The Geeta Ashram Youth would like to wish each and everyone of you a Happy Dushera and a Happy Navratri 🙂
We would like to share with you the lessons we learned during these last nine auspicious days!
Five things I learned about Navratri
By Vilsasha Belani
Navratri has just ended and with it, the nine nights of dancing the garba and dhandhiya raas, but I realised that there wasn’t a lot I knew about navratri beyond the “1, 2, 3, 4…” count of the dhandiya raas. So I did what any girl in this amazing age of technology does – I Googled it. So here are 5 new things I learned about navratri:
- There are nine forms of Shakti that are worshipped
When I was little, I was always told that the first three days of Navratri are for the Goddess Durga, the next three days are for the Goddess Lakshmi and the last three for the Goddess Saraswati. But that really is just the simplified version. The Navdurgas, as they are called, in order are Shailaputri (Daughter of the Mountains) or Parvati, Brahmacharini, Chandragupta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and lastly, Siddidaatri.
- There is a reason behind the cocentric cirlces of the Garba.
No, it’s not so there’s more space for the women and girls to dance. The co-centric circles are actually representative of the circle of life. Birth, death and rebirth is a continuous cycle we all must go through, but at the centre of the circle, unmoving and unchanging is the Goddess herself.
- The dandiya dance is actually a dramatization of a battle.
The bamboo sticks or dandiya represent the mighty swords of the Goddess Durga during her battle with Mahishasura. The swishing and striking of the dandiyas together is a reenactment of the Goddess weilding her swords during the battle and bringing the evil king to an end.
- The Dandiya dance is not limited to only bamboo sticks
The Mehr sect in India perform a type of Dandiya dance with swords and shields instead of the traditional bamboo sticks. The Mehr raas resembles strikes in a battle. Watch the video below for a performance done in the Royal Albert Hall:
- There is more to Navratri than it being just a celebration of the Goddess Durga
Like many Hindu festivals, there is a strong social aspect attached to Navratri. It is a festival that brings together communities, old friends and family in this rushed, hulla-baloo of a world. It is one of the times where children can’t wait to go to temple and in between the twirling sticks and clapping, they learn and understand more of their culture and religion. There is no doubt that the spiritual side of this festival is very important, but one can’t disregard the joy of seeing friends, the exhilaration from the beat of the music and silent unity of goodwill as we pray for good in us to trump the bad.