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Navratra - The nine nights of the feminine divine.



Navratra falls during the change of seasons, the two major navratras being the one in summer-chaitra navratra and the second one being in autumn, sharad navratra. 

Navratras occur at the equinox time. Nature or Prakriti undergoes change thus affecting the body-mind complex. Hence, we worship the divine power of mother nature as devi(goddess)/Prakriti(nature) to help maintain healthy physical and mental balance. Prakriti is the active creative aspect of the absolute. 

Navratri is dedicated to Shakti- the feminine divinity. The first three nights of navratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga-the destroyer to attack the base levels of evil; the middle three nights, Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and; and the last three to Saraswati, the bestower of wisdom; thus, transforming from base nature to the sattva(pure) nature. Fasting is undertaken to cleanse the body and bring the mind and emotions under control. When the body is cleansed by fasting, the mind is purified and one develops clarity to attain emotional peace. 

Fasting increases the quality of sattva and hence it facilitates movement towards the inner. Spiritual seekers observe fasting during this period to engage the energy of the Prakriti movement towards sattva. Fasting could be a strict water only fast, to a more relaxed no gluten food type fast or even a one meal per day kind of fast. Ayurveda recommends fasting to reignite the digestive fire and cleanse the body thereby reclaiming health.The benefits of intermittent fasting are manifold and are being discovered and validated by scientific research. 

Sharad navratri heralds the beginning of the sharad rtu. It begins with the month of Ashwin. The Acharyas have called sharad rtu the mother of diseases: Rogaanaam Shardi Maata. And also go as far as referring to the doors of the god of death. 

A popular blessing among Indian traditions is: Shatam Jeev Sharadaha. Meaning that May you see a hundred Sharad seasons- implying that may you be as healthy as to defy a hundred of the deadliest of seasons. 



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Saturday, 20 July 2024