Navaratri is a festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity Durga. The word Navaratri means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Devi are worshipped. Goddess Durga is believed to be the combination of trinity of goddesses – Lakshmi, Parvati, Saraswati. In other words, the Trinity is worshipped during Navaratri. Three days are assigned to each goddess during the nine divine days of Navaratri.
Here are nine lessons from the nine nights of festivities
1. Remove Negative Tendencies
On the first three days, the Mother is invoked as powerful force called Durga in order to destroy all our impurities, vices and defects. During these three days, the devotees pray to the goddess to destroy their imperfections. Devotees prayers to be made pure so as to receive the divine and spiritual energy of the goddess.
2. Positive Attitude Brings Success : Be Positive
The next three days, the Mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth, Lakshmi, who is considered to have the power of bestowing on her devotees the inexhaustible wealth. During the first three days, we remove our negative attitude; hence, in the next three days, positive attitude replaces the negative attitude. With a positive and optimistic attitude, devotees pray for removing obstacles and bringing success in their path.
3. Importance of Knowledge : Knowledge is Power
The final set of three days is spent in worshipping the mother as the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati. Knowledge is very important for a human to live life. Saraswati is not just the goddess of knowledge, she is also Shakti, who bestows wisdom.
Without removing negative tendencies and without having wealth of love, inner peace and calmness, one cannot attain divine knowledge. We first have to purify ourselves to get the path of wisdom. Goddess Saraswati bestows the shakti (energy) to the devotees so that they can attain knowledge.
4. Importance of Women : Respect Women
Navaratri is the festival of the Goddess. Thus, females have always been at the top in mythology. Even during Navaratri, on the eighth day, Kanya Pooja is performed, where nine young girls are considered to be the nine forms of goddess Durga. They are worshipped like goddesses. Devotees wash their feet, offer them new clothes and other gifts. This ritual has been performed in India since ancient times to mark the importance of females.
5. Self Control
(Self Control is strength ; Right thought is mastery ; Calmness is power)
Fasting is an exercise in self-discipline. Devotees observe fast for all nine days during Navaratri. Fasting is not just for spirituality, but it makes us self-disciplined also. It trains our mind and body to be prepared for any hardship in life. By practicing restraint for 9 or 10 days, one is able to lead a life of self-discipline in all matters for the rest of the year. In this way, fasting inculcates in devotee the necessity to abstain at all costs from anti-social activities, and from all ungentlemanly words and deeds.
6. The power of Devotion
(Devotion to duty is the highest form of worship of God)
According to the Hindu Vedas, we are currently living in the Kali Yuga stage of the cycle of Creation. Apparently, it’s the darkest, cruelest and the most miserable of times that the human race has ever gone through. It is now that we are the furthest from finding God within ourselves. There are medical conditions being diagnosed that were never heard of before, crimes committed so horrific that it’s easier to simply keep walking than trying to help; and betrayals so deep that it’s hard to even trust your own family.
The only way to get through this pain is through bhakti (devotion), which a festival like the Navaratri encourages and inculcates.
7. Seva : the selfless way to live
There are many types of Seva in the Hindu context and whichever avenue you choose to give your service, it will have to be without any expectations in return, and hence, selfless.
8. Keep Learning
If you stop learning, you stop winning. There is no age limit to learn new things. The Navaratris are the perfect time to learn and discover your religion, try out someone else’s recipe. You can have fun, learning every day! Try to understand the main essence of worshipping 9 days of Durga maa and Spread the knowledge to the world.
9. Faith : The bridge to Happiness
(Let your Faith be bigger than your Fear)
There will be times when life will look like it’s in the dumps, with no quick way out of it. You will simply have to ride it out during those times. It is especially during that time of our lives when we must hold on to our faith. It may be the last thing you want to do but you must continue with your devotion, serve others even though your own heart is breaking and do what is right no matter how many people put you down for it. Why? Because it stops us from completely breaking down, gives us the strength to keep going and find hope in knowing that some divine energy is looking after us. Yes, our Faith can carry us through sad times to happy ones…
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Finally things to learn from Navaratri are to be a good human being, do good deeds, develop the nature of love, affection and compassion. Spirituality should be the only religion of every person.