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Chaitra Navratri

Chaitra Navratri - Ghatasthapana on 8th April, 2016

Chaitra NavratriChaitra Navratri for the year 2016 starts on the 8th of April (Friday) and continues till the 16th of April (Saturday).

It is a nine-day festival which begins on the first day of Hindu Luni-Solar calendar and falls in the month of March or April as per Gregorian calendar. The first month of the Hindu lunar calendar is called Chaitra and hence this Navratri is called the Chaitra Navratri. Another name for Chaitra Navratri is Vasanta Navratri. The birthday of the righteous Lord Ram, Rama Navami falls on the ninth day of Navratri celebration and hence this festival is also known as Rama Navratri. Chaitra Navratri, in the state of Maharashtra starts with Gudi Padwa and in the state of Andhra Pradesh it starts with Ugadi. The festivities of Chaitra Navratri are at its best in the Northern parts of India. Navratri is celebrated primarily twice a year, one during the onset of summer and the other during the onset of winter. The customs and rituals observed during Chaitra Navratri are similar to the ones observed during the Shardiya Navratri in the month of September or October. Shardiya Navratri and Chaitra Navratri have the same Ghatasthapana Puja Vidhi.

Navratri means nine nights and it is a festival dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga. The nine manifestations of Durga or Shakti are worshiped on the nine nights of Navratri. These nine nights are considered auspicious to worship and do sadhanas dedicated to Durga. The first three days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga, the next three to Goddess Laxmi and the last three to Goddess Sarawati.

The rituals of Navratri include fasting for the nine days and performing Kanya Puja. This puja is done on the ninth day in which nine pre-puberty attained young girls symbolizing nine forms of Goddess Durga are fed and worshipped.

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Chaitra Navratri Ghatasthapana Muhrat

Ghatasthapana Muhurta = 11:57 to 12:48
Duration = 0 Hours 50 Minutes
Ghatasthapana Muhurta falls on Pratipada Tithi
Ghatasthapana Muhurta is fixed during Abhijit Muhurta
Pratipada Tithi Begins = 16:53 on 7th April
Pratipada Tithi Ends = 13:05 on 8th April

Ghatasthanana is an important tradition in Navratri as it marks commencement of the festivities for the nine days. The method of performing Ghatasthanana has strict rules and guidelines as per ancient scriptures. Ghatasthanana is invoking of the Goddess and if done incorrectly or at a wrong time it brings the wrath of the Goddess. Hence it is prohibited at night or during Amavasya.

Origin, Appearance and Significance of Goddess Durga in Chaitra Navratri

Durga is a form of Goddess Shakti, the mother of entire existence. She represents the Supreme consciousness and was manifested by combining the energy of all Gods. Goddess Durga in Herself has the combined powers of Goddess Laxmi, Saraswati and Kali. Durga has numerous forms, roles and names; She is Shakti, Parvati, Gauri, Kali and much more. Goddess Durga is the primary energy of the universe, there can be no creation or destruction without the powers of Goddess Durga. The name Durga means 'the invincible'; She is the destroyer of the evil and preserver of truth and righteousness.

As per ancienct scriptures, the demon Mahishasura performed severe penance to please Lord Shiva and was blessed with a boon that no man or God will be able to kill him. Taking undue advantage of his new found powers and blessings Mahishasura began creating chaos and son conquered both Earth and Heaven. The fleeing Gods sought the help of Lord Bramha, Shiva and Vishnu, the divine Trinity of Hindus. To defeat Mahishasura all Gods combined their powers into one celestial being in the form of a woman. Durga was thus created with the combination of all their energies. To battle the demons and triumph, She was bestowed with beautiful gifts and weapons by the Gods. Mahishasura engaged her in a long battle turning from one form of animal to another. Goddess Durga after nine days and nights of fighting finally stabbed him with Shiva's trident and beheaded him with a sword.

In the Vedas, Goddess Durga is described as a bright, focused woman clad in a red sari. Her vahana is the lion which is the symbol of determination and will power. She is depicted with eight or ten hands in total. She is said to have a third eye on Her forehead similar to that of Lord Shiva. Her third eye represents knowledge, the left desire and the right action. Since She was created with the purpose of waging a war against the evil, Her hands are occupied with weapons used for battle. The color red symbolizes that She is divine in form. She is resolute in destroying evil and protects Her worshippers from any pain and suffering.

The many arms of Goddess Durga are said to depict the eight quadrants or ten directions that are mentioned in Hinduism denoting that She has the power to destroy evil in all the directions. Goddess Durga holds many weapons that represent various aspects. A conch shell in her hand symbolizes 'Prana' and continuously generates the word "OM" which indicates God in the form of sound. She also carries Shiva's trident, Vishnu's disc and Agni's spear amongst other weapons bestowed upon by the Gods during Her creation.

The nine forms of Durga worshipped during Navratri

Goddess Durga has many manifestations taken place during time. Her incarnations include Kali, Bhagvati, Bhavani, Ambika, Lalita, Gauri, Kandalini, Jaya and Rakeshwari. The divine power that combines and resides in these Goddesses is combined to form Goddess Durga, the true incarnation of the power that exists in all divine beings. The nine Goddesses that are worshipped during the Navratri are Shailputri, Brahamcharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, MahaGauri and Siddhidatri.

Navratri Day 1 : 8th April, 2016 - Maa Shailputri is the daughter of Parvatraj Himalaya (King of the Mountain), Shail means mountains and Putri means daughter.

Navratri Day 2 : 9th April, 2016 - Maa Brahmachaarini: She personifies love, knowledge and wisdom. Brahmachaarini means the one who performs Tapas (penance).

Navratri Day 3 : 10th April, 2016 -
Maa Chandraghanta: She is the Goddess of peace and serenity; She symbolizes supreme bliss and knowledge. She has a crescent moon on her forehead.
Maa Kushmaanda: She is the provider. She mounts a tiger and has eight arms which possess various weapons.

Navratri Day 4 : 11th April, 2016 - Maa Skand Mata: She is the provider of knowledge. She is the one who gives the gift of differentiation of right from wrong to the world.

Navratri Day 5 : 12th April, 2016 - Maa Kaatyayini: She is the daughter of Rishi Kaytyayan. She is the one who persistently battles against the evil and deceitful entities.

Navratri Day 6 : 13th April, 2016 - Maa Kaalratri: Kaalratri is the destroyer of darkness, evil and ignorance. She is the one who annihilated the demon Raktabeej.

Navratri Day 7 : 14th April, 2016 - Maa MahaGauri: She has a fair completion and radiates peace and compassion. Her vehicle is a bull and She holds a trident and a drum.

Navratri Day 8 : 15th April, 2016 (Rama Navami) - Maa Sidhidaarti: She is regarded as the treasure house of Mystic Powers (Yantra and Tantra) and Knowledge (Gyaan).

Navratri Day 9 : 16th April, 2016 Dashmi

Mantra for Goddess Durga

Durga Stuti:
"Ya Devi SarvaBhutesu, Shakti RupenaSansitha,
Namastasyai, Namastasyai, Manastasyai, NamoNamaha!"
Meaning: The mantra helps in praising Goddess Durga who is omnipresent as the embodiment of power.

Durga Gayatri Mantra:
"Om Girijayai Cha Vidmahe,
Sivapriyayai Cha Dhimahi,
Tanno Durgih Prachodayat"
Meaning: This mantra helps the devotees to meditate on Devi, the wife of Lord Shiva and the origination of power behind Goddess Durga.

Shakti Mantra:
"Om SarwaSwarupey Sareshey Sarwa Shakti Samanwithey
Bhaybhya traahino Devi Durgey Devi Namostuthey"
Meaning: The mantra offers salutation to the divine Mother Durga and offers Her with a prayer to bless the worshippers with unlimited power and strength to overcome all evil in life.

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