Navaratri – Nine Days for the Divine Mother

Prem Baba and his sangha observe the Navaratri twice a year, once some time in March or April during the India season, and once in September or October during which Prem Baba leads a ten-day retreat at the Sachcha Mission Ashram in Brazil. Please see the calendar to find out the exact days for an upcoming Navaratri festival.
Navaratri is an Indian festival that honors the Divine Mother in her various forms. Navaratri literally means nine nights: there are three days dedicated to Durga, the Goddess who helps us integrate the ego, three days for Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity and abundance, and three days for Saraswati, who brings beauty and wisdom. The festival ends on the tenth day, which is the day of victory, when good triumphs over evil.
During this time, some special attention is called for. It is a time to withdraw as much as possible, avoiding any type of distraction. It’s a good time to fast or to at least do an intelligent austerity related to the tongue. It is a time to be with your own self, dedicating yourself to the practice of japa, the repetition of mantras. During this period, transformation is intensified, since the layers of the lower self are focused on and brought to the surface with the objective of purifying your actions, your tongue, your mind and your heart.”
Sri Prem Baba

The Navaratri Fast

During Navaratri we avoid abusing food or binge eating because a lot of energy passes through the body, and if we eat in excess we tend to suffer and feel bad. We nourish ourselves in a frugal manner with fruits and vegetables, avoiding any grains or cereals. But I don’t want to decide this for you. I want you to feel this in your heart. Everyone is being guided towards being able to hear their own intuition. You know that it is a moment to withdraw, to not be distracted, and to not exaggerate.”
Sri Prem Baba
The following foods can be eaten during the fast:
  • all fruits (including fruit bars, dried fruit, etc.)
  • all vegetables (including potatoes, pumpkin, squash, etc.)
  • legumes (beans, lentils, peas, soy, etc)
  • nuts and seeds (including chia seeds)
  • dairy products
  • tea and fruit juices
According to tradition, the following foods are avoided:
  • non-vegetarian food and alcohol
  • all grains (including rice, quinoa, wheat, barley, oats, bread, cereals, flax seeds, etc.)
  • spices and salt (though rock salt can be used for cooking)

The Inner Significance of Navaratri

Each Goddess represent a power, attribute or function. Saraswati embodies creation, Lakshmi represents preservation, and Durga symbolizes the transformation of the universe and everything in it. More specifically in our lives, these are the three fundamental powers of action (Durga), willpower (Lakshmi) and discernment (Saraswati). During this highly auspicious time period, people have an increased ability to overcome destructive habits and personality flaws. By praying, meditating, repeating mantras and performing pujas or offerings during this period, we purify our actions and more readily embody prosperity and wisdom. This isn’t just a festival, it’s actually a very special energetic moment for planet Earth.

“The first three days are dedicated to Mother Durga and Mother Kali, who are in essence the same energy – Durga brings out the concealed negativity and Kali destroys this negativity; Durga reveals the hidden garbage and Kali completes the inner cleansing. After three days of removing the ‘weeds’ from the field in this way, the moment comes to plant the seeds. These next three days are Lakshmi’s time to act, purifying our intentions and hearts. After ploughing for three days, it’s time to harvest what you have sown. During the last three days Saraswati manifests herself, bringing wisdom, creativity and clarity of speech.”
Sri Prem Baba