SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 3 CHAPTER 26
THE THIRD BOOK
On the narration of what are to be done in the Navarātri
1. Janamejaya said:
“O Best of the Brahmins! What are men to do in the time of Navarātra? Especially in the Navarātra ceremony during the autumnal season how is the ceremony to be performed? Kindly relate all this with the prescribed rules and regulations.
2. O intelligent one! What are the fruits therein of the Navarātra ceremony? and what are the rules to be observed? Kindly describe all these to me.”
3-5. Vyāsa said:
O king! Hear about the vow of auspicious Navarātra. This has to be performed with loving devotion in the vernal season; but its special season is autumn. The two seasons, autumn and spring, are famous as the teeth of Yama, the God of Death; and these are the two seasons, very hard for the persons to cross over. Therefore every good faring man should everywhere perform this vow very carefully.
6-8. O king! The people are very much afflicted with various terrible diseases in these two seasons autumn and spring and many lose their lives during these portions of the year.
Therefore the wise should unquestionably worship with great devotion the Chandikā Devī in these auspicious months of Chaitra and Āśvīn.
9-11. On the day previous to the commencement of the vow, when the Amāvasyā tithi commences, one should collect the materials that will be required in the worship and should eat only once in that tithi what is called Habiṣyānna (sacred food, boiled rice with ghee) and should on that day prepare an open shade in a temporary building, twenty four (24) feet in dimensions, on a level piece of ground, that is considered holy; it is to be equipped with a post and a flag.
Next, this is to be heaped over with yellow earth and cow dung. Then a raised platform called the Vedī, six feet wide and one and a half foot high, level and hard, is to be erected, and provided with an excellent space thereon for the seat of the Devī. Provisions are to be made also for ornamented gateways and an awning over the top.
12-17. One should invite then, those Brahmins, that observe fully the customs and usages, who are self-restrained and versed in the Vedas and Vedāngas, especially those who are skilled in the ceremony of worshipping the Devī.
Next, in the Pratipad tithi (the first day of the bright half), one should take one’s morning ablutions in a river, or in a lake, tank or a well or in one’s own residence, according to rules, and one should perform one’s every day practices of Sandhya Bandanam.
Afterwards he should appoint the Brāhmins and give them water for washing their feet and Arghya (offerings of grass, rice, etc.,) and Madhuparka (an oblation of honey and milk, etc.) and give then, as his means permit, clothings and ornaments to them.
If he happens to be rich, he should never show his miserliness here in making these gifts; for if the Brāhmins be satisfied, they will try their best to make the ceremony a complete success.
O king! The Chanḍī paths (the reading of the book called Chanḍī) and Bhāgavata paths (the reading of some portions of the book named Bhāgavat) are done on this occasion, for the satisfaction of the Goddess;
and either nine Brāhmins or five or three or at least one Brāhmin should be appointed for the purpose.
Moreover one other Brahmin, of a restrained and calm nature, is to be appointed, who would observe the fasting on the day previous (pārāyaṇa).
All these being done, the able man is to perform the ceremony preparatory to the solemn Devī worship, (in which the priest utters the Vedic mantra Svasti-vāchana, Svasti na Indro vriddhaśravāh, etc.). Om Hrīm Śrīm Dūm Dūrgāyai namaḥ is the nine lettered Durgā mantra.
18-20. O king! When the ceremony has been thus commenced, one should place on the Vedī (a raised platform; an altar), the throne fitted with double silken clothes; and, on that throne, he should place the image of the Devī.
The Devī, the Eternal World- Mother, is to be four-armed or eighteen armed, (4 or 18) fully provided with all the weapons, ornamented with garlands of pearls and jewels, decorated with various ornaments of gems and precious stones, wearing excellent heavenly clothings, all the parts of the image being artistically finished and endowed with all the auspicious signs, mounted on a lion, and holding conch shell, wheel, club, and lotus in Her hands.
Note: The Devī, here, is represented with four (4) or eighteen (18) hands.
21-22. In the absence of the image, one should place an earthen water-pot, on that throne, thoroughly purified by the Vedic Mantras, filled with gold and jewels, and filled fully with the water, brought from a sacred river or a sacred place of pilgrimage and with five young shoots of plants, the extremities of branches bearing new leaves immersed in water.
Beside the water-pot on the throne, there should be a symbol (Diagram or Yantra) with the nine lettered Mantram (Om Hrīm Śrīm Chanḍikāyai namaḥ) in it for the purpose of worship.
23. One should place on one’s side all the materials of worship in their due places, and then have the music and other sounding drums played, for the good fortune and prosperity of the family.
Note: Look for the mantras in the book Mantramaho Dadhi.
24. O king! If the first day be the Nandā tithi (i.e., the first day of the bright half with the asterism Hasta in the ascendant), then that is the best time for worshipping duly the Holy Goddess. There is no doubt that special fortunate results would arise on this.
25. On the previous night, one should observe fasting, or on the previous day one should take only one meal of Habiṣyānna (boiled rice and ghee) and on the next day one should make a Sankalpa (an avowal of the purpose to perform a rite) and then begin worship.
26. One should pray before the Goddess thus:
“O Mother, Mother of the World! I will perform this excellent Navarātra vow; be pleased to help me in every respect.”
27. One is to observe, as far as possible, all the rules enjoined in this vow and then utter the mantras and do the worship according to the prescribe rules.
28-31. First of all, one should worship duly the Goddess Jagaddhātrī, presenting Her Chandan (sandal paste), Aguru (a fragrant wood, the aloe wood), Camphor, the flowers Mandāra (one of the five trees of the celestial regions), Karaja a kind of fragrant flower)! Aśoka, Champaka, Karavir, Mālatī, and Brāhmī and various lovely sweet scented flowers and good Bel leaves, Dhūpa (incense, a fragrant gum burnt before idols) and lamps. Next one should present the fruits cocoanut, Mātulinga, the pomegranate, bananas, oranges, the jack fruits, Bel and various other delicious fruit and then, offering Her arghya, present boiled rice and other food with a heart, full of devotion.
32. Those who eat meat, they can sacrifice animals in this worship of the Devī; and, for this purpose, goat and wild boars are the best.
33-34. O sinless one! The goats, etc., offered as a sacrifice before the Devī attain to unending heavens. Therefore persons offering the sacrifices of goats do not incur any sin.
O king! The goats, etc., and other beast offered as a sacrifice before the Devas undoubtedly go to the heavenly regions; therefore, in all the Śāstras, it has been decided that this killing of animals in a sacrifice is considered as non-killing.
35. Now, for doing the Homa ceremony one should prepare, according to one’s requirements, a triangular pit from one to ten hands in dimension and a triangular level piece of ground covered with sand.
36. Daily, thrice, one should worship the Devī with various lovely articles and finally make a great festivity with dancing, singing and music.
37. Every day he should sleep on the ground and worship the virgins (young girl from the age of two to the age of ten) with nectar like sweetmeats and beautiful clothings and ornaments.
38. Every day one virgin or increased by one, two, or three every day or nine virgins in all the days respectively are to be worshipped.
39. O king! One should perform worshipping this Kumārī (virgin) Puja for the satisfaction of the Devī, as his means allow; never one is to show miserliness in this.
40. O king! Hear the rules of the virgin worship that I am going to tell you. The virgin, aged one year, is not to be worshipped; for they are quite ignorant as to smell and tasting various delicious things.
41-43. The virgin aged two years is named the Kumārī; aged three years is named the Trimurtī, four years, is called the Kalyānī; five years, Rohiṇī; six years, Kālikā; seventh year, Chandikā; eighth year, Śāmbhavī; ninth year, Dūrgā; and a virgin, aged ten years, is called Subhadrā. Virgins aged more than ten years are not allowed in all ceremonies.
44. One should worship these virgins, taking their names and observing all the rules. I am now mentioning the different results that arise from the worship of these nine classes of virgins.
45. The worship of Kumārī leads to the extinction of miseries and poverty, to the extirpation of one’s enemies and the increment of riches, longevity and power.
46. The Trimurtī Puja yields longevity, and the acquisition of the three things, Dharma, wealth, and desires, the coming in of riches, sons and grandsons.
47. Those who want learning, victory, kingdom and happiness, they should worship the Kalyānī, the fructifier of all desires.
48-49. Men should worship Rohiṇī duly for the cure of diseases. For the destruction of enemies, the worship of the Kālikā with devotion is the best. For prosperity and riches, Chandikā is to be worshipped with devotion.
O king! For the enchanting and overpowering of one’s enemies, for the removal of miseries and poverty, and for victory in battles, Śāmbhavī worship is the best.
50-51. For the destruction of awfully terrible enemies and for happiness in the next world, the worship of Durga is the safest and best. People worship Subhadrā when they want their desires to be fulfilled.
52. People should, with great devotion, worship the Kumarīs (virgins) with the mantrams “Śrīrastu” or other mantrams, beginning with “Śrī” or with the seed mantrams.
53. The Goddess who can create without any difficulty all the sacred tattvas of the Kumār Kārtikeya and who effects, as if in sport, the creation of all the Devas Brahmā and others; I am worshiping the same Kumārī Devī.
54. She who is appearing under the three forms as differentiated by the three Guṇas Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, and who is appearing in multiple forms, owing to the differentiations of the three Guṇas again into various minor differences, I am worshipping Her the Trimurtī Devī.
55. She who being worshipped always fares us with auspicious things, I am worshipping Her, with devotion, the Kumārī Kalyānī, the awarder of all desires.
56. I am worshipping the Rohiṇī Devī with a heart, full of devotion who is germinating all the karmas in seed forms, that have accumulated owing to past deeds.
57. She who, at the end of a Kalpa gathers unto Her in the form of Kālī all this Universe, moving and unmoving, I worship that Kālikā Devī with devotion.
58. She, who is furious and wrathful and hence is called Chandikā and who killed the two Demons Chaṇḍa and Muṇḍa I bow down to Her humbly with devotion, to that Chandikā Devī, who destroys the terrible sins.
59. I worship that Śāmbhavī Devī, the giver of all pleasures and happiness, whose form is the Veda Brahmā, and whose origin is without any cause, and when is so recited in the Vedas.
60. She who saves from danger her devotees and who always delivers from various difficulties and troubles, whom all the Devas are incapable to know, I worship with devotion that Durga Devī the destroyer of all calamities.
61. I, with my mind devoted, offer my salutations to that Subhadrā Devī, Who procures all auspiciousness to Her devotees and removes all inauspicious incidents.
62. Thus, in the mantrams, above described, people should always worship the virgin girls, giving them clothings, ornaments, garlands, scents, and various other articles.
Here ends the 26th Chapter on the narration of what are to be done in the Navarātri in the Mahā Purāṇam in Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18.000 verses, by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.