Saturday, September 27, 2014

Navratri Puja Vidhi and fasting rules

Worship Goddess Durga during Navratri festival in order to seek her divine blessings by doing Durga puja at home and observing fast for nine days.

Navratri festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy across India every year in different forms including Durga puja and fasting, playing garba, etc. Devotees worship various avatars of the Goddess - Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati for nine constant days to seek her blessings, ask for peace and prosperity, and protection from any unknown fear and probable risk. Each Devi amongst nine divine forms of Goddess Durga is connected with particular day (tithi) of Navratri, thus worshipping of that Durga on that specific day of Navratri gives best results. It is very important to know the proper way of performing the Navratri puja vidhi and following fasting rules to seek her divine blessings. It is assumed that those devotees who do Navratri fasting and puja with full faith and sincerity will find bliss on earth and will get ‘moksha’ (salvation).

Navratri Puja Vidhi and fasting rules

How to do Navratri Puja?

Items required for doing puja:
  • Photo or Idol of Goddess Durga in the Puja room
  • Durga Saptshati book
  • A dupatta or saree for goddess
  • Gangajal or plain water in Kalash (pitcher)
  • Fresh grass
  • Fresh and washed mango leaves
  • A coconut
  • Rice
  • Cloves
  • Cardamom
  • Sandalwood
  • Gulal
  • Kumkum (vermilion)
  • Supari (areca nuts)
  • Paan (betel leaves)
  • Roli (red sacred powder for tilak)
  • Moli (red sacred thread)
  • Fresh flowers like rose, jasmine or red hibiscus
  • Fresh fruits like pomegranate
  • Sweets like 'laddoo', or 'peda' for prasad
  • Few incense sticks, a deep and matchstick
Get your house cleaned and ready on the Amavasya, a day before the starting of Navratri as you are inviting Goddess into the house. On the very first day of Navratri, you have to wake up early in the morning (get up sharp at the sunrise), take bath and wear laundered clothes. Keep 'deep' at the left side of the goddess, and light the 'Akhand Jyot'. Don’t keep the house vacant if you are lighting the 'Akhand Jyot'. Put incense sticks and other necessary things on the right hand side of the goddess, and then get ready for performing Puja with full dedication and focus.

Take a mat and put it in an upright place facing the goddess. Light the 'deep', ring the bell or blow the 'Shankh'. Then, put the water in kalash and put mango leaves on its mouth, a coconut in the kalash and tie moli on the neck of the kalash. Sprinkle 'Gangajal' all over the puja room, put the photo of Goddess Durga in a puja room, and then worship the goddess with kumkum, gulal, rice, roli, flowers, etc. Afterward, you should put in burning coal to a clay pot, put ghee over it and offer a small piece of the sweetmeat to the fire. Keep putting ghee to the fire often, and check that you maintain the light during your puja.

Once you complete the puja, fold your hands and enclose the flame for three times. Light the incense sticks and deep to do the aarti. You could sing arti song while performing aarti. At the ending of puja, you could chant Durga Saptashati or Devi Kavach or ask a pundit to do it. You should keep the Durga Saptashati book cautiously and respectfully.

As the puja concludes on the ninth day evening, share the sweets with neighbors, relatives and friends. Invite a kannika (young girl) and give her food and new clothes on the first day and some people even do it on all nine days.

Guidelines for Navratri fasting

The Navratri fast is observed by devotees from the first day of Navratri for eight or nine days, based on when they wish to do the Kanchika Pujan, in which young girls are worshipped. The devotees, who observe fast, have to wake up early in the morning, take bath and do puja to the goddess. One has to follow a definite diet for Navratri, if not observed a nirahar (waterless) fast, whereas many devotees do partial fasting in which they would avoid non-vegetarian food, alcohol and those dishes that are prepared from common salt or any type of spice.

Some devotees of Goddess Durga drink only milk and consume fruits during the fasting days, while some devotees observe ‘Ekana’, which means they only take a single meal during the day. Men observing fast should totally avoid shaving. Some also consider in sleeping on the ground and stay away from all luxuries and comforts.

Devotees can break their fast on the eighth day (Ashtami) or ninth day (Navmi) by feeding beggars and giving Prasad to young girls who spell the Shakti of Mother Goddess. Prasad to be prepared include puris (deep fried Indian bread), halwa (sweet dish made of suji) and Bengal gram curry. After seeking the blessings of the young girls, the devotees can break their fast by eating the prasad that they have made for them.

Food to consume in Fasting/Upwas/Vrat:

  • Mostly all Fruits and Vegetables such as Kaccha Kela (plantain), Dudhi/Laudki (bottlegourd), Aloo (potato), Shakarkhand (sweet potato), Kheera (Cucumber), Kaddu/kumhara (pumpking), Arbi/Kocchai (colocasia), Suran/Jimikanda (Yam). Some people use Kaccha Papita (raw papaya), Tamatar (tomato), Gajar (carrot)
  • Flours and Grains like Sabudana (Sago/tapioca pearls), Sama Chawal (barnyard milet), Kuttu Atta (buckwheat flour), Rajgira Atta (amaranth flour), Singhara Atta (water chestnut flour), Makhana (Foxnuts)
  • Milk Products & Dry Fruits that include Curd, Milk, Ghee, Butter, Paneer, Khoya, Condensed milk, all milk products and dry fruits
  • Herbs and Spices like peanuts, coconut, Sendha Namak (rock salt), imli (tamarind), Nimbu (lemon), Adrak (ginger), Sugar, Honey, Gur (jaggery), cumin seeds, Choti Elaichi (green cardamom), Lung (cloves), Kalimirch (peppercorns), Jaiphal (nutmeg), Dalchini (cinnamon), Hara Dhaniya (coriander leaves), Hari Mirch (green chili), Kadi patta/meetha neem (curry leaves)

Foods to avoid in Navratri Fasting:

  • Non-vegetarian food and alcohol are strictly no-no
  • Onion and Garlic
  • Legumes and all dals
  • Common Salt, garam masala, turmeric, asafoetida, dhaniya powder (coriander seeds powder)
  • Grains such as wheat flour, maida, rice, Besan (chickpeas flour), Sooji (rava, semolina)
Mostly people don't wear anything in black color while fasting days and doesn't cut hair.


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