Navratri is traditionally celebrated in honor of Devi, the Divine Mother. The Divine Mother is a form of energy, a manifestation of the Divine itself. Therefore, sometimes, the form taken by this Divine may be that of Ganesha, Chandi (Devi), Vishnu or Shiva. Each day of Navratri we honor specific qualities of divinity with different homas and with different intentions.
Sri Maha Ganapati Homa:
This homa is offered to that aspect of divinity which removes all obstacles to our growth and success. It is for clearing all impediments and attracting auspiciousness in our lives. Ganapati Homa is done before the start of any new project or venture.
Everything in creation is connected, and the all the various spheres in the universe mutually affect each other. Everything influences everything else. This homa is done to honor these influences; to reduce negative influences that enter our lives; and to increase positive influences.
Sri Maha Rudra Homa:
We invite all auspiciousness into our lives. This is one of the most ancient homas from the text of the Vedas. It is done to transform stagnancy and for overall prosperity, health, happiness, success and removal of obstructions. It is offered to the one who removes misery.
Sri Maha Sudarshan Homa:
This homa is offered to the sustainer of life, which blesses us with the right vision. It is to remove ignorance and usher in a new life overflowing with knowledge. It is especially for removing confusion and mental blocks and giving clarity. Chanting of Vishnu Sahasranama: Sahasranaam literally means "the thousand names". This chanting is done for bringing success in life. It is offered to honor the sustaining energy in creation.
Sri Nava Chandi Homa:
The Chandi Homa marks the pinnacle of all the Navratri homas. It is performed to remove negative tendencies and obstacles to growth, both in ourselves and in the environment. Its purpose is also to increase strength, vigor and confidence. It is offered to that quality of Divinity that protects and us and nurtures creativity.
This homa is done in gratitude to all the enlightened masters. It honors all the seers and sages of the past, present and future.
Yagya during Navratri
When many people get together and do something collectively, that is called 'yagya' or 'yagna'. There are many types of 'yagya'.
- 1. 'Dravya Yagya'- In which a lot of substances are used. 108 types of different herbs, fruits etc are used.
- 2. 'Gyaan Yagya' - Discussing the knowledge.
- 3. 'Japa Yagya'- Singing and chanting of mantras.
These bring purity, prosperity, peace and harmony to all. The whole environment becomes lively. There are three types of miseries: one from outside world, other one from deep inside you, due to karma and the third one is due to the subtle mind. So Navratri is that which gives you rest from all three types of miseries. Mind works in action. When you sleep, what happens? You get relief from the world, relief from the mind, and relief from everything. That is why Navratri is called, the nine nights of complete self-referral activity. Tenth day of the 'yagya' is the Victory Day, also known as ‘Dussera’.
Importance of Sankalpa
Sankalpa is derived from two words ‘SAT’ (which means Guna) and ‘KALPANA’ (which means imagination). So Sankalpa means a good intention.
So how does a sankalpa work??
It’s a simple two step process:
- 1) Identifying our intention.
- 2) Surrendering it to the Divine
During the pujas we bring the mind from the vastness of time and space to HERE NOW. With mind in present moment we identifying our intention and then we take flower and rice in our hand and drop it with water; thus surrendering it to the divine.
The Vedic Mantras which are chanted are also very important part of the process. As every sound has a effect on our being ; the ancient Rishis figured out which sound created what impact on brain and that is how the Mantras were created. The mantras chanted during the puja is the process of making the sankalpa manifest.
Just as Sunlight is present everywhere, but when we keep it under a magnifying glass it creates fire.
Sankalpa is like a magnifying glass. Attending the puja’s is definitely very beneficial, but taking a sankalpa makes it more powerful. The Choice is Yours.
Taking sankalpa during this Navratri will help in manifestation of good intentions.