As the nine nights represent the nine planets, we have presented a focus on Navaratri; the nine nights of the Mother is complete and we now focus on the day of Victory – Dassera (derived from dasami, tenth) and the Victory of the Goddess over evil. All participate in this victory and delight that the eternal cycle of triumph of good over evil comes yet once again.
Today is the Tenth day (Dassera – Dusshera) the finale 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 made this reference to Navaratri and the Nine Planets:
As part of Navaratri celebrations, people worship different forms of divinity. You should develop sacred feelings and experience divinity. What is the inner meaning of Navaratri celebrations? These nine nights represent nine planets. Each planet has its own significance. However, these planets are not outside, they are within. If your feelings are impure and unsacred, the result also will be the same. You are responsible for the good and bad you think and experience.
The Name of the Nine Planets are – Sun (Surya), Moon (Chandra), Mars (Mangala), Jupiter (Brihaspati, Guru), Venus (Shukra), Saturn (Sani), and finally, Rahu and Ketu. While the first seven are physical forms, Rahu and Ketu are called Chaya Grahas or Shadow Planets. Each planet influences our lives according to the position on the Birth Charts.
In simple terms, graha drishti means the glance, the view, the vision of the planet. It indicates what a planet can see from the house it currently resides in. There are 12 houses in astrology, each corresponding to a zodiac sign or rashi. Graha drishti, or the planetary aspect, is considered extremely important because planets can greatly influence each other. According to astrology, every object in the universe influences others. For instance, the Moon’s gravitational pull causes tides in the oceans on Earth. This is the basis of astrology, that celestial entities influence everything, from the smallest to the largest objects in the universe. This includes human beings. Each of the navagrahas has the capacity to affect different aspects of our lives.
Goddess Durga is a principal and popular form of Hindu Goddess. She is the warrior goddess, whose mythology centres around combating evils and demonic forces that threaten peace, prosperity and dharma of the good.
The festival of Navaratri is dedicated to Goddess Durga and her 9 avatars. On each of these nine days, there is worship of the nine different manifestation of Durga or Shakti. The ‘Nav Durga‘ or the ‘Nine Forms of Durga’ are pleased with special offerings and prayers. The significance of Nav Durga is narrated and reiterated in every Hindu household especially during the Navaratri nights as this is the time when Goddess Durga descends from the heaven to bless her beloved devotees.
Durga’s Name and Its Meaning
In Sanskrit, Durga means “a fort” or “a place that is difficult to overrun,” an apt metaphor for this deity’s protective, militant nature. Durga is sometimes referred to as Durgatinashini, which literally translates into “the one who eliminates sufferings.”
Significance of Navaratri
“The significance of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati has to be rightly understood. Three represent three kinds of potencies in man. Iccha Shakti (will power), Kriya Shakti (the power of action) and Jnana Shakti (the power of discrimination). Saraswati is manifested in man as the power of speech (Vaak). Durga is present in the form of dynamism (the power of action). Lakshmi is manifested in the form of will power. The body indicates “Kriya Shakti”. The mind is the repository of “Iccha Shakti”. The Atma is “Jnana Shakti”. “Kriya Shakti” comes from the body, which is material. The power that activates the body, which is inert and makes it vibrant, is “Iccha Shakti”. The power that induces the vibrations of’khchaa Shakti” is “Jnana Shakti” which causes radiation (of energy). These three are represented by the Mantra “OM Bhur-Bhuvah-Svah”. “Bhu” represents Bhu-loka (earth). “Bhuvah.” represents the life-force (also means conscience of man), “Svah” represents the power of radiation. All the three are present in man. Thus, Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati dwell in the human heart.” Sai Baba. SS. 11/94. pp. 283 & 284