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The days of blind faith are over, we want experience. Evidence of this is the way that over the next 9 nights thousands and thousands of people will fill temple halls and buildings for Navaratari experience of ‘Rasa’ which literally means to taste. The Yoga Sutras tell us that it is by ‘doing’ that one achieves a true understanding. Just like getting in the water to know what swimming is. This is why the traditions of Hinduism including Yoga will be of eternal value.

During this period devotees primarily worship the divine in the form of the Mother Goddess

Here are some of the things I will be performing which many during Navaratri do to increase the loving spiritual dimension to their lives,of course their are many different practises but you should do what suits you:

Hinduism is perhaps unique among the world religions for approaching the divine in the feminine aspect. This should be something to celebrate and time to direct attention to where women are suffering in the world. The plight of the poor widows, greater opportunity, violence, are all areas where our charitable donations and efforts can help alleviate suffering.

Lighting a Diva for 9 days
It is a beautiful offering to try and keep a holy flame lit for 9 days, this can be ‘offered’ infront of murtis in a mandir, puja table, or some pictures (these can be Gods, Goddesses, Saints, or anyone you feel can bring you into that space).

Prayers & Bhajans
here is Krishna Das performing Devi Puja

I will be chanting this on a daily basis with sacred images and honoring the great saint in our tradition Siddhi Ma.
Om Namaschandikaaye
Om I bow to the Goddess Chandikaa

1. Jayanti Mangalaa Kaalee Bhadrakaalee kapaalinee
Durgaa kshaamaa shiwaa dhaatree swaahaa swadhaa namostu te

Oh Goddess, you are the one who conquers all, you are the One beyond time, the auspicious One beyond time, the bearer of skulls who destroys all difficulties, loving forgiveness and supporter of the universe. You are the one who truly receives the sacrificial offerings and the offerings to the ancestors. To you I bow.

2. Jaya twam devi Chamunde jaya bhootaarti haarani
Jaya sarwagate devi kaalaraatri namostu te

Oh Goddess Chamunda, victory to you! You free all living beings from their misery. You are present everywhere, and you are the night at the end of Time. I bow to You.

3. Videhi Devi kalyaanam videhi paramaam sukham
Roopam dehi jayam dehi yasho dehi dwisho jahi

Oh Goddess, grant me liberation and supreme happiness.
Grant me freedom, victory, fame and destroy all hostility.

4. Krishnena sanstute Devi shaswad bhaktyaa sadaambike
Roopam dehi jayam dehi yasho dehi dwisho jahi

Oh Goddess, Mother of the Universe, your praise is always sung by Krishna, the Doer of All.
Grant me freedom, victory, fame and destroy all hostility.

5. Himaachala sutaa naatha sanstute parameshwari
Roopam dehi jayam dehi yasho dehi dwisho jahi

Oh Parameshwari, supreme Goddess, the Lord of the Daughter of the Himalayas(Shiva) always sings your praise.
Grant me freedom, victory, fame and destroy all hostility.

6. Devi prachanda dora danda daitya darpa winashini
Roopam dehi jayam dehi yasho dehi dwisho jahi

Oh Goddess, with your great staff you have destroyed the demons of egotism and thought.
Grant me freedom, victory, fame and destroy all hostility.

7. Patnim manoranaam dehi manovrittaanu saarineem
Taarineem Durga samsaara saagarasya kulodbhawaam

Oh Goddess, may our partners share your attributes! One who will lead the family across the terrible ocean of life and death.

Many Hindu’s choose to restrict their mind and body to good thoughts and simple foods for the next 9 days. I have found this to be a challenging task over many years but quickly shows us how dependent we are on over consumption.
Many will restrict their diets to Fruit, nuts, and water then having a single simple meal a day. This will allow minimum nutrition to be taken to and also give the body a thorough detox. Of course the simplicity allows us to focus more on the devotional mood.

Aarti, Garba & Dandiya Ras
Life should be an extatic celebration. Nowhere is this better practiced then with Navaratri celebrations in the evenings. The bhava is immense.Collective prayers offering Aarti to the divine, families get together and people dance often re-inn-acting Lord Krishna’s Gopi Lila using the dance as a spiritual method.

“Truly, the Goddess is rasa” (raso vai sah),

Wishing you a Navaratri with lots of Bliss

Jai Ambe Ma.

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