Navaratri – Meditation Event to invoke Feminine Consciousness

In the 9 days of Navratri, we invoked the feminine consciousness in her variously manifested forms as Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati – with sacred baths or abhishekams to Maha Meru, Adornment or Alankars to Devi, and pujas, chants, singing and prasad.

 

Day 1

On the first day of Navratri, Goddess Devi was decorated as Shakambari (a form of Goddess Durga). Legend has it that Goddess Durga comes down as Shakambari to give vegan food to the hungry. (“shaaka” comes from Sanskrit and means vegetables ; “ambari” means “one who wears or bears”). Abhishekam was done to Maha

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Meru followed by Durga Puja. Then Durga Kavacham and Durga mantra were chanted by all devotees with their full devotion. The day ended with delicious saatvic prasad.

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Day 2 & 3

On day 2 and 3, Devi was worshiped as Sri Raja Rajeswari, who is the presiding deity of Sri Yantra. Abishekam and archana was performed to Maha Meru followed by chanting of Rajarajeswari ashtakam, Dukha Nivaarana ashtakam and 108 times Durga mantra. The day ended with MahaPrasad offering.

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Day 2:

Day 3:

Day 4

Devi was decorated as Tirupura Sundari who is the beauty of the world, the beauty of creation on Day 4 of Navratri. She is the great mother who unites the powers of the spirit, the mind, and the body. Abhishekam was performed to Maha Meru followed by Durga Puja. Devotees also participated in the Durga Puja and did archana by kumkum to the Sri Chakra while chanting of Durga ahstotram was done. Devotees chanted the Mahisasura Mardhini stotram and Durga mantra(108 times). MahaPrasad was offered to all those present.

(Click on the images below to enlarge them)

Day 5

We then entered into the second set of three days where Devi is worshipped as Goddess Lakshmi, the giver of spiritual and material wealth. Devi was decorated as Mahalakshmi – fully adorned with jewels and coins. Abhishekam to Maha Meru was performed first and group Lakshmi puja was done by devotees to Goddess Lakshmi with kumkum, flowers, akshada and coins while chanting of Lakshmi astotram was done. Then everyone chanted the Lakshmi Ashtakam followed by 108 times chanting of Lakshmi mantra. Then Prasad was offered to all those present.

(Click on the images below to enlarge them)

Day 6

Day 6 saw Devi giving blessings in the form of Meenakshi (meaning fish-eyed) who is the incarnation of Goddess Parvathi. In the photos, you can see her holding a real parrot in her hand and standing majestically radiating her bliss and grace. Abhishekam to Maha Meru was performed followed by devotees doing group Lakshmi Puja. Then chanting of Lakshmi ashtakam, Lakshmi ashtotram and Lakshmi mantra (108 times) were done. Satvic food was served to all those present.

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Day 7

Goddess Devi was decorated as Goddess Brahmacharini on day 7, another manifestation of Durga which represents enlightening. Brahmacharini means one who practices devout austerity. She enlightens us in the magnificent embodiment of Durga with powers and divine grace. Filled with bliss and happiness, she is the way to emancipation. As usual abhishekam was performed to Maha Meru followed by archana and chanting of mantras.

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Day 8

Durgashtami is the eighth day of the nine day Navratri celebration. The name Durga means “inaccessible”. Another meaning of Durga is “Durgatinashini” which means “one who eliminates sufferings”. She appeared along with Yogini ganas to annihilate demon Mahishasura. This day Devi was decorated as Durga and abhishekam with kumkum was performed to Maha Meru. Then Durga ahstotram was chanted while the devotees did archana with kumkum. MahishasuraMardhini was chanted by the devotees followed by 108 times Durga mantra chanting.

(Click on the images below to enlarge them)

Day 9

The last day was a very special day for everyone – the Saraswati Puja day. Saraswati is associated with the color white, signifying the purity of true knowledge. The name Saraswati came from “saras” (meaning “flow”) and “wati” (meaning”a woman”). So, Saraswati is symbol of knowledge; its flow is like a river and knowledge is supremely alluring, like a beautiful woman. We worshipped her not only for academic knowledge but also for divine knowledge essential to achieve enlightenment. Abhishekam to Mahameru was performed and archana was done with chandan and white flowers while the Saraswati ashtotram was chanted. Then chanting of Saraswati stotram and Saraswathi mantra was done. The children eagerly participated in the puja and did archana to Saraswati photo and to their books.

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Day 10

The last day was Vijayadasami, the concluding day of Navratri. It is an auspicious day for initiating learning. Devi was worshipped on this day as Lalita Devi. Abhishekam was performed to Mahameru and kumkum archana was done directly to Mahameru by devotees while Anandeswari mantra was being chanted 108 times. Then a grand Aarati was done to the deities followed by devotees singing songs on Devi. Then, we performed a ritual to invite Devi to reside in our hearts. After this memorable celebration, with the vibrant silence still ringing in our ears and hearts, Maha Prasad was offered to all.