There are two main types of Navratri. One is conducted in the month of Chaitra in April and is known as Vasantha Navratri and it is mainly celebrated in North India.
And in South India, Sharad Navratri is celebrated in the month of Ashwija in September – October.
Divine blessings are invoked so that everyone obtains wisdom and the following three shaktis:
Ichcha Shakti – Willpower
Kriya Shakti – Power to perform right action
Jnana Shakti – Knowledge of right action
What is the significance of Navratri for a spiritual seeker?
This is a unique festival where in on one hand, celebration happens and on the other, one can delve deeper to gain knowledge of the self.
Moreover, there are six distortions, or vices of the mind:
Mada (arrogance), and
These distortions can go out of control in any human being, and become an obstacle on the spiritual path. They can be dissolved during these nine days of Navratri, with the grace of Shakti.
Tapasya or upasana are, therefore, performed during these nine days, along with meditation.
What to do during Navratri?
The night is a time for relaxation and rejuvenation of the mind and the body. If we don’t rest at night, it becomes difficult to carry on with our activities the next day, doesn’t it?
Similarly, Navratri is the resting time for the spirit in you. It is the time when you withdraw yourself from all sensory activities (eating, talking, watching, touching, listening, smelling), and rest in yourself. This withdrawal from all sensory activities takes you deeper within yourself, which is the actual source of bliss, joy, and enthusiasm in your life.
Tips for Fasting:
Fasting during Navratri is an ideal way to detox the body, enhance digestion and increase positivity.
While the benefits of fasting during Navratri are plenty, many of us fast incorrectly which further disturbs the balance in our body.
A traditional Navratri diet:
A conventional Navratri diet is one that pacifies our digestive fire. It can be any combination of the following ingredients:
Buckwheat (kuttu) roti, fasting rice (shamak rice), Dosa from fasting rice; Dishes made from sago (sabudana), water chestnut (singhara) flour, rajgira, yam (suran), colocacia (arbi), boiled sweet potatoes (shakarkand), etc.
Clarified butter (ghee), milk and buttermilk. All these have a cooling effect on the body
Yogurt combined with bottle gourd (lauki) and pumpkin (kaddu)
Lots of fluids – tender coconut water, juices, vegetable soups, etc. Besides providing energy, they prevent dehydration and flush out the toxins released during fasting
Fruit salad made with papaya, pear, and apple
When following a traditional Navratri diet, it is also recommended to:
Use rock salt instead of common salt for cooking
Use healthy cooking methods like roasting, boiling, steaming and grilling
Be strictly vegetarian
Avoid grains for the first few days
Avoid any fried and heavy food
Avoid onion and garlic
Those who cannot fast should abstain from non-vegetarian food, alcohol, onion, garlic and use rock salt instead of common salt for cooking.