During the 9 days of worship of the Mother Goddess, the triumph of the divine feminine trinity of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi occurs. In the course of this festival of Mother worship, respect is shown to young girls, married women, young learned boys, elephants and cows. Navratri represents the internal conquest of negativity.
Navratri is the celebration of the three gunas. Devi also is known as Trigunatmika, the owner and master of the gunas. Gunas are our innate qualities that can be refined through the divine consciousness. The first three days are in honor of Ichcha Shakti. It celebrates the power of the will that can destroy negative energies. Maha Kali is worshipped. It is described as tamasic because it represents the power stability.
The next three days are in honor of Kriya shakti, action or Lakshmi the goddess of prosperity. It is described as rajasic, and activity the last three days are dedicated to Jnana Shakti and Saraswati. Sattwa is dissolution and knowledge. In our day to day living, we are in a state of flux between tamas, rajas and sattva. The nine days are a reminder to us that the Mother is forgiving and she nurtures us.
What is the battle over?
It is the ongoing war over the negative tendencies of our mind, depicted by the Asuras Madhu – Kaitabha, Mahishasura and Shumbh-Nishumbh. Who are these Asuras? They were members of a class of divine beings in the Vedic period and tend to be evil and enjoy creating chaos. They were referred to as demons later on. Throughout the recitation, the objective is to overcome the unspiritual urges within one. The three gunas or qualities of the mind that rule us are ignorance which is the result of Tamas, Rajas and Sattva. Sattva leads us to the knowledge of freedom.
Victory over the Asuras, Madhu-Kaitabha is overcoming aversion, and cravings; overcoming lethargy is victory over Mahishasura. Overcoming self-doubt, anger and adamance is victory over Shubh-Nishumbh.
We all have these Asuras within us and it is written in the scriptures that self-realization can be accomplished through sadhana, seva, satsang and the Guru’s grace.
This is the message of Navratri.
Aim Hrim Klim