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Four Auspicious Navarātri Periods of 2018

The Sanskrit text named Mahākāla Saṃhitā declares that four nine-night periods based on the dynamic soli-lunar calendar are deemed especially auspicious for the worship of the great śakti or the veneration of the Divine Mother. Each of these four periods are popularly celebrated as navarātri, which is a literal translation of nine-nights. One must note that duration of a lunar day and its overlap with the sunrise time determine the duration of each auspicious period. Thus in rare situations, one navarātri period may span only eight solar days or may be longer, thereby lasting up to ten solar days.

Seekers of truth continually search for higher wisdom in an effort to establish deeper spiritual practices which in turn greatly enrich their lives. Though every moment is momentous for such a seeker, special time periods are recognized within our daily calendar to be especially conducive to our practices and participation. As our biorhythms and diurnal cycles are in synergy with and related to the soli-lunar calendar (Vedic jyotiṣa calculations), so are the relationships manifested between us and higher worlds during specific time periods.

These four nine-night time periods starting the day after four new moons are celebrated in spiritual traditions by practicing varying degrees of contemplation, introspection, meditation, austerity and rituals, and also by launching new ventures. The culmination of this nine-night period ushers in daśamī or the tenth day of the ascending cycle of the Moon. It bears a great significance for bringing to fruition a special personal triumph. The navarātri meditation or worship of nine days (and nights) is of course divided into single days of special prayers related to the splendorous aspects of the Divine Mother.

Based on this relevant verse,

caitre āśvine tathāṣāḍhe māghe kāryo-mahotsavaḥ
navarātre mahārāja pūjā kāryā viśeṣataḥ

the calculation of the following four auspicious time periods for Pacific Time Zone in the USA are presented.

16-Jan New Moon mouni-āmāvasyā
17 – 25 Jan 9 days (or nights) māgha-gupta-navarātri
26-Jan 10th day daśamī
16-Mar New Moon chaitra-āmāvasyā
17 – 25 Mar 9 days (or nights) vasanta-navarātri
26-Mar 10th day daśamī
17th March 1st day of the Vedic soli-lunar year
12-Jul New Moon āṣāḍha-āmāvasyā
13 – 20 July 9 lunar nights over 8 solar days! āṣāḍha-gupta-navarātri
21-Jul 10th lunar day daśamī
27th July Guru Purnimā full moon
8-Oct New Moon āświn-āmāvasyā
09 – 17 Oct 9 days (or nights) śāradiyā-navarātri
18-Oct 10th lunar day vijayā-daśamī

Note: even though in Pacific Time Zone nine lunar nights span only eight solar days in July 2018, this may not apply elsewhere outside of the western USA. Meditators should not skip a day and may conclude their 10-day spiritual practice only on Sunday, 22nd July.

Those practising a daily routine of spiritual practices (or vows), such as meditation, sublime recitations or community service (sevā) can structure their time equally into ten days of steady participation. One tenth of all spiritual practices is deemed as a correction! Therefore nine days of practices must be followed by the tenth portion of correction in addition to any corrective measures taken during any individual practice session. While evening time or even midnight time meditation is acceptable for the nine nights, the tenth concluding session should ideally be finished before dusk.

A typical nine-night period may last an extra day or lose a day thereby making the time period either span 10 solar days or 8 solar days, respectively. One needs to practice the spiritual routine for 11 days and conclude the entire practice on the 11th day if lunar nine-night navarātri span 10 solar days. Whereas if the nine-night navarātri spans only 8 solar days instead of typical 9 solar days, one needs to add the two extra days and conclude the practice on the 10th solar day since the beginning.

If you wish to further study the transition of dates for your own area (local latitude and longitude), feel free to explore these links at your own risk. Even though the original Vedic or Sanskrit significance might not be detailed, the calculations are fairly reliable. Please remember to fill in your local city for correct results on applicable daybreaks or transitions.

A reliable website that is a good resource for relevant dates, such as eclipses in your area, is also worth studying.

A famous Vedanta verse proclaims that our immortal essence or the consciousness cannot be introspected by those who are physically weak (nāyāmātmā balahinena labhya). Thus a mindful seeker considers the gift of a healthy body as the most important support for introspection. Such a seeker serves to heal the earth by understanding that the body is like wet earth (or soil) in subtle balance with the oxygen. The oxygenated breath and vibrant cruelty-free food is very much dependent on a clean environment and sustainable living.

Thus navarātri is an ideal time to participate in healing the earth through the meditation and worship of the Divine Mother. A Vedic fire ceremony or Homa as an offering by devotees and aspirants beholds an immense promise of reciprocation. Meditation mass and fellowship services invoking the Divine Mother with her attributes are a good addition to our personal meditation routine. An ardent seeker is not focused on personal gains from giving charity and spiritual offerings at temple altars, but is more inclined to share resources through spiritual practices and meditation that is compassionately healing to the earth.

Those who sacrifice for the greater cause have truly understood the core principles and spiritual values that guide our service. It is not enough to seek personal benevolence for oneself from the Divine Mother, but better still to undertake genuine spiritual practices of honouring and serving that elevate our minds and fulfil our hearts without wanting anything in return. After all, a mother wants hardly anything from the child!

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