India is one of the most culturally diverse countries and is known across the world for its rich culture and bright festivals. A large number of different cultures are knitted together in a beautiful manner. One of the biggest Hindu festivals in the country is the Navratri. Navratri puja is the joyous way of worshiping the Almighty Goddess Durga in her nine forms, over a period of nine nights and ten days.
The first three days of Navratri festival are related to the worship of Goddess Durga. The next three days are related to the worship of Goddess Laxmi and on the last three days, worship of Goddess Saraswati is done with all rituals.
Some people observe fast on first (padwa) and last day (Ashtami /Navami) and some people on all the nine days while consuming food only once a day. While some take only fruits and water and avoid even a single morsel.
The devotees offer their prayers to the Goddess following a set of rituals. These rituals are known as the Vidhi (Procedure) for the Navratri Puja. Navratri puja and fasting helps to keep both mind and body in a perfect state of health. It gives positive thoughts to the mind, purifies the heart and also avoids the negative effects of climatic changes.
To follow the vidhi while offering prayers is considered to be ominous; it is believed that prayers offered with proper Navratri Puja procedure pave ways for success and prosperity into the household. As great sentiments are attached to the vidhi, it is significant to know the correct procedure for doing so.
“Mannattein puri hoti hain sabki – chahe mange koi;
Puja wahi safal kehlati hai – jo pure vidhi vidhan se hoi.”
"Navratri Puja Vidhi" (Procedure) –
Navratri Puja is offered by the devotees to request the Almighty Goddess for peace, prosperity, success, and sustenance of the same.
First and foremost is to ensure very clean and tidy surroundings for the Navratri Puja. As it is a very well-known fact that, “Cleanliness is Godliness.” Below are the Navratri puja procedure rituals, which one needs to follow.
A kalawa (red thread-mauli) is tied to the pitcher’s helm followed by placing the beetle leaves at the opening in a cover all formation and lidding the same by placing a coconut amidst the leaves. This pitcher is placed in front of the idol or photograph of the Almighty Goddess on a small platform known as çhowki’ covered with a red colored cloth. The best time for the sthapna is considered to be in the early hours of the morning.
During Navratra, Jau (Barley Seeds) is kept in any mud pot full of sand to grow in front of the idol or image of Goddess to worship. These are used later for puja on the last day of Navratri and on the day of Dussehra.
Akhand Jyoti –
If people opt to instill an Akhand Jyot (never-ending lamp) for 9 days, it should be a protocol for at least one person to stay in the house throughout the duration of the Navratri. Akhand Jyoti is lit at the time of sthapna with a long braid of kalawa in a lamp filled with ghee, which should be maintained throughout.
Thapa for Navratri Pujan –
People place a hand imprint dipped in turmeric paste of the eldest member in the family on a piece of paper next to the chowki. It is believed to work as a gateway for the Goddess to shower her blessings.
Pooja Routine for 9 Days –
After the sthapna, people should follow a routine for praying two times i.e. morning and evening. In the morning, the verses from the Durga Saptashati are to be recited (sitting on a mat – asana) followed by singing the hymn (Aarti). Many people fast during the 9 days wherein they eat proper food only one time in the day, after offering to the Goddess(Bhog) and are allowed to eat on Falari Aahar (Fasting food).
Wish all of you a very Happy Navratri Puja!