New Delhi: Chaitra Navratri is the festival of nine nights dedicated to Goddess Durga and her nine forms. Chaitra Navratra starts on the first day in Chaitra month and ends on Sri Rama Navami.
As per the legends mentioned in the Puranas and other Hindu scriptures, Chaitra Navratri is the actual Navratri during which Goddess Durga is worshipped. But during the time of Ramayan war, Lord Sri Ram worshipped Durga at the time of Ashwin month. Since then, Ashwin Navratri or Durga Navratri has become the main festive season to worship the Goddess. Chaitra Navratri is also called as Vasant Navratri or Basant Navratri. This festival marks the beginning of Vasant rithu (spring season).
Vidhi vidhan of Chaitra Navratra
Depending upon one’s health and level of self-control, the fasting could be observed by consuming only milk or fruits once or twice a day; taking foods which are without salt and sugar or taking simple and light vegetarian food only once a day. The other common disciplines include – strict life-style; sleeping on a mat on the floor or on plain wooden cot; attending to one’s personal tasks by oneself; observing honesty and humility in conduct. The advanced devotees may also adopt some higher level disciplines that serve the dual purpose of cleansing and purification of the body and the mind and thorough practice of self-restraint.
Laghu Anushthana sadhana of Gayatri is important these days, it consists of twenty-four thousand japa (repeated rhythmic chanting) of the Gayatri Mantra with meditation on the rising sun and adoption of certain self-control disciplines. Mental or upanshu japa of twenty-seven rosaries (malas) needs to be completed every day for this purpose. This can be done in about three hours’ duration by the people who are used to daily practice of the japa of this mantra. Completion in one sitting in the early morning (by commencing the japa two hours before dawn) is the best. However, depending upon one’s constraints, it could be completed in two to three sittings at convenient times. But the regularity of timings and place where the japa is carried out should be maintained. Ideal sitting posture is sukhasana with erect spinal column. One should not sit directly on the earth. Sitting on kusha mat or cotton cloth is most suitable.
A havan (yagya) should be performed on every day or must be at the last day of the anushthana to mark its completion.
Kumari Puja is one of the main rituals during Durga Navaratri. Kanya Pujan is a ritual of worshipping a girl aged between 1 -12, symbolising the Kanya Kumari(virgin) form of Godess Devi Durga. In Vasant Navratri 2015(Chaitra Navaratri), this ritual will be held on March 30 and 31. Kanya puja as a part of Devi worship is to recognise the feminine power vested in the girl child and to give them as much importance in the social fabric as the so called heir apparents (boys).
A young girl aged 1 year to 12 year who is not attained puberty considered as Kanya for Kanya Pujan. Having developed into a girl of a certain age and before attaining puberty, a female child is considered the most auspicious and the most clear minded and clear souled individual. Such a female child is indeed Devi, who in her later life takes the roles of Parvati as a wife and mother, Lakshmi as a housewife, Saraswati as the first guru of her children, Durga as the destroyer of all obstacles for her family, Annapurna as the food provider through her cooking, Kali as the punisher to bring the members of the family on the right track, so on and so forth…
To recognize that feminine energy vested in virgin girl or Kumari Kanya Pujan is performed. Devotees believe that a kanya is a living replica of the Goddess of Durga.
Goddess Durga is worshipped in nine avatars during Navaratri. Some of the forms appear in in Kumari form of the Godess like Bala Tripura Sundari and some other manifestations of Navadurga. One year old girls are not allowed to be worshipped as Kanya as they don’t able to receive bhogas and granthas.
Here we present the list of Kanya Puja Kanyakas and their age according to Devi Bhagavatam Puran-
2 years old Kanya : Kumari
3 years old Kanya :Thiru,
4 years old: Kalyani
5 years old Kanya: Rohini,
6 years old Kanya: Kalika
7 years old Kanya: Chandika
8 years old Kanya: Sambavi
9 years old Kanya: Durga
10 years old Kanya: Subhadra