“Navratri is a celebration of the Shakti (feminine) or the mother aspect of Godhood. In the Indian ethos Mother has been accorded the status of God. A famous saying is that Mother is God, Father is God, Teacher or Guru is God. The numero uno status is of the Mother followed by the Father and finally the Guru. The mother rears the child in her womb, sacrifices her happiness for the sake of her children and vigilantly guards and protects her kids from any harm. Hence, mother is the closest to God and is worshipped.
Pure consciousness which is attributeless can only be known through the world of attributes. It is said that Shiva, who symbolizes pure consciousness, can only be known through Shakti, who represents divine energy. That is why people worship Shakti, also known as Devi, in her various manifestations possessing various attributes.
A seekers goal is to realize pure consciousness which is attributeless and the path is through the divine feminine aspect having its various manifestations that possess various attributes.
The journey is from the known (the world of attributes) to the unknown (the attributeless absolute). The male aspect and the female aspect are interlinked and intertwined. The female aspect is represented by three Devi’s or Goddess. These are Durga; the destroyer and protector, Lakshmi; the provider of abundance and Sarswati; the provider of knowledge and wisdom.
A seeker on the inner journey has to pass through three stages personified by the three Devi’s. Then, he or she enters into the realm of the infinite (pure consciousness), wherein one realizes one’s Self. Navaratri, dedicates three days each to worshipping the divine in the forms of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati.
The different stages of spiritual progress are reflected in the sequence of celebrations during Navaratri. The first three days are for Durga, followed by next three days for Lakshmi and the last three days are for Saraswati. The tenth day, though, is the most important; it is known as Vijayadashami, the ‘tenth’ day of victory.
During the first three days Durga is worshipped. She personifies that aspect of Shakti, which destroys our negative tendencies. These tendencies like desires, lust, anger, ego, attachment, etc., are a creation of our senses that manipulate our mind. Thus, praying to Durga is to seek her assistance in controlling the mind and protecting us from the demon of negativity. Her symbol is crushing of a demon with a spear.
“Removal of negativity is not permanent there is always chances of infiltration of negative tendencies. Therefore, one needs to supplant the mind with positive qualities referred to as divine wealth. This is why Lakshmi is worshipped for the next three days. She is the provider of abundance as per our needs be it material wealth or divine wealth. As a mother, she provides as per the needs of her children. She is symbolized as a giver of wealth.
Only the one endowed with divine wealth is fit to receive the knowledge of the supreme consciousness. Accordingly, the last three days of Navaratri are dedicated to worshipping Saraswati, the embodiment of Knowledge. She is depicted as wearing a pure-white sari, which symbolises the illumination of the Supreme Truth.”
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