Navaratri is a Hindu festival that spans nine nights (and ten days).
The festival is associated to the prominent battle that took place between Durga and demon the Mahishasura. These nine days are solely dedicated to Durga and her eight avatars – the Navadurga. Each day is associated to an incarnation of the goddess:
This festival comes five times a year: Chaitra Navratri, Gupta Navratri, Sharada Navratri or Maha Navratri, Paush Navratri, Magha Navratri. Among these, Chaitra Navratri and Sharada Navratri are most popular. This 9-night, 10-day festival bears high religious, spiritual, and cultural significance.
The spiritual significance of 9 nights of Navratri
As per the Kalpas (Puranas), there are three dimensions of Shakti (the feminine energy): Mahakali (strength or power), Mahalakshmi (wealth, passion and material well-being), and Mahasaraswati (knowledge, dissolution, transcendence of the limitations of the mortal body).
They are believed to represent the cosmos as the Earth, the Sun and the Moon.
They are also symbolic of the 3 gunas (virtues/qualities): tamas (inertia), rajas (activity, passion) and sattva (knowledge, purity), respectively.
Therefore, the first three days are dedicated to Durga or Kali, the next three to Lakshmi, and the last three to Saraswati. Sadhaks or worshippers meditate on these three dimensions of famine energy during these nine nights to advance their Sadhanas. Particularly, there are Nine forms or incarnations of Maa Parvati that are worshipped on these nine nights.
Dr. T. P. Singh
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