What is Navratri?
Navaratri is a Hindu festival to celebrate Divine Feminism. This festival lasts for nine days and nights, during which various forms of the Goddesses are worshipped especially Goddess Durga & Parvati. Navaratri celebrates various incarnations of divine enerrgy listed below and victories over terrible demons.
One such sacred triumph was a battle against the powerful demon Mahishasura, who could not be killed by any man or God. On the 10th day Durga Ma was victorious. It is believed that Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu, was advised to worship the Goddess to ensure victory over his enemy Ravana. During each of the nine days of this battle Rama worshipped a distinct form of the Goddess. He finally achieved victory on the day after Navaratri, known as Vijaya Dashami/Dusshera/Dasara.
What does Navratri mean at spiritual level?
अन्नं प्राणो मनो बुद्धिर्– आनन्दश्चेति पञ्च ते । कोशास्तैरावृत्तः स्वात्मा, विस्मृत्या संसृतिं व्रजेत्
Annam praanah manah buddhih ānandah iti pañca te, košā taih aavritah svātmā vismritiyā samsritim vajet (1.33)
The human individual is comprised of certain layers or sheaths. The outermost sheath is the annamaya kosha (अन्नमय कोष), or the physical body, which is sustained and nourished by our food. The next layer, internal to the physical body, is the pranamaya kosha (प्राणमय कोष), or the vital body, which is maintained by the water that we drink. The vital body, or the mental body called manomaya kosha (मनोमय कोष), is located inner to the pranamaya kosha and is sustained by the subtle elements of the diet we take. Internal to the mind is the buddhi (बुद्धि) or understanding, the highly purified form of thought. Internal to the intellect is the last kosha, Anandamaya kosha, or sheath, called the causal body—through which we experience a kind of bliss when we are fast asleep.
As per vedic culture there are many occasions where the universe brings all the energies aliging to human body and mind, aspiring them to move from the annamaya kosha to the Anandamaya kosha.
Nature plays an important role to keep us in balance. Nature is one of the most effecttive ways to coonect tto divine energy. It is said, scientifically, during the summer solstice (when the Sun reaches its northernmost point of the equator, marking the beginning of summer) and the winter solstice (the astronomical phenomenon marking the shortest day and the longest night of the year), the sun goes to extremes. During Navratri, the sun is right in the middle, bringing the balance between the daytime and nighttime, thus making it the perfect timing for meditation.during Navratri, the environment is such that your meditation happens effortlessly. If you meditate for these nine days of the Navratri festival, its effect lingers on for a longer time. The mantras, the chanting during Navratri, help us to get into a meditative state much more effectively. This rejuvenates us, and the energy gets carried forward for many months.
How to meditate during Navratri?
Start your day by cleaning yourself (taking shower and wearing clean comfortable cloths). Perform rituals like lighting a ghee diya, an incense stick or dhoop cone in front of an idol. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. After a few breaths chant the navratri beej mantra below:
Om Aim Hreem Kleem Chamundaye Viche.
Meaning: Om = Sound of Universe.
Aim = Mahasaraswati.
Hrim = MahaLakshmi.
Klim = Maha Kali.
Chamundaye = Chamunda, Killer of Evil & Devil.
Vichhe = Shield.
OM AIM HREEM KLEEM CHAMUNDAYE VICHCHE is the complete mantra. It means the worship of Goddess Durga removes the effect of all types of evil, unfavourable effect of negative planets, bad luck, health problems, or problems posed by enemies. This mantra helps us create harmony in our relationships.
Repeat the above mantra for 108 times continuously at least ones during these nine days. (recommended to do everyday for 9 days). If you have friends and family do involve them in the rituals and meditation practice. It is believed that when we do any practice in a group, its benefits are multiplied and obtained faster. When everyone joins together and does meditation during Navratri, the group consciousness has the power to elevate you faster. It is also one of the reasons why Vedic culture ask for everyones participation during festivals and rituals :)
Note that there are many ways to mediate and perform rituals during Navratri. Above is the simplest one that I follow for 9 days. Hope you try this one and feel the energy yourself.