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					GAUTENG SPIRITUAL TASK TEAM:
“Striving for excellence through unity and harmony”

AUM SAI RAM


NAVARATHRI / (DASARA)

   1.      Background to Festival (Why is it celebrated)
           Navarathri is the festival to commemorate the Victory of good over Evil. The Embodiment of
           Divine Power (of Para – sakthi), in its various manifestations: Sathwic, as Mahasaraswathi,
           Rajasic, as of vice, wickedness and egoism, during the Nine Days’ struggle and finally, on
           Vijaya Dasami Day (the Tenth Day commemorating Victory), the Valedictory Worship is
           done.

           The Mother is the Sarva Sakthi Swaroopini and it is in order to declare to the world this Divine
        aspect of the Mother, the Navarathri festival is
           Celebrated. In these nine days we adore and worship Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi.


           Navaratri is a joyous festival which is celebrated every year by Hindus, during early fall
           season (occurs during late September and early October). The Goddess in the form of the
           Universal Mother is worshiped for nine nights and hence the name *nava-ratri.' On the tenth
           day, the festival comes to an end with a special puja called Vijaya Dasami. During the ten days
           of the Dasara festival (ten days and nine nights), it is common for Hindus to read and recite
           slokas on the greatness of Mother Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Mother Durga symbolizes
           the power of purposeful action (Kriya Sakti). Lakshmi represents the will power (Itchaa Sakti)
           and Saraswati stands for the power of knowledge (Jnana Sakti).


   2.      How should it be celebrated?
           On this Purnaahuti day, we must learn to recognize the Divine in this intimate manner. Ruduce
           your desires. Don’t pray for trifles. Don’t go to a shrine with the intention to seek fullfilment
           of some petty desires. It is unfortunate sign of the Kali age that everyone goes to a temple or
           pilgrim center only to get some sort of trivial benefits.


           It is good to read Ramayana during this time because it is believed that on the Vijaya Dasami
           day, Rama returned to Ayodhya Victorious after killing the evil king Ravana. It is considered
           *auspicious to start new ventures especially on education and other arts on Vijya Dasami day.
           It is also common in India to see children start their first music or dance or other educational
           ventures on Vijaya Dasami.

           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.
      Therefore, the Navarathri festival is observed by contemplating on God for ten days, cleansing
     one's self of all impurities, in order to experience the divinity within. The penultimate day of
     the festival is dedicated to what is termed "worship of weapons (aayudha puja). The weapons to
     be worshipped are the divine powers in man. When the divine is worshipped in this way, one is
     bound to progress spiritually.


3.   Inner significance & symbolism of festival
     The term Devi represents the divine power that has taken the passionate (raajasic) form to
     suppress the forces of evil and protect the serene (satvic) qualities. When the forces of
     injustice, immorality, and untruth have grown to monstrous proportions and are indulging in a
     death-dance, when selfishness and self-interest are rampant, when men have lost all sense of
     kindness and compassion, the Aathmic principle assumes the form of Sakthi, takes on the
     passionate (raajasic) quality, and seeks to destroy the evil elements. This is the inner meaning
     of the Dasara festival.

     The Mother is the Sarva Sakthi Swaroopani and it is in order to declare to the world this
     Divine aspect of the Mother, the Navarathi festival is celebrated. In these nine days we adore
     and worship Durga, Lukshmi and Saraswathi.

     Durga is Sakthi Swaroopini – the physical , mental and spiritual powers are conferred by her;
     Lakshmi endows us with all types of Aiswarya (prosperity) . These are Jnana Aiswarya, Prana
     Aiswarya, Vidya Aiswarya. Saraswathi gives us the power of intellect, the power of
     discrimination,
     The power of word.

     Our physical mother is truly an embodiment of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. She confers
     on us all three types of energy and power. She provides us with all manner of wealth and helps
     us grow and prosper.

     Dasara day is considered a most auspicious day. It is a time-honoured belief that if any new
     venture is started on this day, it is bound to be successful. Hence, all the undertakings be it
     laying-in of foundation of a new building, opening of a new commercial establishment or even
     initiating a child into the world of learning- are started on this day.

4.   How does it affect us in our spiritual transformation?
     We the human beings are prone to exhibit rajasic qualities like anger and hatred which are the
     menacing manifestations of Durga Devi to destroy the evil. Our interest in music, arts and
     knowledge are the pleasing vibrations produced by the power of Saraswathi Devi. The pure
     qualities which include compassion, love, forbearance and sympathy are derived from Laxmi
     Devi. When we worship Durga, Laxmi and Saraswathi externally in pictures or icons, they are
     giving physical forms to the subtle potencies that are within them. It is unfortunate that we fail
     to recognize the importance of the symbolism behind the festivals and celebrations. We are too
     quick to go after the material aspects of the celebrations instead of focusing on the spiritual
     message. We seem to look for remedies from outside instead of looking for the answers inside.
       We ignore the Divinity within and seek the external objects in search of Divinity. There is no
       need to go in search of the Divinity outside. We must develop firm faith in the Divinity within
       and turn our attention inward to experience the True Human Nature. What is that we should do
       during these days of the Navarathri festival? We direct our Itchaa Sakti to direct our mind
       toward Divinity within. We apply our Kriya Sakti to conduct Dharmic Actions - unselfish
       service to the humanity. Finally, we turn our Jnaana Sakti to attain the Divine Self. Hindu
       Festivals and Celebrations constantly remind us our True Human Nature through symbolic
       messages. The purpose of the celebrations is not for external pleasures but for inward peace
       and tranquility.


5.      What does Swami say about the festival?
       Navaratri

       Meaning

        "Navaratri means nine nights. Darkness is associated with night. What is this darkness? It is
the darkness of ignorance." Sai Baba, SS, 11/92, p. 267

       What does the nine signify? There are nine 'Grahas' (planets according to astrology). The
       human body has nine openings. If a deep inquiry is made, it will be found that mankind is
       dependent on the planets (Grahas). Although astrologers speak about nine, in reality, there are
       only two planets that matter. They are 'Raga' (attachment) and Dwesha (hatred)." Sai Baba, SS,
       11/94, p. 289

      "The six enemies of man are eating into his vitals, embedded in his own inner consciousness.
      They are the demons to be killed. They are lust (Kama), anger (Krodha), greed (Lobha),
      attachment (Moha), pride (Mada), and malice (Matsarya). They reduce man to the level of a
      demon. They have to be overpowered and transmuted, by the Supreme Alchemy of the Divine
      Urge. Then, the nine (Nava) nights (Ratri) of struggle will become new (Nava), a new type of
      night, devoted to the purification of the mind, illumination of the soul - the night described in
      the Gita as "the day of the worldly". What is clear and attractive to the ordinary man is
      uninteresting and unknown to the Yogi. What is clear and attractive to the Yogi is uninteresting
      and unknown to the worldly man. This is the nature of this topsy-turvy world." Sai Baba, SSS,
      Vol. VIII, dis dtd 12-10-69, p. 107

      "All festivals have been designed to teach men how to lead a godly life while carrying out
      worldly activities. It is to teach this truth to mankind that Avatars and saints made their advent
      on earth from time to time. This day (the first day of Navaratri) has another special
      significance. Shirdi Sai Baba was bom on 27 September 1838. He was born in a poor Brahmin
      family in a village of Aurangabad District".

      Sai Baba, SS, 11/92. p. 255. Discourse date: 27 September 1992

      Purpose

      'The Navaratri is a festival to commemorate the victory of the good over the evil. The
      Embodiment of Divine Power (Para-Shakti), in its various manifestations, Satwic (as Maha-
      Saraswati), Rajasic (as Maha-Lakshmi), Tamasic (as Mahakali) was able to overcome the
       forces of vice, wickedness and egoism, during the nine days' struggle and finally, on Vijaya
       Dashami (Dasara, the tenth Day commemorating victory), the valedictory worship is done". Sai
       Baba, SSS, Vol. VIII. discourse on 12-10-69, p. 107

       "The Navaratri festival is observed by contemplating on God for ten days, cleansing one's self
       of all the impurities to experience the Divinity within." Sai Baba, SS, 11/94. p. 291

       "This festival (Navaratri) is intended to make man realise his true worth as the most precious
       object in creation. All things in the world derive their value from the labour and skill of man."
       Sai Baba. SS, 11/94. p. 289

        "It is essential to celebrate festivals in a sacred spirit. It is not enough to do this for only 10
        days during the Navaratri festivals. It should become the rule throughout one's life, even as one
        draws one's life-breath till the end." Sai Baba, SS, 11/94, p. 291


5.      References & prescribed readings on the festivals

     1. Sathya Sai Speaks – various volumes.

     2. Summer Showers

     3 Swami’s Discourses



6.      Integrated Nature of festival (how does festival apply to seva, youth, ladies,
        ehv wing etc)
       "The Navaratri celebration is an occasion for revering nature (Prakriti) and considering how
       natural resources can be used properly in the best interest of mankind. Resources like water,
       air, power and minerals should be used properly and not misused or wasted. Economy in the
       use of every natural resource is vital. Pollution of the air has many evil consequences. The
       inner significance of observances like Nagar Sankirtan and Bhajans is to fill the atmosphere
       with sacred vibrations and holy thoughts. The inauguration of the Navaratri celebrations means
       that you should use this occasion for offering worship to nature and resolving to make sacred
       use of all natural resources." Sai Baba. SS, 11/92, p. 269

				
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