Navrātri (9 nights): The auspicious festival of Navrātri, the 9 nights of the Goddess is celebrated 4 times a year at the junction of 4 seasons. One of those is the Gupta Navrātri. This is celebrated at the beginning of Magha lunar month in Jan-Feb.
Why the Night? Night is the time of Tamas. Tamas is needed as much as Sattva and Rajas. We need a combination and balance of all 3 Gunas. If there were no Tamas, we will have no sleep at night. We feel refreshed and rejuvenated in the morning, thanks to the restful inactive period of the night. Hence, the Navrātri, the 9 nights of the Goddess invite us to go within, be inactive, give a rest to our faculties so we can experience Mother’s nectar.
Saraswati: Saraswati is the Goddess of learning, knowledge, wisdom, arts, music, speech and intelligence. Vasant Panchami is dedicated to the worship of Mā Saraswati. Vasant Panchami also marks the beginning of Spring, as per Vedic calendar. In India, usually a child begins formal education on the day of Vasant Panchami. As per one belief, Mā Saraswati is considered the daughter of Lord Shiva and Mā Durga. As a result, Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesha and Karthikeya are considered her siblings.
Gupta Navrātri 2022 timings: First Navrātri begins on Jan 31 at 9:45 pm PST and the Last (9th) Navrātri ends on Feb 9 at 9:40 pm PST
Vasant Panchami (Saraswati Pujā) 2022 timings: Starts on Feb 4, 2:15 pm and ends on Feb 5, 2:19 pm PST.
How to honor the Goddess? One can do following things during Navrātri: Fasting. Maun (silence) i.e. do silent meditation these days or at least refrain from talking too much. Chant Devi mantras (see the list below). Perform yagyas (Vedic fire rituals). Honor the fire principle. Durga Saptashati is especially powerful during Navrātri. See the video at the bottom of this article.
Durga and Saraswati Mantras
ॐ जयन्ती मंगला काली भद्रकाली कपालिनी , दुर्गा क्षमा शिव धात्री , स्वाहा स्वधा नमोस्तुते |
Om Jayanti Mangalā Kāli, Bhadrakāli Kapālini |
Durgā Kshamā Shivā Dhātri, Swāhā Swadhā Namostute ॥ Listen here.
ॐ ऐं महासरस्वत्यै नमः |
Om Aing Mahāsaraswatyei Namah |
सरस्वति नमस्तुभ्यं वरदे कामरूपिणि । विद्यारम्भं करिष्यामि सिद्धिर्भवतु मे सदा ॥
Saraswati Namastubhyām Varade Kāmaroopini |
Vidyārambham Karishyāmi Siddhir Bhavatume Sadā ||
ॐ ऐं ह्रीं क्लीं महासरस्वती देव्यै नमः |
Om Aim Hrim Kleem Mahā Saraswati Devyei Namaha|
या कुन्देन्दुतुषारहारधवला या शुभ्रवस्त्रावृता
या वीणावरदण्डमण्डितकरा या श्वेतपद्मासना ।
या ब्रह्माच्युत शंकरप्रभृतिभिर्देवैः सदा वन्दिता
सा मां पातु सरस्वती भगवती निःशेषजाड्यापहा॥
Yā Kundendu Tushārahāra Dhavalā Yā Shubhra Vastrāvritā
Yā Veenā VaradanDa ManDitakarā Yā Shveta Padmāsanā |
Yā Brahmachyuta Shankara Prabhritibihi Devyeih Sadā Vanditā
Sā Mām Pāttu Sarasvati Bhagavatee Nihshesha Jānyāpahā ||