Friday, September 26, 2014

Navratri Durga Puja

Durga Puja

Items Needed:

  • picture/statue/idol of Durga
  • lamp or candle
  • incense
  • a bell
  • water (preferably holy water or blessed water)
  • jasmine flowers
  • sweets or fruits (coconut, banana, other dried fruits) as offerings
  • sandal paste or sandalwood oil
  • optional offering of cooked rice or sweet milk

  1. Make sure your house and sacred space is cleansed.
  2. Take a ritual, cleansing bath before performing Puja
  3. Sit in your sacred space with all the needed items before you
  4. Set up an altar space to Durga if you do not already have one.
  5. Sit at your Durga altar and contemplate the Durga statue
  6. Chant “Om” three times
  7. Light the lamp or candle and say “I light this lamp/candle to honor Ma Durga, the one who is
  8. Light the incense and say “I light this incense as an offering to Ma Durga”,  as you waft it over the altar, the statue of Durga and yourself cleansing the space and yourself.
  9. Ring the bell three times as you say “I ring this bell to invoke Ma Durga, may she enter my home and my heart”
  10. Invoke and invite Ganesh (this is done in every puja to any deity) by chanting 9 times “Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha”

  1. Now chant 9 times “Om hreem doom Durgaye namaha” to invoke Durga. Then and chant the following: Ya Devi sarva bhuteshu Matri rupena samsthita Ya Devi Sarva bhuteshu Shakti rupena samsthita. Ya Devi sarva rupena samsthita. Namestasyai Namestasyai Namestasyai Namoh. Which translates as "The goddess who is omnipresent as the personification of universal mother. The goddess who is omnipresent as the embodiment of power. The goddess who is omnipresent as the symbol of peace. I bow to her, I bow to her, I bow to her."
  2. Dip your hands in the water, as if you are washing your hands. This is symbolic of being cleansed and forgiven of sins. Then make a gesture of offering of the water to Durga for bath. You can sprinkle a little on the idol you have, especially on the head, hands and feet.
  3. Annoint your forehead and the forehead of Durga with the sandal paste or sandalwood oil
  4. Make the offering of sweets, dried fruits and flowers.
  5. At this time sit in mediation to Durga. Reflect on her attributes, and how you can bring them into your life. You can chant her mantra 108 times using a mala to keep count. You can meditate on yantra, sing songs, or read scriptures on Durga.
  6. After meditation bring your hands in prayer (anjali mudra) at the heart and say “Thank you Ma Durga for your blessings of strength, courage and protection. Please return to your abode. Be merciful and return to me again.”
  7. Bow three times in prostration as you chant “Namaste”
  8. Leave the candles and incense to burn as long as you can.
  9. Each morning and evening light just the candle. You can perform the whole puja everyday, on the third day or at the end of Navratri on the 9th day. As this is a pagan practice of performing Puja you don't need to feel bound by the way it is celebrated in Hinduism. Do what feels right for you, and make it your own, as long as you feel connected to Durga and honor her.

Because Ma Durga is seen as the great mother, you should honor and respect the women in your life. Do something nice for them during Navratri, as well as any women that you come across. Find ways in your life to bring the attributes of Durga into yourself, such as courage, strength, and justice. Go through your day with the Shakti energy of Durga within you.

You can also celebrate by wearing red to symbolize the colors of Durga. It is also tradition to burn a diya or lamp for the full 9 days. I dont do this, because the thought of leaving a fire burning for nine days straight terrifies me. I do light the candle and let it burn whenever I'm home to watch and attend to it. Each time I light the candle I chant Ma Durga's mantra 108 times in meditation.

This is in no way meant to be a full Puja as practiced in Hinduism, this is my pagan version.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Navratri, which begins tomorrow September 24th, 2014,  is the festival to celebrate the Hindu Goddess Durga. Durga is honored as one of the many forms of Shakti in Hindusim and Tantra Yoga. Navratri means "nine days" in Sanskrit, and the festival covers nine days. The nine day period is significant as this marks the period of the battle where Durga fought and slayed the demon Mahishasura. So Navratri is a period where we celebrate the triumph of good over evil.

Durga is the Goddess of inner strength, courage, justice and protection.  During Navratri we also honor and celebrate Lakshmi and Saraswati. The first three days are to Durga, the second three days are to Lakshmi and the final three are to Saraswati.

It is typical during this time to fast, or to eat a mostly vegetarian diet and sub stain from grain and alcohol. I will be sharing different ways to honor Durga, as well as Lakshmi and Saraswati during this time. I will be posting tomorrow a full puja (or ritual) that you can use to honor Durga.