Navratri - The Nine Nights of Divinity
'Navratri' means the 'Nine Nights'. 'Nava' means 'Nine', and 'Ratri' means 'Night'. As every night we turn inward (we sleep) and we feel rested and rejuvenated next morning, in the same way Navratri is a period for self-referral and getting back to the Source Navratri celebrations are marked by a series of pujas, Yagnas and Homas, which have a special significance in removing all the miseries, sorrows and pains; bestowing peace, prosperity and joy.
The significance and true spirit of Navratri
“Navratri is celebrated to glorify the spirit in us. The spirit in us alone can destroy all negative qualities (inertia, pride, obsession, cravings, aversions, etc). By turning inward during Navratri, and getting in touch with the spirit within, we can overcome these negative tendencies and invoke the positive qualities that are within us, thus feeling elevated and renewed.
Navratri is traditionally celebrated at the beginning of autumn every year, when everything in nature starts undergoing transformation. These nine nights are said to be precious as there are subtle energies in the creation that are enriched at this time of the year. These energies enhance and assist the experience of going inwards, making prayer, chanting and other spiritual practices more fruitful.
There are 64 divine mother impulses which govern the subtle creation. These are responsible for restoring all earthly and spiritual benefits. They are simply part of one's awakened consciousness. These nine nights are celebrated to rekindle those divine impulses and celebrate the innermost depth of our lives.”
~Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
IMPACT OF MANTRAS
SIGNIFICANCE OF YAGNA
Yagnas performed during Navratri
The celebrations at the Art of Living Navratri are marked by a series of Yagnas and Homas to remove all the miseries, sorrows and pains, provide solace and bring peace to the whole world. They also protect the environment, by instilling honour and reverence for Mother Earth. Scientifically, the Homas have proven to purify the atmosphere, casting a healing effect on the mind and the body. It is a time to soak and relax in the depth of the being and feel grateful for the abundance and beauty in life. Amidst all the fun and celebrations, we realize the highest; move from outwardly grandeur and festivities to inwards, to one’s Self – all of this happens in these nine days.
Sri Maha Ganapati Homa
Sri Maha Ganapati Homa is dedicated to lord Ganesha, the Lord of Auspiciousness, to strengthen family bonding, win over enemies, remove sufferings, get relief from the Ketu Dosha; grant prosperity, wealth and happiness, and fulfil wishes. Ganapati Homa is largely performed to remove the obstacles and before initiating any new venture.
Sri Navgraha Homa
The nine planets collectively are called Navagrahas. Of the nine planets worshipped, seven are the planets of our Solar System and the rest two are actually demons Rahu and Ketu. Depending upon their location in the planetary system, they are deemed either auspicious or inauspicious. Navagraha Homa is performed to overcome any hindrance, obstacle or bad luck; eliminate the negative impact of any planet; enjoy longevity, good health, wealth and happiness.
Sri Maha Rudra Homa
Rudra is the manifestation of Lord Shiva. Rudra Homam is performed to solicit the divine grace and blessings of Lord Rudra; for relieving fears, worries, troubles and obstructions; for overall prosperity, health, fulfilling all worldly desires, happiness. Rudra Homa can also help one advance in the spiritual aspect of life.
Sri Maha Sudarshan Homa
The word Sudarshan is made from ‘Su’ means acuspicios and ‘darshana’ means vision - ‘vision which is auspicious’. Sudarshan is another name for Lord Vishnu’s powerful weapon, which he uses to destroy negative forces and protect the universe. It enhances the capabilities of a person; overcome karmic, financial and health problems; provides a powerful protective shield; removes ignorance; provides clarity and knowledge; gives relief from the malefic effects of planets; removes negative forces from life.
Sri Nava Chandi Homa
Ashtami, the eighth day marks the pinnacle of Navratri. The sacred Nava Chandi Homa is performed with all majesty and grandeur. This Homa bestows the desired changes in life, neutralises adverse effects of planetary constellations and ensures success in life.
Sri Rishi Homa
This Homa is performed to express gratitude to all the great Rishis and the Masters, who have passed to this eternal knowledge for the benefit of all. This Homa is performed to seek the blessings from all the Enlightened Masters who have walked the planet.
In gratitude, you can also participate in these Yagnas by taking Sankalpas for Pujas and Homas
The Benefits of Participating in a Yagna
Every time you become negative, those negative vibrations of anger, jealousy, greed, frustration, and hatred spread from you. Yagnas neutralize and remove all the negativity.
There are many benefits of participating in a Yagna. Some of them are good health, unshakable faith, intellect. Though faith and intellect are often considered to oppose each other, but in a Yagna both get enhanced. Faith gets deepened and reasoning becomes very sharp. The other benefits of Yagna include heightened consciousness, ability to discern, strength, valour, long life, wealth, and many more.
How to Participate in a Yagna
- Participate with a feeling of Faith and Reverence
You may not understand everything that is happening in the Yagna, so just sit with eyes closed or eyes open and enjoy all the chants and performance. That is Shraddha - falling in love with the unknown. We know that there is some power behind all the happenings, but we don't know what that is! When you fall in love with the unknown you get the knowledge of it. That experience makes you feel, “Wow!!!” Mother Divine is not just a mental concept, somebody's imagination, but it a living reality. The subtle energy is so alive beyond expression in words; till this becomes your experience, just honour the unknown.
As the mantras are being chanted, just sit in meditation and bathe in the vibrations of the mantras. When the people who sit for the Yagna and the people who are performing the Yagna are both meditators, then the impact is intense. When people just do it as a ritual then the impact diminishes.
- Eat light food
Fasting is not recommended, but one should eat less. Don't eat too much food, but eat as much as necessary because too much food makes mind dull. At the same time, too much energy on fasting will also cause disturbance.
- Participate as much as you can. Don't strain yourself
Sometimes you may feel that the Yagna is very long. If you want to leave for some time and then re-join, you are free to do so. Sit as long as you can and enjoy the chants.
- Drop your botheration in the sacred flames of the Yagna
If anything bothers you, as pundits put herbs into the fire, you also imagine that you are putting all your botheration into the fire. All your concerns, worries, aversions, negativity etc., just offer them into the holy fire and free your mind.