Hindus mark Navarathiri festival with prayers

EVERY human being needs and craves three things to survive in this world: power, wealth and knowledge.

The Navarathiri festival is a combination of all three over a span of nine days dedicated to three goddesses, Sakthy (Durga), Parvathy and Lakshmi respectively.

Hindus around the world celebrate these nine days as well as Vijayadashami, which is when all three goddesses combine forces as Raja Rajeshwari to vanquish evil on the 10th day, and finally, the Poorthi Pooja on the 11th day.

This year, the Navarathiri festival began on Sept 19 and will end on Sept 28.

The Tanjai Kamalaa Indira Dance School in Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, has been organising prayers, as well as dance and music performances, in conjunction with the festival for the past seven years.

The prayer session, which is held every night, starting between 6.30pm and 7pm, is led by Sri Jnaana Baalayoga Akatya Gurumurti.

According to him, Navarathiri starts on the night of the full moon in the month of Puratasi every year.

He added that Goddess Durga represented power, which gave us the strength to fight challenges, while Goddess Lakshmi represented wealth and Goddess Saraswathy gave us knowledge.

“As humans, we need all three to survive. We must have the strength to fight challenges and we need wealth to live, but we also need the knowledge on how to manage that wealth,” Baalayoga said.

He also said praying to, and meditating on, the respective goddesses throughout the nine days was very beneficial.

“Every one throughout the world is meditating and praying to them, so there is a collective energy which is full of good aura that is later absorbed by every one,” he added.

During the first three days, which are dedicated to Durga, devotees should wear red, maroon and white, which are powerful colours.

On the subsequent three days, pink is very important as Mahalakshmi is almost always clad in a pink saree, while the last three days should be filled with colours of white, gold and yellow.

According to Baalayoga, each colour radiates different vibrations. White is pure and represents wisdom, while gold or yellow is often associated with spiritual attainment, like the halo around the goddesses’ heads.

Vijayadashami is the day Hindu devotees send the darkness away from their souls as an evil demon is conquered by the three goddesses, as legend has it.

The Poorthi Pooja is celebrated as goddess Raja Rajeshwari is tired out after the war and her devotees place her in a swing and rock her gently, accompanied by songs and praises.

“During this time, parents should take their young ones to the temple and pray and help out with temple duties,” he added.

On the dance school’s part, keeping traditions alive among the young has always been a priority, hence the various performances held at the school.

During the festival, young dancers and musicians will be given the opportunity to shine and show off their skills to the audience.

“The Navarathiri is important to all traditional artistes as most of us are called on to perform at various temples during the festival,” said Kamini Manikam, the dance school owner’s daughter.

New students will be accepted into the school on Vijayadashami as it is considered an auspicious day for musical and dance careers to begin.

The celebration, which is open to all, features barathanatyam performances every night, coupled with Bhajan (praise and worship sessions) and vocal recitals.

The highlight of the festival will take place tomorrow, when five classical Indian artistes from different genres and backgrounds present a dance and music performance called Daivika Anuraaga.

“All five of us are passionate about our fields, be it dance or playing the different instruments, so the performance will be a unique combination of all our talents,” she said.

The Tanjai Kamalaa Indira Dance School is located at No. 9, Jalan Cumarasami, Batu 3 1/2, Jalan Ipoh, 51000 KL. For more information, call 03-6257 4069 / 012-606 5570.

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