Everyone can delve deeper into their connection with the Goddess by following these steps for the Navaratri Worship:
1. Dedicate This Time to the Goddess
Navaratri is nine days and nights devoted exclusively to worship.
To the extent possible, curtail all outside commitments, reduce your business functions, and try not to go outside for any activities, like shopping or entertainment.
When Navaratri is over you may need to work a little extra to fulfill your worldly commitments, but don’t let that stop you from dedicating this time to God.
2. Fast – According to Your Capacity
One of the vows of Navaratri is to maintain fasting. According to the Chandi Path, Chapter 13, Nirahara or Yatahara, which is fasting with no food, or with a controlled diet, is the acceptable way to fast. But, this must be done according to each individual’s capacity.
We may control the diet in several ways:
• Fasting with only dairy.
• Fasting with fruit and dairy.
• Fasting by eating only vegetables, with no grains.
Each one of us will control his or her diet according to our personal vow.
Remember to build your capacity to fast overtime. If you haven’t been fasting, it is probably not a good idea suddenly go without eating for the nine days. You don’t want to be miserable during a time that should be a celebration of the Divine.
3. Expand Your Worship
The purpose of the vow of worship is to remain in an attitude of respect and reverence for as much of the time as possible. Therefore, devotees will want to expand our worship according to capacity.
If you are presently worshiping for one hour a day, expand it to two hours. If you are performing an Intermediate Puja, try performing an Advanced Puja. If you are reciting a portion of the Chandi Path daily, try reciting the entire text. Expand the length and intensity of your worship.
4. Perform the Functions of Temple Worship – Wherever You Are
Navaratri encourages life in the temple, a life dedicated to worship. If possible, perform worship four times a day: morning, noon, night, and midnight.
Perform the various functions of temple worship, such as puja, arati, meditation, and an offering of prasad. Wherever you are – make that place your temple.
5. Call on Kali to Remove Your Darkness
Navaratri inspires the worship of Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, and Mahasaraswati in addition to Chandi and Durga, who are all various forms of the one Divine Mother.
The worship of Mahakali requires that we give up our Darkness. Make a list of areas in which you seek to give up Darkness by pursuing illumination and submit that list in your worship. Kali will certainly dispel our darkness.
6. Worship Mahalakshmi with the Offering of Your Goals
Mahalakshmi is the Great Goddess of True Wealth, as She graces us with the fulfillment of our goals.
For the worship of Mahalakshmi, prepare a list of goals which you wish to accomplish during the next period of time, and submit that list to Her in your worship. Lakshmi will help you clarify and attain your goals.
7. Invoke Mahasaraswati’s Blessings for Learning
In order to invoke and worship Mahasaraswati, prepare a list of new areas of study that you wish to complete during the next period of time. When you perform your worship submit that list to the Goddess. Saraswati will bless your studies.
8. Call on Chandi and Durga to Destroy Your Obstacles
Chandi and Durga are powerful forms of the Goddess which destroy difficulties and negativeness.
Make a list of the obstructions that are preventing you from reaching your goals. Afterwards, think of solutions by which you can overcome those obstacles. Submit that list in your worship of the Divine Mother. She will listen and help you.
9. Remember Life is Prasad!
Remember that Navaratri is a privilege, and consider yourself honored by the opportunity to spend your time submerged in worship.
At the end of the nine days, consider everything that you have as the prasad of the Divine Mother Goddess, and share that consecrated offering to the best of your capacity!
Jai Maa! Jai Swamiji!