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Friday, September 18, 2009

Navratri: The Colorful Festival Dedicated to Goddess Shakti

Navratri, the colorful festival of nine days, is here once again. Originated from two words, ‘Nav,’ which means nine and ‘Ratri,’ which refers to nights, Navratri is the nine days devoted to the Shakti or Divine Mother. According to scriptures and puranas, Shakti is also known as ‘prakriti,’- the soulmate of ‘purusha.’ Worshippers of Shakti believe that ‘Prakriti’ and ‘Purusha’ are jointly responsible for the creation for the world. These nine days give us an opportunity to explore within us the true knowledge and the power of goddesses that connects us to the divine spiritual power and energy. During these nine days of divine power, human beings help us to liberate from the difficulties of the world.

Shaktipitha in Navratri:
Millions of people visit Skatipithas during these nine auspicious days. Shaktipithas are important pilgrimage temples that are dedicated to Shakti. According to ancient belief, Lord Vishnu had to cut the body of Sati, first wife of Lord Shiva into fifty-two pieces to avoid destruction by her husband who was agitated by Sati’s death. Shaktipithas are temples where these body parts are belived to have fallen. Thus, the nine days are celebrated to dedicate the power of three main goddesses; Lakshmi, Parvati, and Saraswati. During the first three days are prayed for the goddess of energy and action. The first three days are worshipped in the forms of Kumari, Parvati, and Kali which represent the three stages of womanhood; the virgin, responsible and caring wife, and aged, mature and angry old woman. From the fourth to sixth days, goddess Lakshmi is worshipped that symbolizes peace, fulfillment, bliss, and plenty. The final three days are dedicated to goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge.

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