Sai of Shirdi, This is the Chakra where all the powers and strengths reside.
The prayer channeled by Baba Sai for Maa Brahmacharini is as follows. If you want the original Sanskrit version and meaning; as I say often, we have God and then we have Google.

O Goddess Maa Brahmacharini,
Bless me with purity, dedication, courage and perseverance.
Bless me with Your devotion to achieve merger with Thou and my Lord and Master.
Never let me be afraid to make Thou happy and proud of me,
Never let the world distract me from my highest goals.
Bless me Maa Parvati to shake the very heaven with my faith, dedication, love and need of merger with Thou.

Brahmacharini (Uma or Tapacharini) is worshipped on 2nd day of Navratri as the goddess who performed ‘Tapa’ (penance or continuous efforts) (Brahma – Tapa, Charini – Performer).

SHE personifies love and loyalty and provides knowledge and wisdom. Those who worship her, attain, Tap (Religious Austerity), Tyagi (Sacrifice), and Vairagya (Asceticism).

She is shown to hold Japa mala (rosary beads) in her right hand and Kamandal in left hand.  This form of Shakti as per Yoga Shastras is present in second gonad chakra (in Allopathy gonad plexus) called Svadhisthana Chakra.  The bija sound for the chakras is VAM which removes attachments. In Ayurveda the 2nd Chakra represents the water element.

In mythology ‘white’ represents purity of mind; beaded rosary or japa mala represents continuous efforts (meditation and concentration) and Kamandal represents acceptance and water in it represents pure thoughts.

Kamandalu also means living an egoless state of mind. Kamandalu is a water pot made from a dry pumpkin contains nectar and is shown on the ground next to Shiva. The process of making Kamandalu has deep spiritual significance.

A ripe pumpkin is plucked from a plant, its fruit is removed and the shell is cleaned for containing the nectar. In the same way, an individual must break away from attachment to the physical world and clean his inner self of egoistic desires in order to experience the bliss of the Self, symbolized by the nectar in the Kamandalu.

 Maa Chandraghanta Worship : 3rd Navratri (Controlling your negative energies)

Maa Durga in Her Third Avatar for the first time shows Herself as The Ferocious One. Maa Chandraghanta (because Maa has a bell-shaped half moon on Her forehead, thus the word ghanta meaning bell). She is worshipped on The Third Day and is ten armed and rides a Lion. She is worshipped by those who want the help of the Goddess to ward off opponents, foes and those who resort to corrupt and evil means.
In this Avatar, Maa is always ready for war against all which is evil and the dark side of Creation. Those who pray to This Form of Maa Durga, experience fearlessness merged with tranquility. It is said that all mental and emotional fears are eradicated when one prays to Maa Chandraghanta and the devotees are further blessed with a powerful aura and blessed speech.

The devotee is enveloped by Maa’s Aura, and thus, develops confidence and exudes strength and power, as well as has a charismatic pull over all he or she interacts with. Though Maa’s appearance might look ferocious, She is ever loving, always merciful and most tender to those who pray to Her.
Many believe that one can look into the future with the grace of Maa Chandraghanta and get Divine Fragrance or hear sounds, which herald Maa’s Presence in your life. Maa’s very shout can make Her enemies, demons and those who indulge in evil tremble, and go back to where they have come from.

Maa Chandraghanta’s prayer as Baba Sai of Shirdi has given is:
O Goddess Maa Chandraghanta, riding a Tiger,  
Protect me from my enemies, those visible and those unseen, make me as noble and brave as Thou,
The One who holds many weapons in Her ten hands, keep me and my loved ones always Protected and Bless me with Your favour.  

1. Chadraghanta is worshipped on the third day of Navratri
2. SHE is shown with golden skin and riding a tiger. She is depicted with ten hands and 3 eyes with a crescent moon on the head.
3. Eight of HER hands display weapons. The rest two are in the mudras or gestures of boon giving and stopping harm (Varada and abhay mudra) indicating protection.
4. Out of eight hands five contains Bow and arrow (to bend, focus, one point determination,  The bow and arrows also represent energy. Holding both the bow and arrows in one hand indicates control over both potential and kinetic energies); Trishul (balance), sword (sharp intelligence) and mace (power to destroy the evil). Rest three hands contains rosary (tapas); lotus (detached attachment) and Kamandalu (acceptance).
5.  In Ayurveda SHE represents the control over the fire element.
6. In Yogashstra SHE represents the solar or Manipura Chakra with the Bija sound RAM.
7. Sound of her bell terrifies demons as well as all enemies.
8. SHE represents protector and bravery.

Spiritual message on the 3rd Navratri: One should continuously (beaded rosary) control the fire (solar plexus) within by using our sharp intelligence (sword) and balancing the mind (Trishul) by focusing on one point (arrow and bow), practicing detached attachment (lotus), accepting things as they are (Kamandalu) and killing the negative energies by using gada (power) when needed.

 Maa Kushmanda : 4th Navratri Worship

Maa Durga’s Fourth Swaroop or Divine Form is that of Kushmanda. Maa is considered as the Mother of all Creation, all planets, stars, galaxies, and the universe. The Sun is Her home and dwelling. Kushmanda means ‘The One who created the Universe as a tiny celestial egg’. She has created the Universe, and thus is also known as the Primordial One, or as ‘Adi Shakti’. Many consider This Roop of Maa Durga as The Creator. She has breathed life into all things and beings; and by praying to This Form of Maa, the devotee is bestowed by Maa Kushmanda with resplendent glory, fame and wellbeing. As She resides in the Sun; and only She can reside in the Sun, as She has created it all, Her Form is luminous and resplendent like the Sun. In fact the very Sun gets Its warmth and radiance because Maa dwells in it. She has eight hands and thus is also called Ashtabhuja.

Maa Kamandalu has in seven hands a vase of Nectar, a discus, a bow, an arrow, a Lotus (the Lotus is so important to The Goddess) and a Mace. But it is what She holds in Her eighth hand which is most important for Yogis and spiritual aspirants; She holds a rosary that can grant the eight all important Siddhis (knowledge / wisdom of all one needs to know) and Nine Niddhis, (powers and wealth of all types.) Maa is seated on a Lion. Having created the Sun along with all of Creation, those who have a malefic Sun in their astrological chart must worship Maa Kushmanda.

Maa Kushmanda is seated in the Heart Chakra; Anahata. For a long life, success, fame and prosperity, Maa Kushmanda is appeased with purity, love and dedication. (I guess all Mothers are appeased with purity, love and dedication.)

The prayer one can chant to appease Maa Kushmanda, according to Baba Sai is:
Maa Kushmanda,
Shine through me like the Sun.
Let Thy radiance permeate within me and through me to all of creation,
Let my name, fame and glory be attached with Thou and with eight siddhis and nine niddhis, bless me Maa
So that I can serve and spread Thy Radiance

1.      Kushmanda is worshipped on the fourth day of Navratri.
2.      SHE shines brightly with a laughing face.
3.      Out of eight hands (Ashtabhuja) in her four arms, she carries weapons like bow, arrow, discus and mace. In other three hands, she holds a lotus, a beaded rosary and a Kamandalu. In remaining hand, she carries a jar of nectar.
4.      SHE rides on Lion.
5.      Rosary represents her power to bless her devotees with Ashtasiddhi (eight types of studies or wisdom sources) and Navanidhi (nine types of wealth).
6.      In Ayurveda SHE represents the control over the air element.
7.      In Yoga Shastra SHE represents the heart or Anhata Chakra with the Bija sound YAM.

Spiritual message on the 4th Navratri: One should continuously (beaded rosary) control the air (anahata plexus) within us by using our sharp intelligence (sword) and balancing the mind (Trishul) by focusing on one point (arrow and bow), practicing detached attachment (lotus), accepting things as they are (Kamandalu), keep smiling in both acceptable and difficult situations (smiling face) and killing the negative energies by using discus (power) when needed.

 Maa Skanda: 5th Navratri

Skanda Maa is The Fifth Manifestation of Maa Durga. She is also called Skanda Mata, derived from Her son; Kartikeya, who amidst other Names is also called Skanda. Thus, She is called Skanda Mata; The Mother of Skanda, would be the literal translation. Lord Skanda is also known as Subramanya and Murugan.

Lord Skanda / Kartikeya / Subramaniya / Murugan was appointed as the Chief Commander of The Gods and Their Army to fight against the demons.

Kartikeya is the brother of Lord Ganesha; thus logically, Skanda Mata, who is the Fifth Manifestation of Maa Durga is Maa Parvati who is Maa Sati who is Maa Shakti.

Maa Skanda is seated on a Lotus; thus, She is also called The Goddess with a lotus - seat. Her mode of transport is the faithful Lion. She is seen carrying two Lotus flowers, a Kamandalu again, and a bell. With one hand She blesses one and all and with the other hand She holds Her son Kartikeya or Skanda.

When Skanda Mata is worshipped, Her Son, Kartikeya, is automatically paid homage and obeisance to. The importance of worshiping Skanda Mata is that She desires pure, dedicated, selfless love and devotion, and thus happily grants the devotee / disciple with prosperity and wellbeing. I think in This Roop, Maa seeks disciples rather than devotees. A disciple is one who has surrendered to his or her Lord, Goddess and Master. A devotee worships The One but still hangs on to his or her own ego. It is said that with the grace and blessings of Skanda Mata and Lord Kartikeya, the disciple gains salvation. 

Prayer for Skanda Mata, once again none of them are traditional prayers, but what comes forth from Baba Sai of Shirdi.
Skanda Mata, Mother of Lord Kartikeya, seated on the Lotus, in the world, but still detached from it;
The One on the Lion, make my heart and mind, child like, completely immersed and surrendered to You,
With Thy son Kartikeya Subramaniya’s grace make me face my lower energies and the world like a warrior
Like Your child, take care of me and my lot,
Oh Mother Skanda, May Thou and Thy Son, Lord Subramanya, The Skanda, be always pleased with me and my loved ones.

Skanda Mata represents Visuddha Chakra, which is the Throat Chakra. Skanda, as a child in the lap of Skanda Mata basically signifies the purity of a child or in this case purity of the mind. 

1.  Skanda Mata is worshipped on the fifth Day of Navratri.
2.  SHE is holding her son ‘Skandaa or Kartikaya’ on her lap.
3.   SHE has  three eyes and  four hands
4.  2 hands hold lotuses while the other 2 hands respectively display defending and granting gestures.
5. She is the ocean of knowledge.
6.   She rides on a lion.
7.   In Yoga Shastra she represents the Vishuddha chakra and HAM bija mantra.
8.   She also dignifies motherhood, fertility and mother child relationship.
9.   Skandaa means the one with six heads corresponding to the five senses and the mind. Or the one who has a control over the six demonic vices: kaama (sex), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (passion), mada (ego) and matsarya (jealousy).
10.  Kartikeya carries on one hand a spear and his other hand is always blessing devotees. His vehicle is a peacock, a pious bird that grips with its feet a serpent, which symbolizes the ego and desires of people. The peacock represents the destroyer of harmful habits and the conqueror of sensual desires.
Spiritual message on the 5th Navratri: One should learn detached attachment as the main  principle of spirituality.

Maa Katyayani:6th Navratri

 This is The Sixth Form of Maa Durga, which is most commonly and widely known; The destroyer of Mahishasura. Maa Katyayani’s Name is derived from a Sage called Kaatyaayana. Sage Kaatyaayana was a devotee and disciple of Maa Durga. He worshipped Her with love, dedication and sincerity. Maa Durga pleased with Him, appeared before Him, and told Him to ask for a boon. The Sage asked Maa to be born as His Daughter. Maa blessed Him.

When Mahishasura began to play havoc with Gods and all of Creation, Maa Durga took birth as Sage Kaatyaayana’s Daughter, and thus, was called Maa Katyayani, The Daughter of Kaatyaayana.
Legend says that Maa Katyayani was worshipped by Lord Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma and all other Gods for three days, in order to give Her all the Power to destroy Mahishasura.

Sage Kaatyaayana was overjoyed, but Maa showed Him Her True Form. She became huge and resplendent. Maa let Herself be worshipped by Sage Kaatyaayana for three days, and then, She went and gave Mahishasur the pink slip by relieving His spirit from His body.
Maa carries a sword, a shield and a Lotus. She blesses with one hand and her vehicle is the Lion. Maa Katyayani can be easily pleased with love and devotion, who then destroys the sins of Her devotees and grants them material wellbeing, luxuries, pleasures and liberation.

The prayer given by Baba Sai of Shirdi to appease Maa Katyayani is as follows:
Maa Katyayani, the destroyer of demons,
Free me from my lower energies,
Destroy all that which Thou doesn’t approve of within me and around me,
But do so tenderly Maa
Bless me with protection, prosperity, success and courage.  

1.   Mata Katyayani is worshipped on the sixth day of Navratri.
2.   SHE has three eyes and four hands and rides on a Lion.
3.   The top right hand is positioned in a gesture of providing courage and the other hand is positioned in a gesture of rendering a boon. The top left hand is holding a sword and the other holding a lotus.
4.   In Yoga Shastra she represents the Ajna Chakra and AUM bija mantra.
5.   AUM chanting helps attaining success in religion, wealth, passion and salvation and removing fear and sorrows.

Spiritual message on the 6th Navratri: AUM chanting is one of the most powerful chakra and should be done concentrating on the Ajna chakra.

Maa Kalaratri….Maa Shubhankari:7th Navratri

This Seventh Form of Maa Durga is very close to Maa Kali. Maa is dark skinned, violent and to those who don’t go beyond Her physical aspect, Maa can seem very daunting. This aspect of Maa is ferocious, and God help the so called enemy of Her's or Her devotee's and disciple's. She is atop a Donkey, and She has a sword, a Trident and a noose. She is very clear about Her intentions. No hide and seek here. Some scholars profess that this is the dark side of Maa Durga, that life has its violent, cruel and dark side. Maa Kalaratri has three eyes on Her forehead. The strange part is, though Maa is depicted as dark skinned, black would be the right word; luminous rays of Light emit from Her body.

The more terrifying Maa Kalaratri’s appearance, She in reality is that much and more tender and merciful. Thus, She is called Maa Shubhankari, meaning, ‘The One who does Good and Auspicious things for Her children’. If one goes beyond the body, one sees Her tenderness, and She is ready to give and help and heal and absolve the sins of Her children. Like Mother Kali, Maa Shubhankari Kalaratri is The Most Tender of all Mothers. She wants you to go beyond the gross, beyond the physical, beyond the darkness and glitter, and focus on Her love and Her mercy.

Maa Kalaratri is prayed to destroy black magic, demons, ghosts, voodoo, evil eye, nazar and all the dark alleys of the spirit world. Her very blessing makes Her child fearless. Who the hell in Creation is going to oppose or get into a battle with Maa Kali and Maa Kalaratri? Maa Kalaratri wants Her children happy and moving towards liberation by going beyond the gross body and material objects and externals. Maa wants us all to go beyond fears and obstacles created by the world, the planets, the unknown, the dark side of one’s own mind and in all of Creation.

Maa Kalaratri is associated with the Crown Chakra or the Sahasrara Chakra, giving the invoker the Siddhis and Nidhis (knowledge, wisdom and power) of the universe.

Baba Sai’s prayer for Kalaratri Devi:
Kalaratri….O Maa Kali
You cannot scare me as You are my Mother,
A child is never scared of the Mother
But the one who harms Your child is destroyed.
Be always tender with this child of Yours,
Protect me from black magic, the evil eye, the manipulator and the one who You do not favour.
Surround me and my loved ones with Your presence,
Bestow love, grace and wellbeing
And let the world know I belong to You.
Jai Maa Kali. Jai Kalratri. Nav Durga Namho Namha.

1.    Kalaratri is worshipped on the Seventh Day of Navratri.
2.    She is dark and black like night.
3.    Her hairs are unlocked
4.     SHE has three eyes and four hands.
5.     She holds a sharp Sword in her right hand and blesses her devotees with her lower hand.
6.      HER vahana is a donkey, destroyer of darkness and ignorance (or shava).
7.      She spills out fire from her nostrils.
8.      She has put on necklaces shining like lightening.
9.      In Yoga Shastra she represents the Sasahara Chakra

Spiritual message on the 7th Navratri: By the time chanting of Bija mantras LAM, VAM, RAM, YAM, HAM and AUM is over the inner darkness goes over.

 Mahagauri … Maha Gowri … Maha Gauri … Kanya … Kumari … Chaturbhuji:8th Navratri

 The Eighth Manifestation of Nav Durga, for many people, is the most important Manifestation of Maa Durga. She is represented as a young eight year old Girl.

Due to thousands of years of penance that was undertaken by Maa Parvati to appease Lord Shiva, Maa Parvati’s complexion became dark, virtually black in colour. When Lord Shiva was convinced of Maa Parvati’s devotion and love, He bathed Maa with the water of The Ganga that flowed through His matted Locks. Maa regained Her former complexion and radiance, and thus, Her Name became Maha or Maa Gauri, The One who is extremely fair or radiant.

Maha Gauri is always worshipped in the form of an eight year old Girl. Whoever worships Her, is granted happiness, prosperity and wellbeing. Yogis and Sages worship Her to be blessed with dedication, devotion, courage, to continue to pursue their spiritual aspirations. Those who meditate on Her, worship Her and seek to be blessed with Her patience and Her single minded focus of merging with The Lord and Master, they are freed from the cycle of life and death and attachments with the external world.

Maha Gauri is always dressed in white with jewellery. She sits on a Bull and has four hands, thus the name, Chaturbhuji. She grants Her devotees and disciples wealth and wellbeing, and also salvation to Yogis. She is tender at heart, and thus easily forgives.

The prayer to Maha Gauri given by Baba Sai of Shirdi is:
Maa Maha Gauri,
Bless me with Your devotion and child like love,
The way you appeased Thy Lord, bless me that I may appease mine too,
Grant me, when in the body, health and prosperity of body, mind and heart
And when in spirit back with You, liberation from the cycles of birth and death,
Make me innocent as a child and as wise as a Sage,
So be it as I pray.

 1. Maha Gauri is worshipped on the Eight Day of Navratri.
2. SHE looks as white as moon and jasmine. White means purity of mind.
3. She has three Eyes and four hands. SHE is dressed in a white sari.
4. SHE holds a drum and a trident and is often depicted riding a bull (control over the desires)
5. Her above left hand is in fearless pose and she holds ‘Trishul’ in her lower left hand.
6. Her above right hand has tambourine and lower right hand is in blessing Mudra.

Spiritual message on the 8th Navratri: By the 8th day of spiritual; detoxification once gets purity of mind.

Maa Siddhidayini … Siddhidatri: 9th Navratri

 As the Name suggests, Maa in the ninth manifestation is the Giver of all sidhhas and siddhis. This is the final Manifestation of Maa Durga; but in reality, creation as we know of it, evolved from Maa Siddhidayini which is Maa’s Ninth Form or Roop of Nav Durga.

When The Universal Mother, The Creator of all Creators, created Lord Shiva, legend says, that Lord Shiva prayed to Maa Supreme to bestow on Him all boons that would lead to perfection. Maa Durga or Maa Shakti or Maa Parvati, which ever Name one would like to call The Primordial Goddess, from Herself created Maa Siddhidayani.

Maa Siddhidayani blessed Lord Shiva with ashtasidhis, eight Siddhis while some claim eighteen Sidhis (powers and/or states of perfection). From here Lord Shiva, created Lord Vishnu, who created Lord Brahma.

Then there came a halt. For creation of the world, one needs male and female energy. So Maa Siddhidayini made Lord Shiva into Male and Female Energy, half God - half Goddess, called as Ardhanaarishwara. It is through this, that Creation followed.

Thus, all that which is perfect comes from Maa Siddhidayini.

Maa Siddhidayini is prayed and worshipped by all those who seek Siddhis and Niddhis (powers, perfection, wisdom of all kinds). She is prayed by the Gods and the demons. She grants all boons connected with the occult and the paranormal. Those who pray to Her are granted boons for material and spiritual wellbeing, and the state of perfection. She sits on a Lotus, holding a mace, a discus, a Lotus and a Book (the Akashik Records or the history and destination of all and everything).

Baba Sai of Shirdi’s prayer to Maa Siddhidayini:
Maa Siddhidayini make me perfect,
Make me realizse Your perfection in myself,
Bless me with the gifts You wish to bestow
As I am ignorant of my wants and needs,
Let the God and Goddess Energy within me be in harmony
First Your Love and Blessings, then Siddhis and Niddhis
First Your Protection and Grace, then occult and all else
Be with me for now and for eternity.

1.  Siddhidatri is worshipped on the Ninth Day of Navratri.
2.   She gives all the eight siddhis – Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Iishitva and Vashitva.
3.    She rides on a lion or on a lotus
4.    She has four hands and looks pleased.

Spiritual message on the 9th Navratri: By the 9th day of spiritual detoxification one gets all spiritual powers.


Ghatasthapana Puja Vidhi during Navratri

Ghatasthapana Time 

Ghatasthapana is one of the significant rituals during Navratri. It marks the beginning of nine days festivity. Our scriptures have well defined rules and guidelines to perform Ghatasthapana during a certain period of time at the beginning of Navratri. Ghatasthapana is invocation of Goddess Shakti and doing it wrong time, as our scriptures forewarn, might bring wrath of the Goddess Shakti. Ghatasthapana is prohibited during Amavasya and night time.

The most auspicious or Shubh time to do Ghatasthapana is first one third of the day while Pratipada is prevailing. If due to some reasons this time is not available then Ghatasthapana can be done during Abhijit Muhurta. It is advised to avoid Nakshatra Chitra and Vaidhriti Yoga during Ghatasthapana but those are not prohibited. The most important factor to consider is that Ghatasthapana is done before Hindu midday while Pratipada is prevailing. 

Hence please note down the city based Ghatasthapana Time after setting the location for your city.
Ghatasthapana Items 

  1. Wide and open Clay Pot to sow Sapta Dhanya
  2. Clean  Soil to sow Sapta Dhanya
  3. Sapta Dhanya or seeds of seven different grains
  4. Small clay or brass Pitcher
  5. Sacred water to fill the Kalash or Ganga Jal
  6. Sacred thread / Moli / Kalaya
  7. Scent (perfume)
  8. Supari(betel nuts)
  9. Coins to put into the Kalash
  10. 5 leaves of Ashoka or Mango tree
  11. A Lid to cover the Kalash
  12. Raw Rice or unbroken rice known as Akshat to put in the lid
  13. Unpeeled Coconut
  14. Red Cloth to warp coconut
  15. Flowers and Garland preferably marigold
  16. Durva grass

                                                     Kalash Preparation

 Kalash Preparation for Ghatasthapana 

Kalash is prepared before invoking the Goddess and other Gods into it.

Step 1 - First take the wide clay pot (the one which would be used to keep the Kalash) to sow the grains. Spread the first layer of the soil into the pot and then spread the grain seeds. Now add the second layer of the soil and grains. In second layer grains should be spread near the periphery of the pot. Now spread the third and final layer of the soil into the pot. If needed add little water to the pot to set the soil.
.  The process to grow ‘khetri‘ or barley seeds  is collect, clean mud from an auspicious or clean place. This mud is put in a earthen pot. Clean and wash the barley to remove any insects or impurities and soak them in water for 15-30 minutes and then put these barley or ‘jau’ on the top of mud. Make a thin layer of mud on top of barley, so as to cover it. don’t put too much mud otherwise barley will not grow and put just enough water to soak the barley. One 

Step 2 - Now tie the
red color sacred thread (mauli) of mata rani is tied to khetri pot on the neck of the Kalash and fill it up with the holy water up to the neck. Drop Supari, scent, Durva grass, Akshat and coins into the water. Keep 5 leaves of Ashoka at the edge of the Kalash before covering it with a lid.

Step 3 – Now take the un-peeled coconut and wrap it inside the red cloth. Fasten the coconut and red cloth with the sacred thread.

Now keep the coconut on top of the Kalash prepared in step 2. At last put the Kalash in the center on the grain pot prepared in step 1. Now we have Kalash ready to invoke Goddess Durga into it.

Invoke Goddess Durga
Now invoke Goddess Durga and request Her to accept your prayers and to oblige you by residing into the Kalash for nine days.
Panchopachara Puja
As name suggests, Panchopachara Puja is done with five Puja items. First show the lamp to the Kalash and all deities invoked in it. After lamp offering, light Dhoop sticks and offer it to the Kalash, followed by flowers and scent. Finally offer Naivedhya i.e. fruits and sweets to the Kalash to conclude Panchopachara Puja.

Akhand deep -Continuous burning of a lamp

Akhand means continuous and deep is an oil lamp; Akhand deep is a continuously burning lamp. An oil lamp symbolises absolute Fire principle. During Navratri the atmosphere is charged with a glow that is laden with absolute Fire principle. The frequencies emanating from this glow get attracted towards the flame of the Akhand deep resulting in their constant movement in the house. Hence it is important to light an Akhand deep during Navratri.One of the observances during Navratri is that a lamp is kept lit continuously for nine days. 

The following are the benefits of this ritual:
·         The distress of negative energies reduces and hence the pressure in the atmosphere is reduced.
·         Due to the radiant vibrations emanating from the lamp, the embodied soul (jīva) benefits at the level of his spiritual emotion.
·         The Divine Energy (Shakti) principle present in the universe gets attracted to the lamp light, thereby benefiting everyone around it.
·         The spiritual purity (sāttviktā) and Divine consciousness (Chaitanya) in the atmosphere increases.
The embodied soul gets the experience of bliss and peace.

Navratri vrat vidhi or procedure:

Certain items are required to perform the Navratri pooja - A picture of Goddess Durga, Durga Sapthashati book, water in Kalash, fresh and washed mango leaves, one coconut, roli, moli (red sacred thread), rice, paan (betel leaves), supari (beetle nuts), cloves, cardamom and kumkum (vermilion).
 The flowers used for Navratri puja may include rose, lotus and red hibiscus. Stalks of Bilwa (bael) leaves are also used for the puja. You may offer fresh pomegranate and sweets for prasad. You will require a Panchpatra containing spoon, water and bael leaves.

 In order to perform the puja, take bath in the morning and wear fresh clothes. Sprinkle 'Gangajal' all over the Puja room. Now, offer sandalwood powder and some fresh grass to the Goddess. Then, offer the sari or dupatta to the Goddess. Fill the kalash with water and place mango leaves on top. Place a coconut on top of the kalash. Now, tie moli on the kalash. Place the idol or picture of Durga in your puja room and then worship the deity with roli, rice, flowers, balepatra, kumkum and gulal.

1. To start with if possible, clean the house as you are inviting the goddess mother in your house.
2. Normally no onion and garlic are used  in any recipe, no matter other people are keeping fast or not. so try to use all the onions and garlic before the fast is starting.
3. Many devotees keep fast on all nine days. some people keep fast on 1st and last day. my mil has kept fast on all nine days through out her life. but now because of old age and falling health, she keep fast on one day. if somehow, its not possible for you to keep fast on all nine days then you can try that on each day one person of your family is keeping fast in the house.
4. Many people grow ‘khetri‘ or barley seeds during this period. for this they collect, clean mud from an auspicious or clean place. this mud is put in a earthen pot. clean and wash the barley to remove any insects or impurities and soak them in water for 15-30 minutes and then put these barley or ‘jau’ on the top of mud. make a thin layer of mud on top of barley, so as to cover it. don’t put too much mud otherwise barley will not grow and put just enough water to soak the barley. one red color string (mauli) of mata rani is tied to khetri pot.
5. The progress of ‘khetri’ or barley is observed very keenly by the devotee and it is believed that the longer they grow in height… the better it is for your family’s fortune and well being. it is also related to the blessings or happiness of the goddess on you. on the last day of navratri, the khetri is immersed in moving water body like river or even a pond. if there is no water body nearby to your house then you can put the khetri under pipal tree in a temple.
6. One diya or lamp is burned through out the nine days and care must be taken that there is enough ghee or oil in the diya all the time. it is akhand jyoti (burning all the time for nine days). this akhand jyoti will destroy all the negativity in your house.
7. Along with this one red color chunri or cloth and one mature coconut is kept in the house temple. the thin edge of coconut should be towards the temple.
8. One kalash (earthen or copper pot) is filled with water, 5 betel nuts or suparis, sugar, rice and a five rupees coin and is kept with all these pooja items. in the kalash, red color string of mata rani is tied and this kalash water is sprinkled in your house after the kanjak pooja on 8th or 9th day. You can also drink this water. this water is considered as charanamrit and is holy.
9. After taking bath in the morning , aarti is done for devi maa and bhog is given to maa in the form of dry fruits (5 types), milk, bananas, mishri or other fruits. you can also offer fresh flowers. after doing the aarti or pooja only, my mil takes the food. the same aarti is done in evening time (sandhya kaal) too. burning incense, dhoop etc is part of morning and evening pooja.
10. Try to keep your body and mind clean. keep your thoughts focused on maa or goddess while doing your household work. you can do some special pooja or havan in your house or chant ‘jai mata di’ or chant durga Saptashati or sri lalita sahasranama. you can also visit devi temples during these days or can play devotional songs or mata ke bhajan in the house to help your mind to stay connected with maa.
11. Reading Devi Mahatmyam . Devi Mahatmyam(Durga Saptashati or Chandi Path) is a powerful text dedicated to Goddess Shakti. The reading procedure of Devi Saptashati is given here in detail version. Many devotees are confused on how to recite this powerful text – on which day, which adhyaya (chapter) needs to be chanted..

There are two methods to start reading Devi Mahatmyam– Trayangam and Navangam.
Trayangam is a method in which we need to chant three prayers – Devi Kavacham, Argala Stotram and Devi Keelakam followed by Navakshari Mantram.
Namani, Argala Stotram, Keelaka Stotram, Devi Hrudaya, Dhala, Devi Dhyana and Devi Kavacha.

As per the prescribed methods in ancient scriptures, Devi Mahatmyamshould be read in one sitting. After finishing the recital of Devi Mahatmya, one should chant the Devi Suktam (slokas 7 to 36 of Chapter 8).

Devi Saptashati Parayana in 3 days & 7 days
Apart from one sitting recital, devotees read Devi mahatmya for three consecutive days: Prathama Charitra or 1st Chapter on first day, Madhyama Charitra (2, 3, 4 chapters) on 2nd day, and Uttama Charitra (5-13 chapters) on third day.

Some devotees also read Devi Mahatmya in 7 days. They chant 1st Chapter on first day, 2-3 chapters on 2nd day, 4th chapter on 3rd day, 5-8 chapters on 4th day, 9-10 chapters on 5th day, 11th chapter on 6th day and 12-13 chapters on 7th day.

Each chapter should be read in single sitting. Due to any reason, Parayana is stopped in between a chapter; the whole chapter should be read again.

The order of reciting Durga Saptashati Parayana daily is: Trayanga Mantra, Devi Mahatmya text followed by Devi Suktam.

Many devotees read Durga Saptashati during Navratri Durga Puja 9/10 days.. Here is the procedure to read Devi Mahatmyam during Navratri

How to read Durga Saptashati (Devi Mahatmyam) during Navratri festival
1st day: Chapter 1 (Madhu kaitabha samhaaram)
2nd day: Chapter 2, 3 and 4 (Mahishhasura samhaara)
3rd day: Chapter 5 and 6 (Dhuumralochana vadha)
4th day: Chapter 7 (Chanda Munda vadha)
5th day: Chapter 8 (Rakta biija samhaara)
6th day: Chapter 9 and 10 (Shumbha Nishumbha vadha)
7th day: Chapter 11 (Praise of Narayani)
8th day: Chapter 12 (Phalastuti – reciting merits or benefits)
9th day: Chapter 13 (Blessings to Suratha and the Merchant)
10th day: Chapter 14 (Aparadha Kshamaprarthana) on 10th day

You can also complete the recital on 9th day by chanting Devi Aparadha Kshama Prarthana Stotram on 9th day itself.

You should read Siddha Kunjika Stotram after completing the recital of every chapter

Offering Naivedya (consecrated food) to the Goddess all the nine days

During Navratri prepare sattvik dishes for the Goddess, as is customary. Apart from the regular food items include puran (a sweet made of gram and jaggery) and varan (an item made of toor-dal) in the meal. The Naivedya which includes puran and varan, radiates activated raja component and the energy laden absolute Fire element frequencies from the Universe get attracted to it in less time. When one consumes the Naivedya as prasad, he benefits from the energy frequencies which are absolute Fire element oriented and thereby purification of his gross and subtle bodies takes place. - (Pujya) Mrs. Anjali Gadgil

Navratri recipes, navratri fasting food, rules & procedure.
Out of 5 major navratri, only two navratri are celebrated. first ‘chaitra navratri‘ celebration is when summer is starting (march-april) and second ‘sharad navratri’ when winter is starting (oct-nov).
In north and western india, many people keep fast during navratri. as its a very good time to make progress in your spiritual practice or to invoke the energy of mother goddess or to purify your body-mind.
navratri fasting rules varies little from community to community. the same fasting rules applies for fasts during the ekadashi, janmashtami and mahashivratri fasts. i hope this post will be helpful to you all.
you can also check this post which shares 71 navratri recipes which covers north indian navratri fasting recipes as well as south indian navratri festival recipes.

 Flours & grains allowed for navratri fasting
1. singhare ka atta (water chestnut flour) – you can make singhare ki poori, paratha, pakoras, halwa .
2. kuttu ka atta (buckwheat flour) – you can make paratha, pakoras, poori, halwa.
3. rajgira ka atta (amaranth flour) and rajgira (amaranth) – you can make pooris, vrat ka halwa, paratha, and thalipeeth. roasted rajgira can be had mixed with fruits, porridge and even ladoos.
4. sama ke chawal ka atta (barnyard millet flour) – can be used to make vrat ke uttapam, idli, dosa, pooris.

5. vrat ke chawal (barnyard millet) – you can make pulao, kheer, dalia, idli, dosa, upma or just plain steamed 6. arrowroot flour or paniphal flour – used as a thickener and binding agent

 Spices & herbs allowed for navratri fasting
1. cumin or cumin powder ( jeera or jeera powder )- you can add them to your curry or veggie dishes or make jeera aloo.
2. black pepper powder and rock salt (sendha namak)
4. green cardamom (chhoti illaichi), cloves (laung), black peppercorns (saboot kali mirch), cinnamon (dalchini) and nutmeg (jaiphal)
5. dry pomegranate seeds (anardana) – you can make chutney or raita or use it as a souring agent.
6. ginger – both fresh as well as dry, including dry ginger powder
7. green chilli or hari mirch and lemons.
9. *coriander (dhania) and mint leaves (pudina) and curry leaves (kadi patta) – some folks include and some don’t
10. *dry mango powder (amchur powder), chaat masala, red chili powder - some folks include and some don’t
11. *black salt (kala namak) – some folks include and some don’t

 Vegetables allowed for navratri fast or upvas

  1. potatoes – make vrat ke aloo, dahi aloo, jeera aloo. halwa or add them to raita.
    2. petha or pumpkin – you can make kaddu ki sabzi, halwa, khatta meetha kaddu sabzi or pakoras.
    3. shakarkandi or sweet potato – you can make shakarkandi halwa, tikki or chaat.
    4. arbi or kachalu or colocasia – you can make many dishes from arbi like sukhi arbi, dahi arbi, arbi tikki, arbi cutlet.
    5. suran or jimkand or yam (regular yam as well as purple yam) – you can make suran chips. suran ki sabzi.
    6. raw banana – you can make sabzi, banana fries and banana chips.
    7. raw or semi ripe papaya – you can make papaya halwa and salad from raw papaya.
    8. *tomatoes – tomatoes are added to curries or sabzis. tomato sauce and chutney is also made.
Other food or ingredients allowed for navratri vrat:

1. sabudana or tapioca pearls – sabudana is favorite during fasting. you can make sabudana khichdi, vada, thalipeeth, pakoras, ladoos and kheer.
2. makhana or phool makhana – you can make makhana kheerroasted makhana, rotis or a simple makhana sabzi.
3. all dry fruits – you can make dry fruits milkshake or add them to halwas or other dishes.
4. all fruits – make fruit chaat, fruit salads, fruit raita or fruit juices like musk melon juice or have them raw.
5. all milk products like paneer, curd, white butter, cream, ghee, khoya, malai, condensed milk. but some people make paneer at home (use lemon juice or curd for curdling the milk) and don’t use the paneer brought from market.
6. sugar, honey, gur or jaggery
7. tamarind (imli), kokum, lemon juice, yogurt – these can be used as souring agents.
8. coconut and coconut milk – you can use coconut in your dishes, make coconut ladoo or use coconut milk  in milkshakes.
9. melon seeds (magaz), peanuts, groundnut oil

Foods to be avoided for navratri fast or vrat:
1. onion and garlic are strictly avoided. if you find any recipe in a food blog which has onion and garlic then skip adding them. so most vrat recipes make use of curd and ginger.
2. no lentils and legumes.
3. common salt is not used and instead rock salt or sendha namak also called as upvaas ka namak is used.
4. turmeric (haldi), asafoetida (hing), mustard (sarson or rai), fenugreek seeds (methi dana), garam masala and dhania powder (coriander powder) are not allowed.
5. alcohol and non-vegetarian food is strictly NO during this holy period.

Flours and grains not allowed for navratri fasting:
1. rice and rice flour
2. wheat flour or atta
3. maida (all purpose flour)
4. sooji (rava or semolina)
5. besan (chickpea flour or gram flour)

Fasting food - there is no fix rule and it varies from community to community. Some people eat only one flour based diet in a day and rest of the day they take milk, tea, fruits etc. Those who can not go for such strict diet take 2 flour based meals. in my place, we also buy ‘seel ki patti or laddu’ – made from popped amaranth seeds, from the grocery stores and have it during the fasting. Normally, there is always relaxation for old or sick people, even for nursing mothers or for those who can not follow rigorous fasting rules.
note: if you want to make roti, poori or paratha for fasting then use above mention singhare ka atta, kuttu ka atta and rajgira ka atta. for making rice based dishes, kindly use sama ke chawal.

 Important aspects of some of the common rituals associated with Goddess Worship (Dēvī-pujan)*

There is a specific way to worship every Deity and every action in the ritual has its own spiritual significance. The table below gives important information about some common actions of the ritualistic worship of all the forms of the Goddess.

Action of ritualistic worship
Important details about the actions
1. Applying wet vermillion (kumkum) on oneself before starting the actual worship Using one's middle finger apply wet vermillion in a straight vertical line over the mid-brow region (Ādnyā-chakra)
2. Applying wet vermillion to the Goddess One should use the ring (anamika) finger of the right hand
3. Offering Flowers

Which Flowers?
Jasmine  (Chameli),  Shevanti, Gladiolus (Nishigandh), Lotus (Kamal) and Jui

How many?
One or multiples of nine

How to offer?
The base of the flower should face the idol or picture of the Goddess

How should the flowers be arranged?
Flowers should be arranged forming a circle ensuring that nothing is placed within this circle
4. Using incense sticks

For the worship of saviour form.
Sandalwood, Rose, Jasmine, Kewda, Champa, Jaee, Vaala,  Night blooming Jasmine (Raat-Rani), Amber

For the worship of destroyer form
Hina, Darbar

How many?

How to wave the incense sticks around the Goddess?
The incense sticks should be held between the thumb and the index finger of the right hand and rotated in a clockwise direction three times
5. Which perfume oil should be offered to the Goddess? Jasmine  (Chameli)
6. How many times should one circumambulate around the idol of the Goddess ? Once or in multiples of nine

  4. Spiritual science behind offering specific flowers to specific deities*
One of the important aims of worshipping Deities is that the Divine consciousness in the Deity's idol (murti) helps in enhancing our spiritual progress. To attract specific subtlest Divine particles of each Deity, some  flowers are better suited than others. If such flowers are offered to the Deity, it helps in activating the idol and we too benefit from the Divine consciousness in the idol. Hence it is important to offer specific flowers to specific Deities. 

In the table below we have given some names of Deities and the flowers to be offered to them.

Flowers to be offered
1.Shri Durga Devi Jasmine
2.Shri Lakshmi Devi Rose
3.Shri Saptashrungi Magnolia
4.Shri Sharda Nightqueen
5.Shri Yogeshwari Michelia
6.Shri Renuka Bakuli
7.Shri Vaishnodevi Tube-rose
8.Shri Vindhyavasini Lotus
9.Shri Bhavani Ground-Lotus
10.Shri Amba Coral
 In reality it is the fragrance from that specific flower which attracts the Deity's principle towards the idol. So the same benefit can be obtained by using incense sticks of the corresponding fragrances.

Rangolī's that attract the Energy (Shakti) principle*

Rangolī is one of the most popular art forms in India especially drawn during various rituals and festivals. It is a form of sand-painting that uses finely ground coloured powders.
From a spiritual point of view, each Deity represents a specific Divine principle. Therefore there are specific shapes that have the capacity to attract the Energy principle, just like specific flowers are used to attract specific the Goddess Energy principle. Below are some shapes and also the Divine Energy principle 
vibrations that they attract.

Goddess principle
Shape associated with the principle
Proportion of colour (%)
1.  Shri Durga Devi
2.  Shri Mahalakshmi
Red + Saffron (60+40)
3.  Shri Lakshmi
Red + Yellow           (40+60)
4.  Shri Saraswati
5.  Shri Mahasaraswati
White + Red (60+40)
6.  Shri Kali
7.  Shri MahaKali
Violet + Red


The Divine Energy principle gets attracted towards the rangoli based on the colours used
When the rangoli is drawn and the colours associated with respective Divine principles are used, then about 7 % Divine Energy  principle can reside within the rangoli, which is the maximum that can be attracted.
The rangoli diagram given below attracts the Divine Energy principle.

Colour and its represented diety
  • Sky Blue represents Goddess Bhuvaneshvari
  • Grey represents Maha Kali or Bhairavi
  • Pink represents Goddess Chinnamasta
  • Green represents Goddess Jagadamba
  • Deep Blue represents Goddess Narayani
  • Parrot Green represents Goddess Amba
  • Orange represents Goddess Tara or Chamunda
  • Royal Blue represents Goddess Renuka Devi also known as Matungi
  • Red represents Goddess Durga
The devotees fast on those nine days and worship the Goddess with devotion to receive her blessings. One who receives the blessings of the Mother would overcome all obstacles in his life and succeed in any task in life. The devotees wear different coloured dresses themselves and also decorate the Goddess in different colours throughout the festival. The colour red is of main importance since it represents Goddess Durga herself . Also the colours have a lot of significance due to their attributions to different energy chakras in the yogic form of meditation. The most important of them all is the primal force of Muladhara Chakra and it is represented in Red Colour.
This colour hence becomes the most preferred of all to decorate the Goddess and is most used in all parts of India. Also apart from dresses, the devotees also play with colour also known as gulal on these days. In major parts of India gulal is used on many festivals apart from Holi.

Worship of a virgin girl (kumārikā pujan)/ kanjak pooja

Many families also do kanya puja on 8th or 9th day. in this kanya puja, nine girls who have not reached the puberty stage are worshiped. for the devotee these nine girls represents nine forms of goddess durga.

During this festival, a virgin girl is worshipped for nine consecutive days and is offered meals. A virgin girl is a symbol of unmanifest energy and by worshipping her, the unmanifest energy in her gets activated. Due to this the radiant frequencies in the universe get attracted and the devotee benefits by it. A kumarika symbolises Shakti in unmanifest form. Worshipping a kumarika activates the Shakti present in her and helps attract the absolute Fire principle frequencies from the Universe. Later, this principle is transmitted very easily to the atmosphere through the medium of the kumarika in the form of frequencies carrying chaitanya (Divine consciousness) and benefit the people. To accumulate the frequencies of the Goddess principle active during Navartri, the kumarika is worshipped with utmost bhav and efforts are made to appease her as she is considered as the manifest form of the Goddess' principle. The degree of manifestation of impressions on subconscious mind of the kumarika is less too and this helps in deriving maximum benefit of the 'with attribute' form of the Goddess; hence the importance of kumarika pujan during Navratri.

Ritual of Kumarika pujan performed
During each of the nine days of Navratri, respectfully invite a kumarika (a young virgin) to your house. If this is not possible, the custom is to invite nine kumarikas on any one of the days in Navratri.
Offer them a mat made of wool to sit on.
Perform their padyapuja (Ritualistic worshipping of their feet) with a bhav (spiritual emotion) that the Goddess principle in them is activated.
Offer them a meal of their liking on a banana leaf. It is believed that the Goddess likes kheer (a sweet made of milk and rice) , puris (type of fried Indian bread) , dry black chana and halwa
The coconut which is kept in the house temple is also broken during this occasion and is part of prasad. some families also worship one small boy in the form of bhairav but some families only worship the nine girls.

There is a custom of offering all kumarikas new clothes along with the prasadam, gifts and money is given to the girls. With the tilak on head and so much attention, love, and devotion, consider them to be representative of Shakti and pay obeisance with utmost bhav. - Ms. Kavita Patil
The day kanjak pooja is done, on that day in our house we do the immersion of khetri along with red cloth (chunri) in moving water or it can be kept under pippal tree in a temple.
On the day, kanjak pooja is done, the navratri fast is broken in the house. Some people do kanjak pooja on 8th day (ashtami) and some do it on 9th day (navami).

Disclaimer:I would humbly like to thank all the websites mentioned below. These websites have given the valuable content which has has been put up to you and the only job done here by me is compiling it together to make it easier for the reader.Kindly note that the rituals followed may vary from family to family.Incase the sentiments of the readers are hurt , kindly forgive me . Any kind of prayer, devotion done with a clean heart is always accepted by the universal mother, MAA .

Navratri Puja Visarjan Vidhi

1. On 10th day of Navratri, go to your place of worship. Take some flower and raw rice in your hand, and pray all Gods present in Ghat as follows :
“O Dear Gods! Thank you for coming. We surrender our devotional practice to you, which we done for you for nine days of Navratri. I request you to go back to your homes and come again when we pray.” 
Offer flower and rice to them. Pick the Ghat and keep aside.
2. Similarly pray to Mother Goddess :
“O Mother Goddess! Thank you for coming. We surrender our devotional practice to you, which we done for you for nine days of Navratri. I request you to go back to your home and come again when we pray.”
Pick photo/idol of Goddess and put it at it’s permanent place.
3. Now collect the offerings on Chowki. Take them as Prasad. Remove cloth from the chowki. Turn aside the chowki and leave. Take the coconut on Ghat as Prasad, just eat it. Give raw rice on lid to birds to eat.
Sprinkle the sacred water of Ghat in your entire house and pray it will remove all negative energies and bring prosperity. You can also drink it and can take a bath of this sacred water.
Take out coins and keep safe along with your money, they will bring prosperity.
4. Observe the growth of barley. If they are fresh and sparkling green and in abundance, then it is sure sign of your prosperity.
Search for white Barley sprout. If you find one, it is very rare and very much fortunate. Dig it carefully with root. Surrender it to Goddess Durga with some green sprouts and keep it at place of puja forever. If you don’t have any white sprout, then pluck some green sprouts and surrender to Goddess Durga.
Search Peepal Tree near your house and put rest of whole sprouts with pot there. Don’t put Ghat there. Keep Ghat at your house. You can use it for any purpose.

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                                                     JAI MAA