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The Hindu calendar is alive with many festivals;
among these, Navaratri  is the longest one, extending to nine days. 
In addition to the nine, (nights as the name implies), 
there is an additional tenth day – Vijaya Dasami!

We have heard it said repeatedly that Hinduism is more a way of life than a religion. Festivals like Navaratri reinforce the strength of such statements. 

A festival initially attracts us through the color, gaiety, music and dance associated with it. As we grow older, we start understanding the significance of the festival and turn our mind inwards.

The attractive aspects are plenty in the case of Navaratri: colorful dolls representing all aspects of God's creation are bought, dressed up and displayed proudly on nine decorated steps. In South India, we worship this sample of creation and the power behind it all by singing songs in praise of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. We invite friends and family to come and share in this celebration, feed them with sweets and shundal and give them presents!

Slowly, we begin to grasp the significance of Navaratri and the symbolism behind the festival. The power behind creation is Shakthi in her three aspects: Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. This power, we are assured by the Rishis (the Seers), resides in each one of us. We have to invoke this Shakthi to assist us in reaching our ultimate goal which is realization of Oneness with the Divine Self in us.

Navaratri aptly starts on the first day after Amavasya, the New Moon day. The moon was steadily waning and reached its last stage of losing all the luster from the illuminator, the bright Sun. In Hindu mythology, the unsteady mind with its varying moods and modes is represented by the waxing and  waning of the moon. In the ideal state, the mind must be always like the full moon, illumined by Divine Knowledge represented by Sun. But due to ignorance, we manage to interpose our selfish ego which is bent upon fulfilling its worldly selfish desires and thereby cast upon it the dark shadow of ignorance. As a result, we progressively descend into the depths of spiritual darkness comparable to the  progressive decline of the full-moon over the fortnight into the New-moon. Hope still exists because the Sun of knowledge continues to shine in the deep recesses of our hearts. We have only to know this, make a determination and reach the source with great effort, overcoming the obstacles in the way caused by our misdirected ego.

Durga Mata

This determination and effort is indicated by the commencement of the Navaratri celebrations starting with the worship of Durga and invoking her Shakthi for the removal of the obstacles in the spiritual path. These obstacles were responsible for our decline into the lack-lustre new-moon mind-set. Mythology tells us that Durga is the One who destroyed the powerful demon Mahishasura (Mahisha = Bull; asura = demon, our undisciplined self).. The Bull is characterized by great inertia and also great rage – a very apt model for our own ego. (Remember the bull in the china shop!) All our spiritual practices are hindered by inertia; we start, but soon stop, like the immobile Bull on the street blocking all traffic. No wonder we make very little progress. We are also swayed by extreme passions like the enraged Bull which then charges wildly. The slaying of this demon by Durga in her incarnation as Mahishasura-mardhini symbolizes the taming of this ego-bull and putting it to productive use in the service of God. Observe  how the same Bull under the total control of its master Shiva becomes Nandi whom we worship – Nandi always faces the Lord and is eternally in His service. The Durga Shakthi, if invoked through prayer, will help us to yoke our ego and plow the spiritual field for us.

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Sri Lakshmi

The next three days are devoted to the worship of Lakshmi. The yoked ego is now ready for Karma Yoga and a life filled with selfless activity. This helps to cleanse the mind of all selfish desires. Any action needs resources and Lakshmi is the provider of every resource needed by us. When you need courage, Dhairya Lakshmi provides it for you; Valor by Virya Lakshmi; material resources by Dhaanya Lakshmi and Dhana Lakshmi and so on: that is why Lakshmi is worshipped by her devotees in her eight forms known as Ashta Lakshmi. 

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In the path of Karma Yoga, we also need right knowledge (Vidya) and the sense of discrimination (Viveka ) to use the resources provided by Lakshmi in the right manner. To make an intelligent choice, we need a well-informed mind: the education needed for this is given by Saraswathi whose Shakthi we invoke in the final three days of Navaratri. You may have seen in paintings of Saraswathi, a peacock rapturously listening to the music played on the Veena by the Goddess. When we pray to Saraswathi, she plucks our heartstrings from which divine music issues forth. The ego starts listening to the the divine music of OM and the dictates of the pure Intellect. The Bull has been transformed into Nandi, ready to serve our spiritual needs. 

Ably and adequately aided by the three Devis, nothing prevents us now from proceeding further in the path of Self-Realization and reaching the ultimate goal of Sat Chith Anand: Reality-Consciousness-Bliss

We are aware of the power of the untamed ego and how it can take us along the wrong path. Who would not therefore, celebrate this ultimate victory in the battle to tame it for spiritual use? At the conclusion of nine days of prayer and meditation, we celebrate our spiritual victory on Vijayadasami day; (Vijaya = Victory; dasami = tenth day). 

On this day, students re-dedicate themselves to their study through formal recitations from their books and paying their respects to their Guru; professionals rededicate themselves to their work symbolically by worshipping the tools of their trade. Mentally, every devotee renews the determination to work towards the spiritual goal of Sat Chit Ananda.

Whatever our age, we are all students trying to learn Truth, Reality in various ways. The Navaratri celebrations every year help us to invoke the divine power which resides in each one of us and through the Grace of Shakthi in her three manifestations, to proceed further on the path of self-realization with faith and renewed vigor to the ultimate goal of Sat Chit Ananda.

In Bengal the festival is known as Durga Puja; it is the most important one for the people and is also an occasion for family reunion. The image of the Goddess is worshipped in the home and in public places where community worship is organized. This is an occasion for the potter to display his skill in making images and other artists in decoration, music etc.. Worship is offered for nine days. The tenth day, Vijaya Dasami, marks the triumph of the soul at attaining liberation through descent of knowledge by the Grace of the Divine Mother. The image is taken in a procession and immersed in the sea or a lake.

In South India, the festival is celebrated as a colorful exhibition of dolls arranged on ascending steps; families and friends are invited to come and join in the celebration, sing and worship. The ninth day is Saraswathi Puja day when the Goddess of learning is worshipped. On the tenth day, Vijaya Dasami is celebrated when new students get enrolled and new projects are commenced, after offering worship to the Goddess; old students continue their studies, invoking the Goddess' Blessings and and renewing their contact with their revered Gurus..

In Gujarat, the most common form of public celebration is the performance of the popular folk-dance – Garba. Ladies wear ethnic Chania Choli and Males wear Dhoti-Kurta and dance through the Night. The participants move round in a circle around a mandvi (garbo), a structure to hold earthen lamps and to house the image or idol of mother goddess.  Pandals are erected over these madvis and decorated with date palm leaves, flowers and electric light. As the dancers whirl around the pot, a singer and a drummer provide the musical accompaniment. Another popular Gujarati dance during Navaratri is the dandia-ras or ‘stick’ dance, in which men and women join the dance circle, holding small colorful, polished sticks or dandias. As they whirl to the intoxicating rhythm of the dance, they strike the dandias together creating rhythmic beats, adding to the joyous atmosphere. The costumes worn for the dances are traditional and alive with color.

In the northern states of India, the festival is called Dussera; it celebrates the home-coming of Rama the hero of the epic Ramayana, after his victory over the ten-headed Ravana, the king of Lanka. In vast open spaces, Ram-leela folk-plays with music and impromptu dialogues re-telling the story of the life of Rama are enacted late into the night. Songs are sung in praise of Rama and people throng in thousands to witness this traditional theatre. Larger-than- life figures of Ravana and other demons are burnt on cold dark nights with fire-works lighting up the sky.

Dussera is also reminiscent of the end of the exile and banishment of the Pandava princes in the Mahabharata and their return with their weapons to reclaim their kingdom. In memory of this epic story, people in Maharashtra worship the implements of their professions and distribute the leaves of the Shami tree as gold and express their goodwill.

All over India, this ten-day period is observed as a festival of thanks-giving and celebrated in diverse, colorful ways to celebrate the glory of Devi, the Shakthi Goddess and the victory of good over evil. The diversity is characteristic of the Indian way of life.

Divine discourses on Navaratri by Bhagawan Satya Sai Baba

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Scene from the Veda Purusha Jnana Yajna held during Dasara, October 1988

Esoteric Significance of the Veda Purusha Jnana Yajna

In the human body, the Divine flows through all the limbs as the divine essence (rasa) and sustains them. This divine principle is called the Embodiment of Divine Sweetness (Rasaswaroopini, or Angirasa). These divine principles that permeate and sustain the physical body should also be worshipped as mother goddesses. Then there are the great sages (maharishis), who investigated matters relating to good and evil, right and wrong, what elevates man or degrades him, and, as a result of their labors and penance, gave to mankind the great scriptures, indicating the spiritual and mundane paths and how humanity could redeem its existence. These sages have also to be revered as divine mothers.

The cow, the earth, the presiding deities for the body, the sages, and the guru are all worthy of worship as the embodiments of the divine Motherhood. Although these five appear in different forms and names, they have one thing in common with the mother. They play a protective and sustaining maternal role for mankind and hence should be revered and worshipped as divine mothers.

Conversely, the mother of every child displays in relation to the child the attributes of these five entities. The mother nourishes the child, provides the necessaries for its growth, teaches the child what it should know and what it should avoid, and leads it on the path of righteousness.

The life of a man who cannot respect and love such a venerable mother is utterly useless. Recognizing one's mother as the very embodiment of all divine forces, one must show reverence to her and treat her with love. This is the true message that this nine-night festival (the Navaratri)  gives us. The supreme Shakti manifests herself in the form of Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Durga grants to us energy --physical, mental, and spiritual. Lakshmi bestows on us wealth of many kinds --not just money but intellectual wealth, the wealth of character, and others. Even health is a kind of wealth. She grants untold riches to us. And Saraswati bestows intelligence, the capacity for intellectual inquiry, and the power of discrimination on us. The Navaratri festival is celebrated in order to proclaim the power of the goddesses to the world. One's own mother is the combination of all these divine beings. She provides us with energy, wealth, and intelligence. She constantly desires our advancement in life. So she represents all the three goddesses that we worship during the Navaratri festival.

Discourse on 14 October 1988

The term Devi represents the divine power that has taken the passionate (raajasic) form to suppress the forces of evil and protect the serene (satvic) qualities. When the forces of injustice, immorality, and untruth have grown to monstrous proportions and are indulging in a death-dance, when selfishness and self-interest are rampant, when men have lost all sense of kindness and compassion, the Aathmic principle assumes the form of Sakthi, takes on the passionate (raajasic)  quality, and seeks to destroy the evil elements. This is the inner meaning of the Dasara festival.

When the divine Goddess is in dreadful rage to destroy the wicked elements, she assumes a fearful form. To pacify the dreaded Goddess, her feminine children offer worship to Her with sacred red powder (kumkum). Seeing the blood-red kumkum at her feet, the Goddess feels assured that the wicked have been vanquished and assumes her benign form. The inner meaning of the worship of Devi with red kumkum is that thereby the Goddess is appeased.

During the ten days of the Dasara, the  demons (rakshasas), in the form of wicked qualities, have been routed. Rakshasas do not mean demonic beings. The bad qualities in men are the demons. Arrogance is a demon. Bad thoughts are demons. Ravana is depicted as the king of Rakshasas. He is said to have ten heads, but he was not born with ten heads. Who is this Ravana, and what are his ten heads? Lust  (kama), anger (krodha), delusion (moha), greed (lobha), pride (mada), envy (maatsarya), the mind (manas), intellect (buddhi), will (chitta),and ego (ahamkara) --these constitute the ten heads. Ravana is one who has these ten qualities.

Each one can decide for himself whether he is a Ravana or a Rama, according to his qualities. Rama is the destroyer of bad qualities. When engaged in this act of destruction of bad qualities, He manifests His passionate quality (raajo-guna). But His passionate quality is associated with His serene (saatvic) quality. Even in cutting off Ravana's ten heads, Rama showed His love. This was the only way Ravana could be redeemed.

When the Lord metes out a punishment, it may appear harsh. But what appears externally as passionate (raajasic) is in reality serene (saatvic). In a hailstorm, along with rain there will be hailstones. But both the rain and hailstones contain water. Likewise, there is serene quality even in the Lord's passionate actions. Similarly there may be passionate quality even in slothful (thaamasic) actions. These depend on the time, place, and circumstances in which the Lord acts. Butter can be split with a finger. But a powerful hammer is needed to break a piece of iron. The Lord deals with serene persons in a serene way. He applies the passionate weapon against passionate persons.

People worship the Lord as Roudraakaara, attributing dreaded forms and qualities to the Divine. This is not proper. The Divine has only one attribute: the embodiment of love. It has been said, "Love is God. Love pervades the Cosmos." Hence, one should not view the world from a worldly point of view. It should be viewed through the eyes of love.

Embodiments of Divine Love! All the festivals of Indians (Bharatiyas) have been designed to promote divine love among the people. It is to confer such love on the people that the Lord incarnates on earth. He Himself demonstrates how love should be expressed. He showers His love and teaches everyone how to love. Hence, experience this love and joy in your life and live in peace.

Discourse on 18 October 1991

Indians (Bharatiyas) have been celebrating the Navaratri festival from ancient times as a mode of worship of Devi, the Divine as mother. They worship Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati during those nine days. Who are these three? These three forms have fascinated man. Their esoteric significance is represented by three potencies (shakthis): karma, devotion (upaasana) and spiritual wisdom (jnaana).

The significance of Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati has to be rightly understood. The three represent three kinds of potencies in man: will power (ichchaa shakthi), the power of purposeful action (kriya shakthi), and the power of discernment (jnaana shakthi).

Saraswati is manifest in man as the power of speech (vaak). Durga is present in the form of dynamism. Lakshmi is manifest in the form of will power. The body indicates purposeful action (kriya shakthi). The mind is the repository of will power (ichchaa shakthi). The Aathma is the power of discernment (jnaana shakthi). Purposeful action comes from the body, which is material. The power that activates the inert body and makes it vibrant is will power. The power that induces the vibrations of will power is the power of discernment (jnaana shakthi), which causes radiation of energy. These three potencies are represented by the mantra, Om Bhur Bhuvah Suvaha. Bhur represents the earth (bhuloka). Bhuvah represents the life force, conscience in man. Suvaha represents the power of radiation. All three are present in man. Thus, Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati dwell in the human heart.

Men are prone to exhibit passionate (raajasic) qualities like anger and hatred. They are the menacing manifestations of Durga. The extolling of the Divine in song and poetry and the pleasing vibrations produced by them indicate the power of Saraswathi. The pure qualities that arise in man, such as compassion, love, forbearance, and sympathy, are derived from Lakshmi.

When people worship Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswathi externally in pictures or icons, they are giving physical forms to the subtle potencies that are within them. The unfortunate predicament of man today is that he is not recognizing the powers within him and developing respect for them. He goes after the external, attracted by the physical forms. The relationship between the material and the subtle has to be understood. The remedy for man's life is contained within himself. But man seeks remedies from outside.

What should do during these ten days of the Navarathri festival? Convert your will power (ichchaa shakthi) into a yearning for God. Convert purposeful action (kriya shakthi) into a force for doing Divine actions. Convert your power of discernment (jnaana shakthi) into the Divine Itself.

Discourse on 9 October 1994

Navarathri means "nine nights". What does the nine signify? There are nine planets (grahas), according to astrology. The human body has nine openings. If a deep inquiry is made, it will be found that mankind is dependent on the planets. Although astrologers speak about nine planets, in reality, only two "planets" matter: attachment (raaga) and hatred (dwesha).

In the worship of the deities during Navarathri, one of them should be worshipped each day, not externally but with one's heart and soul. Bodily actions are ephemeral. The body derives its value from the spirit within. Hence it should be regarded as a sacred temple. During the Navarathri festival, for the purpose of eradicating one's demonic tendencies, the deities were worshipped with sacred powder (kumkum). The red powder is a symbol of blood. The meaning of this worship is that one offers one's blood to the Lord and receives in return the gift of peace from the Lord.

Therefore, the Navarathri festival is observed by contemplating on God for ten days, cleansing one's self of all impurities, in order to experience the divinity within. The penultimate day of the festival is dedicated to what is termed "worship of weapons" (aayudha puja). The weapons to be worshipped are the divine powers in man. When the divine is worshipped in this way, one is bound to progress spiritually.

Article from Kanchi Kamakoti Site:

The Legend

Hindu mythology is replete with instances of fierce battles between the Devas and Asuras. Very often the Asuras performed rigourous penance and obtained boons which they proceeded to use to conquer the Devas. The Devas faced with such threats often sort refuge in Lord Vishnu to come to their rescue. However in some cases, the Asuras with the boon of invincibility proved to be too powerful. One such story is that of the ferocious Asura kings Shumbha and Nishumbha. The Devas approached the Sages who told them that only Devi Maha Maya (Goddess Durga) could rescue them from the asuras.

The Devas prayed fervently to the Trimurtis – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to relieve them of their suffering. Goddess Durga is said to have then been created by a spectacular light emananating from the mouths of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, which turned into a beautiful, magnificent woman with ten hands.. Each of the God’s gifted her with a weapon to help her fight the Asuras.  Siva gave her a Trishula (trident), Vishnu a Chakra (Discus), Varuna a Shankha  (Conch), Agni a missile named Shakti, .Vayu a bow and arrow, Indra the Vajra (thunderbolt)  and a Ghanta ( bell), Yama a Dhanda, the Ocean a noose, Brahma the Rudraksha beads, the Sages a Kamandalu (water pot), Vishwakarma gave her weapons of all sorts and powerful amulets and Himavaan gave her a Simha (lion) to ride upon. Thus armed and adorned, the goddess sent forth a loud battle cry that filled all space, and the echo reverberated with terrible noise, striking terror all round.

As the legend goes, Goddess Durga went to the kingdom of the Asuras in the form of a beautiful woman Mohini. Struck blind by her beauty, the demon kings Shumbha and Nishumbha propose to her. She agrees on the condition that they would have to defeat her in war. The brothers, unaware of her identity, agree instantly and the war begins.

The demons send their most powerful representatives, including Mahishasura, Dhumralochana, Chanda, Munda and Raktabheeja to fight Durga all of whom are defeated by the Goddess. With their most ferocious warriors killed in battle, Shumbha and Nishumbha venture to take on the powerful Goddess and the ensuing terrible battle culminates in their deaths at the hands of the Goddess on Vijayadashami day.

Navaratri is thus a celebration of the victory of truth and good over the darker forces.

The Deeper Meaning behind Goddess Durga

During the Navaratri, we pray to the Goddess in three forms: Kriyaashakti or Kali, Icchaashakti or Lakshmi and, Jnanashakti or Saraswathi. These three aspects of Goddess Durga can directly be mapped to the three attributes of living beings i.e Sattwa, Rajasa  and Tamasa.

Tamasa is represented by that aspect of Goddess Durga we worship as Goddess Kali. Tamasa is that binding force with a tendency to lethargy (lack of energy, vitality), sloth and foolish actions. The lower states of ignorance and egoism are typified by or personified as demons with such names as Mahishasura(the buffalo- headed demon standing for ignorance and stubborn egoism), Dhumralochana(Smoky-eyed – a person clouded by ignorance), Chanda(fierce) and Munda(low), which should be destroyed by the sudden burst of energy and ferocity as represented by Goddess Kali.

Rajasa is represented by that aspect of Goddess Durga that we worship as Goddess Lakshmi.- the bestower of Prosperity. Rajas is of the nature of activity, passion and ambition, the source of thirst for physical enjoyment. Rajas binds one by attachment to action. The Asura Raktabija represents the more subtle states of desire which multiply endlessly to create more problems, conquered by the virtues of self-control and noble thoughts represented by Goddess Lakshmi.

Sattwa is represented by that aspect of Goddess Durga we worship as Goddess Saraswati – the bestower of wisdom.  Sattwa binds us by attachment to happiness and knowledge. Sattwa is luminous and healthy. Shumbha and Nishumbha signify more enlightened aspects of egoism which can only be conquered by wisdom as represented by Goddess Saraswathi.

Other legends

As per the Mahabharata, the Pandavas after wandering in the forest for 12 years, hung their weapons on a Shami tree before entering the court of King Virata to spend the last one year in disguise. After the completion of that year, they brought down the weapons from the Shami tree and declared their true identity on Vijayadashmi. Since that day the exchange of Shami leaves on Dassera day became symbols of good, will and victory.

As per the Ramayana, Sri Rama performed Durga Puja and invoked the blessings of Goddess Durga to kill Ravana, the ten-headed king of Lanka who had abducted Sita. Goddess   Durga is said to have divulged the secret of conquering Ravana to Rama. Following this Rama, Lakshmana and the monkey forces proceeded to Lanka and in the ensuing battle Rama vanquished Ravana.  The victorious Sri Rama accompanied by Sita and Lakshmana is said to have returned to his kingdom of Ayodhya on Vijayadashami day.

The Celebrations


The Navaratri festival includes an exhibition of dolls called kolu, depicting the various avatars or forms of gods and goddesses.

The Kolu is set up by the ladies of the house on Amavasya day of the lunar month of Ashwina (Tamil Purattasi). The dolls are arranged on a series of steps (made of wood or metal). The practice is to have three, five, seven or nine steps and a white cloth is spread over them before the dolls are displayed. A pair of wooden dolls – one a boy and one a girl – called “Marapaatchi” in Tamil are first placed next to each other on the first step from the top. Following this, a Kalasham  (a small pot-like vessel filled with rice, decorated with mango leaves and a coconut smeared with turmeric paste and kumkum) is placed on the step. The dolls are then arranged on the steps with a Vinayaka doll being placed first. The custom is to expand one’s collection by the acquisition of a new doll every year.

Navaratri Puja

The next day (Prathama Thithi) is the beginning of the festival. On this day, the women of the house have an oil bath and Vadas and Payasam are prepared as Naivedhyam and offered to the Goddess.

There is a belief that the first three days are for worship of Durga to bestow courage and valor, the next three days for the worship of Lakshmi for universal prosperity; and the last three for worship of Saraswati for the growth of learning. On each of the nine days, ladies may follow the following routine:

  1. Sprinkle a solution of cowdung and water outside the house and draw rangoli patterns with rice flour or rice flour paste and red-earth (“Shemmann” in Tamil )
  2. Recite the Lalitha Sahasranamam, Lalitha Trishathi, Durga Saptha Shathi amd Durga Ashtottaram (performing Archana with Kumkum), after lighting the lamp. In general, while lighting the lamp, it is beneficial to invoke Kartaveerya for protection by saying  “ Karthaveeryaya Namaha”.  The lighting of lamps in this manner is said to ensure protection from theft and the recovery of stolen goods.
  3. Puja may be performed with the use of various scented flowers(jasmine, jaadi, mullai, lily, roses,etc) and leaves (Vilva, Tulasi, Maru etc) all of which are said to please the Goddess. One may also use scented pastes like sandalwood, kasturi turmeric, scented oils, saffron water, rose water etc during the puja. Jewellery, gemstones, pearls and corals may particularly be used to decorate the Goddess. 
  4. To prepare and offer Sweet Pongal prepared from rice and jaggery is particularly beneficial as the Goddess is described as “Gudaanna Preeta Manasa” – She who likes rice cooked with jaggery in the Lalitha Sahasranama. In addition, several varieties of mixed rices may also be prepared for Naivedhya including Tamarind, Coconut, Milk (Venn) Pongal, Lemon, Sesame, Curd rices etc.
  5. Arati must be performed to the Goddess twice a day in the morning and in the evening. 

Navaratri is a festival specially significant for women. In the evenings, ladies and young girls are invited irrespective of caste to come and accept thamboolam (turmeric, kumkum, betel leaves and betel). On each of the ten days of festivities, naivedhya  made of pulses like moong dal, chana dal, chole and rajma (called sundal) is cooked and distributed among the guests in the evening. One may also gift ladies and young girls with coconuts, blouse pieces, saris, combs and mirrors and bangles depending on the financial status of the family.

It is said that to present one lady with thambulam on any of the nine nights gives one the benefic results of presenting thambulam to a lakh of ladies.  It is particularly beneficial if one is able to give at least one lady thambulam every day.

It is also beneficial to invite at least one Kanya (girl between the ages of 1 –10) for lunch and gift her with clothes and thambulam on each day of Navaratri. If possible one can call 1 Kanya the first day, 2 on the second day, 3 on the 3rd day and so on with 9 Kanyas on the 9th day.

Musical Offering to the Goddess: Dikshitar’s Navavarna Krithis

Muthuswami Dikshitar  is one of the Trimurtis of Carnatic music.  Amongst his compositions is a set of Krithis called the Navavarana krithis, composed in praise of Goddess Kamalaamba of Thiruvarur. These krithis are usually rendered during the Navaratri festival as Sangeetha Upachaaram. The following table lists the krithis.

Kamalambike - Todi - Rupakam
Kamalamba Samrakshathu - Anandabhairavi - Misra Chapu
Kamalambaam Bhajare - Kalyani - Adi
Sri Kamalambikayam - Shankarabharanam - Rupakam
Kamalambikayai - Kambhoji - (Khanda) Ata
Sri Kamalamba param - Bhairavi - Misra Jampa
Kamalambikayaastava - Punnagavarali - Rupakam
Sri Kamalambikayam - Sahana - Tisra Triputa
Sri Kamalambike - Ghanta - Adi
Sri Kamalamba Jayati - Ahiri - Rupakam
Sri Kamalambike - Sri - Kanda Ekam


On the ninth day of the festivities, Saraswathi Puja is performed. Books, musical instruments, tools and even vehicles are placed in the Puja. Goddess Saraswathi is invoked and we pray for the bestowal of knowledge and wisdom. It is customary not to read books, play instruments or use tools on this day. Vadai and Payasam are offered as Naivedhyam.


The tenth day is celebrated as Vijayadashami. It is the day of victory, representing the day of enlightenment when all vasanas are destroyed and the knowledge of the Self has dawned in the individual.

This day is considered auspicious for beginning all ventures. Small children are introduced to reading and writing with the Akshara Abhyaasa ceremony on this day. Music classes begin on this day. The books, instruments etc placed in the Puja the previous day are distributed to the family members. It is customary to read a few lines from the books, use the instruments, tools and the vehicles for a short while on this day. Vadai and Payasam are offered as Naivedhyam.

The festivities come to a symbolic end on Vijayadashami night when the wooden “Marapaatchi” dolls in the Kolu display are put to sleep.

Thus, during Navaratri, Goddess Kali is invoked first to remove impurities from the mind. Then Goddess Lakshmi is invoked to cultivate noble values and qualities. Finally, Saraswati is invoked for gaining the highest knowledge of the Self. This is the significance of the three sets of nights, and when all these three are gained subjectively, then there will be Vijayadasami, the day of true victory.