Over the past few days, I have received several messages and communications around Navratri. You would have too.
Some are just good wishes, some sound like sermons, and then some are marketing messages associating their brands with a perceived idea of Navratri. These messages preach how to live, or what can happen if Maa blesses you. They talk about the glorious possibilities. Have you ever wondered, “How? How is all of this possible? Why haven’t I received these gifts in all these years?”
Some intellectuals link Navratri to women’s empowerment. Some talk about the mystical aspects of Devi being born to Parvatraj. Some refer to Sati, the daughter of Daksha. Some even give it a wider connotation implying that it is about overcoming our mental and moral limitations.
All of this is amusing, to say the least.
Luckily, I also received questions from curious Saadhaks, seeking to know the significance of Navratri. They wonder about some of the fundamental inconsistencies with our popular folklores. That is why I decided to write this post.
I ask you – Have you wondered why is Devi feminine? Is she really a woman? Will a God really attach itself to gender and be limited by a human form? They didn’t even attach themselves to a Varaha (the avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, in the form of a boar), or a demon. Then why would Devi really choose to be feminine?
Do you think our sages and yogis, who worked so hard to offer the path of evolution to mankind, were so naive that they would encourage customs that only related to human survival? i.e., the body, mind, intellect, or energy?
They knew better. They knew how humans could realize themselves. Hence the creation of all our important dates and days (across cultures) is in line with how the planet moves along its axis.
So What Does Navratri Really Mean?
Contrary to contemporary perception, Navratri has little to do with a woman. Every time we refer to the “Goddess”, we are actually invoking the “feminine” present in every human on the planet regardless of their gender.
To understand this, we need to approach it through the energy aspect of human life. For starters, Nav (Nine) Ratri (Nights), should be seen as a combination of three sets of three nights (and days), followed by the 10th day, i.e., Vijay Dashami.
Let us dig deeper.
The First Three Nights of Navratri
The first three nights (and days) are about using the feminine on the mool (fundamental) adhar (foundation) and instigating the dissolution of the manomay kosh (the mental faculty that receives all the sensory inputs, interprets them as good or bad, and lusts for the good).
Goddess Durga, in her Red attire, symbolizes the feminine side of Mooladhar, the first Chakra of the human energy system. This Chakra works on the memories stored in our energy body that relates to our basic existence. It relates to our “need for survival”.
For humans, the very thought of survival triggers fear and results in fight or flight, or stress about not being able to choose either. This happens through the so-called masculine side of our energy. These three aspects can be slain by the feminine side of our energy. Hence Durga, The Destroyer of Mahishasura.
When the energy system is wired only through Mooladhar, it ends up using all our intelligence merely for its survival goals. This is such a waste. Because we know that none of us are here to survive. We are all here to eventually perish.
The Second Three Nights of Navratri
Once the process of dissolution of the manomay kosh is initiated, a Saadhak moves into the next cycle of three nights (and days), where the Swadhishthan Chakra is engaged. This period is also called the period of Lakshmi.
Again, contrary to popular understanding, Lakshmi doesn’t signify the accumulation of wealth. In fact, it denotes overcoming your obsession with this lust for accumulation. She is all about abundance. So much abundance that one doesn’t ever need to accumulate!
This is why Lakshmi sits at the feet of Vishnu (gender activists might object here). But remember, she is neither a man nor a woman. “Sitting at Vishnu’s feet” implies that all that is manifested is simply coming from the mere feet of the Ultimate Consciousness. And whatever comes from the consciousness can never be accumulated. No one who runs after it will have it enough. Unfortunately, for the vast majority, Laxmi denotes wealth. Which is not true. She is “abundance”. Hence, when you seek consciousness, abundance automatically comes to you.
The Last Three Nights of Navratri
This is the period of Saraswati Saadhana. She is the Goddess of knowledge and wisdom. For every Saadhak (the unconscious men and women), this is the ultimate quest. Saraswati signifies that “all that is there to know lies in mere vibrations or nada (नाद)”. Yet consciousness is producing the nada. So do not accumulate knowledge or wisdom. It’s yours to take only if you seek consciousness.
Vijay Dashmi, The Tenth Day
This day marks the eventual overcoming of the tendencies to accumulate more. This day, we fully overcome the unconscious. Connotations like fear, greed, and lust, and characters like Ravan and Mahishasura are all representations of the same.
All the Saadhaks, who are pursuing Anaavaran Saadhana (and if they’re so willing), will go through this experience. It is my earnest desire to take them through this entire experience and help those who are stuck in the mundane, survival mode.
Remember, all of us have a choice, and Navratri is one such golden opportunity, where ancient wisdom aligns with the planetary positions, to offer a highly conducive environment for your Saadhana.
Through deep Saadhana during the Navratri, it is possible to release this energy that is perpetually spent in dealing with the mundane. Let us channelize our intelligence to understand our TRUE nature and evolve.