Navratri from Pratipada to Navami with fixed nine dates, nine constellations, nine powers is celebrated with full devotion. The people of Gujarat celebrate this festival on a large scale. There, Navratri is celebrated by performing Dandiya and Garba the entire night. The experience of Dandiya is extraordinary. Garba is performed before the Aarti as a devotional performance in honor of the Goddess, and after that, Dandiya is performed. Among the main festivals of Bengalis in the state of West Bengal, Durga Puja has emerged in the most ornate form in the Bengali calendar. So let’s know the importance of Navratri and Goddess Durga.
Importance Of Navratri
In Navratri, the nine forms of Durga are worshipped. Goddess Durga is one of the forms of Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, who takes the form of Durga and nurtures many creations. In Vedic scriptures, the presence of women is that strong that they are situated on the biggest and most important three pillars of creation –
Laxmi Ji – who is the Goddess of wealth,
Saraswati Ji – Goddess of knowledge
Durga Ji – The protector of the world who is also known as the jailer of this world as she protects the world from any harm.
Here, we should understand that the jailer’s job is not to make rules but to see that no one breaks the rules made by the authorities and that everyone abides by them.
In Bhagavad Gita – 7.14, God Himself says that –
daivī hyeṣhā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te
My divine energy Maya, consisting of the three modes of nature, is very difficult to overcome. But those who surrender unto me cross over it easily.
Here the Goddess herself is telling us about her important power, which serves her in different forms. When it was the time for Lord Krishna to appear, she served him and warned Kans, who used to worship Goddess Durga, that he tried to kill one of the Goddess’s own blessed Lord Krishna. The reason for many such incidents is the lack of basic knowledge of the relationship of the souls, the deities with Lord Krishna that one can only get through his devotion. And hence when the soul violates the rules made by Lord Krishna, the maintainer of this world, the jailer Durga surely punishes the violators severely through drought or tsunami or some problem with family, of their own body or mind. By worshipping Goddess Durga, one might get relieved from these sorrows for a while, but to end the sorrows forever, one must detach themselves from the material world. When one worships Goddess Durga to detach themselves from the material world, the Goddess gives them a chance to worship Lord Krishna. That person gets far away from the material world, the sheer power of the Goddess, and reaches into another- Yog Maya.
How Goddess Durga Gave Chance To Attain Supreme Devotion.
In Bhagwat Geeta, there is a story about a thief who was a devotee of Kali Maa, one of the many forms of Maa Durga. To make his Goddess happy, he tries to kill one of the devotees of Lord Krishna, Bharat. To prevent this from happening, the Goddess herself appears in front of him and kills him. In another place, he becomes a devotee of the Goddess, this time as Chandi das, who used to worship her daily, lived in a huge palace where his brother, a devotee of Lord Vishnu, used to live in a hut nearby. Chandi das garden had lots of flowers. One day when his brother saw a beautiful flower in his garden, he urged to offer it to his Lord. In his thoughts, he offered that flower to Lord Vishnu. After a while, Chandi das came, plucked that flower, and kept it in the feet of his Goddess, and for the first time, Durga talked to him. She said that she was really happy with him. Looking at his confused expression, the Goddess tells him that today he has given her a Maha push because the flower was offered to Lord Vishnu before. She tells him that his brother offered this flower to Lord Vishnu while mentally praying to the Krishna, the God who is also her other half, whom she respects the most. And that’s how the Goddess gives him the chance of attaining supreme devotion towards Lord Krishna. Because of this, Chandi das is known as one of the Supreme devotees of Lord Krishna and wrote various poems praising Lord Krishna and Srimati Radharani, which Chaitanya Mahaprabhu himself sings. So here, we have to understand who Goddess Durga is and what she wants from us.
In the book of Brahma Samhita comes the description-
chāyeva yasya bhuvanāni bibharti durgā
icchānurūpam api yasya ca ceṣṭate sā
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
Meaning Lord Shiva’s wife Parvati is the Supreme power. She holds power to create, maintain and destroy many universes at her will but not independently in the presidency of Lord Krishna, the supreme personality of God because the Lord supervises this material world without any bias, and those who do not accept this are sent to this world of conflict. Here, by coming in contact with a pure devotee, if the living being understands that this physical world is not their real home, they can get free from here and go to their original home in Vaikuntha Dham or Golok Vrindavan Dham and attain bliss forever.
So this Navratri Pray to Goddess Durga gives us the required strength to detach ourselves from this material world and be a part of the bliss that is the devotion of Lord Krishna.
Sri Sri Rukmani Dwarkadhish Ki Jai
Shobha Radhika Devi Dasi
(ISKCON-Dwarka New Delhi)