Article by Aarti Seraphim
Navaratri is one of the most celebrated festivals in India, especially the Sharad Navaratri that falls in the month of September or October succeeding the period of monsoon. It is because the Sharad Navaratri marks the beginning of the prominent festivities, including Vijayadashmi (Dussehara) and Deepawali, which are celebrated across the country. On one hand, the festive season reflects the immense zeal and reverence of folks associated with it and on the other hand, it depicts the rich and sound culture of India as well as Hinduism. Although the after-monsoon Navaratri grabs most of the attention of the world toward rich Indian heritage, it is observed twice a year with the same joy and devotion. Fasting during the Navaratri is a common phenomenon, for showing respect to Shri Durga (the Goddess riding the Lion), as noted by many people. However, the hidden significance is much larger than that. Also with my personal experience, I have understood that fasting during the season leaves amazing effects on people and far better if combined with Reiki or any healing modality you prefer. Let’s understand it better and explore the hidden science and the benefits of using Reiki along with fasting during Navaratri.
The Back Story of Navaratri
The word Navaratri is a union of two words, in Sanskrit language, nav (means ‘nine’) and ratri (means ‘night’). Altogether, the word means nine nights. As mentioned earlier, the festival is observed twice a year in India and holds eminence in the culture of Hindus (although the celebration takes place across the nation without religious barriers). The Vasanta Navaratri, the one that falls in the season of spring, is largely celebrated in the month of March or April (depending on the date as per Hindu calendar). Basically, it is the second most celebrated Navaratri in the country and marks the end of the winter season while the Sharad Navaratri outlines the beginning of the same.
Primarily, both festivals honor the Shakti (Goddess Durga) and her nine avatars, which led to the eventual defeat of Mahishasur (the bull demon) and his entire army. The nine avatars include Shailputri, Bramhacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmaanda, Skandmata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri, and Siddhidatri. On the ninth day, devotees venerate nine girls (kanyas) offering them ‘prasada’ (mostly halwa-puri). However it, also, honors the birthday of Lord Rama that culminates the festival; it is also known as Ram Navmi that is the day of concluding the fasts. The latter (Sharad Navaratri) memorializes the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana and his kingdom, which leads the celebration of Dussehra on the tenth day of Navaratri.
Fasting, also called vrat or upvas, is an inseparable aspect of Navaratri in India. Many people observe fasts of the nine days and nights, concluding on the final day after kanya-pujan (worshiping nine girls). Some of the devotees observe the fasts for all nine days while the others maintain the ritual for the first and the last days. Some folks prefer to abstain from all kinds of food while the others switch to unprocessed food and vegetarian diet.
What is the hidden Science?
To understand the science in the fasts of Navaratri, one has to pay attention to the timeline under which the Sharad and Vasant Navaratris are observed. The Vasant Navaratri marks the end of winter and beginning of the spring followed by blazing summer while the Sharad Navaratri starts out the autumn season preceded by the monsoon. During the nine nights and ten days (as per the Hindu calendar) the weather undergoes rapid fluctuation. Under these circumstances, one’s body is unable to digest the foods consumed on regular bases, such as wheat, rice, corn, meat, as well as fried, overcooked and many other spicy or tangy items. The nine fasting days help in avoiding digestive disorders and illnesses.
Aaharstv api sarvasya trividhoh bhavati priyah,
Yajnastapas tatha danam tesham bhedmimam shrunu; :6:
Aayuh sattvabal aarogya sukh preeti vivardhanah,
Rasyah sngdhah sthira hridha aaharah sattvika priyah; :7:
Katu amla lavan atiushna teekshana ruksha vidahinhah,
Aahara rajasya ishtah dukh shokam aamaya pradah; :8:
Yaatyamam gatrasam pooti paryushitam ch yat,
Ucchishtam api ch amedhyam bhojanam tamas priyam. :9:
Mentioned above are the verses, 6,7, 8 and 9, from Shrimad Bhagvat Gita (the Hindu scripture), which explain the food types and their effects on an individual. In the verses, Lord Krishna has given the description of Sattvik (generating ‘sattva’ guna), Rajsik (promoting ‘rajas’ guna) and Tamasik (cultivating ‘tamas’ guna) diets. Thus, sattvik diet, which includes natural, unprocessed and juicy items generates sattva guna or quality (goodness and harmony), boosts health, strength, and peace endowing longer lifespan and nourishes the immune system. Contrary to that, the rajsik (agitation and confusion) diet, which includes excessive sour, hot, spicy, fried or acidity fueling food items, gives rise to despondency and ailments. Also, the tamasik (darkness) diet that contains stale food and leftovers is liked by those who are dark or chaotic in nature. Hence, the priority is given to the ‘sattvik’ diet even in the Hindu scriptures.
The sattvik food, which contains raw veggies and fruits, is considered a healthy option during the Navaratri. As the period is the best for cleansing your body and boosting the immune system that protects you against illnesses and weather fluctuations. Moreover, a cleansed body encourages conscience that makes it easier for an individual to connect with the higher self and the Creator. Even the salt that is consumed in the time frame is rock salt. Meals that are cooked by the fast observers contains buckwheat, fox nuts, and sagu that are also easy on human’s digestive system.
How Reiki may help?
Vasant and Sharad Navaratris are commemorated in the lunar months of Chaitra and Ashvin of the Hindu calendar. The time span of the festivals is high on energies of both types- light and dark. There are many people who are involved in achieving certain goals by all the wrong means (performing rituals that include dark forces). As the energies are high they help in boosting the effect of any ritual. Thus, practicing Reiki is an essential part along with fasting during the festivity. As the Reiki helps in self-cleansing it aids in fighting against the infections and ailments during this period. Also, it creates a protective shield around you that defends and safeguards you in the turbulent times. Moreover, if the energy in the atmosphere helps the wrongdoers then it helps the goodwill in the exact same manner. In any case, you are healing to achieve a certain goal in life then heal it with Reiki in this season to boost the results.
Furthermore, the altered diet and healing during the celebration throw light on another unsurpassed phenomenon. The meat or non-vegetarian products are believed to clasp the ‘emotions of the dead.’ Although not everyone believes in the fact, I am producing this aspect with what I have personally experienced (nonetheless you don’t have to be skeptical). Dark energies work strongly on the dead things. Thus, the reason of quitting non-vegetarian diet around the fiesta is easily understood. People consuming meat are easily susceptible to the ego mind, which is destructive in nature, and lower vibes. Therefore, individuals prefer to consume sattvik food during the fete to increase their resistance toward the noxious energies. Healing becomes an add-on to protect oneself.
Reiki (and angels if you know about them) can, too, help in losing toxic body weight along with fasts. Thus, the season of Navaratri, as noted, brings joy, abundance, and prosperity in all forms. It destroys the sinister and the ‘light’ emerges as the conqueror. I would suggest reciting Durga-kavach along with Mangala strota (stated in Durga Sapthshati- the sacred book devoted to Goddess Durga) for the nine nights and ten days to receive immense protection against the dark forces. This is the apt time to let go of all the conflicts and heal what needs to be healed.
Hence, Navaratri is the right time period for the victory of good over evil. The festival has its roots attached to both, religious/spiritual and practical grounds. Give all your worries, anxieties and sufferings (physical or mental) to Goddess Durga and you shall achieve absolute peace and health with unshakable faith. As you all know that goodness sustains through ages, but evil destroys self within a confined time frame. May you all have a happy and prosperous Navaratri.
Note: This article is an attempt to briefly explain the science behind the fasts of Navaratri and how Reiki can help in boosting the impact. You can practice with other healing modalities too. Just keep a pure and loving intention. Please do remember to do grounding (multiple times a day) and drinking lots of water or liquids. Every word mentioned in this article means no harm to any religious or ethnic values. Believing or not believing is absolutely a personal choice and this article does not bound you to do so.
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Aarti Seraphim is a Certified Usui Reiki Master, Angels Therapist, and Tarot Card Reader. She has completed her Masters in English Literature from IGNOU Noida, India. Aarti is trained in Indian Classical Vocal Music and French Language. She works as a freelance writer. She idealizes love and peace as the sole purpose of the creator. She is inspired to enlighten the world about healing modalities and self-love. Her aspiration to restore love and peace in the world motivates her to use the blessings of lightwork for helping out those in need. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/groups/aartiseraphim/.