With nine glorious days of divine worship, divine dance and with divine music with the night illuminated by the gleaming stars and flickering lights, the Navaratri festival honours Goddess Durga. The Ambience created by the Durga Pooja is extraordinary. Idols are worshipped for nine days in beautifully tinted tents or pandals and everyone unites and taps their dandiya to the music. But it is not common knowledge that there are four Navratris in a year. While of these, the Ashwin and Vasanth Navratri are famous and celebrated with much pomp and grandeur, the lesser known Navratris are Magh and Asadh Navratri.
The Ashwin and Vasanth Navratri are known as Gupt Navratri, simply because not many have heard of them. The word 'Gupt' means hidden or secret. Of the two Gupt Navratri, Magh Navratri is celebrated in the northern region of India –Uttar Pradesh, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Haryana, and Punjab. Ashadh Navratri is celebrated prominently in Southern states of India. Ashad Navratri or Gupt Navratri is being celebrated in different parts of the country from July 5, and will end on July 13.
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Gupt Navratri is meant for sadhaks who perform specialised tantric rituals, vashikarans, uchatans, stambhan, videshan and maran rituals, says the Speakingtree. Unlike the grand and extravagant celebration of the Ashwin and Vasanth Navratri, the prayers for Gupt Navratri are done secretly or simply without much grandeur. This period is considered the best time to reflect upon one's actions and get rid of the negative thoughts and gain riddhi-siddhi, which is wisdom and wealth.
During Gupt Navratri, Hindus worship Goddess Durga and her 9 forms seeking protection against any sort of danger or injury. During the Gupt Navratras, texts like Shrimad Devi Bhagwat, Devi Mahatmya and the sanctified "Durga Saptashati" mantras which are mentioned in Markayandeya Purana are chanted. The "Durga Saptashati" mantras explain the story of Goddess Durga and the powers and divine weapons, given by the Trimurthis (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva), to demolish demon king, Mahishasura.
Gupt Navratri festival is attributed by fasts, dhyan (meditation) and recitation of shlokas. It is said that during these nine days whatever the devotee wishes for earnestly, will be granted by Ma promptly. She is worshipped as the remover of vices, as the bestower of wealth and prosperity, and as the goddess of wisdom. On this last day, a grand fire or homam is conducted at the place of worship with a belief that the puja, when done in the proper manner, can fulfil all the desires.
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Like all other rituals or festivals, there are certain things that are prohibited during this course of time. It is believed that any work initiated during this time will never reach completion and produce the desired results. Cutting one's nail or hair is prohibited. The lamp is to not burn out and glow continuously for the nine days. After the puja, the Agni or sacrificial flame which stood as the witness to your puja and offering should be put out using flowers.
-by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram.