The Four Navratri and Devi puja

A quick post today on the Devi.

At present, this is the Hindu Ashwin month and the bright fortnight, Shukla paksh. The first 9 days of this month from the first day, Pratipada to the ninth day, Navami are dedicated to the worship of the Devi Shakti. She is the active energy of the Tamo-gun the wife of Mahadev-Shiv.

On each day, one of her forms is worshipped and on the tenth day, Dasera/ Vijayadashmi the puja comes to a conclusion. This puja is called the Nav-ratri, the nine-nights and also called Durga-puja. The theme is that Devi fought against the armies of the demons, killing their army-generals on each day and killed their King, Mahishasur on the tenth day. This story is described in the book Durga Saptashati/ Devi Mahatmya.

These nine day/nights are full of joy and power as everyone worships the Devi in whatever form they feel drawn to. If you are drawn to the Saumya forms you will worship these, Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidhatri forms of the Devi. Regular people should do pujas of only these forms of the Devi.

(The Ugra forms of the Devi are the 10 Mahavidya-s, Kali, Tara, Shodashi, Bhuvaneshvari, Bhairavi, Chinnamasta, Matangi, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi (Valagamukhi) and Kamala. Normal people should not worship these as these are quite Ugra, very strict and terrifying. Make one mistake in their pujas and you will be in serious trouble. There are some astrologers who give mantras of these Devi’s as remedies to clients. Avoid. It can backfire quite spectacularly.)

In West India, people play Garbha, it is a dance to songs in praise of the Devi. This is performed at night for the Devi. In North India people do puja of Vishnu in his Ram form at night and celebrate by enacting his Ramayan story in public performances called Ram-Lila. Which to my mind makes no sense as this period should be utilized to the max for personal spiritual growth. But then Garbha and even the Ram-Lila is good for the general public.

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Now a secret, there are actually 4 Nav-ratri in a year. All four of them have a different energy character. The real aspirant of the Devi will know how to use each one of them differently. The first 9 nights, Nav-ratri of the bright half, Shukla-paksha of the four months named Chaitra, Ashadh, Ashwin and Magh are brimming with energy. One should use them actively, not waste even one single night.

The navratri in Chaitra month (March-April) is full of solar energies. The energies go outward, radiate. You can feel the lightness and the golden radiance during these days/nights. Most people worship Ram/ Vishnu and some worship the Devi during this period. The Indian new year also starts with Chaitra, the first day of this navratri. (This was the day Shri Ram was crowned the King of Ayodhya as per the original Sanskrit Ramayan). This Navratri ends with Ram-navmi, dedicated to worship of Ram/Vishnu. The Devi is in a mature and happy form here. So any pujas you perform with her in mind are very successful.

Then the Ashadh month is the monsoon (June-July). The Navratri which falls in this month is called the secret/ Gupt navratri, ordinary people do not even know about this. This period is highly conducive for all types of energy manipulations, tantra and secret pujas. The Devi is in her contemplative form here, rather serious and silent. Here her pujas are also secret and serious. If you worship a Ugra/terrifying form of the Devi this navratri would give you the best results. This is just for information, do not attempt these things without a proper Guru.

The Ashwin navrati is full of lunar energies so is the best for Devi puja. So if you really want to get that push, do not waste even one night of these nine nights. The Devi is in her benevolent form, ready to be pleased. So whatever simple pujas you perform with intention, she will accept as a doting mother does. This is going on at present and everyone is doing something special for Her.

Then is the Magh navratri (January-February). This is a highly auspicious period. On the fourth day/chaturthi of this navratri, Ganapati is worshipped. This is one of the best days in the year for any puja of Ganapati. (The other is the Bhadrapad Shukla chaturthi). Ganapati is the energy who allows the aspirant entry into the Brahmanadi. He is the pratham-pujya, the one who is worshipped first. Then on the fifth day-panchami of this Nav-ratri, the Devi in her Saraswati form is worshipped. This day is called Vasant-panchami and is exclusive for Gayatri mantra sadhana. The seventh day-Saptami of this navratri, is for worshipping the Sun, it is called Rath-saptami. These three days of this navratri are very powerful in themselves, all Hindus will do pujas on these days. But if you are performing some Devi puja in the background for the nine days, your power will be enhanced even more.

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So what Devi puja should you do? Most families/cultures have their own system for worshipping the Devi, so follow whatever your culture, home-tradition does. Some set up a kalash for the pujas, some will bring an idol of the Devi and then immerse it in the sea on the tenth day, some people fast etc. It is all very joyful and full of energy. Keep your intention clear and your faith pure.

But for the more serious aspirant, read the Devi Mahatmya /Durga Saptashati. Read it in Sanskrit, not some translated version. Even if you do not understand what you are reading the mantra-s will do their work. There are some rules on how to read it, in which order the chapters should be recited and the use of the Nav-avarna mantra etc. There are typical ways of reading it and also for doing other types of rituals using mantras from it, but these things are not for general people. So do not over-think and get confused. You should read the Devi Mahatmya just as you would read a book, from page one to the last page with full intention and faith. (Use the Gita press version of the book, pdf link here.) Or if you cannot read it (most of us have forgotten our real mother tongue Devbhasha Samskrutam), this is a very beautiful rendition by Premprakash Dubey, perfect pronunciation and voice, it is for 2hrs 20mins. Listen to it in its entirety, everyday of the Navratri if you can. Or if you cannot spare the time, listen to one chapter per day (something is always better than nothing).

Now again for the serious aspirant. The real Devi puja is always performed at night, from 9-pm to 3-am. This period is very useful for doing any sort of practice where you need to still your mind and focus. The dominating gun during this period is called the Vishuddha-Tama-gun. It is enveloping, still and very dense, so the mind cannot wander much. So when you give your mind a mantra and focus it will follow your Will more easily. Try it for yourself.

There was a question in the Contact form on using the mantras from the Devi Mahatmya book. Do understand that these are quite powerful and their detailed use cannot be described through a blog. But if you do even this much with intention, the Devi will give you what you desire and if you need to do more complicated pujas, She will arrange it for you.

Indian festivals are full of joy and happiness. There is energy radiating everywhere, whatever you do, do it with all your heart. Even if you offer Her one single flower with your full intention she will accept it. She is not outside of you, She is your own conscience. If you are satisfied with what you have done, so will She. So enjoy the Navratri and may the blessings of the Devi be on you.

(Edit: The names of the names of the 4 Nav-ratris are Kaal-ratri, Maha-ratri Moha-ratri and Darun-ratri. These are described in the Tantrokta Ratri sukta from the Devi Mahatmya. This is my favourite sukta, have listened to this rendition for hours on a loop and also performed its homa.)

 

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Remedies for Gandant nakshatra births

I had written about the Gandant or Gandamool gap of the zodiac in a past post. There is a question on this, thus writing some more. Gandant affects the Moon or the ascendant degree. The closer to the gap the more severe the effects are.

Remedies for Gandant nakshatra births

In India, the new baby’s horoscope is seen after the 12th day. On the 12th day the Namakaran/naming ceremony is performed. Also, till this new living being is not named, a period called “naatak’ is observed. During this period, no puja/rituals can be performed in the family in which the birth has occurred. Now if there is a Gandant nakshatra seen in the child’s chart, a Nakshatra shanti puja should be performed at the earliest, within a month of the birth if possible. If the parents are unable for some reason (maybe the baby is not well and the parents are busy), the baby’s paternal grandparents or paternal uncle can be entrusted by the parents to perform it at the earliest possible auspicious timing/muhurt after the birth.

(Shanti puja is a ritual to calm down the agitation caused by the severe energies of the lunar mansion, a pandit/priest helps perform it.)

It is possible that the chart was never seen and the child grew up with whatever problems, later the parents came to know of the Gandant. Even then do the Nakshatra Shanti puja on the next convenient muhurt, do not think the time is lost. The energies of the puja will help the child now onwards at least. This puja can be repeated on every (vedic calendar) birth day.

Now it is possible that the chart was never seen, these pujas were never done and the child grew up, became an adult etc and then came a sub-period of Mercury or Ketu or the ascendant lord where the person started facing severe problems. One young man I know, has a severe Moon in Revati Nakshatra Gandant. He went to an astrologer and the person scared him by telling him that he will die in a few years. This is what I dislike about modern astrologers. Death may or not come, that is the future. Let’s focus on what can be done at the present moment! The correct advice in this case would be this,

  1. Do the nakshatra shanti puja at the earliest possible auspicious timing, it will help balance something at least.
  2. On every birth day (as per vedic calendar), do the same Nakshatra Shanti puja with the pandit/priest. Or do any of these pujas for longevity, good health and auspiciousness – Ayushya homa, Mahamrutyunjai homa, Navagraha Shanti puja,
  3. Or if cannot afford a priest do a Mahamryutunjai Homa by himself. It is a very simple fire ritual/homa, takes one hour to perform.
  4. Or cannot do this at all, cannot afford it or cannot find the resources, then recite the Mahamrutyunjai mantra 108 times at least one Monday every month.
  5. Or if has access to a vedic panchangam, and knows the Nakshatra which is Gandant, he can recite this Mahamrutyunjai mantra 108 times on that day of the month in which the transit moon occupies that same nakshatra in transit.

Remedies for Gandant nakshatra births

In fact I would suggest for everyone to do this Mahamryutunjai Homa on auspicious days, birthdays, etc, whenever you feel like doing it. I had written about it earlier in some post, it will work for all health and longevity related issues. The homa basic post is linked here. The preparatory and concluding phases remain the same, for the mantra-phase use this mantra, at every ‘ swaha’ a drop of ghee is to be put in the fire.

“Om trayambakam yajamahe, sugandhim pushtivardhanam, Om haung, joong sah, maam mrutyur palaya palaya, rogan mochaya mochaya, ayur vardhaya vardhaya, Sah joong haung Om, ururvarukamiva bandhanat, mrutyur mukshiya maam amrutat, Mrutyunjayaya rudraya, neelkanthaya shambhave, amruteshaya sharvaya, mahadevaya taenamah Swaha”

(Or if you feel this variant to be quite complicated you can use this simple version “Om tryambakam yajamahe sungandhim pushti vardhanam uruvarukamiva bandhanat mrutyur mukshiya maam amrutat Om Swaha” for the mantra phase)

Birthdays are very important. On these 2 days every year you should really do something to recharge your energies. 2 days? yes, your birthday as per the solar calendar will be the same as your birthdate as per the English calendar (maybe one day before or after), on this day your sun will be in the same degree as it was the day you were born. And the second as per the lunar day, the exact degree in which your moon was in and the same sign your sun was in when you were born. These are the 2 days when your personal energies are resonating with the energies of the time you were born. So if you do some personal intense energy practice on this day, it will deeply repair and heal.