(Comes in Oct-Nov/Kanni-Thulam)

According to the science dealing with the power gained through the control of the senses through meditation, there exists at the base of our nervous system, one of the prime centers of one of the vital nerves. This is enveloped by energy, emanating as a result of the movement of the Sun. Vinayaka Chathurthi signifies this energy, being at close to its nadir. Pretty much afterwards the Sun and this energy are believed to travel “upwards”. This, in astrological terms, means that the Sun moves into Meenam Rasi. This start of the movement of energy in an “upward” journey, is the beginning of “Navarathri”. Nava, in Sanskrit, means New. Hence it can literally be called “New night”. As far as the earth and we, humans, are concerned, this movement of the Sun is believed to aid the “upward” motion of this energy through our nervous system. That is why, at this time of the year, we try to propitiate Devi, considered to be a synonym for the energy, power, strength, and so on. Tradition, therefore, celebrates the “win” of Devi over Mahisha (signifying the darker side of our own existence). Symbolically the time when the energy reaches its nadir, it is considered the time of Mahishasura. From then onwards, Devi is considered winning, in the sense of going up.

In Kerala, though, Navarathri is given prominence for Pooja Veppu, signifying the blessings obtained on education, which is expected to remove “Darkness” – symbolizing ignorance-. Education is represented by books. That is why we keep books and other educational materials, as well as trade implements at the feet of Devi, to get her blessings. This is done on the eighth day and is removed, with the “education” starting on the tenth day called Vijaya Dasami.

The nine days of Navarathri are celebrated in the eastern part of India as DURGA POOJA; the northern parts celebrate it with Dandia and Garba. The southern states of India celebrate it as Navarathri Golu.

Devi is worshipped as DURGA, meaning the invincible `One who can redeem in situations of distress` for the first 3 days, as LAKSHMI the goddess of Wealth and Prosperity` for the next 3 days and as SARASWATHI, `the Goddess of Learning and Enlightenment’ for the last 3 days.

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