Today is the first day of Navaratri. Some spiritual people say that this time the Devi has descended to the earth from the heavens on an elephant. After placing the kumbha and the dolls in the pooja area, we have to begin the pooja. We have to apply an auspicious sign of a crescent moon and a dot with roli on the wall behind the pooja area. Some people may develop the decoration further, depending upon their own creativity. They apply up to 9 signs, connected to the 9 Devis. We have to hang toran at the top of the door. At one-third height from the threshold, we have to apply turmeric paste in rose water and decorate designs in roli over it. We should perform pooja of the threshold in the morning as well as in the evening.
The first day of Navaratri belongs to Devi Shailaputri. When Sati consigned herself to flames during Daksha’s yagna, she was reborn as Devi Shailaputri. We have to invoke this Devi in the kumbha and perform pooja to her – panchopachara or shodashopachara.
Often people invoke the Sun as well during the first day of Navaratri, in the process of invoking the 9 planets during this festival. Copper lamps are lighted in ghee for the Sun. Today, copper rings can be energized and inserted on the ring finger for good Sun energy.
Normally, in South India, 9 different types of sundal are made and distributed to the devotees. Wheat flour roasted in cow’s ghee and sugar, with cardamom, cloves, a little cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg powder can also be distributed to the devotees. Daily young girls and married women are invited home for haldi-kum kum.
Some people read the Devi Bhagavatam. Some of them may read Durga Saptashati. Some also read Sidhdha Kunchika Stotra after taking blessings from their guru. Some may chant only Durga Mantra. Havana can also be performed for the 9 days on a small or large scale.
To be continued…