– What is Navaratri? Learn about this ten-day festival dedicated to the Divine Mother
– About the Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati
– How to do a Durga Puja – step by step guide
Every year in Sri Premananda Ashram we celebrate a festival in which we worship the feminine or mother aspect of the Divine. This festival is known as, ‘Navaratri’, which means nine nights. During this festival in Sri Premananda Ashram, devotees take part in an ancient ritual to the Divine Mother called abhishekam; although this is performed every evening throughout the year in the Ashram, it is considered to be particularly powerful during this time. Fresh flowers are offered to her as well as pure ingredients such as turmeric, milk and rose water whilst sacred mantras are chanted. It is considered to be a very auspicious time, a time when each person’s personal sadhana can be strengthened and deepened. Swamiji particularly liked to celebrate this festival by worshipping the Divine Mother.
During the Navaratri celebrations in India we worship the many aspects of the Divine Mother. Its high point is the final and tenth day. It is called Vijayadasami – day of Vijaya, the Mother’s great victory over all negativity and ignorance. On this day we should pray to the Divine Mother and our spiritual master to bless us all with the qualities necessary for victory over the ego-enemies within us. First, we should beg for her grace. Without her divine energy surrounding us, we can do nothing. Then we need to ask her for self-confidence, endless strength and courage. Do not lose sight of what the Divine Mother truly is. We call her by many names but she is the supreme Divinity that grants us liberation and freedom from all our karma and suffering. On this special day, we should only think of the great light of the Mother, the destroyer of all pain and anxiety.
Celebrating Navaratri by Belgian Centre Coordinators
The idea of celebrating Navaratri in our new house grew from our last journey through India. We discussed all the steps of Navaratri with Priya and Kugha, Centre Coordinators in Belgium. They explained everything in detail, as they are experienced Navaratri celebrators here in Belgium. In the weeks before, we asked devotees who come to the Centre to inform us how and when they could help out and we had a long list of volunteers. Finally we were longing for the first day of Navaratri. The first morning we got up early to plant the seeds. The Ashram had provided us with the auspicious time to plant the seeds and we did accordingly.