Due to the lockdown imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as some other restrictions, celebrating Navaratri festival, as usual, will be restricted in some places this year. At such a time, the question in the minds of many is ‘How to celebrate Navaratri festival ?’ Some useful aspects and viewpoints for them are given ahead.
(Note : These aspects are only for those places where the restrictions or limitations for celebrating Navaratri exist. Where it is possible to celebrate Navaratri by following all rules and regulations, the usual religious rituals should be followed.)
Question : What to do if it is not possible to go to the temple of Goddess during Navaratri and perform Oti ritual (Ritual of offering a saṛi and / or a blouse piece to a Goddess or a married lady, a ritual in Maharashtra, India) ?
Answer : If it is not possible to go to the temple of the Goddess during Navaratri for this purpose, then the ritual should be performed at home. The sari offered to the Goddess as Oti can be used as prasad (A devotional offering made to a Deity).
Question : What to do if it is not possible to celebrate Lalita Panchami ?
Answer : The Goddess in the house should be worshipped with bhav (Spiritual emotion) that Lalita Devi is being worshipped.
Question : What should be done if it is not possible to perform religious rituals such as ghatasthapana and malabandhan due to unavailability of grains, flowers or material for worship ?
Answer : There is a difference in the cereals used for ghatasthapana or the religious rituals to be performed during Navaratri, in each of the States. Navaratri festival is a part of the tradition of Kula (Family) or kulachar (Religious rituals that have been followed over generations in a family). If due to constraints of adverse times, it is not possible to perform the ritual of ghatasthapana or malabandhan as usual, the rituals should be performed as much as possible by using the available means. All other rituals should be performed mentally.
Question : How to perform kumarika-pujan (Ritualistic worship of a virgin) ?
Answer : If there is a kumarika at home, she should be worshipped. If it is not possible to invite virgins to the house for worship due to restrictions, instead of kumarika-pujan, offer some amount to a religious institution which works for a worthy religious cause.
Question : What to do if it is not possible to play Garba?
Answer : The main purpose of playing Garba is to keep awake as a part of worshipping Goddess. If it is not possible to perform this religious acts, the Goddess should be worshipped by chanting the name of the Kuladevata (Goddess of the family) or by reciting religious texts or singing bhajans (Devotional songs).
Information about chanting the name of Kuladevi and Navaratri festival is given in Sanatan’s Holy texts ‘Shakti’ and ‘Worship of Divine Energy’. These books are available for sale online at www.sanatanshop.com, as well as information about Navaratri at www.sanatan.org.
Question : How to celebrate Dussehra?
Answer : The weapons and means of subsistence that are available at home and are being worshipped every year should be worshipped. If it is not possible to exchange apta (Mountain ebony tree) leaves with each other, these leaves should be offered only to God.
1. If any vrat (Vowed religious observation), a celebration of the festival or a religious ritual as per family tradition could not be completed or some deficiency was left in the karma, according to the karmakanda sadhana (Spiritual practice of rites, rituals and observances performed in the accompaniment of recitation of mantras mentioned in the Vedas and strict abiding by the rules therein) during the year due to adverse times, they should perform the vrat, the celebration of festival or religious rituals with more enthusiasm next year.
2. The coronavirus pandemic has triggered the adverse times. According to the Seer Saints and Astrologers, severe adverse times will continue for another 2-3 years. During this time, it will not be possible to perform religious rituals properly as usual. In such a case, chant more and more instead of performing karmakanda sadhana. The main purpose of any religious ritual or celebration of the festival or observing vrat is to increase one’s sattvikta by remembering God. Therefore, everyone should try to perform spiritual practice according to the times to increase their own Sattva component. Detailed information on spiritual practice required as per times is given in the Sanatan Sanstha’s Spiritual texts. It is also available on Sanatan Sanstha’s website www.sanatan.org.