Dasara or Navaratri is a ten day festival, usually falling in the month of October, that is celebrated all over India in the worship of the Divine as the Mother principle. Bhagawan has explained that the festival of Dasara is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil signifying the vanquishing of the ‘six demons’ of lust, anger, attachment, greed, pride and jealously within us.
Durga is worshipped the first 3 days, Laxmi the next 3 days then Saraswati the final 3 days.
Vijaya Dasami Day being the 10th Day.
The Dasara celebrations at Prasanthi Nilayam begins with the Kalasha Sthapana Puja in the Bhajan Mandir. After this, Kalasha puja is performed during all days of the Navarathri.
The Meaning of Navarathri
(from Radio Sai)
Durga Mata Puja
Sarva Mangala Maangalye,
Shive Sarvaartha Saadhike.
Sharanye Tryamba Ke Gauri,
Adorations to Goddess,
who is the auspiciousness of all that is auspicious,
who is the consort of Lord Shiva,
who is the bestower of every desire of one’s heart.
Adorations to You!
O Devi, I have taken refuge in you.
Devi Durga stands on a lion in a fearless pose of “Abhay Mudra”, signifying assurance of freedom from fear. The universal mother seems to be saying to all her devotees: “Surrender all actions and duties onto me and I shall release thee from all fears”.
“WHY FEAR WHEN I AM HERE” …Baba
“The life of a man who cannot respect and love one’s mother is utterly useless. Recognizing one’s mother as the very embodiment of all divine forces, one must show reverence to her and treat her with love. This is the true message that this nine-night festival (the Navaratri) gives us. The supreme Shakti manifests herself in the form of Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Durga grants us energy – physical, mental, and spiritual. Lakshmi bestows on us all forms of wealth – not just money but intellectual wealth, the wealth of character, and others. Even health is a kind of wealth. She grants untold riches to us. And Saraswati bestows intelligence, the capacity for intellectual inquiry, and the power of discrimination on us. The Navaratri festival is celebrated in order to proclaim the power of the goddesses to the world. One’s own mother is the combination of all these divine beings. She provides us with energy, wealth, and intelligence. She constantly desires our advancement in life. So she represents all the three goddesses that we worship during the Navaratri festival.”
– Divine Discourse: 14th October 1988
Veda Purusha Sapthaha Jnana Yagna
During Dasara Celebrations the Yagnam commences with the rubbing of wooden blocks to produce fire through friction. Thereafter, the sacred fire thus produced, is placed in the ‘Yagna Kunda’ (the sacrificial altar into which oblations are offered)
The most important component of the Yagnam is the ‘Rudra Homam’, an invocation to Lord Siva, in which the oblations of clarified butter are poured into the Yagna Kunda while chanting hymns from the ‘Sri Rudram’. Other rituals also take place simultaneously like the Surya Namaskar, or the worship of the Sun as the visible symbol of the Supreme. The Srimad Bhagavatham Parayana, and the Ramayana Parayana and the Devi Mahatmyam are simultaneously performed by noted scholars, and a few pundits and Bhagavan’s students simultaneously chant various hymns from the Vedas. Another priest worships the Sri Chakra, a mystic drawing representing the Supreme Mother. The first 6 days the Yagna follows this routine daily.
The Dasara Celebrations come to an auspicious close on, Vijaya Dasami Day, the 7th day of the Yagna. Poornahuthi or the Valedictory Offering is made.
After seeking the blessings of Bhagavan, the priests make the final offering of clarified butter into the fire while chanting hymns from the ‘Chamakam,’ praying for the physical and spiritual welfare of all the beings of the world. Bhagavan blesses all the priests by sprinkling sacred water and akshada (turmeric coated rice) on them.
Listen to the various Vedic chants that are recited during the Yagnam with introductions.