Navaratri will be celebrated from the dates of September 25 to October 3 in 2014, and will culminate with Vijayadashami on October 3. These nine nights celebrate the Divine Feminine, and are a time of great festivity in India. Sadhguru looks at the significance of the festival and the many ways in which it is celebrated in India.
Sadhguru has also created a special sadhana for this period to help a devotee become more receptive to Devi’s grace.
Sadhguru: In the yogic culture, the summer solstice which falls in the month of June marks the beginning of Dakshinayana, which means in the Earth’s sky, the Sun begins to trace a southward movement in the northern hemisphere of the planet. Similarly, the winter solstice which falls in the month of December marks the beginning of Uttarayana or the northern run of the Sun. The half of the year from the beginning of Uttarayana in December to the beginning of Dakshinayana in June is known as gnana pada. The other half of the year from the beginning of Dakshinayana to the beginning of Uttarayana is known as the sadhana pada.
The southern run is the phase of intimacy or the feminine. The earth is acting out her role as a woman. Festivals concerned with the feminine energy are celebrated only in these six months. The whole culture of this land was attuned to this. Every month, there is a festival of some kind.
In this feminine half of the year, September 23rd marks the autumnal equinox, and the first Amavasya or new moon after this is known as Mahalaya Amavasya. Mahalaya Amavasya is a special day dedicated to making an offering (shraadh) to express our gratitude to all the previous generations of people who have contributed to our life.
Mahalaya Amavasya is also the beginning of Devi’s time. The quarter from the Amavasya to the beginning of Uttarayana in December is known as the Devi pada. In this quarter, the northern hemisphere of the planet becomes “gentle” because it is the quarter where the northern hemisphere receives the least amount of sunlight in the year. So everything becomes subdued; it is not “on” in a big way.
Worship of the feminine
The day after Mahalaya Amavasya marks the first day of Navaratri and Dussehra, which is all about the goddess.
The nine days of Navaratri are classified as per the three basic qualities of tamas, rajas and sattva. The first three days are tamas, where the goddess is fierce, like Durga and Kali. The next three days are Lakshmi related – gentle but materially-oriented goddesses. The last three days are dedicated to Saraswati, which is sattva. It is related to knowledge and enlightenment.
Tamas means inertia. Rajas means activity, passion. Sattva, in a way, is the breaking of boundaries, dissolution, melting and merging. Among the three celestial objects with which the very making of our bodies is very deeply connected – the Earth, the Sun, and the Moon – Mother Earth is considered tamas. The Sun is rajas. The Moon is sattva.
Tamas is the nature of the Earth, and she is the one who gives birth. The gestation period that we spend in the womb is tamas. It is a state that is almost like hibernation, but we are growing. So tamas is the nature of the Earth and of your birth. The moment you come out, you start activity – rajas begins. And if you are aware enough or fortunate enough, sattva will touch you.
Those who aspire for power, for immortality, for strength, will worship those forms of the feminine which are referred to as tamas, like Kali or Mother Earth. Those who aspire for wealth, for passion, for life and various other gifts that the material world has to offer, naturally aspire towards that form of the feminine which is referred to as Lakshmi or the Sun. Those who aspire for knowledge, knowing, and transcending the limitations of the mortal body, will aspire for that aspect of the feminine which is referred to as sattva – Saraswati is the representative of that – or the Moon.
These nine days are arranged in this way because it is after all from the earth that we arise, and we could live an active life which is rajas – the second nature of the Devi. The third one may come your way or may not. If you have to bring her down into you, you have to strive. Otherwise she will not get down to you. Kali is on the ground. Lakshmi is sitting on a flower. Saraswati is riding a peacock.
To approach these nine days, and every other aspect of life in a celebratory way is most important. If you approach everything in a celebratory way, you learn to be non-serious about life but absolutely involved. The problem with most human beings right now is if they think something is important, they will become dead serious about it. If they think it is not so important, they will become lax about it – they don’t show the necessary involvement. The secret of life is in seeing everything with a non-serious eye but absolutely involved, like a game.
Celebrations at Linga Bhairavi ensure that everyone is able to make use of the support that nature offers. For those who wish to connect with Devi, a simple but powerful Navaratri sadhana is being offered for all, to experience Devi’s Grace at home. The sadhana is to be practiced on each of the days starting from September 25 till October 3, by doing the following:
- Light a lamp for Devi.
- Chant a minimum of three cycles of the “Jai Bhairavi Devi” stuthi in front of a photo of Devi, Linga Bhairavi Gudi, Linga Bhairavi Yantra or Avighna Yantra. It is advisable to chant eleven cycles. (One cycle is the recitation of all 33 names of Devi, as listed below).
- Make an offering. There are no restrictions on what can be offered.
The sadhana can be done at any time of the day or night and can be done by all. There are no dietary restrictions, though it is preferable to have sattvic food as is customary during the festival. The sadhana can be done along with other traditional celebrations. For enquiries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linga Bhairavi Stuthi
These are the 33 auspicious names of Devi. When chanted with devotion, one becomes available to receive Her grace.
Jai Bhairavi Devi Gurubhyo Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Swayambho Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Swa dhārinī Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Mahā Kalyāni Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Mahā Bhadrāni Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Maheshwari Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Nāgeshwari Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Vishweshwari Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Someshwari Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Dukha Samhāri Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Hiranya Garbhini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Amrita Varshini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Bhakta Rakshini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Saubhāgya Dāyini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Sarva Janani Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Garbha Dāyini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Shoonya Vāsini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Mahā Nandini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Vāmeshwari Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Karma Pālini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Yonīshwari Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Linga Roopini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Shyāma Sundari Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Trinetrini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Sarva Mangali Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Mahā Yogini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Klesha Nāshini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Ugra Roopini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Divya Kāmini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Kāla Roopini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Trishoola Dhārini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Yaksha Kāmini Namah Shri
Jai Bhairavi Devi Mukti Dāyini Namah Shri
Aum Mahā Devi Linga Bhairavi Namah Shri
Aum Shri Shāmbhavi Linga Bhairavi Namah Shri
Aum Mahā Shakti Linga Bhairavi Namah Shri Namah Shri Namah Shri Devi Namah Shri
Editor’s Note: Celebrate Navaratri with us at the Isha Yoga Center from September 25 – October 3, 2014. Each day of Navaratri includes special abhishekams, poojas, Maha Aratis followed by classical dance, folk and music performances every night.