Navratri (or nine nights) is a Hindu holiday that honors Shakti or the Divine Feminine / Mother and seeks spiritual purification, guidance and enlightenment from her. It lasts nine nights and ten days. The nine nights are divided into groups of three and during each group there is meditation on a particular aspect of the Divine Mother. Each series of nights also corresponds to a specific spiritual goal and task.
We spend the first few nights meditating on the Divine Feminine in her powerful and destructive aspect, known as Durga or Kali. We ask the Goddess to help us identify and eliminate those aspects of ourselves that are not helpful, skillful, or productive, such as greed, envy, procrastination, laziness, lies, gossip, etc. We also ask her, our spiritual ones Protect practice from its many dangers and pitfalls.
The second series of nights are spent meditating on the Divine Mother in her spiritual richness-giving aspect, known as Lakshmi. We ask the Goddess to help us develop and maintain helpful qualities such as patience, forgiveness, compassion, loving-kindness, and integrity.
The third series of nights is spent meditating on the Divine Feminine in her spiritual, wisdom-giving aspect known as Sarasvati. We ask the Goddess to help us achieve self-actualization and understand universal truths such as our divine nature and the connectedness of living beings. The tenth day is spent offering gratitude to the Divine Mother and celebrating in a state of Sat-Chit-Ananda or Truth Awareness-Bliss.
To name these days:
Prayers & mantras
During the nine days, chant the mantra “Om Bhavani” (“In the name of the Divine Mother”).
Practice breathing meditation. As you inhale, say the quality you are trying to cultivate; on the exhale, the quality of which you are trying to let go. For example, when I breathe in I could say, “Breathe in compassion” and when I breathe out I could say, “Breathe out criticism.”
Take time each of the nine days, or at least once every three days, to focus on the three aspects of the divine feminine that are within you and the corresponding spiritual tasks.
Day 1 – 3: Focus on your inner strength and strength. Write down the traits or habits that you want to let go of. Choose one of these and practice letting go of it.
Days 4 – 6: Concentrate on your inner life force and breadwinner. Write down the traits or habits that you would like to cultivate. Pick one of these and practice incorporating it.
Day 7 – 9: Focus on your inner wisdom and your guide. List the spiritual teachings that you would like to learn or understand better. Pick one and read an inspiring book or article about it.
Ami Bhalodkar is an interfaith minister. She is a faculty member at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in New York City, lecturing on Hinduism. In addition to providing interfaith workshops, Rev. Bhalodkar conducts bespoke wedding ceremonies and offers spiritual counseling.