‘Nava’ means ‘nine’ and ‘ratri’ is made up of ‘ra’ which also means ‘night’ and ‘tri’ meaning the three aspects of our life – body, mind and soul. There are three types of botherations or problems that may affect a person – physical, mental and spiritual. That which gives you relief from all these difficulties is ‘ratri’. ‘Ratri’ or night relieves you of misery and brings comfort. The night relaxes everybody; whether happy, unhappy or miserable, everybody goes to sleep.
The nine-day period of Navaratri is marked by a series of Yagna and Homas. These Yagnas nullify all the misery, sorrow and pain in the world. Each day of this nine-day period has special implications and yagnas and homas are performed accordingly. In life, there are positive and negative qualities that affect us.
"Navaratri represents how the negativity can be conquered by the inherent positive qualities in an individual so that one emerges as a Divine being." - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
As we take nine months in our mother's womb before we are born, we take these nine days to go back to our source. These nine days are to be spent in meditation, satsang, silence and knowledge.