Navaratri - seeking the blessings of the goddess
The good will always win over evil
Today is the beginning of Navaratri - a nine day festival to worship Goddess Durga in various forms. Goddess Durga fought her battle for nine days with the powerful buffalo demon Mahishasura, before killing him. Hence nine different forms of the goddess are worshiped during these nine days, each day having its own significance. The victory of good over evil is the final outcome and we believe, with Navaratri celebration, all the evil things come to an end. May be you can share this interesting short story on how goddess Durga won over the demon with the kids.
We visited our decade old Mangala temple for this reason today and offered Saree to the goddess. Every year we go there and seek the blessings of the goddess to start the festive season. This is the temple with which my wife is associated since her child hood. Even when my son was 21 days old, we had a prasad seva at this place. The priest is very familiar with us and he would offer the saree to the goddess after the morning puja. As you can see the goddess is decorated with saree , that must have been offered by someone.
You can also see the lamps enlightened today and it will continuously glow for nine days. They are covered so that, wind does not hurt them. The priest will make sure, to add the ghee and the diyas, as needed and observe them day and night for nine days. It's important to teach these cultures to our kids so that it gets passed across generations. Many people fast for nine days - not eating or drinking anything during the day time and eating only once in night. Some even go beyond and drink only milk or any other liquid once in the night. Even our prime minister celebrates this. That is why we see him so strong and energetic in seventies. It's believed fasting cleanses our body and even there are scientific evidences of it. May be our ancestors had this knowledge from their experience and that is how they devised these rituals.
The temple has some other deities as well - Radhe Krishna, Ganesha and one other goddess outside who watches the place.
There is a dinner organized by someone in the evening for 50 people - its common in our place to arrange such events in the temple premise - the flavor that comes from the food is unmatched. You cook the same stuff at any other place, you will know the difference. Many a times, when we go there, if this kind of feast is happening, we just ask and eat. No one denies 😀
Today is also celebrated as Mahalaya - the end of Pitru Paksha and the start of Matri Paksha - the incarnation of the goddess. On this day ancestors are paid homage by the eldest son, with a belief that, their soul will rest in peace. The eldest son has the leading role in the family.
Specific to my place, Women on this day do fasting and a puja with some special offerings - they use seven different flowers, seven different rices, a mixed vegetable curry, that must be prepared with seven different vegetables, seven different stems, seven Bermuda grass, seven turmerics tied in seven threads - all these served on seven pumpkin leaves. It's believed, those who wish for a boy child should do this puja. Our rich rituals..........🙂