Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit; Nava meaning Nine and Ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshipped. Shakti is the source of everything, and represents the Supreme in this divine form. By worshipping Her, all the gods and goddesses are worshipped. Navratris are the best time of the year to undertake or start new ventures.
Worship procedure: Ganpati invocation mantra, Invocation mantras of all major deities, Dhyaan, Mantra jaap of a particular deity (you can specify the God), Two times daily Aarti, Bhog, Pujan for all 9 days, Akhand Diya for 9 days, Brahman bhoj daily.
These nine days are divided and devoted to the Trinity of God worshipped in a female form - three days for Durga (Goddess of Valor) three days for Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth) and three days for Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge and Art).
1st - 3rd day of Navratri: On the first day of the Navaratras, a small bed of mud is prepared in the Puja room and barley seeds are sown on it. These initial days are dedicated to Durga Maa, the Goddess of power and energy.
4th - 6th day of Navratri: During these days, Lakshmi Maa, the Goddess of peace and prosperity is worshipped.
7th - 8th day of Navratri: These final days belong to Saraswati Maa who is worshipped to acquire the spiritual knowledge. This in turn will free us from all earthly bondage. But on the 8th day of this colourful festival, Yagna is performed.
An oil lamp is kept burning throughout. This lamp is called nandadip. During these nine days the holy book Durga Saptashati is read. This book contains the exploits of the goddess. The daily artis are celebrated with great solemnity.
Shlokas that are recited on nine days include Durga Ashtotaram, Devi Mahatmiyam, Shyamala Dhandakam, Lakshmi Sahasranama, Lakshmi Ashototaram, Lalitha Sahasranama, Saraswathi Stotram, Saraswathi Ashototaram.
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