The festival of Navratri is going on from September 28th to October 6th. This is one of the most widely celebrated and auspicious events of the Vedic Calendar and honours the energies of the Feminine in nature.  There are three fundamental manifestations of that energy in nature. In Sanskrit they are named Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. The photo above is Saraswati, who is shown holding a vina (a stringed instrument similar to a sitar).

Durga is the destroyer of ignorance and negativity; Lakshmi represents wealth and abundance; and Saraswati represents spiritual knowledge and wisdom.  These are worshipped through the Nine Nights in that order, Durga the first 3 nights, Lakshmi the next 3 nights and Saraswati, the last 3 nights. In order to have all-round success in life, believers seek the blessings of all three aspects of the divine femininity, hence the nine nights of worship.

In North India, as the culmination of the Ramlila which is enacted ceremoniously during Dussehra, the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and Meghanada are burnt to celebrate the victory of good (Rama) over evil forces on the ‘Vijaya Dashami’ day.

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