Chaitra Navratri is a popular festival. It falls in the month of March or April. The first day of the Hindu Lunar calendar is known as Chaitra and therefore this time is known as Chaitra Navratri.
The Goddess Durga and her different incarnations are adored during this festival for eight days. The birthday of Rama falls on the ninth day and this day is known as Ram Navami. It celebrates Rama’s birth, the avatar of Vishnu. Rama was born to King Dasharatha and his wife, Queen Kaushalya. This festival is a part of Chaitra Navratri.
Navratri means nine nights. The night grants us rest and rejuvenation if our prana (subtle breath) is balanced. The prana functions fully when our thoughts are asleep. Navaratri is the time when it is possible to experience total relaxation. The practices performed in this duration are fasting, meditation, prayers and other spiritual practices. These sadhanas enable us to attain deep rest. The prayers that we perform during Navratri help us to connect with our inner self.
Mother Divine serves us
The spiritual importance is that we pray to the Cosmic Mother and on the ninth day, Ram is born as a mortal to rid the world of the demon king Ravana. It is also the arrival of Spring, and it restores hope and peace in our hearts and mind. The puja that is performed is Devi Puja, honoring the omnipresent energy. The mother goddess represents the universe and whatever we experience is the manifestation of her shakti. Mother Divine serves us in the form of our parents, partners, children, friends and guru.
The revolving planets and the moon are Devi performing Arati for us. Through the puja we say, “Oh Mother, whatever you give to me I give back to you. “During the puja we offer food grains to Devi as Nature provides us with food. Devi Puja is an expression of expanded consciousness showing reverence to the whole creation.
Navratri is a way of showing our gratitude to the mother. While attending the puja, we attempt to give up all worldly activities and enter into deep meditation. We awaken the Devi Shakti within all of us, Devi is not somewhere else, through meditation. The glow within the body will brighten and expand and spread outside. This is Devi Puja.
Navratri works on us to detox ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. We are praying to the Mother Goddess and to Rama.
How can we celebrate Chaitra Navratri in the simplest way. We can start by practicing Anuloma Viloma. Lighting the lamp, twice a day. Practicing Trataka, with our mantra and Samvrit pranayama. Lastly becoming aware of ourselves and constantly of others. Practicing Atmabhava, love of our fellow beings and karma yoga.
Sit in a comfortable pose. Light a lamp. Chant Aum three times. Become aware of your spontaneous breath. Visualize your inhalation and exhalation through the left nostril. Count the breath backwards from 27 to 0. Repeat with right nostril. Now repeat with both nostrils, increase the counting to 54. No errors in the counting, if so, start from the beginning. Now gaze at the lamp. When the desire comes for blinking close the eyes.
Rest them and open the eyes and continue gazing. Chant your mantra if you have one or Aum, So Ham, Aim Hrim Klim. Include the Samvrit pranayama, inhale to the count of 5, pause to the count of 5, exhale to the count of 5, pause outside to the count of 5. Practice 27 times. Chant Aum once again. Remind yourself about Atmabhava and Karma Yoga.
Aim Hrim Klim