Worst of all, the market forces have turned the festivals into meaningless fun, materialistic enjoyment and sale of commercial products. Currently, the ten-day festival of Navratri is on and one can find papers full of ads regarding discount sale events and market place music and dance festivities.
Many spiritual leaders have urged people to dwell on spiritual significance of Navratri festival in terms of purifying the in-self and reflect on the existential meaning and purpose of life. According to Sri Sri Ravishankar, Ajita Satpathy, Anandmayi Ma and Swami Tejomayananda, we need to explore the spiritual importance of Navaratri for our renewal.
"The nine days of Navaratri are also an opportunity to rejoice in the three primordial qualities that make up the universe. The first three days of Navaratri are attributed to tamo guna, the second three to rajo guna and the last three to sattva guna.
Our consciousness sails through the tamo and rajo gunas and blossoms in the satva guna of the last three days. Whenever sattva dominates in life, victory follows. The essence of this knowledge is honoured by celebrating the tenth day as Vijaydashmi," explains Sri Sri Ravishankar.
Navaratri symbolizes the victory of the absolute reality over the apparent duality. By worshipping the Mother Divine during Navaratri, we harmonise the three gunas and elevate sattva in the atmosphere, adds Sri Sri Ravishankar.
Describing the Spiritual Significance of Navaratri, Swami Tejomayananda holds that the theme of the entire Vedas is reflected in the Navaratri festival in terms of purifying the mind and removal of all negativities; cultivating positive virtues; gaining spiritual knowledge and transcending limitations.
Anandmayi Ma, the three stages of worship during Navaratri stress appropriate spiritual practices. “First, negative tendencies need to be controlled; second, virtues need to be ingrained; third, after gaining the necessary mental purity, spiritual knowledge needs to be acquired.
Only then will the sadhak (spiritual aspirant) attain spiritual illumination. It is significant that Vijaya Dashami is considered auspicious for mantra initiation; advanced spiritual aspirants are also initiated into Sannyasa (vow of renunciation) on this day,” she emphasizes.
Similarly, Ajita Satpathy holds that the ten days of worship of the Mother Divine, the source of energy- vanquishes ten real vices of Kaam (Lust); Krodh (Anger); Lobh (Greed); Moh (Attachment); Ahankar (Ego); Bhaya (Fear); Irsha (Jealousy); Jadta (Inertia); Ghrina (Hate); and Santaap (Guilt).
“Each day we must make commitment to destroy one evil from ourselves. On the tenth day, we celebrate Vijaya Dasami, i.e. victory over all these negativities,” he elaborates.
Thus, spiritually, the festival of Navaratri is meant to purify our minds of inner vices and distortions to lead a meaningful life. There is need to celebrate Navarra by taking time off the mundane life to self-reflect and purify our mind.