Hettienne Ma

Nine divine nights of Goddess

Namo namo durge sukha karani – namo namo ambe  duhkha harani My adorations to Mother Durga, who  bestows all happiness. My adorations to Goddess Durga,  who ends all miseries. – Durga Chalisa
This week is the start of Navratri, the nine divine nights, celebrating the Divine Mother India. Navratri in October are celebrated in different forms, ritual, and is also known as Navadurga. Navadurga is also often referred to as dhusera, as it has spread into a ten day festival in some regions.
Navadurga celebrates the nine aspects of Devi Durga as Shakty, the Great Mother, Devi or Goddess. She whom is our life force, the Divine Feminine manifesting into the physical as your instinctual self, your creativity, your Divine Wellspring of energy and vibration.
Navadurga means the nine forms of Durga and nava also means ‘new’.
The nine divine nights of worship and devotion is divided into three sections : the first three days are dedicated to Kali Ma, the next three days to MahaLakshimi and the final three days to Saraswati.
The first three days that are devoted to Kali, the Goddess of Destruction, Death and Rebirth, is a time of purification, a time to let go of all that is not “on purpose” for your life. It is the time for ‘spring cleaning’ in order to make way for new things.The second three days are devoted to MahaLakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity, Wealth and Good Health. This is a time of preservation and taking care of things or acquiring what is necessary to fill your life with prosperity and fulfillment. This is a time to focus on what you need to attract into your life. The last three days are devoted to Saraswati, the Goddess of Wisdom, Knowledge and the Arts. This is a time of receiving Divine Guidance on how to properly use all resources sent your way. The focus should be on how to make efficiently and purposefully use of all the blessings and resources that flow into your life.Traditionally these days are spent fasting and puja is performed on certain days, culminating in beautiful, larger than life statues of Durga Ma processionally taken down to the Ganges – even if this means walking or driving for great distances!!Navadurga is a time of introspection, purification, cleaning out and preparing for new beginnings. It is an auspicious time for starting new ventures! Time is spent fasting and in prayers and meditation.
At home a lamp is lit which is placed in a pot. This lamp or light is kept lit for the full nine days – symbolising Adishakty, the Supreme Mother, present in the flame as Durga Ma.
Traditional Ways in which you can devote yourself to the Divine Motherduring Navaratri:
Usually, certain “sacrifices” or personal offerings are made during these nine days, such as giving up some certain foods. This is an ideal time to go vegetarian! You can also sacrifice something that is always a part of your daily routine, or something that is important to you. Some people restrict themselves to only one meal per day throughout the nine days. Some give up their favorite beverage, like coffee or tea; in the West, some give up watching TV or some other daily ritual they usually engage in. You could also add something you don’t usually do, such as reading sacred scriptures or literatures for 20 to 30 minutes each of the nine days. You can increase your meditation time and devote your contemplation and daily ritual to the aspect of the goddess of the day.
Whatever it is you choose, the idea is that each time you think of this thing you are doing, you offer up that thought and say a prayer to the Divine Mother to increase your devotion to Her. If you can continue your sadhana for the full 9 days, there is a special reward from Divine Mother that happens on either the 9th or 10th day. She promises “a personal physical experience” of Her. This is an individual experience and only you will know what it is and when it has happened. It is up to you if you want to share it with anyone else after it happens. For some people it makes it more “real” to share, for some it is more powerful to keep silent about it.
The fifth day is considered to be the “turning point” day, when the cleansing/purification aspects are complete. The energy of each day is building so that by the end of the Navaratri there is much energy generated, each Fire Ceremony becoming more filled with Shakti (Divine Energy). This requires some personal commitment.
Goddess Durga
Goddess Durga is the mother of the universe and believed to be the triple power behind the work of creation, preservation, and destruction. Since time immemorial she has been worshipped as the supreme power of the Supreme Being and has been mentioned in many scriptures – Yajur Veda, Vajasaneyi Samhita and Taittareya Brahman.
The Meaning of “Durga”
The word “Durga” in Sanskrit means a fort, or a place which is difficult to overrun. Another meaning of “Durga” is “Durgatinashini,” which literally translates into “the one who eliminates suffering”.
Durga’s Many Arms
Durga is depicted as having eight or ten arms each carrying a weapon or symbol of her power and might.
Durga’s Three Eyes
Mother Durga is also referred to as “Triyambake” meaning the three eyed Goddess. The left eye represents desire (the moon), the right eye represents action (the sun), and the central eye knowledge (fire)
Durga’s Vehicle – the Lion
The lion represents power, will and determination. Mother Durga riding the lion symbolises her mastery over all these qualities.
Durga’s Many Weapons
The conch shell in Durga’s hand symbolizes the ‘Pranava’ or the mystic word ‘Om’ or ‘Aum’, which indicates her holding on to God in the form of sound.
The bow and arrows represent energy. By holding both the bow and arrows in one hand “Mother Durga” is indicating her control over both aspects of energy – potential and kinetic.
The thunderbolt signifies firmness. The devotee of Durga must be firm like thunderbolt in his or her convictions. Like the thunderbolt that can break anything against which it strikes, without being affected itself, the devotee needs to face and confront a challenge without loss of confidence.
The lotus in Durga’s hand is not fully opened, It symbolizing certainty of success but success has not been achieved yet.. The lotus in Sanskrit is called “pankaja” which means born of mud.
The “Sudarshan-Chakra” or beautiful discus, which spins around the index finger of the Goddess, without touching it, signifies that the entire world is subservient to the will of Durga and is at her command. She uses this unfailing weapon to destroy evil and produce an environment conducive to the growth of righteousness.
The sword that Durga holds in one of her hands symbolizes knowledge, which has the sharpness of a sword. Knowledge which is free from all doubts, is symbolized by the brightness of the sword.
Durga’s trident or “trishul” is a symbol of three qualities – Satwa (inactivity), Rajas (activity) and Tamas (non-activity) – and she is remover of the three types of miseries – physical, mental and spiritual.
Devi Durga stands on a lion in a fearless pose of “Abhay Mudra”, signifying overcoming of fear. The universal mother seems to be saying to all her devotees: “Surrender all actions and duties onto me and I shall release thee from all fears”.
On the first day of Navadurga, on 8 October, Shailaputri is worshipped. Her name means the daughter (putri) of the mountains (shaila). Shila means a rock, a stone. SHAILA is the derivative of the word SHILA. It is the rock of spiritual standing and the whole world gets strength from the Shaila-Putri aspect of Purna Prakriti DURGA. She is also worshipped as Sati Bhavani, Parvati or Hemavati, the daughter of Hemavana – the king of the Himalayas. She rides a bull and carries a trident and a lotus in her two hands and she is the embodiment of power.
From the Yogic point of view, the First Navaratra is considered to be a very auspicious day. The aspiration of a devotee is to reach deeper into the spiritual realms of the Self and to strive for the attainment of peace and bliss.
jvala mearh hai jyothi tumhari – tumhearh sada pujeam nara nari
You are the divine light in fire. Men and women shall revere you for ever.
– Durga Chalisa
Jai Durga Maa!
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