In the month of 'Aswayuja ' from 'Padyami' to 'Dasmi' are auspicious days of 'Navratri' which are celebrated with great joy. During Navratri' many pujas and 'homas' are perfornmed in honor of mother Durga. The image of 'Sakti' (energy) as the vanquisher of 'Mahishasura' are worshiped during the 'Navratri' festivities.
Some people perform 3 times daily 'Aahavaneeya ago, Grahapatya agni, Dakshina agni'. In addition to this, the adiya homa is performed with the 'Maha Surya Mantra' . All these yagna performances are to create powerful agents in the atmosphere surrounding the house so as to keep the household environment clean and healthy.
As Navratri means nine nights, Nine different goddesses are worshiped on these days. They are:
1st Day - 'Asvayuja padyami' - Sri Swarnakavachalankruta Durga devi
2nd Day - 'Asvayuja vidhiya' - Sri Bala TripurasundariDevi
3rd Day - 'Aswayuja tadhiya' - Sri Gayatri Devi
4th Day -'Aswayuja chavithi' - Sri Annapoorna Devi
5th Day - 'Aswayuja pachami' - Sri Lalitha Tripurasundari Devi - LalithaPanchami
6th Day -'Aswayuja Shasti' - Sri Maha Lakshmi Devi - Maha shasti
7th Day -'Aswayuja saptami' - Sri Maha Saraswati Devi - Mahasaptami
8th Day -'Aswayuja astami' - Sri Durga Devi - Durgastami
9th Day -'Aswayuja navami' - Sri Mahishasura amrdini Devi- Maharnavami
10th Day -'Aswayuja dasami' - Sri Rajarajeswari Devi - Vijayadasami
On the first day, Goddes Sri Swarnakavachalankruta Durga Devi is worshiped. On this day the goddess is worn several gold ornaments like Haaram (big necklace). Halwa and poori are offered as prasad to the goddess. The goddess holds a Trishula in her right hand. Devotees throng to the temple in huge number on this day because it is the installation day of Durga.
In the month of 'Asvayuja' during 'Padyami' we place 'Kalasam' marking the start of Dasara festivities. A stage is set in the puja room to place the 'Kalasam'. 'Gomayam'(cow dung is used to purify the place and is decorated with 'pasupu'(turmeric) and 'kumkuma'. Along with the puja material the 'Panchapallavalu' (five types of tender branches of different trees) and 'Duurvaakuramulu' have to be prepared and made ready.
On the days of 'Navaratri,' we should wake up early in the morning and take 'Abyamgana snanam' (a bath using herbs) and purify yourself. We should wear a 'namam' and new cloths and 'pavitram' should be worn. The place where the puja is to be performed is to be spread with a white cloth or red silk cloth and the 'kalasam' is placed. We should sit facing East or North.
'Akamanam' has to be performed three times while reciting the 'Omkaram' we should meditate on the Lord for ten minutes. 'Gayatri Mantram' has to be recited and we have to think of 'mahasamkalpam' married person should do this puja along with his wife.
Firstly 'Vignaeswara puja' has to be performed. Next according to the directions of 'Brahmanas' the puja is performed for nine days or seven days. In case you cannot perform for so many days three-day puja or at least one day is sufficient. During the days of the puja, fasting has to be done while eating only once a day. During the nine days, a flame should always be burning in the house.
Long ago the Pandavas ended their 'Agnatavasa' exile after Arjuna brought down the 'Gandeeva' from above the 'same' (jammi chettu) tree where they were hidden and defeating the Kauravas during 'Vijayadasami'. Hence the 'Sami' tree has a special importance during this festive season. It has come as a tradition that kings used to perform pujas to their weapons and chariots under this tree. This tradition is continued still and instruments used in our day to day lives, vehicles are worshiped during this time .
Aparaajita Sami puja
The 'Sami' tree has to be worshiped by reciting the following chant:
శమీ శమతే పాపం శమీ శతృ వినాశనం
(sami samatae paapam, sami satru vinaasanam)
In ancient times kings used to worship the Goddess Aparajita Devi before being crowned. Vijayadasami is considered the most auspicious day to crown a new king, or even to start formal education. However, it is better to avoid this time when it falls on 'Aekaadasi'
BY M. DIVYA SRI