The Hindu festival of Navaratri falls in coincidence with the Equinoxes (the arrival of Spring and Autumn; equinox literally means when night and day have equal length). Navaratri means the nine (nava) nights (ratri) of the Goddess. The festival is a celebration of Mother Nature/ Shakti as Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Navaratri is an important Sandhia Sadhana (Spiritual Practice at time of Astronomical Juncture) to get in shync with the rhythm of the seasons and the cycles of the Sun and Moon. According to Ayurveda (The science of Life, sister science of Yoga), as we approach the Equinoxes our body is most vulnerable and we can protect it by observing special practices. Navaratri in 2015 will start on Tuesday, the 13th of October and will continue for 9 days until Wednesday, the 21st of October.
Shakti According to Tantra, the human being is a miniature universe. All that is found in the cosmos can be found
In manifesting the universe, this principle becomes divided into two polarities, male and female, consciousness and energy called Shiva and Shakti. In human beings, Shakti, the feminine aspect is called Kundalini. This potential energy rests dormant at the base of the spinal cord. Kundalini-‐yoga awakens this cosmic energy and guides it through the chakras, wheels of energy that lie along the spine.
The word Sadhana derives from the root Sanskrit sādh, “to arrive at the goal” and meaning roughly “means to completion or perfection.” Is an ego-‐transcending spiritual practice that includes a variety of disciplines that are followed in order to achieve various spiritual or ritual objectives.
The following practices are part of Navaratri Shakti Sadhana and ease the transition from a season to the next one:
-To fast in a way that is appropriate to one’s constitution and eating only a sattwic diet avoiding:
- onion and garlic
2. no lentils and legumes
3. common salt
4. turmeric, mustard, fenugreek seeds, garam masala and coriander powder
5. alcohol and non-vegetarian food
9. chickpea flour
- To clean the house as on invites the goddess in his/her own personal space
- To burn one diya or lamp through out the nine days. This is called akhand jyoti (burning all the time for nine days) to remove negativity in one’s house.
- Meditation with Sankalpa
1. One offers regressive aspects to Kali/ Durga that represents Tamas
3. Asks Lakshmi, which represents Rajas -‐ activity, for wealth and abundance-
4. Worships Saraswati that represents Sattwa – balance, for transcendental knowledge and liberation.-
‐ To Chant 18-27-54 or 108 Japa Mala rounds of the Durga mantra “Aim Hrim Klim Chamundayai Vicche” or mantras for the different aspects of the Goddess.
More specific Sadhana for the first, second and third three days of Navaratri is described below:
Days 1-3 are dedicated to the removal of Inner and Outer Obstacles on the Spiritual Path. Durga is the consort of Lord Shiva.
Durga (the invincible) represents Power of Will. According to the Puranas, Durga was created by the culmination of energies of all the Gods to destroy the tyranny caused by demon Mahisasura.
The slaying of Mahisasura symbolizes the victory of good over evil.This is an Agni Sadhana with Asanas, pranayama and mudras that relates to the 3rd Chakra, Manipura.Meditate on Inner Radiance, the fire of transformation. Chant the mantra: Om Dum Durgayai Namaha.
Days 4-6 are to dedicated the cultivation of the Healing Beauty and Abundance of Lakshmi. Lakshmi is the Goddess of prosperity and the consort Lord of Vishnu. She is depicted as a beautiful woman sitting or standing on a lotus and holding a lotus for beauty, purity and fertility. Her four hands represent the four ends of human life: dharma/righteousness, kama/desires, artha/wealth, and moksha/liberation. Cascades of gold coins are flowing from her hands, suggesting that those who worship her gain wealth. Two elephants are shown standing next to her spraying water.
This denotes that ceaseless effort, in accordance with one’s dharma, governed by wisdom and purity, leads to both material and spiritual prosperity.With this Sadhana we invite balance of giving and receiving in our daily life.Practice slow Kriya and Movement meditation, asanas, pranayama and mudras of the 4th Chakra, Anahata.Meditate on the sacred heart. Chant the Mantra: Om Shrim Maha Lakshmiye Namaha.
Days 7-9 are dedicated to awaken Wisdom and Creativity, the qualities of Saraswati, the divine consort of Lord Brahma. Her name means “The Flowing One”. She is the Goddess of knowledge, speech, learning and the arts, science and music.Sarasvati is pictured as a graceful woman, sitting on a lotus or a peacock and adorned with a crescent moon.We practice this type of Sadhana to tap into the Intuitive Self to receive Inspiration.Practice Asanas, pranayama and mudras of the 5th Chakra, Vishudda.
Meditate on Akasha, the inner and outer space of possibilities. Chant the mantra: Om Aim Saraswataye Namaha. Finally on the 10th day is Dussera celebrate the victory of Shakti!