Navaratrostav – 2014
This festival is devoted solely to the Mother Goddess — known variously as Durga, Bhavani, Amba, Chandika, Gauri, Parvati, Mahishasuramardini — and her other manifestations. The name “Durga” means “inaccessible”, and she is the personification of the active side of the divine “shakti” energy of Lord Shiva. In fact, she represents the furious powers of all the male gods, and is the ferocious protector of the righteous, and destroyer of the evil. Durga is usually portrayed as riding a lion, and carrying weapons in her many arms.
‘Navratri’ means ‘9 Nights’ as the name suggests 9 (Nav), Nights (Ratri), so these holy celebrations last for 9 days/nights. Over the course of the nine days, the Mother Goddess is worshiped in her various forms – Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Each goddess is worshiped for three days in turn, starting with ‘Durga’ who destroys negative tendencies. Next is ‘Lakshmi’ who bestows good virtues and fortune, and last is ‘Saraswati’, who instills wisdom and spiritual knowledge.
The Durga Pooja celebration consists of 9 days of festival worshiping the 9 avatars of the Divine Mother plus another 10th day called Dussehra or Vijayadashami which marks the end of Navratri festival.
9 days of Navratri
The first day is dedicated to the Goddess Durga is called Shailputri, the daughter of the Himalayas. She is a form of Shakti, the companion of Lord Shiva.
The second day is dedicated to the Goddess Durga is known as ‘Brahmacharini’. The name is derivative of the word ‘Brahma’, which means ‘Tapa’ or penace. She is also a form of Mata Shakti.
The third day is dedicated to the goddess Chandraghanta, the symbolic representation of beauty and bravery.
The fourth day is dedicated to the goddess Kushmandas, the creator of the entire Universe.
The fifth day is dedicated to the Goddess Skand Mata, the mother of the chief warrior of the Gods army the Skanda.
The sixth day is dedicated to the goddess Katyayani with three eyes and four hands.
The seventh day is dedicated to the Goddess ‘Kaalratri’, meant to make the devotees fearless.
The eight day is dedicated to the Mata Rani or ‘Maha Gauri’, represents calmness and exhibits wisdom.
The ninth day is dedicated to Durga also referred as Siddhidatri. It is believed that she has all the eight siddhis and is worshipped by all the Rishis and Yogis.
Dusshera, as the name suggests occurs on the “tenth” day following the Navratri. It is a festival to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, and marks the defeat and death of the demon king Ravana in the epic Ramayana . Huge effigies of Ravana are burnt amidst the bangs and booms of firecrackers. Dussehra celebration spreads the message of the victory of good over sin.
Originating as devotional Garba dances, which were always performed in Durga’s honour, this dance form is actually the staging of a mock-fight between the Goddess and Mahishasura, the mighty demon-king, and is nicknamed “The Sword Dance”. During the dance, dancers energetically whirl and move their feet and arms in a complicated, choreographed manner to the tune of the music with various rhythms. Garba is performed before Aarti (worshipping ritual) as devotional performances in the honor of the Goddess.
The sticks (dandiyas) of the dance represent the swords of Durga. It is the dramatization of a mock fight between the Goddess and Mahishasura – the mighty demon-king. Read more at http://festivals.iloveindia.com/navratri/dandiya-raas.html#kPGZtBuq9wsoFvBd.99 Traditionally, Dandiya Raas is performed after aarti (ritual of worshipping the diety). Hence, Dandiya Rass is an important part of the merriment.
Durga Mata Daud
Durga Mata Daud is a part of the Navaratri celebrations and Hindu awareness program in which people from all walks of life, including children and the aged, participate with the single objective of expressing solidarity with their beloved Nation, Hindu Religion. In the remembrance of Mata Jijau and the greatest Hindu warriors Chhatrapati Shri Shivaji Maharaj and Dharmaveer Sambhaji Maharaj who devoted their life in building the strong Hindu nation and protecting it from invaders. This event is held during Navratri. Every day, thousands of hindu youth gather in the early morning with ‘bhagava dvaj’ and march on the different parts of the city. This is known as ‘Durgamata Daud’ and the participants in the daud is nearly about 5000.The volunteers in the daud are called as ‘dharkari’. In Daud, volunteers loudly of Jai Bhavani & Bharatmata. http://www.panditjiusa.com/Dasara_Info.htm