The nine nights of Navratri are here again and they are very precious. They are enriched with subtle energy. During these days, the nine forms of Devi Shakti (female divinity) are worshipped. Sixty-four impulses of the Divine Mother govern the subtle creation and are responsible for restoring all earthly and spiritual benefits.
These impulses are contained within everyone’s awakened consciousness. The nine nights of Navratri are celebrated to rekindle those divine impulses and to renew the inner depths of our lives.
Navratri purifies the individual consciousness and then the universal consciousness of creation. The Devi is not somebody holding a big 'trishool' (trident). She is a form of energy, a manifestation of the Divine itself. There are many stories on how the Divine Mother appeared to restore peace and order by slaying the asuras (demons). These asuras are symbolic of the negative forces that can overtake us anytime. Navratri is the celebration of the prana (spirit) which alone can destroy these asuras. When you are full of enthusiasm and energy, none of these asuras can be with you.
Nav also means new. These are nine new nights. As we take nine months in our mother's womb, before we are born, we take these nine days to go back to our source. This period is to be spent in meditation, satsangs (music), silence and knowledge. Each day has special implications and yagnas and poojas (prayer ceremonies) are performed.
Normally during Navratri people do Upavaas (fasting). Actually, upavaas means 'sitting close'- to the Self, the Master, the Divine. And when you are close to yourself, you are in so much bliss, that you forget to eat or drink. You do not have to fast to please God. Do it to purify your body and mind.
The diverse aspects of the Holy Spirit are invoked during these nine days and all the bad karmas and impressions are washed away. So be within yourself and pray that at the end of the nine-day Aradhna (worship and prayer), let there be freshness and newness in all of us.