Thursday, October 7, 2010
the Hindu festival of Navratri: The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights.
It is 9 consecutive nights dedicated to Devi, the Goddess. To Shakti, the feminine principle of strength.
"The beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn are two very important junctions of climatic and solar influence. These two periods are taken as sacred opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother. The dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar. Being the oldest religion in the world, Hinduism has numerous belief systems.
In Hinduism the adherents believe in one omnipresent Deity but may worship Her/Him in any of the numerous manifestations that are prevalent all over India. Navaratri represents celebration of Goddess Durga, the manifestation of Deity in form of Shakti [Energy or Power].
First three days
The goddess is separated as a spiritual force called Durga also known as Kali in order to destroy all our impurities.
 Second 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 inexhaustible wealth, as she is the goddess of wealth.
 Final three days
The final set of three days is spent in worshipping the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati. In order to have all-round success in life, believers seek the blessings of all three aspects of the divine femininity, hence the nine nights of worship."
"What is Shakti? When you look within for inspiration, solace, guidance, it is Shakti that gives answer and Shakti that acts through you. It is the wisdom of your great-great-great-grandmother, encoded in your bones, the wisdom of the all-Mother that rises through each of us. Shakti does not only exist in women, but it is through women that it flows. It is our essential foundation, and it is that which goads us to change.
Shakti is not chosen, and we cannot control it. It the flood, the rush of endorphins, the giddy laugh, the flash of insight, the swirl of energy through the cosmos. We ride it like a wave. Sometimes it washes over us and knocks us off our feet. It is the effervesce of life.
Shakti is a Sanskrit word, but Shakti is beyond religion, race or nation. While the Hindu calendar recognizes Navratri, we are Hindus living the wheel of America's seasons. In Euro-American folk and Pagan traditions, these seasons are significant: Autumn is the time to enjoy the harvest, to prepare for the quiet wild of winter. As we enter autumn, the air grows crisp, the days grow brief, and we grow introspective. As the days darken, the leaves brighten. We see the colors of the Goddess: gold, orange, red. As Hindu Americans light flickering oil lamps to each aspect of the Goddess, the season blazes a tribute. This month of October, this season of autumn and Navratri, Hindu American Seva Charities is encouraging women to take the time to find, explore and express Shakti. You don't have to be Hindu to take part in ShaktiSeva service to the feminine principle, whatever that means to you. Talk the talk. Walk the walk. Reach out. Create. Heal. Celebrate in a way that is meaningful to you. Nine nights in a row, observe a ritual: it may be traditional, invented or a combination of the two. Call a friend. Light a candle. Help someone...or, ask for help.
Just as you already know what Shakti is, you know, deep inside, who you are.
This autumn, tend the light that glows within.
to create a Durga Pooja on this festival of music and dance..."Take a fresh silver or bronze or copper or earthen pot and fill it (upto its neck) with holy water place Pancha pallavas (five types of sacred leaves) or mango leaves. Kalash is decorated with haldi (turmeric powder), chandan (sandalwood powder) and kumkum (vermillion powder). Keep a coconut on the Kalash and cover it with a blouse piece. The coconut is also decorated with chandan paste."
Jai Mata Ji!
You are beautiful!