LAHORE: Hindus in the city on Tuesday will mark the festival of Navaratri, a nine-day spell of worship, which will be followed by the festival of Dussehra on October 9 at the Krishna Temple on Ravi Road.
Worshippers would gather on the first day of the festival at Krishna Temple Central Secretary General Dr Manohar Chand’s residence at Bhatti Gate.
Chand told Daily Times that the word Navaratri, a Sanskrit word, is actually a combination of two words: Nava meaning ‘nine’ and ratri meaning ‘night’.
Festival of nights: Chand said that Navaratri, ‘the festival of nights’, would last for nine days, with three days being devoted to the worship of Durga (the Hindu deity of valour); Lakshmi (deity of wealth); and Saraswati (deity of knowledge). He said that feasting and fasting would take over the normal lives of hundreds of Hindus, adding that several people would join in the religious dances in the evenings.
He said that the Navaratri festival or the ‘nine-day festival’ would become the ‘10-day festival’ with the addition of the last day, Vijaya-dasami which is its culmination.
He said that Dussehra, also known as Vijaya-dashami, would be celebrated on October 9, adding that it was the culmination of the Navaratri festival and the celebration for the victory of good over evil.
He said that the Hindus in Lahore would gather at various places for the nine-day festival.
He said that Navaratri was divided into sets of three days to adore three different aspects of the supreme goddess or goddesses of the Hindu religion.
He said that in the first three days the goddess was invoked as a spiritual force called Durga, also known as Kali, in order to destroy all impurities, vices and defects. He said that in the second three days, the ‘mother’ is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth (Lakshmi), who is considered to have the power to bestow inexhaustible wealth on her devotees, as she is the goddess of wealth. He said that the final three days were set aside to worship the goddess of wisdom (Saraswati). 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.
He said that the significance of Navratri is to invoke the energy aspect of worship in the form of the universal mother, commonly referred to as ‘Durga,’ literally meaning the ‘remover of life’s miseries’. He said that she was also referred to as ‘Devi’ (goddess) or ‘Shakti’ (energy or power). He added that it was this ‘energy’ that helps the supreme deity of Hindu religion to proceed with the work of creation, preservation and destruction.
Chand said that energy was the only form of the ‘Divine Mother’, adding that everyone is her child.
Krishna Temple Executive Secretary Suny Kumar said that ‘Ma Durga’, during the Navaratri festival would bestow wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity and knowledge to be able to cross every hurdle of life.
He said that festival commemorated the victory of the Hindu god Rama over Ravana, an evil ruler who had abducted Rama’s wife, Sita Devi. Rama killed Ravana to free Sita.
Anglo-Asian Friendship Society Youth Co-ordinator Sunil Chand said that sweets are also prepared for the various celebrations, adding that children and adults dress in brightly coloured clothes. He said that earthen lamps would be lit at Manohar Chand’s house, adding that they would be lit throughout the celebrations.