Sunrays: Nav Varsh Abhinandan
For those who are not spiritually inclined, I would say that Navaratri is a time to revere nature and offer thanks for all that nature has bestowed us with
The beautiful spring season is here and the Chaitra Navratri shall follow soon. The new leaves, buds and flowers signify new life, new beginnings, prosperity and renewed hope!
The Gregorian calendar was adopted for official purposes on 22 March, 1957. The Gregorian calendar’s March 22, 2023, meanwhile, marks the beginning of the Vikrami Samvat or Hindu calendar 2080.
Our ancestors calculated the New Year based on the auspicious Chaitra month. Lord Brahma started creating the universe on the first day of the Chaitra Navratri. Jau (barley) was the first crop to be cultivated then. We sow jau and grow khetri in reverence of the crop and then offer it back to mother nature. King Vikramaditya was also coronated on this very day.
Navratri, translating to nine nights, are symbolic of the darkness of ignorance. The purpose of celebrating Navratri is to enable humans to overcome this darkness. When we worship the Devi or the Mother Goddess, she is the unified form of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. These three forms together form Shakti (power), which in turn, is the energy that is emanant in nature and the Lord himself controls it. The ninth day of the Chaitra Navratri is Ram Navami. This marks the birthday and the coronation of Lord Rama.
The feminine aspect of Divinity is worshipped during the Navratri. Sri Sathya Sai Baba says the word “stree” is made up of — Sa, Ta and Ra. Sa signifies sattvic, Ta signifies tamasic and Ra signifies the rajasic nature of women. Stree, thus, represents the combination of the three gunas. You can judge a house by the greh-lakhmi (lady of the house), she represents the “everything” of the house.
The Vedas declare that where women are honoured, divinity is present with all its potency.
We worship five kinds of mothers. Firstly, we worship the Deha-Mata. She is the one who bore us for nine months and gave us the gift of life. Second, we worship the Gau-Mata. The cow is given the exalted position of a mother because she sustains us by converting her blood into milk. Third, we revere the Bhu-Mata or Mother Earth. She is the one, on whom we are dependent for everything from shelter to water to food. Fourth, we revere Desh-Mata. Our country gives us protection, rights and the support system of a society. Fifth, we revere the Veda-Mata. We revere the Vedas as our heritage and as spiritual treasures. They tell us the purpose of life and guide us on the path of self-realisation.
For those who are not spiritually inclined, I would say that Navaratri is a time to revere nature and offer thanks for all that nature has bestowed us with. Resources like the earth, air, water, minerals, oils should not be wasted or misused. It is important to conserve the environment for the generations to come.
Scientifically speaking, the Chitra Navratri is placed at the intersection of winter and summer. The body needs to detox at this time to adjust itself for the upcoming summer season. And that is exactly why Navratri fasting is recommended. You can have fruits and nuts along with one meal of alternate grains (no cereals like wheat, rice). Navratri foods include kuttu ka atta, swaank ke chawal, singhaare ka aata among others. And you cook with Rock salt which is an excellent detoxifying agent. But remember that a fast is a fast, as long as you don’t convert it into a feast!
So let’s perforn Devi Pooja in Navratri and revere the Mother Goddess in her beautiful Nav-Durga form. And while doing Devi-Poojan and Kanya-Poojan, do extend the respect to all the living goddesses around you … your mother, wife, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law and just any girl out there! Happy Navratri!