Navaratri or navratri is a grand festival that is celebrated for nine nights and ten days (nava- nine, rAtri - nights). This sharvari year, navaratri starts on the shukla paksha prathama day of the ashvina (aipaasi) month, which is 17th October 2020 in Gregorian calendar. Devi fought the evil Mahishasura for nine days and slew him on the ninth night. The tenth day, vijayadashami, is celebrated as the Victory day. As the slayer of Mahishasura, this personification of the Devi is called Mahishasuramardhini, and She reminds us that evil will be vanquished.
Navaratri is celebrated as Golu, also called Kolu, Bommala Koluvu or Bomme Habba. People build beautiful display structures of ascending steps. These steps are odd numbered. On these steps, various dolls and figurines are displayed, portraying various themes from the puranas and contemporary times. The lowest step features trees and growing shoots. The step above houses various animals. The next step portrays the Learned and the saints amongst men, such as Meera and Thyagaraja. On the steps above, various scenes from Ramayana, Mahabharata and the ten avatars of Vishnu (dashavatara), are depicted. The kolu shows the ascending consciousness in life forms, ultimately reaching the parabrahmam.
In the nine days of navaratri, we worship Durga Parameshvari, Mahalakshmi and Sarasvati. The one adishakthi shows herself as Durga Parameshvari who blesses us with valour and bravery; Sarasvati, who bestows knowledge on us; and Mahalakshmi, who blesses us with very many kinds of wealth.
In navaratri, we pray to Durga the first three days. The next three days, we sing the praises of Mahalakshmi. The remaining three days, we seek blessings from Sarasvati. The ninth day of navaratri is Sarasvati puja. On this day, the knowledge giving books and all the ayudha -instruments and tools- which help us in our lives are cleaned and readied for the puja. On the day of Sarasvati puja, students get take the day off from studies! On the tenth day, vijayadashami, the day of Victory and Prosperous beginnings, students begin new lessons and new art forms.
In Devi Stuti, we have three slokas on Durga, three slokas in praise of Lakshmi and three slokas on Sarasvathi; one for each day of navaratri. On vijayadashami day, when we celebrate the win of Devi over evil, we sing the praise of adishakti.
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In our day to day lives, we express our bhakti (devotion) by reciting slokas in praise of Bhagavan. Slokas explain to us the philosophy of dharma. We believe that the power of reciting any sloka is enhanced when one understands the meaning of the verse in the correct context. In this series, we bring you well researched meaning of the verses to start your journey towards the goal of understanding the slokas.