As the nine nights represent the nine planets, we will be having a planetary observance of Navaratri with an account of one of the planets for each of the nine nights. The fifth day of Navratri is marked to worship Goddess Skandamata, mother of Murugan (var. Skanda, Subramanya, Kartikeya), is worshipped on the fifth day, one should wear yellow. This colour stands for happiness and brightness. Skanda-Murugan is the leader of the armies against evil.
Today is the fifth day of the Navaratri celebrations which are held for nine nights. All festivals are meant to remind mankind that they should cultivate noble qualities by engaging themselves in activities beneficial to one’s own self and society. Sai Baba has told that Navaratri, the nine nights, represents the Nine Planets.
In Hindu mythology, Navaratri celebrates the victory of Goddess Durga over Mahishasura, the buffalo-headed demon. She fought for nine days and nine nights before emerging victorious on the tenth day. Goddess Shakti in the nine forms is worshipped during the period for knowledge, wealth, prosperity and auspiciousness. Knowingly or unknowingly during this period we also recognize the primordial source of energy (Shakti), which manifests in all living and nonliving.
Sai Baba went on to say that each planet has its own significance. However, these planets are not outside, they are within. So we take the opportunity to examine the energies of the planets within, and examine how the Divine Mother is related to these energies.
Jupiter is watery in constitution (kapha), wears yellow clothes and yellow flowers; his gem is yellow sapphire. A Brahmin, Jupiter knows all the Vedas and is expert in all forms of knowledge. As guru, Jupiter has the highest forms of knowledge, philosophy and spirituality (para vidya) and teaches the sacred paths.
Jupiter is Lord of the body’s fat, of the northeast, rules Thursdays, and the signs of Sagittarius and Pisces. Jupiter is known as the Lord of Worship and as the Guru. He is called Teacher of the Immortals, the Soul, the Advisor, the Lord of Speech, the Golden, the Creator (he is but another form of Brahma) the Compassionate, the Creator of Polity, remover of oppression and the Peaceable. As Guru, one honours one’s own guru by honouring this planet, Jupiter.
Jupiter grants knowledge of Yoga, Astrology, Vastu, science and mathematics, and is the giver of wisdom which overcomes obstacles. Jupiter as guru guides us in following dharma (the path of righteousness within and without) for dharma is the basis of the Universe itself. Jupiter indicates such domains of principle as law, religion and philosophy. He is the planet of intelligence.
Jupiter’s energy is that of expansion; it expands everything it touches, making it bigger and greater. Some call Jupiter a multiplier, for this is what Jupiter does. If Jupiter is well placed in your horoscope its influence will be toward humanitarian activity, compassion, morality, caring, spirituality, optimism, faith and good judgement. One will be powerful, respected, healthy, wealthy, and a leader in society. Ambitious people who are aiming for high office whether it be politicians, priests, executives or judges are all under the influence of Jupiter. When Jupiter is afflicted in one’s astrological chart it will bring poverty, anger, arthritis, illness of the liver and pancreas, and overall bad luck.
Skandamātā is the fifth form of Hindu Goddess Durga. Literally meaning Mother of Skanda, her name comes from two words – Skanda is one of the names for the war god and her son Kartikeya (or Murugan or Subramanya) and Mata is the term for mother.
Skandamātā is four-armed and rides on a lion. She carries a lotus. Her one hand is in blessing posture. Lord Skanda can be seen in her lap. She possesses four arms out of which two often hold the lotus flowers. One of her hands is always in the boon-conferring gesture and with the other she holds her son Skanda in her lap. Her complexion is white and she is seated on the lotus. So, she is also called Goddess with a lotus-seat (Padmāsana). The lion is her vahana (vehicle).
Significance of Navaratri
“During the Dasara festival, three goddesses – Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati -are worshipped according to certain traditional practices. Durga represents the prodigious power of nature (Prakrit-shakti). As against this power of nature is the Paraa-Shakti (the power of the spirit). When spiritual power is predominant, the power of nature is kept under control. When spiritual power is weak, the power of nature becomes predominant. This is illustrated by the example of smoke and fire. When smoke is predominant, the fire is suppressed. When the fire is blazing, the smoke vanishes. Hence, to enhance the power of spirit and limit the power of nature, man has to cultivate detachment (Vairaagya). To the extent that power of nature is under control, to that extent spiritual power grows. “Ichchaa-Shakti” is one of the of several other potencies like intellectual power, the discriminating capacity and others. To develop this “Ichchaa-Shakti” (will power), one has to worship “Devi”. This calls for the cultivation of Tyaaga (detachment or renunciation). For instance, if one has a desire for various drinks, he can bring the desires under control by giving up, to begin with, the desire for one of them. Thereby the Will Power (Ichchaa-Shakti) is developed and in due course, it becomes easier to give up other desires.
In Vedantic parlance this is described as “Vairaagya” (renouncing attachments). Vairaagya is not abandonment of hearth and home and retiring to a forest. It means developing godly thoughts and reducing worldly feelings. When this balanced development takes place, one acquires control over the powers of nature (Praakrita-Shakti). When these powers are got, the mental power in a person increases. Durga represents the Praakrita-Shakti and Lakshmi represents the Thought Power (Sankalpa Shakti). Vaak-Shakti (the power of speech), is represented by Saraswati. In order to acquire these three powers, various forms of worship are performed during the Navaratri festival. But prayers alone are not enough. Prayers should not be just from the lips. They should emanate from the heart. The heart (Hridaya) symbolizes the Ocean of Milk (Ksheera-saagara). When Lakshmi emerges, purity of speech follows. Whatever you speak should conform to truth.” Sai Baba, SS. 12/92. pp.304 & 305.
Transit of Jupiter as seen by Voyager