By Pandit Ravi MaaNav Raatri provides the opportunity for the complete reverence of every aspect of motherhood. Hindus undoubtedly secured the most esteem position in the field of recognition, reverence and veneration of Mother’s. Hindus do not only celebrate the anniversaries of the incarnations (Avatars), such as Lord Rama, Krishna, Hanuman and the Trimurti but also great emphasis is placed on the celebrated existence of the consort of the Avatars. Nav Raatri highlights the importance of nine nights of strict abstinence and dedicated worship of the Devi.In the Shrimad Devi Bhagwatam, a special chapter is dedicated to the occasion of Nav Raatri. Special emphasis is placed on the modes of worship. The nine days are divided into three sections; the first three days are assigned to Durga Devi, the second to Devi Laxhmi and the final three to Maata Saraswati, the creatrix energies of the universe.Nav Raatri is observed twice annually during the season of spring and autumn. These seasons are considered very busy and also pose severe health risks which are influenced by climatical and atmospherical changes. To confront any crisis or challenges, divine intervention is sought. Hindus always put their main trust in God and Nav Raatri is no exception.How the occasion should be observed?In the Devi Bhagawatam, Sutji, a great intellectual spoke to Raaja Janmejaya, the king who was a descendent of the Pandavas – as pertaining to the dos and don’ts of Devi worship.Raaja Janmejaya was told that the two seasons of spring and autumn are like the teeth of (Yama) the Lord of Death and to escape the fangs of disaster, the worship of Devi is necessary.The blessings of the Goddess remove all deficiencies and enhance Longevity. For the protection of the Kingdom and the Welfare of the subjects, the benedictions of the Devi are essential. Advice was given to the King pertaining to the actual preparation of the worship. The commencement of the vows included a complete fasting process by the devotee.The process stimulates internal and external purification. For this observance, a special elevated altar is secured for the establishment of the Devi. At no time the orator and the Devi should be accommodated at one level. The (shrota) devotee and the priest should always sit below the Devi. A Brahmin priest who observe fully the customs and usages, who is self-restrained and whom is skilled in the ceremony of worshipping the Devi should be permitted to lead the ceremony.During this period, the devotee should be fully established in devotion to Devi and should at no time deviate to any other worship. The Devi should always be the premier or central figure in all affairs. The occasion should also be used to reflect on the glories of the Devi.The Devi Puran highlights many stories which are associated with the advent of the Goddess. The recitation of the sacred mantra – OM HRIM SRIM DUM DURGAYA NAMAH is considered the Beej Mantra of the Devi. This mantra has the full potency to apprehend and remove all fears, evil omens and deficiencies and simultaneously replacing them with fearlessness, brilliance and confidence.The Sixteen modes of worship of the Devi are appropriate during performance of the rituals, whether at home or at mandirs. The worship of Durga Maata is mostly practiced during this period. This practice was inherited from the forebearers of the Hindus and still prevalent on to this day.Laxhmi Puja seems to be a daily exercise for all Hindus. While establishing lights in their homes, the Hindus pay tribute to Laxhmi Maata who is the giver of brilliance, illumination and radiance. She ignites the Life of the individual with wisdom and higher intelligence which paves the way for prosperity, success and victory.Saraswati Maata is being held in great reverence by those who diligently pursue learning, knowledge, music and fine arts. Saraswati Maata imparts and correct perception and clears all doubts. She is considered to be the Soul of all music. The manifestation of rhythms, tones and melodies are products of Saraswati Devi.As music influences a delightful mind so too stability in body, mind and intellect is instilled through the worship of Saraswati. The image of Saraswati depicts purity, discriminative power, detachment, modesty, morality and balance. Saraswati Devi reminds the aspirant that spiritual sciences are superior to secular ones. Nav Raatri concludes with the ardent devotee reaching the state of purity. With the conclusion of Nav Raatri, Raamnavami is celebrated. The Viraat Sabhaa Guyana is encouraging all citizens to establish Raam Raajya during their existence. This example of kingship will lead to a more responsible and harmonious life.May Shakti Maa bless all.
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