Swami Nishchalananda gave this online satsang and guided meditation on Friday evening, October 16th, just before the start of Navaratri. The following is his explanation of this celebration, and recommendations for mantras and chants during the period.
NavaRatri starts next Saturday 17 th October and ends on Monday 25 th October (depending on the
tradition and parts of India there are different dates, mantras and rituals; some celebrations are very elaborate over the nine days; below we have given a streamlined version). Navaratri literally means ‘Nine Nights’. It is celebrated every year all over India and elsewhere in the world among Hindus as well as many yoga practitioners. It is a celebration of the Goddess, the cosmic energy (known as Durga, Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswati and countless other names). This energy creates, sustains and destroys the universe, including everyone and everything in it.
Navaratri is based on the lunar calendar and comes just after amarvasya (new moon) in the month of Ashwin. (It is also known as Durga Puja, especially in Bengal and Bihar etc., celebrating Durga’s victory over Mahishasura, the buffalo demon, who symbolises blind ignorance, especially spiritual ignorance).
I would like us to join together in participating
in this celebration. I propose the following mantras
(which I have greatly simplified, but which,
nevertheless, will be enormously effective),
together with the corresponding dates:
The mantras are as follows:
Durga Sat/Sun/Mon 17, 18 & 19 Oct
Lakshmi Tues/Wed/Thurs 20, 21 & 22 Oct
Saraswati Fri/Sat/Sun 23, 24 & 25 Oct
Om Dum Durgayai Namaha
Om Shrim Lakshmyai Namaha
Om Aim Saraswatyai Namaha
The last day, the tenth day, is known as Dashmi, Dussehra (Hindi) or Vijayadashmi. (It also celebrates Rama’s victory over Ravana). On this tenth day, you are invited to chant Om Namah Shivaya.
OR, if you wish, you can chant the 32 names of Durga throughout the nine days (see at the end of this message).
Note: Divali or Deepavali comes this year on the 14 Nov (based on lunar calendar it comes on the 15 th day of the lunar month of Kartik on the amarvasya, or new moon). This is the Festival of Lights which symbolises Enlightenment.
The 32 Names of Durga:
OM Durga Durgartishamani Durgapadvinivarini
Durgamacchedini Durgasadhini Durganashini
Durgatoddharini Durganihantri Durgamapaha
Durgama Durgamaloka Durgamatmaswarupini
Durgamargaprada Durgamavidya Durgamashreeta
Durgamoha Durgamaga Durgamarthaswarupini
Durgama surasamhantri Durgamayudhadharini
Durgamangi Duramata Durgamya Durameshwari
Durgabhima Durgabhama Durgabha Durgadarini
(In my opinion, the sound vibration is more important than the meaning, but you will find the meaning on page 82 of the Ashram publication ‘Mantra Yoga and Ashram Chants’)