How Observe Navaratri at Home
Navaratri literally means nine nights. The Navaratri observance begins on the first day of the new moon. As the moon fills with light, so does the life of the participant.
This year, the Nine Nights occur on October 15th – 23rd.
Navaratri is observed twice a year when two seasons are merging and there is plenty of charge in the atmosphere. At that time, making positive changes in life is like riding a wave instead of treading the rough waters of obstacles. One who engages in changing his life for better during this time succeeds in enriching oneself with light:
– misfortune turns into fortune;
– fear turns into strength.
Astrologically, all the planets are aligned in a way to give abundant help to those bringing a change in their lives or seeking divine intervention. When we are closer to the Divine within, we are enriched, empowered by our own Shakti, the capability that resides with us.
Why do we need Shakti?
In order to succeed in anything in our lives we need a source of energy. Just ask yourself, who provides us with air, who makes our lungs breathe, a seed grow into a plant, the Sun shine, and so on. The Divine energy, also called Shakti, in her various forms enables us to live our lives.
At the time of Navaratri, all Divine Feminine Powers (Shakti) descends upon the Earth in their warrior form, destroying evil and bringing love, joy and light. This fight for light is led by the Goddesses Durga (Kali), Lakshmi, and Saraswati.
Durga (Kali) is remover of darkness.
Lakshmi provides opulence.
Saraswati is giver of wisdom.
Maha Kali – the first 3 days of Navaratri.
The first three days of Navaratri are dedicated to Maha Kali, we evoke her to remove all our limitations, all our darkness. Maha Kali is the remover of death, darkness, impurities, sloth, laziness, and trickery. She can remove our lowly tendencies that keep us away from our divine Self, from our virtues.
Maha Kali is also the remover of fear. She proclaims, “Have no fear! I am right behind you. I am all around you, protecting you, nurturing you, guiding you.” Our enemies are not only human beings, but also anger, envy, greed, jealousy, and hatred. These are all enemies destroying our peace. Maha Kali is the remover of them.
We have to take the first step. When feeling helpless, we need to make the call from the heart: “Oh, Mother, remove the darkness from my life. Cut the chains that tie me so strongly to my misery!”
Maha Lakshmi – days 4-6 of Navaratri.
After the darkness has been removed, we evoke Maha Lakshmi as a goddess of wealth, both material and the wealth of self-confidence. True wealth is not money but contentment. When we have the grace of Maha Lakshmi, we live a very full life with total contentment.
Our call to Mother Lakshmi may sound as following: “Please save me from too much and too little of you. May I have enough wisdom to live within my means.”
Maha Saraswati – days 7-9 of Navaratri.
When the darkness has been removed and we are enriched with virtues, the last three days we invite Maha Saraswati as the bestowal of spiritual wisdom.
We ask her to bless us and give us speech, which is very soothing, healing, nurturing, and enlightening.
How is Navaratri observed?
In physical form we express our love for Shakti through:
– Rituals (pujas). Offerings of water flower, incense, lamp, fruit, etc. are offered on the altar twice a day.
– Commitment. We commit to be at our best. There are no excuses for not doing what we have committed to do in our spiritual practice.
– Steadiness. To maintain a steady heart and mind we need to simplify our lives, minimizing the intake of the world through our senses.
– Good company. It is very important to seek a company of like-minded people and visit ashrams and places of worship where others are engaged in similar observances and activities.
What to do at home.
- In the morning (best before dawn) do puja (offerings) and meditation.
- Accomplish the duties that await you.
- Have a light breakfast of fruit, nuts and yogurt with some honey, thinking all the while,” This will carry me through the day.”
- Have plenty of fluid during the day.
- Accomplish your job or duties maintaining sweetness in your heart. Avoid getting ruffled or over excited about things.
- Repeat your mantra (prayer) several times a day.
- When home give attention to your spouse and children.
- Take a shower and do little meditation or puja and then have a light dinner.
- Before going to bed sit for more meditation or repetition of your mantra.
- While going to bed, imagine the presence of the Goddess in your heart and let the communion happen. Avoid bringing words and dialogs. Fall asleep.
TODAY’S TIP: The mind will have many excuses and reasons not to let us bring austerity into our lives even for those nine days. We have to make an effort and do what we usually do not do.