Navratri – the festival of nine nights

By Bhanu Didi

Symbolizing victory of positivity over negativity, Navratri literally means 'nine nights' in Sanskrit; Nav - Nine and Ratri - nights. During these nine nights and ten days, the three forms of the goddess -Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi - are invoked.

Amidst great celebration, the mind can be carried away and easily go off-center. Usually in any celebration, the mind goes everywhere. So to bring back the mind to the centre, we keep a joyful silence with awareness. The mind is always conditioned to patterns.

So this is like conditioning the mind to a set pattern that is conducive to growth. The first three days are tamasic, the next three rajasic, and the last three sattvic. In life, all these three qualities co-exist and we have to skillfully get past them. These nine days are a reminder of this. It is the awakening of the Divinity – that quality of the Mother Divine which does not negate anything, yet nurtures the good qualities. Supporting the positivity in us and skillfully removing the negative can be learnt by invoking and awakening the Divine in us. This is what is done in the Chandi Homa.

Irrespective of the qualities of a child, the mother always loves the child. Same is with the Mother Divine.

This all-inclusive power supports us and brings out the divine quality in us. This can happen only when we are doing our sadhana. These nine days are a reminder to be a good sadhak (seeker) and of course, none of this can even stir without the grace of the Master and we are very fortunate to have his grace in abundance.

It is said in the scriptures that one can realize the Self through sadhana, seva, satsang and the Guru’s grace.

These nine days are an opportunity to be completely in sadhana, seva, satsang and of course, the grace of the Master is already with us.

The writer is the sister of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, meditation teacher, and Director of Women and Child Welfare programs of The Art of Living.