26 Sep 2011-QA-1

Guruji, please tell us about the significance of the nine nights of Navaratri. What can we do to get a better spiritual experience during Navaratri?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

‘Ratri’ word means that which gives you deep rest. Deep rest or relief from three things or three tapas. ‘Tapas’ means three types of fire, three botheration, the physical, the subtle and the causal. The three type of botheration are aadi bhautik, the worldly botheration. Aadi daivi, the divine one and then botheration of the soul. All these three botherations are relieved by a deep rest. So it is a time of prayer and rejuvenation. You know, a child is born in nine months. It takes nine month for a child to get formed and be born. So these nine days are like coming out of mother’s womb once again, having a new birth. First three days are dedicated to tamo guna, inertia. The second three days to rajo guna and the last three days, sato guna. The three gunas that we all possess, sattva, rajas and tamas and gaining victory over all the gunas and being centred and celebrating life. The final day is called the victory day, Vijayadashmi. So for all nine days, ten days we virtually do meditation which is the best way to celebrate. People usually fast and pray, and then feast in the end. Fasting always goes with the feasting. I won’t recommend all of you to fast without any food at all. You can have limited or eat less. Suppose if you are eating one whole meal you can cut down to half or quarter, like that, and don’t keep munching all day. Usually people have the habit of popping munchies the whole day, now and then, here and there. So don’t do that and don’t indulge in any other sensory activities of any other senses; giving deep rest to all the five senses. No touching, no watching movies, not going for fragrances and all that. Not listening to music all the time with the, what is that, ipod?! As soon as we wake up we turn the radio on or put on the ipod and put the ear phones. Even when we are jogging we are listening to sound. So the mind is constantly bombarded; bombarded by sound, by music. These are the days when you don’t bombard your system with so much music. There will be chanting here for some time. You know the last couple of days when there will be ‘yagyas’, of course you can just sit and bask in the chanting. Take bath in the, what is called ‘mantra-snaana’; means bathing in the mantras. The mantras are being chanted; you just sit in meditation and bathe in that vibration, that is good. Everyday there will be little bit time, an hour or so of mantra chanting. Other than that it is good to refrain from over-eating, over-listening to music, or watching television or any type of activity which stimulates your system. It’s a time to calm them down. Yes, and on the last day, of course, you end up in celebrations. You get emotionally charged, spiritually charged, intellectually uplifted. It’s time for getting all these things done.