Navarathri

Here is the Uni5 Navarathri Book for chantings

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ 2012 Talk on Navarathri

We are so busy living a life doing things to make ourselves our mind happy. The mind however is in a restless state and so does not really appreciate our success in life more than a few moments. Mind constantly is anxious of the future or brooding or ruminating over the past events that occurred in life. It is never at the present moment enjoying the state of Awareness, the source of happiness and "Bliss".  without Awareness.

Our state of  identity of Awareness. Awareness is our existence. Not knowing Awareness is not knowing ourselves. It is a pity to live life to know all sciences and not knowing about own own Self. Vedic tradition gives the route map to know about our own Self. Through festivals we are given time to be aware of our own Self.

Navarathri or Nine nights in a year we spend time tracing our roots of origin, the Self.  Observing the festival by understanding the purpose boost our inner evolution. We will discuss here the symbolism of the festival and how it connects to our inner evolution. We all have the doubts about where do we start and how to start this inner evolution. Deep inside some where we all have this inner quest, unfortunately it is clouded when we identify ourselves with our common problems in life. We live and die without catering to the desire of inner quest. Seldom do we understand that we are born to continue our inner quest. But we become so caught up in dealing only with the life problems and forget to accomplish our life purpose.

Navarathri is a great festival giving  us the opportunity to dedicate just nine nights in a year to do small steps in our inner quest. There is no special efforts to be taken except just be aware of the importance of the festival and self reflecting that in our activities till the next years Navarathri and so we gradually progress every year.

Celebrating Navarathri and doing the rituals make only a Infinitesimally  smaller progress in our inner journey. We try our best to help you here to understand the the true meaning in celebrating Navarathri by doing the rituals. Observing the festival rituals lights up the steps that we should undertake in knowing our Self.

It is very important to understand the few terms to deeply understand about Navarathri. If we understand the core theme about the nature of the mind, the role of intellect and about Awareness, we can appreciate the deep symbolic significance of celebrating Navarathri.

The symbolic behind all rituals in Vedic festivals are always external and internal, which means that it helps both the external and our internal lives. All actions that we do externally should be reflected internally bringing harmony and integrity of our Self. We will discuss each and every ritual and then in a different colored font will explain the internal referencing meaning. This is the core of doing the ritual.

Cleansing:

The festival begins with ritualistic  procedure of cleansing all  the materials that one uses in life (at home and at work). The house is cleaned by discarding all unused broken items, and  usable material are re-shelved or reorganized. Usually the house is also repainted just before the festival. The unused things or broken ones are usually burned in fire. The house and at work gets a fresh look and a start.

The external cleansing is a symbolic of internal cleansing that we should do before commencing the Journey of Inner Quest. There are several junk and broken thoughts and unusable useless thoughts that we carry in our mind. Those should be discarded or burned in the fire of knowledge. This means we have to understand that it is of no use. That deep understanding is fire that helps us to give away that habit. There are useable thoughts that we need for our daily interactions in life and that has to be re-organized and prioritized. Our whole frame work and attitude should be given new colors. This gives  a freshness and joy to the mind.

First three nights (1st , second & third nights).

Even to accomplish a simple cleansing process we need to overcome first laziness (Thamas) in us.  Otherwise we procrastinate. We should first develop the habit of avoiding procrastination of things that will bring good to us. All of us have that inner energy to overthrow this nature. Being Aware of that inner energy is the basis of worshipping that in the form of Goddess Durga or Parvathi on the first three nights.  The laziness or the inertia is a demonic force which means attachment to the physical body. We have to harness "Energy" to fight this laziness which is depicted as "Durga" or "Parvathi" fighting against the demon.  In Ashtanga Yogathese are the first two steps of Yama and Niyama and Asana. This represent at the body level.

Second three nights ( fourth, fifth & Sixth nights)

Once the physical laziness is overcome we have to accomplish inner beauty. We have to fight emotional demons like anger. This is depicted as Lakshmi fighting the demons. Only by creating Awareness of these negative emotions they can be removed. the powerful weapons to achieve these are through Pranayama and Pratyahara (inward withdrawal of senses).

Last three nights ( seventh, eighth & ninth).  Then we have to overcome other mental blocks which can be removed by clear understanding or Knowledge. This is represented by Saraswathi. In Yoga this is the Dharana and Dyana. This is the intellect aspect.

Tenth Night : The day of Victory: This represents the awareness state, the Samadhi state. All the three forms of energy has to be there to accomplish tasks in life. Then life is victorious. At the minor levels we might see materialistic accomplishment. Bu the major accomplishment is the spiritual accomplishment of bringing inner evolution.

Devi Bhagavatham: This gives details of the different demons that the three Devi's fight and so it is important to read the story of the fight during Navarathri nights. The Durga sapthasloki, the seven stanza gives the essence of the whole Devi Bhaghavatham.  We will see the details of this in the Devi Bhaghavatham page.

Navarathri also brings awareness about classical the arts and literature. Because they also helps in transcendence the very objective of Navarathri.  In different parts of India Navarathri is celebrated slightly different. The golu done in South Indian represents the creation theory.

Golu or Bommai Kolu
 

golu 1Golu is the display of various dolls and figurines in odd (usually 7, 9, or 11) numbered tiers ("padis").Also Kolu, or Bommai Kolu. Everyone are invited to see this exhibit and are offered prasad (the sacred offering) along with kukkum ("Tilak".) and some gifts to girls and married women.

In the evenings, the oil Lamp ("kuthuvilakku" ) is lit in the middle of a decorated "kolam" (Rangoli), traditional the srichakra (Yantra) before the Golu and devotional hymns and shlokas are chanted. After performing the puja, the food items that have been prepared, are offered to the Goddesses.

The oil lamp represents the inner light that we have to be aware of and the Yantra with the triangles represents the male (Consciousness) and female (matter) involved in the manifestation of all forms in this universe.

Golu is adorned with dolls - predominantly with that of the Gods and Goddesses depicting the creation of this Universe.

Nine steps representing the Navagrahas or the nine modes of expression of the universe is done. It is the pure Consciousness, the One, that manifest as this universe. Hence in the first step , the pure Consciousness is symbolically represented as Kalasa is kept. A kalasa is done by placing a coconut on a round vessel. The Kalasa is symbolic of a human who has the faculty to realize the Pure Consciousness. The three eyes of the coconut is the symbolism of the two physical eyes of man and the third of inner vision. The vessel represents the human body and the water in it represents the vital fluid of the body. The thread worn around the body represents the clothes over the body. The kalasa is placed on a red cloth to symbolize para-sakthi, the manifesting aspect of the Brahman.

In the next step, the Trimurthy Gods and Goddesses are kept to represent the manifestation of Energy in the form creation, maintenance, and dissolution.

In the third step, objects representing the Pancha bhootas are kept.

 In the fourth to seventh steps, dolls representing other worldly objects are kept. It is very interesting that several caricature dolls even politician dolls, movie stars,  sportsmen, are also kept indicating everyone are the manifestation of the Pure Consciousness.

   In the eighth step, it is a traditional practice to have wooden dolls of  a man and women. This is to represent the spirit (Man) and matter (female). The doll that is used are wooden (Mara-pacchi), which has two meanings, one is the literal meaning wood and the other is hereditary. Usually, the man and lady dolls are passed on to generation after generation representing the ancestors. The mother in law gives the  dolls to the daughter in law after marriage to symbolize the passing of the tradition and family values.

    Children perform doll-marriage  to the Man and the lady. In this fun event children are imparted the cultural knowledge and importance of marriage. They are shown the importance of family and society through this dolls. Usually the dolls-wedding is done on the first day of Navarathri representing family life as the means to Spiritual life.

    In the ninth step, Lord Ganesha is kept. He represent the high "Energy" state (Mooladhaara) of all beings that potentially transcends to the Consciousness state. This is why he is first worshipped in all rituals.

Click here more about Navarathri festival.

Golu or Bommai Kolu
 

Navarathri starts after the new moon day in September October months. That New moon day is good for doing "Ancestral" worship). The same day the Golu (kolu) steps are arranged with wooden planks or packing boxes. Make Nine steps.

The next day Ganesha is worshipped with the Awareness that the whole festival is helps to raise the Awareness. Then the dolls are arranged in a specific way to begin the festival.

Children take an active participation in Golu because that gives them the opportunity to display their creative talents. They make miniature parks, zoos, houses, cities , name any forms in Golu. Every evening children and adult sings traditional Vedic songs, chant mantras. It is a period of fun along with sweets and nine different types of legumes are sprouted and or cooked are offered to everyone as prasad. Health awareness is also imparted in Navarathri. In summary Navarathri is a Universal learning and display of Science and Arts along with Spirituality.

On the 9th day (Saraswati Puja), special pujas are offered to Goddess Saraswathi - the creative aspect of the mind. Books and musical instruments are placed in the puja and worshipped as a source of knowledge. Also all tools used in one's professional life are placed in the pooja - as part of "Ayudha Pooja". Even vehicles are washed and decorated, and puja performed for them. The understanding behind this is that it is that "One"  Consciousness that has manifested as the plethora of forms in this Universe.

In the Vedic tradition every object is worshipped (Acknowledged) as the manifestation of pure Consciousness. This is why all objects of action (Aayudha)  is worshipped in Navarathri. No object is spared in this ritual. All objects are adorned with Tilak  as a mark of Awareness of the pure Consciousness.  

The 10th day, "Vijayadasami" - is the most auspicious day of all. It was the day on which evil was finally destroyed by good. As we have discussed earlier , Good and evil are the expression of Awareness verses Ego. It is the triumph of Awareness over Ego.  It marks a new and prosperous beginning. Hence new ventures started on this day are believed to flourish and bring prosperity. Kids often start tutoring on this day to have a head start in their education. It is not uncommon to initiate new business ventures , fresh tasks etc. The logic is simple that the Awareness is sharpened through these festivals.

In the evening of "Vijayadasami", all the dolls from the "Golu" are put to sleep and the Kalasam is moved a bit towards North to mark the end of that year's Navaratri Golu.

Why are the dolls put to sleep?

In Vedic tradition, Golu represents the creation of this universe, created by Lord Brahma. He sleeps in his end of the day which cause the dissolution of the Universe. His timing is different than the human years and are of high mathematical figures (click here to know about Brahma's years in creation cycle). To symbolically express this dissolution the Golu dolls are put to sleep.

Why Kalasha moved to North?. We have discussed earlier that North is direction of none or "Brahman" or pure Consciousness. It is neutral.

East - Awareness -gods
West- Mind- Guru
South- Ego-body-Ancestors
North - Intellect-Brahman

One transcends to the Awareness state and finally to the pure Consciousness state.

Prayers are offered to thank God for the successful completion of that year's Golu and with a hope of a successful one the next year! Then the Golu is dismantled and packed up for the next year.

Golu or Bommai Kolu
 

Navarathri starts after the new moon day in September October months. That New moon day is good for doing "Ancestral" worship). The same day the Golu (kolu) steps are arranged with wooden planks or packing boxes. Make Nine steps.

The next day Ganesha is worshipped with the Awareness that the whole festival is helps to raise the Awareness. Then the dolls are arranged in a specific way to begin the festival.

Children take an active participation in Golu because that gives them the opportunity to display their creative talents. They make miniature parks, zoos, houses, cities , name any forms in Golu. Every evening children and adult sings traditional Vedic songs, chant mantras. It is a period of fun along with sweets and nine different types of legumes are sprouted and or cooked are offered to everyone as prasad. Health awareness is also imparted in Navarathri. In summary Navarathri is a Universal learning and display of Science and Arts along with Spirituality.

On the 9th day (Saraswati Puja), special pujas are offered to Goddess Saraswathi - the creative aspect of the mind. Books and musical instruments are placed in the puja and worshipped as a source of knowledge. Also all tools used in one's professional life are placed in the pooja - as part of "Ayudha Pooja". Even vehicles are washed and decorated, and puja performed for them. The understanding behind this is that it is that "One"  Consciousness that has manifested as the plethora of forms in this Universe.

In the Vedic tradition every object is worshipped (Acknowledged) as the manifestation of pure Consciousness. This is why all objects of action (Aayudha)  is worshipped in Navarathri. No object is spared in this ritual. All objects are adorned with Tilak  as a mark of Awareness of the pure Consciousness.  

The 10th day, "Vijayadasami" - is the most auspicious day of all. It was the day on which evil was finally destroyed by good. As we have discussed earlier , Good and evil are the expression of Awareness verses Ego. It is the triumph of Awareness over Ego.  It marks a new and prosperous beginning. Hence new ventures started on this day are believed to flourish and bring prosperity. Kids often start tutoring on this day to have a head start in their education. It is not uncommon to initiate new business ventures , fresh tasks etc. The logic is simple that the Awareness is sharpened through these festivals.

In the evening of "Vijayadasami", all the dolls from the "Golu" are put to sleep and the Kalasam is moved a bit towards North to mark the end of that year's Navaratri Golu.

Why are the dolls put to sleep?

In Vedic tradition, Golu represents the creation of this universe, created by Lord Brahma. He sleeps in his end of the day which cause the dissolution of the Universe. His timing is different than the human years and are of high mathematical figures (click here to know about Brahma's years in creation cycle). To symbolically express this dissolution the Golu dolls are put to sleep.

Why Kalasha moved to North?. We have discussed earlier that North is direction of none or "Brahman" or pure Consciousness. It is neutral.

East - Awareness -gods
West- Mind- Guru
South- Ego-body-Ancestors
North - Intellect-Brahman

One transcends to the Awareness state and finally to the pure Consciousness state.

Prayers are offered to thank God for the successful completion of that year's Golu and with a hope of a successful one the next year! Then the Golu is dismantled and packed up for the next year.

Excellent Devi Mahatmayam in malayalam

Other References

Moon Phases

http://shaktisadhana.50megs.com/Newhomepage/sadhana/PDFfiles/Navarathridiscourse.pdf