Vrat-Festivals | Vrat
See also Names of Nine Devee; Nava Raatri Story; Nava Raatri Mandapam in Kerala
Mostly three Devee are worshipped during these nine days of Nava Raatri.
On the first three days, the Mother is adored as supreme power and force, as Durgaa the Terrible. You pray to Mother Durga to destroy all your impurities, your vices, your defects. She is to fight with and annihilate the baser animal qualities in the spiritual aspirant, the lower, diabolical nature in him. Also, She is the power that protects your spiritual practice from its many dangers and pitfalls. Thus the first three days, which mark the first stage or the destruction of impurity and determined effort and struggle to root out the evil tendencies in your mind, are set apart for the worship of the destructive aspect of the Mother.
Once you have accomplished your task on the negative side that of breaking down the impure propensities and old vicious habits, the next step is to build up a sublime spiritual personality, to acquire positive qualities in place of the eliminated demoniacal qualities. The divine qualities that Lord Krishn enumerates in the Geetaa, have to be acquired. The aspirant must cultivate and develop all the auspicious qualities. He has to earn immense spiritual wealth to enable him to pay the price for the rare gem of divine wisdom. If this development of the opposite qualities is not undertaken in right earnest, the old demoniacal nature will raise its head again and again. Hence, this stage is as important in an aspirant's career as the previous one. The essential difference is: the former is a ruthless, determined annihilation of the filthy egoistic lower self; the latter is an orderly, steady, calm and serene effort to develop purity. This pleasanter side of the aspirant's Saadhanaa is depicted by the worship of Mother Lakshmiee. She bestows on her devotees the inexhaustible Divine wealth or Daivee Sampatti. Lakshmee is the wealth-giving aspect of God. She is purity herself. Thus the worship of Goddess Lakshmee is performed during the second set of three days.
Once the aspirant succeeds in routing out the evil propensities, and develops Saattwik or pure, Divine qualities, he becomes competent to attain wisdom. He is now ready to receive the light of supreme wisdom. He is fit to receive divine knowledge. At this stage comes the devout worship of Mother Saraswatee, who is divine knowledge personified, the embodiment of knowledge of the Absolute. The sound of her celestial Veena awakens the notes of the sublime utterances of the Upanishad which reveal the Truth, and the sacred monosyllable, Om. She bestows the knowledge of the supreme, mystic sound and then gives full knowledge of the Self as represented by Her pure, dazzling snow-white apparel. Therefore, to propitiate Saraswatee, the giver of knowledge, is the third stage of Devee worship.
The tenth day, Vijaya Dashamee, marks the triumphant ovation of the soul at having attained liberation while living in this world, through the descent of knowledge by the grace of Goddess Saraswatee. The soul rests in his own Supreme Self or Sat-chit-aanand Brahm. This day celebrates the victory, the achievement of the goal. The banner of victory flies aloft. Lo! I am He! I am He!
This arrangement also has a special significance in the aspirant's spiritual evolution. It marks the indispensable stages of evolution through which everyone has to pass. One naturally leads to the other; to short-circuit this would inevitably result in a miserable failure. Now-a-days many ignorant seekers aim straight at the cultivation of knowledge without the preliminaries of purification and acquisition of the divine qualities. They then complain that they are not progressing on the path. How can they? Knowledge will not descend until the impurities have been washed out, and purity is developed. How can the pure plant grow in impure soil?
Therefore adhere to this arrangement; your efforts will be crowned with sure success. This is your path. As you destroy one evil quality, develop the virtue opposite to it. By this process you will soon bring yourself up to that perfection which will culminate in identity with the Self which is your goal. Then all knowledge will be yours: you will be omniscient, omnipotent and you will feel your omnipresence. You will see your Self in all. You will have achieved eternal victory over the wheel of births and deaths, over the demon of worldliness. No more pain, no more misery, no more birth, no more death! Victory, victory be yours!
Glory to the Divine Mother! Let her take you, step by step to the top of the spiritual ladder and unite you with the Lord! All are exhorted to do the maximum number of Jap of the Navaarn Mantra, Aim hreem kleem chaamundaayai vichche, or the Mantra of their own tutelary Deity. Besides the books representing Saraswatee, all instruments and implements like typewriters, printing machinery, etc, are also worshipped on the ninth day.
In temples, on the Vijayaa Dashamee day, aspirants may be given initiation into various Mantra according to their tutelary Deities. Deserving aspirants are initiated into the holy order of Sanyaas. Initiation in the study of the alphabets is given to young children and to the old children also. New students commence their lessons in music, etc.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 09/30/13