While India is known for its religious beliefs and is a land where people from different cultures, races, religions and castes practice their religious beliefs together peacefully. The festive season in India is usually at its peak during most of the times of the year. And one of the most important and widely celebrated festivals in India is the Navratri festival, which is commemorated four times a year, but the ones falling in the months of September-October (Sharad) and March-April (Vasant) are considered more auspicious. And in this article further, we will know more about the dates, history, significance and other important details about Navratri 2021.
The Chaitra Navratri celebrations will commence from 13th April 2021.
Every year, the Navratri celebrations continue for 9 days, and hence, the Ashtami will be observed on 20th April 2021 and Ram Navami on 21st April 2021.
The word Navratri is obtained from a Sanskrit word that decodes “Nava” as nine and “Ratri” as night. While the festival of Navratri symbolises the victory of good over evil. The Chaitra Navratri flags the beginning of the Hindu New Year and it falls during the Spring season. While as per the Hindu calendar, Chaitra Navratri is observed during the Shukla Paksha or the full-moon phase in the month of Chaitra.
However, the actual history behind the celebration of Chaitra Navratri, as per the Hindu Mythology and believes, it is stated that Lord Shiva allowed his wife Durga to visit her parent’s house for nine days. And during the time span of these nine days, it is believed that goddess Durga killed the demon Mahishasura, hence, signifying the victory of good over evil. While it is a common belief that worshipping goddess Durga imparts inner strength to the devotees.
During the festival of Chaitra Navratri, devotees worship the three prime manifestations of Goddess Shakti which are Durga, Saraswati and Lakshmi and seek their blessings during this auspicious and divine festival. During the nine days of Navratri, people usually observe praying, meditating and fasting. And simultaneously, avoid having non-vegetarian food, alcohol and tobacco. Moreover, the food consumed during these days is very light and is cooked without onion and garlic.
While the ritual of having light food during these days of Navratri has a scientific meaning too, which states that, the festival of Navratri falls around the season change when summers are at their initial stage. Hence, at this point of the year, our immunity is very weak, hence, consuming light food is thereby suggested.
And during these nine days, each form of Durga is served different offerings.
The mantra to recite during the Chaitra Navratri 2021 is “सर्वमंगल मंगलये शिव सर्वार्थ साधिके - मंत्र”,
“अन्नपूर्णे सदपूरने शंकरः प्रानावाल्लाभे
नजन वैराग्य सिध्यर्द्हम भिक्षाम देहि च पारवती
ॐ दुर्गे स्मृता हरसी भीती मसेशा झन्तोएहोए
स्वस्थै स्मृता माथि मथीवा शुभाम् ददासि
दारिद्र्य दुख भय हारिणी का त्वदन्या
सर्वोपकारा करनाय सार्द्र च्थाहा”
The Durga Saptsati shloka for Chaitra Navratri 2021 is:
“ॐ ज्ञानिनामपि चेतांसि देवी भगवती हि सा बलादाकृष्य मोहाय महामाया प्रयच्छति ।।१।।
दुर्गे स्मृता हरसिभीतिमशेष जन्तो: स्वस्थै: स्मृता मति मतीव शुभां ददासि दारिद्र्य दु:ख भय हारिणि का त्वदन्या सर्वोपकार करणाय सदार्द्र चित्ता ।।२।।
सर्व मङ्गल माङ्गल्ये शिवे सर्वार्थ साधिके शरण्ये त्र्यम्बके गौरी नारायणि नमोऽस्तुते ।।३।।
शरणागत दीनार्त परित्राण परायणे सर्वस्यार्ति हरे देवि नारायणि नमोऽस्तुते ।।४।।
सर्वस्वरूपे सर्वेशे सर्व शक्ति समन्विते भयेभ्यस्त्राहि नो देवि दुर्गे देवि नमोऽस्तुते ।।५।।
रोगान शेषा नपहंसि तुष्टा रुष्टा तु कामान् सकलान भीष्टान् । त्वामाश्रितानां न विपन् नराणां त्वामाश्रिता ह्या श्रयतां प्रयान्ति ।।६।।
सर्वा बाधा प्रशमनं त्रैलोक्यस्याखिलेश्वरि एकमेव त्वया कार्यमस्मद् वैरि विनाशनं ।।७।।
इति सप्तश्लोकी दुर्गास्तोत्र सम”,
“या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ शांति रूपेण संस्थिता।
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ शक्ति रूपेण संस्थिता।
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ सिद्धिदात्री रूपेण संस्थिता।
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नम:।”
The pooja vidhi for Chaitra Navratri 2021 goes as follows:
Before initiating the puja, pray to Vighnaharta Lord Ganesha and seek his blessings for a smooth and obstacle-free Navratri vrat. Now, pray to Goddess Durga by chanting particular mantras. For example, considering Navratri Day 1, chant mantras dedicated to Goddess Shailputri.
The puja vidhi will remain the same, but the mantras and the bhog shall differ for all nine days considering each of the nine forms of the goddess Durga.
Perform the Panchopchara puja including offerings such as Gandham, Pushpam, Deepam, Sugandham and Naivedyam (bhog).
Also, offer shringar (makeup/cosmetic) items such as sindoor, Mehandi, Kajal, bindi, toe ring, bangles, comb, aalta, mirror, anklets, perfume, earrings, nose pin, necklace, red chunri, mahavar, hairpins, etc.
Now, worship the goddess and offer bhog ( which will be different for each of nine forms of goddess Durga).
In the end, conclude the pooja by singing the Aarti and offer your greetings and respect to her by lighting the camphor.
Once the pooja is done, distribute the prashad.