Why Devi is Worshiped During Navaratri
Children, true devotion is like a beautiful wave arising from the vast ocean of spirituality. And if one is blessed with the grace of the guru, one can easily cross the ocean and reach the shore of salvation. Those who worship Divine Mother with great devotion during Navaratri will definitely obtain her complete grace.
Many centuries ago, Sri Adi Shankaracharya traveled all over India teaching Advaita Vedanta—the philosophy of absolute oneness. But in order to make the path to attainment easier for devotees, he also installed the wish-fulfilling Sri Chakra in all the temples, so that it would become easy for everybody to worship Divine Mother and receive her blessings. Many great sages, like the sapta rishis or Bodhayana Maharshi, have meditated on Divine Mother during Navaratri for the sake of attaining liberation.
Divine Mother loves her children so much that she has taken many divine forms on the Earth, in order to be closer to us all. These divine forms reside at places known as “shakti peethas,” or seats of divine energy. These peethas are self-born manifestations of Divine Mother’s glory and power. When we worship Mother in these places, every kind of difficulty can be removed. All the negative effects of the planets are removed when we worship at these powerful shakti peethas. Any kind of diseases or mental disturbances are also destroyed. Those who wish to be happily married will be blessed with a good marriage after worshipping Devi with devotion. Similarly, those who desire wealth or children are immediately blessed accordingly. And of course, those who desire only spiritual liberation will certainly be blessed when they approach Mother with such a noble aspiration.
Today, some of the sacred peethas can no longer be found; no one knows how to reach them. And even when their locations are known, not everyone can travel to those places and perform worship. However, our beloved Mother Lalitambika has given us another opportunity to worship Her directly, without the need for traveling to any shakti peetha. When we keep a Sri Chakra in our homes, it is as if our house itself becomes a shakti peetham, because Mother is living with us. When we worship Divine Mother in the auspicious Sri Chakra, it is as if we are performing worship at all of the shakti peethas. So much power is in the Sri Chakra, that our worship reaches Divine Mother directly. Seated on the royal throne of the Sri Chakra, Sri Mata Lalitambika responds with loving compassion towards the helpless and those who surrender to her and pray for her help. She immediately grants their every wish.
What are the Benefits of Worshipping Mother?
The worship of Divine Mother Lalitambika confers inconceivably wonderful grace and blessings. Even Lord Brahma cannot describe the wonderful benefits attained from worshipping Sri Mata with the many different sacred items. Through Sri Chakra Puja, all your obstacles will be removed. When you worship the Sri Chakra with fragrant flowers, you attain great wealth and fortunes. You can also worship Sri Lalitambika Devi with silver flowers or gold-plated silver flowers. These metals are so auspicious, and they attract an abundance of cosmic energy. By worshipping Mother with golden flowers, one attains good health or avert untimely death. When you worship Mother with your own hands, you can overcome all your problems and limitations, thereby attaining every kind of victory.
Sri Lalitambika Devi is Adi Parashakti, the eternal and supreme primordial energy that exists beyond time. She is Maha Shakti, the supreme energy that is the underlying principle of everything. That energy pervades everything, yet is beyond everything in this world. The three great divinities Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara—along with Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati—are contained within Divine Mother. “Tri” means three in Sanskrit; hence, Mother is known as “Tripura Sundari.”
Mother is ageless, and She has been receiving worship during countless Navaratris, for many ages, through Her myriad names and forms. As She is the supreme energy, those who worship that great divine energy throughout Navaratri will become filled with an abundance of radiant energy. They will attain every kind of wealth, including the wealth of peace, wisdom and salvation.
Why are We Asked to Follow Rules and Guidelines?
In the tradition of Sanatana Dharma, there are many guidelines that we are asked to follow. These guidelines are for our own benefit. For example, by waking up early, before dawn, one is able to absorb tremendous amounts of cosmic energy available at that time. Also, the atmospheric vibrations are very peaceful, and our meditations will be fruitful. If we sleep late, we miss out on this precious opportunity and we absorb tamasic, or dark, energy. By taking a complete bath, washing the hair, and wearing freshly washed clothes, we purify our physical bodies and also cleanse our auras of any lingering impurities. If we wear unclean clothes or don’t shower, our aura will become dim and our radiance is lost.
Those who worship Mother during Navaratri for the fulfillment of a specific desire must observe celibacy for the duration of the worship. This allows the mind to remain in an elevated state and also preserves one’s subtle energy. India’s holy sages have recommended that those who practice celibacy should sleep on a mat on the floor. So, those who wish to worship Mother in an authentic way should sleep on the floor. In order to restrain the senses and maintain mental purity, one should also avoid movies or television shows. Instead, one can read holy books that inspire the mind. During Navaratri, it is very important to take in pure substances, so we must avoid meat, fish, eggs, alcohol or smoking. It is best to eat limited portions and not strain ourselves with too much activity. Our mind and senses must be under our control.
Because Navaratri is dedicated to Divine Mother, it is absolutely vital to treat all women with courtesy and respect. Both men and women should strive to see Divine Mother in all beings. These guidelines may seem harsh or strict, but by following them faithfully, we will be granted peace, dedication, and atma viswasa—unshakable self-confidence. We need energy to progress in life, and this energy is gained by maintaining discipline, observing sacred vows, and following spiritual guidelines. Rules keep our lives flowing in the right direction and enrich our hearts with divine qualities.
What is the Purpose and Significance of Making Offerings to Mother?
In India, many devotees invoke Divine Mother’s energy in a special silver vessel, or kalasam. Divine Mother is then worshipped in this kalasam three times a day during all the days of Navaratri. Many offerings are made according to the scriptures, and the chanting of Sri Chandi Saptasati and Srimad Bhagavatam is performed. After the pujas are completed, “Suvasini Puja” is performed. In this puja, married ladies and also young girls are worshipped as manifestations of Divine Mother. They are given offerings of new clothes, fruits, betel leaves, betel nut, turmeric and kumkum. Though this puja focuses on women, the practice highlights the presence of Divine Mother within all human beings.
You may ask, “What is the purpose of all these offerings?” Nothing in this whole wide world can take place without Mother’s command. And whatever we have, it has come from Mother only. It is Divine Mother who has has given us food and water, who has clothed us, and who has blessed us with a peaceful life and the ability to contemplate the higher spiritual principles. So we offer all these auspicious items back to Mother, to show our gratitude. Of course, the clothes that you offer to Divine Mother are ultimately worn by you. The food is eaten by you and your loved ones. Offering the items first simply shows your love and gratitude. Since the secret to abundance is selfless giving, offering these things to Mother creates abundance for ourselves, our families, and the entire world.
In this world, millions of people love to worship the Divine as their own near and dear mother. If you find it difficult to perform certain pujas or prepare specific food items, just remember that Sri Devi is your mother; there is no need to worry. Just offer whatever you can, like fruits or milk. The most important elements in the Navaratri puja are your faith and devotion; the love in your heart is the true offering that Mother likes.
Hari Om Tat Sat