Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Navratri Puja at Home

Navrathri is amongst the most important Hindu festivals. This auspicious festival is celebrated with great zeal and devotion throughout the country. The literal meaning of 'Navarathiri' is 'nine auspicious nights'. Navarathiri is a pious festival celebrated in the honor of nine different forms of the Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati for nine continuous days. The Goddess of Power is worshipped during these days in order to seek her blessings and protection from any unknown fear and possible threat. The devotees ask for peace and prosperity from the Goddess. The Goddess of power has the supremacy over the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe. Navaratri is being celebrated in our country adhering to all the customs and rituals. It is of utmost importance to know the exact method of performing the Navarathiri Pooja. 

Here, are the basic Navratri Pooja procedures.

Items to be required for the Navarathiri Pooja:
• Picture or Idol of Goddess Durga, Goddess Laxmi and Goddess 
Saraswati in the Pooja room
• A dupatta or sari to offer to the deity’s
• Ganga water or plain water in Khumbha
• Fresh and washed mango leaves
• One coconut smeared with turmeric powder
• Sandalwood paste 
• Kungkumam - red sacred powder for tilagam
• Rice ( to be place under the khumbam)

You will need incense sticks, a 'deep' and a matchstick. You will also require some fresh flowers like rose, jasmine or red hibiscus. You may offer fresh fruits and sweets such as 'laddoo', or 'peda' for prasad. Take a mat, to sit. If possible, every member of the house should sit together.

Navratri Pooja procedures:

Take bath and wear tradisional clothes. Focus your mind and attention towards the prayers.On the right hand side of the idol, keep incense sticks etc. Keep yourself prepared to do the Puja with full devotion and concentration. Keep the kalash and coconut as well. Lay the mat and sit in an upright position in front of the deity. Light the 'deep'. Ring the bell or blow the 'Shankha'.

For “Khumba or kalash preparation”

Place the kalash near the idol or picture of the deity and fill it with pure water. Place mango leaves on the mouth of the kalasham. Place a coconut inside the kalasha or khumbam.
Sprinkle 'Ganga water' all over the Puja room. Now, offer sandalwood powder to the Goddess. Then, offer the sari or dupatta to the Goddess. Place some fresh flowers in front of the Goddess. Light 'agarbatti' or incense sticks. Fold your hands and pray. At last, offer prasadam and do pooja of Goddess Durga. Pray with whole heart.

The same procedure to be repeat for the whole 9 days prayers.

The festival of Navratri is divided into the sets of three days. These sets are formulated to worship the different forms of the Goddess. On the first three days, Goddess Durga is revered and worshipped. She is known to be the master of power and eliminates all the evil and fear from the mind and life of the devotees. 
The next three days are devoted to the Goddess of wealth- Lakshmi. She showers the blessings of never-ending wealth upon her devotees. 
The final set of three days is devoted for worshipping the Goddess of wisdom- Saraswati. She is responsible for spiritual enlightenment and success in life.

The Goddesses are worshipped under nine different names and in nine different characters during the nine prosperous days. The first form of Goddess Durga is 'Shailputri' meaning the 'Goddess of Himalayas' is worshipped on the first day. 
The second form of Goddess Durga is 'Brahmacharini', worshipped on the second day. Her name is derived from the word 'Brahma'. 
On the third day, the Goddess is worshipped as 'Chandraghanta'. She symbolizes beauty and bravery.
The Goddess 'Kushmanda' is worshipped on the fourth day. She is believed to be the creator of the universe. 
On the fifth day, 'Skanda Mata' is worshipped. She is the mother of the chief warrior of the God's Army, Skanda. 
The sixth day is devoted for the Goddess 'Katyayani', who has three eyes and four hands.
The Goddess 'Kalratri' is worshipped on the seventh day of Navaratri. She is as black as the night and takes away all the fears from the devotees. The Goddess 'Maha Gauri' is worshipped on the eighth day of Navaratri. She is the epitome of beauty and as white as the snow. She represents calmness and wisdom. 
The ninth day, also known as 'Mahanavami', is the concluding day of Navaratri. Goddess 'Siddhidatri' is worshipped on the last day of Navaratri.

Navaratri is a festival of sentiments, positive thoughts, peace and prosperity. Every year it is welcomed with great respect and love. People refrain from wrong deeds and indulge in pure devotion.

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