AdhyAtmic significance of NavarAtrI

elmec elmec at GIASBG01.VSNL.NET.IN
Thu Sep 28 15:03:50 CDT 2000

Hari Om

yA dEvI sarva bhUtEshu vishnumAyEti shabhditA
namah tasyai namah tasyai namah tasyai namO nama.h

I recently read in the September issue of the Vedaanta Vaani the
adhyaatmic significance of the Navaratri festival. Let me share with you
the information ( in my own words )

Navaratri means ' nine nights '. The three main deities worshipped
during Navaraatri are Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. The nine
days/nights are devoted to worshipping these deities ( three days each )
in order to gain the spiritual knowledge.

Durga is the deity who killed the demon Mahishaasura. The word ' mahisha
' means buffalo which we know stands for all the ' taamasic gunaas ' of
laziness, sleep and such jada pravrittis ( animal lovers, kindly excuse
my allegation ). The first three days are devoted to the worship of Devi
Durga inorder to cleanse our antahkarana of all the taamasic qualities
and keep it ready for cultivation of saatvic qualities.

Next three days are for worshipping Godess Lakshmi who bestows the
wealth of the six saatvic qualities of shamA ( control over the mind ),
damA ( control over the sense organs ), uparathI ( withdrawing of senses
from external sense objects and turn it inwards towards the aatman ),
titiikshA ( forbearence ), samaadhaana
( keeping the mind calm and joyous by the thought of Brahman ) and
( faith in the scriptures and Guru vaakyaas ). This is the wealth that
we should all beg Godess Lakshmi o bestow upon us always.

When this wealth is aquired our mind is well cultivated to receive
jnaana. Then the saadhana gains strength and we should pray Godesss
Saraswathi to bestow upon us her blessings so that the Knowledge of
Brahman is realised.

Thus when a saadhaka prays the Godesses on these nine days, they are
highly pleased and lo ! victory is ours on the tenth day - the Vijaya
dashami day ! The victory is celebrated by offering the leaves of the
Shami tree ( a sacred tree for Hindus which bore the weapons hidden by
the Pandavaas during their exile in Mahabharata story ) to an elderly
person who is a vayO vridhdhA and also a jnaana vridhdhA and the
following mantra is chanted while offering the leaves :

shamI  shamIyatE  pApam  shami  shatru  nivAranam
arjunasya  dhanurdhArI   rAmasya  priya  darshanam.

May the devIs be pleased by our sincere effort and may we become
successful in our search for the Truth.

Hari Om
Latha Vidyaranya
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