That mystically magical time of the year is back again! Navaratri, the annual festive season that runs for nine long days and nights isn’t just another set of rituals but a universal celebration of Mother Nature in her splendid diversity and the spirit of motherhood. This is also the time of cleansing, wonderment, gratitude and inner blossoming. Divine Mother is also worshipped as ‘Shakti’, honoring the divine energy that creates and runs everything in this manifest and visible universe.
Navaratri, literally meaning the nine nights, is actually a time for solace, repose and rejuvenation for our soul. Durga Saptashati depicts that the ‘Durga Devi’ (Mother Divine) manifested herself in various illustrative forms to fight against and slay many ‘asuras’ (demons) who were menacing the whole universe and finally restored peace and order during these nine days and nights. She put up ferocious forms, battled with and destroyed demons like Madhu-Kaitabha, Shumbha-Nishumbha, Chanda-Munda, Mahishasura, Dhoomralochana and Raktabeejasura.
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji says Navratri is not just a historical happening that took place millenniums ago, but an inner phenomenon that is taking place inside each of us every moment. The asuras are a metaphor of the negative forces in our mind that keep destroying our peace and joy.
While Madhu is symbolic of cravings, Kaitabha symbolizes aversions. Shumbha represents pride and Nishumba represents shame. Chanda and Munda are figurative of wrong logic and concepts. Mahishasura indicates laziness, lethargy and small mindedness. Dhoomralochana is a metaphor of distorted vision and blurred perceptions. Raktabeejasura is a symbol of deeply ingrained impressions of desires and obsessions that get released in the form of a chain, one linked to another. The awakening of Devi Shakti, indicative of the life force energy or ‘Prana’ in our system is the only way to battle this army of inner demons and overcome them with valor! Ratri, meaning night is symbolic of giving rest to the external activities and rejoicing in the inner source of energy.
Hence, Navaratri celebrations are ideal only when they are accompanied with rituals that raise the levels of life force energy in our system. One of the most divinely celebratory places to make the best of these nine auspicious days is the Art of Living International Center at Bangalore. Millions of people from across the globe traverse miles and miles just to witness the grand celebrations that unveil here, every year! As Gurudev slips into a solidified silence for the first five days, thousands of people observe silence along with Him.
With meticulously trained Vedic scholars of Sri Sri Gurukul following the exact intricacies of Vedic tradition for reciting the enchanting Mantras and performing all the ethereal Homas under the perfect guidance of Gurudev Himself while millions of ardent devotees soaking in mystical mass meditation with a noble intention for a peaceful world, the Navratri spritual extravaganza is a rare manifestation. Imagine the surge of ‘Prana Shakti’ in such a heavenly environment! The Vedic Mantras chanted in precise rhythm have a powerful effect on our whole Being. Our ancient seers called ‘Rishis’ figured out which sound creates what kind of impact on our consciousness and that is how the mantras were born. These Mantras chanted during the Homas are actually a process to make our noble and deep intentions to manifest effortlessly. Sincere participation and prayers in this exhilarating atmosphere can create a divine invincible protective shield around us, remove obstacles in our growth and bestow peaceful harmony.
Immersing in this magnificent phenomenon in the Ashram at this ultimate time of the year is simply the most important chord of life for any sincere seeker or devotee! Auspicious, marvelous and valorous Navaratri wishes to all. Hearty, warm, personal invitation for the grand and splendid unraveling of ethereal dimension here, welcome to the divine home!