What is Chaitra Navratri and what is the significance of the festival?

Spring is considered the best season by many. It is the time when flowers blossom, fruits laden trees draw birds to them, butterflies are seen flitting around and the time when winter has shed its coldness and there is a lovely warmth in the air. It is not yet too hot, and the breeze makes one look forward to the early morning sunrise. This is the time when most of Bharat celebrates its New Year too. From Sindh in the West to Arunachal in the East, from Kashmir in the North to Karnataka in the South, Sanatanis celebrate Chaitra Shukla Pratipada as the day when their new Samvatsar begins. (Note: In South Karnataka, TN and Kerala they celebrate it a few days later as Vishu). Unlike elsewhere in the world, our Years are named and the name is repeated every 60 years. This year the Samvatsara is the ‘Hevilambi’ Samvatsara.

The Chaitra Maasa (month) is very special to every Sanatani. In Hinduism we mainly celebrate 2 Navratris – the Chaitra Navratri and the Ashwin Navratri corresponding to the Spring and the Autumn seasons. There are actually 4 Navratris, two being the Gupt Navratris – one in Maagh and one in Aashaad Maasa. While all the Navratris are associated with Devi Maa, the ones during Ashwin and Chaitra are associated with Prabhu Shree Rama too.

The first day of Chaitra is celebrated as the New Year beginning. From that day itself, people keep the fasts with devotion towards Devi Maa. We believe that Maa Parambika or Durga as She is lovingly called, saved us from the Asuri Tattvas like Shumb-Nishumb, Bandasur, Rakth beej, Mahishasur and many more. As Parambika, She is Love, Wisdom and Prosperity incarnate.

Chaitra is also the month when Shree Rama was born. On the 9th day of Chaitra Shukla Paksha, we celebrate the birth of Shree Rama as Rama Navami. He too was born to rid the Shrishti of Asuri Tattvas in the form of Khar-Dushann and Ravana. His greatness is indescribable and till today He is remembered as Maryaada Purushottam Shree Ramachandra – that is, the person who never crossed His limits.As a King, He could have taken advantage of many situations and people – He never did it. He was Purushottam – the Best among all men. He was Rama – one who leads you to Light. His lineage of Surya Vamshis have created History in our Bharat Varsha as being Kings who only brought succour to all of mankind, through the ages. His coronation was held on Chaitra Pratipada and Rama Rajya is the dream of all civilized Nations, especially that of Bharat.

Every Hanuman Bhakt too holds Chaitra close to his/her heart, since Chaitra Purnima (full moon) is the day when Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated. Ramayana would be incomplete without the 11thRudraavatar Hanuman being present. He is not just a Rama Bhakt, He is a Devi Bhakt too. It is believed that Hanuman guarded the Vaishno Devi shrine and prevented Bhairon Baba from reaching Her at Garbajoon in the Trikuta Peaks.

Fasting during Spring and Autumn is believed to keep the body healthy and the mind spiritually inclined. This is one way of looking after our body which houses our soul. While many have expressed surprise at the way our PM Narendra Modi keeps his fast during Navratri and still keeps doing his work effortlessly, it is a way of life for many Sanatanis. Sannyasis too keep the Navratri fasts and reportedly Yogi Adityanath, the new CM of UP is no exception. May Maa Durga and Prabhu Shree Rama bless our Nation.

Jai Hind !!!

VandeMataram !!!

Rati Hegde