Navratri Puja is daily performed during the nine days of Navratri festival. Information on Navratri Puja Vidhi with procedure or guidelines are presented here.
Navratri Puja - Navratri is held twice a year, once in the auspicious time of Chaitra shukla paksha called 'Vasant Navratri' and another during the Ashwin month falling in September/October, called 'Sharad Navratri'. This nine-day period is astrologically a powerful period to propitiate planets and invoke Ma Shakti with Navratri Pooja. Ma Shakti is considered to be the driving force behind the natural order of things in the universe.
Significance of Navratri Pooja
Puja is a significant aspect of the widely celebrated Navratri festival. During this period, Ma Durga is considered 'jagrit' or alive and must be worshipped ritualistically. As the earnest seeker sets out to let the enlightening divine energy penetrate his soul, he must also know the correct way of fasting and performing puja. Navratri Pooja is a powerful method of attaining this divine calmness and knowledge. Navratri Puja carried out in a ritualistic way pleases Maa Durga, who is propitiated in her aspects as Ma Lakshmi and Ma Saraswati through the nine-night period. Navratri puja not just creates an aura of purity in the house; it also raises energies and dispels our base tendencies.
Navratri Puja at Home
The most characteristic feature of Navratri puja is its simplicity. The
procedures of Navratri Pooja at home are carried out step by step and
each ritual has its own importance. All the ingredients used in puja and
making 'prasad' are required to be pure. The puja area must be clean and
of a higher vibration. Since there are various types of puja associated
with Ma Durga, Ma Lakshmi and Ma Saraswati, some devotees stick to the
basic Navratri puja rituals and chantings. Some choose to do elaborate
puja with havan and recital from texts such as Durga Saptashati,
Sahasranam and Devi Mahatmya.
During the period, the first three initial days are dedicated to the invocation of Ma Durga, the next three to Ma Lakshmi and the next three to Ma Saraswati. However, 'Maha Ashtami' and 'Maha Navami 'are considered especially important days for performing pujas. The very auspicious 'Sandhi puja' is carried out when 'Ashtami tithi' ends and 'Navami tithi' begins. The puja is conducted with several powerful chantings. On the ninth day or 'Navami', 'Kumari' puja is observed. This puja is performed by a fasting devotee ritualistically and with a lot of enthusiasm. It comprises traditional puja wherein nine 'kumaris' or pre-pubescent girls are revered as representing the nine forms of Ma Durga. The devotees wash their feet, and then proceed to serve them a meal consisting of 'puris', 'chana' and 'halwa'. Finally, the nine girls are entreated to shower blessings on the devotee/s and given utensils, money and handkerchief or 'chunri' as 'dakshina' with full respect.
Even if one cannot observe the fast, one can recite mantra, sing hymns, participate in kirtans, listen to verse recitals and offer prayers.
Navaratri Puja VidhiTake a bath in the morning and adorn fresh clothes. Seat the idol or a framed picture of Ma Durga in the hallowed area of your puja room. Place a fresh marigold garland around the idol/picture and offer rice covered in roli/turmeric, 'sindoor', 'belpatra' and red flowers ceremoniously. First, sow jowar seeds in a clay pot with mud taken from an auspicious place. Next, enshrine the kalash by performing the 'kalashsthapna' ritual. Fill the 'kalash' with water from a pure water source, put coins and betel nuts, add place mango leaves along with a coconut wrapped in red cloth on top. Tie a 'moli'/red thread around the kalash. The coconut should be placed on the mouth of the kalash. Next, pray to Goddess Durga to abide in it for nine days. Show 'diya' to kalash and deities and light 'dhoop' and incense. Sprinkle holy water from a 'panchpatra'. Light a 'jyoti' by burning a coal in a clay dish, placing a 'peda' and adding ghee at intervals to keep it lit throughout the entire puja ritual. Next, light a bunch of incense sticks, dhoop and 'diya'. Invoke the Goddesses' name by reciting 'Durga Stuti' and 'Durga Kavach'. Perform 'aarti' with songs glorifying Maa Durga, Maa Laxmi and Maa Saraswati. Next, offer 'prasad' or 'bhog' of homemade Navratri recipes along with fruits and sweets. Distribute it among the family members and those present during the puja.
- The kalash should not be touched for the entire nine day period.
- Jyot should be lit through the entire puja ritual.
- Sanskrit hymns should be recited with the right pronunciation and intonation.
- The garland placed around the idol should be changed every day.
- A mat should be used for sitting in a straight posture to perform the puja.
Navratri Puja Samagri
Keeping the complete stock of puja samagri is an important part of performing the Navratri pooja. Some of the items required to carry out the Navratri Puja procedure include mango leaves, coconut, sandalwood paste, turmeric, red cloth, roli, moli, chawal (rice), paan, supari , cloves, cardamom, kumkum (vermilion) and rice covered in kumkum, rose petals, coins. 'Dhoop', 'diya' and incense sticks are required. Typical flowers for Navratri puja are rose petals, red hibiscus along with bael leaves. Besides coal, ghee and readily available havan ingredients are also required.