Thursday, September 24, 2009

Navaratri, the inward journey to attain perfection

By Poojya Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji

According to Vedic science, everything is recycled by nature - a continuous process of rejuvenation. Navratri is a festival for one to take the mind back to its source. The word Navaratri means nine nights in Sanskrit. During these nine nights and 10 days, nine forms of female divinity are worshipped. It is a festival of worship and dance to honour Goddess Durga.

The seeker gets back to the true source through fasting, prayer, silence and meditation. While fasting detoxifies the body, silence purifies speech and brings rest to the chattering mind. Prayer and meditation takes one deep into one's own being.

The inward journey nullifies negative karmas. Navaratri is a celebration of the spirit which alone can destroy mahsihsasura (inertia), shumbha-nishumbha (pride and shame) and madhu-kaitabh (extreme forms of craving and aversion). Deeply ingrained inertia, negativities and obsessions, unreasonable logics and blurred vision can be overcome only by raising the level of prana and shakti (lifeforce energy).

The nine days of Navratri are also an opportunity to rejoice in the three primordial qualities that make up the universe.

The first three days of Navaratri are attributed to tamo guna (inertia and dullness), the second three to rajo guna (feverish and restlessness) which then blossom into sattva guna (purity, balance and harmony) of the last three days.

Whenever sattva dominates in life, victory follows. The essence of this knowledge is honoured by celebrating the tenth day as Vijaydashmi.

The three primordial gunas are considered as the feminine force of our magnificent universe. By worshiping the Mother Divine during Navaratri, we harmonise the three gunas and elevate sattva in the atmosphere.

Navratri is celebrated as the victory of good over evil and from the Vedantic point of view, the victory is of the absolute reality over the apparent duality. Recognizing one divinity, in every form and every name, is the celebration of Navratri.

Special prayers, honouring all aspects of life and nature, are performed during the last three days. Through wisdom and devotion, one can attain perfection.

Source: Hindustan Times, 23rd September, 2009

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