Maha Navaratri is the festival of the great nine nights of celebrating the Divine Goddess principle in all her manifestations but especially as the Goddess Durga.
The mantra Durga comes from the roots, “dur” (meaning invincible or impossible) and, “gam” (to pass through). Her name Durga means impossible to go through or overcome. Many times Her name is spoken of as meaning “fortress” that protects Her devotees. Thus, She is the one who takes care of all problems or difficulties, no matter how surmounting they seem to be.
As the story of Durga goes, a demon named Mahishasura, did great tapasya and was granted a boon where he could never be killed by any man, animal, or god. As time passed on the demon overthrew the lands and heavens and no one existed that was strong and skilled enough to overcome him. The Gods weren’t powerful enough, the animals lacked aim, and the men were overthrown. Due to this the Goddesses Parvati, Lakshmi, and Saraswati combined all their Shakti together and all of the God’s offered their weapons (skillsets, wisdom, and power) to create a new breed of super-goddess known as, “Ma Durga.” Being a manifestation of the Feminine, She was of the right type of being needed to destroy Mahishasura. And, being of the Divine, She was skilled and powerful enough to overcome his evil powers.
During Navratri (or Navaratri) 9 nights are celebrated depicting the 9 nights of battle between Durga and the great demon Mahishasura. On the 10th day, also known as Dussehra, Durga destroys Mahishasura and all balance was restored to the realm. In northern India the 10th day is also celebrated as Ram overcoming all of the evil of Ravana, in which case a Ravana statue is often built and then burned symbolizing freedom from negativity. As these two celebrations overlap they often cause confusion however they are both celebrating the principle of light always overcoming darkness.
Navaratri is a time to reaffirm our commitment to living a life of positivity, love, service, attunement to and protection of the Dharma! It is said that when the Dharma gets forgotten the Devi (the Goddess) will manifest to remind us. Now is that time!
As we attune to Durga during Navaratri our goal is to become consumed by Her Presence. This can manifest as an endless array of Blessings, but mostly She gets portrayed as being a "warrior goddess" that will fight away your problems, however, interestingly enough, She is the Embodiment of Pure Love and Light in whose Divine Presence nothing maligned or dark can exist. When you are in Her Presence, within Her Fortress, you are protected by Her Light and Love so that you can focus on your Dharma. Often referred to as the "warrior goddess" and “destroyer of negativity," she assists in the process of eradicating all ego and can invoke a sense of positive empowerment and determination on the path to Liberation.
Happy Navaratri! We wish you immense connection with Devi during this time. 🌹 Jai Ma!