HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 3-1-5.
3. Durga Puja or Navaratri :
1.The presiding Deity over Creation and Dissolution-5.
Glory to the Divine Mother! Let Her take you, step by step to the top of the spiritual ladder and unite you with the Lord!
At the Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, the following are the regular features during the Durga Puja celebrations:
1. A special ritualistic worship of the Mother is conducted daily, which includes the recitation of the Durga Saptashati.
2. Laksharchana for the Mother in the temple, with recitation of the Sri Lalita Sahasranama, is also conducted.
3. All are exhorted to do the maximum number of Japa of the Navarna Mantra, Aim hreem kleem chaamundaayai vichche, or the Mantra of their own tutelary Deity.
4. An elaborately decorated altar is set up for the evening Satsangs, with the picture of Mother Durga for the first three days, Mother Lakshmi for the next three days, and Mother Saraswathi for the last three days. Many sacred verses from the scriptures are recited and many Kirtans are sung. The Durga Saptashati or the Devi Mahatmya is recited and explained in discourses. The function concludes with the formal floral worship and Arati. Sometimes scenes from the Devi Mahatmya are also enacted.
5. Earnest spiritual aspirants fast with milk and fruits only on all the nine days, or at least once in each of the three three-day periods.
To be continued ....