Significance to our community
world Hindus celebrate Navratras with great
devotion. Navratras literally means
"nine nights". These nights are
devoted to the worship of Goddess Durga. Navratras,
are celebrated twice in a year. Once in the
bright two-week period of Shukla Paksha of the
lunar month of Ashwani (Asuj in Kashmiri) –
corresponding to September/October) from the 1st
to the 9th date of the two week period.
of Navratras are celebrated with great fervor
especially in West Bengal where it is known as
"Durga Puja". The Gujrati Hindus
celebrate it with nine days of Garba dance. The
second Navratras are celebrated during the first
nine days of the bright two-week period of Shukla
Paksha of the lunar month of Chaitra –
corresponding to mid-March to mid-April.
of the celebrations correspond to the autumnal and
vernal equinox which is also the time when seasons
change and we harvest crops which adds to the
glory of these celebrations.
devout these days are the most sacred for it is
during these days when Goddess Durga takes a stock
of her devotees and grants all boons, removes sins
and ensures trouble free life for her devotees.
period most of the Hindus go to Temples for
prayers. At some places special pandals
(platforms) are raised where clay idols of Goddess
Durga are installed decorated with various weapons
in Her eight arms, riding a lion, with demon
Maheshasur lying dead at Her feet. These idols are
worshipped for eight days (nine nights) and then
immersed in river, lake or pond on the ninth day
with great fanfare.
period recitation of sacred scriptures such as
Durga Sapshudi from Markanday Puran, which
narrates how Goddess Durga was blessed and
provided with weapons by our Trinity of Gods for
vanquishing the demon Maheshasur who had forced
Devas to leave heaven and take refuge on earth.
Saints and learned ones carry on Pravachans
(discourses) and appraise devotees about the
importance of these days. In Chatturpur
Temple in South Delhi, over a million people visit
during these days. Musical recitations by famous
musicians are offered for the benefit of the
Goddess and devotees. For those who offer Jap
(repetition of mantras) as the way of meditation,
this is the time for marathon Japas of their
chosen mantra at least 125,000 (sava lakh)
times. For tantrics, it is the time to enrich
their tantric shakti by observing various rituals.
The devout ones keep a fast until they spot the
moon or by restricting their eating to one time
only. Even those who do not fast, do not eat
non-vegetarian food during these days.
On the ninth
day after the immersion of the idol in the water
the celebrations come to an end.
Navratras celebration of March/April period are
celebrated on a lessor scale but there is no short
cut for devout ones.
There are 22
places all around India from Kashmir to
Kanyakumari which are considered most scared to
Goddess Durga. In Kashmir, Khirbawani
at Tulamulla is among one such places where she is
worshipped as Maharagnya. KP's are
traditionally Shakti worshippers and worship Durga
as Maharagnya, Sharika, Jawala, Kali, Tripura etc.
Navratras people go to various shrines to offer
prayers. We recite Bhawani Sahasranam instead of
Durga Saptashudi. Bhawani Sahasranam (1000
names of Goddess Durga) is of Kashmiri Origin and
is not known outside Kashmir. Lalita Sahasranam of
South India, which has about 100 names common with
our Bhawani Shastranam, has the closest
resemblance to Bhawani Sahasranam .
Not all KP's
observe all nine days as Navratras. Some
people observe it from the 5th to the 8th
day and some only the 8th day which is Ashtami and
traditionally a sacred day for our community.
Some KP's take non-vegetarian food for the first
four days if they are not keeping a fast.
day - Nawmi - which is called Ram Nawmi, is a day
of traditional celebrations for us. On this
day, havans are performed especially at temples
dedicated to Lord Rama. It is a day when most of
KP's visit the places where havan is being
performed. We do not have the tradition of making
clay models and worshiping them followed by
immersion in rivers. Instead some of us sow barley
in a pot on 1st day of Navratra and keep it at a
sacred place, they water it daily and offer
prayers. The household keeps fast and taking meals
one time only. On the ninth day, the barley plants
are kept for display of the devotees as a symbolic
darshan of Goddess Durga. These plants are later
immersed in rivers. A good growth of plants
symbolizes the acceptance of prayers by Goddess
Durga and her happiness, which is sure to bring
happiness and prosperity to those involved.
Navratras of Chaitra (March-April) is of special
importance to KP's as it is on the first day of
this Navratras we celebrate our new year (Navreh).
last migration from Kashmir, our community has
begun celebrating these days according to
traditions followed by Hindus in their new
neighborhoods. Some people go for Vaishnav
Devi yaatra at Jammu which draws huge number
of devotees during these periods and receive
blessings of Goddess Vaisnav Devi.
selected Sholokas of Durga Saptashudi are called
Saptashaloki Durga and are recited by devotees
daily. These sholakas have been included in
Vijeshar Panchang and also in
the KOA recent publication Poozai Poshe.
shalokas, along with their translation, are as
Gyaninam Api Chetaansi Devi Bhagvati Hi
Balaat Aakrsihya Mohaaya Mahaamaya
Mother Goddess, the greatest pervader of
the entire Universe, you are inducing even
the mind of knowledgeable to your bondage.
Smritaa Harasi Bheetim Ashaisha Janto
Swasthai Smrita Matm Ateeva Shubhaam Dadaasi
Daaridra Dukh Bhaya Haarni Kaa Twadanya
Sarvopa Kaar Karnaya Sdaarda Chita
Mother Durga you are eradicating fright of
all living beings who remember you. People
who meditate on you, you bless them with
wisdom that brings them relief from all
directions. O! Mother Goddess, destroyer
of poverty and misery, who is else than
you whose mind always remains ready to
Mangalyai Shivaay Sarvartha Sadhikay
Sharanyai Trambikay Gauri Narayani
Meaning: O! Mother Goddess, you are
giver of success in everything.
O, Mother Goddess of Success, you are giver
of all types of
protections and peace as Shivi (Consort of
Shiva). You are as well
Gowri in fruition of endeavors of all those
who surrender to you. In
your capacity as Narayani (Consort of
Narayana), you are remover of
all types of troubles. I offer my
salutations of you.
Deenarta Paritraana Paraayanai
Sarva Syaarta Haray Devi Narayani Namostutay
Meaning: O, Narayani, who is always
engaged in helping her devotees
involved in troubles as also remover of
miseries of all, I offer my
salutations to you.
Bhayi-Bhyaa Traadhi No Devi Durgay Devi
Meaning: Your manifestation is in
every thing and you exist every
where. You are possessed with all power and
energy. O! Mother
Goddess Durga, kindly protect us from
all scare and fright. I offer my
salutations to you.
Ashaishaan Apahansi Tushtaa
Rushta Tu Kaamaan Sakalaan Abheeshtaan
Twaam Aashritaanaam Na Vipat Naraanaam
Twaam Aashritaa Hyaa Shrayataam Prayanti
Meaning: O, Mother Goddess, on
becoming happy you cast off all
diseases and on being otherwise destroy all
ambitions. All those who
have already surrendered to you, distress
never comes near them. All
those devotees, of your whom you bless,
become blessors of others.
Baadhaa Prashamanam Trilokya Syaa
Akhilaishwari Ayvam Ayva Twayaa
Karyam Asmay Vyri Vinaashanam
Meaning: O; Mother Goddess, dweller
of Universe, clear out hurdles in
my way in all three worlds in the same
manner as you suppressed
Madukaritab and do keep on destroying my
of above shalokas have been rendered by Shri
in the English edition of Vijyashvar
Punchang 1998-99 (Janthri))