Dasara or Navaratri is a ten day festival,
usually falling in the month of October, that is celebrated
all over India in the worship of the Divine as the Mother
principle. Bhagawan has explained that the festival of Dasara
is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil signifying
the vanquishing of the ‘six demons’ of lust, anger,
attachment, greed, pride and jealously within us.
Sapthaha Jnana Yagna
Over the past many years the festival of
Dasara in Prasanthi Nilayam has been closely associated with
the ‘Veda Purusha Sapthaha Jnana Yagna’, the week-long
sacrificial ritual conducted in the Divine Presence, for the
welfare of the whole world.
After Bhagawan grants Darshan in Sai Kulwant
Hall, pundits (Vedic scholars) followed by the students of
Bhagawan clad in saffron silk dhotis and white angavastrams
(traditional Indian attire consisting of a cloth wrapped around
the shoulders) walk in procession to the Poornachandra Auditorium,
the venue of the Yagnam, amidst vedam chanting and the auspicious
tunes of the ‘Nadaswaram’. The Yagnam commences
with the ceremonial churning and rubbing of wooden blocks
to produce fire in the most natural way. The sacred fire thus
produced, is placed in the ‘Yagna Kunda’ (sacrificial
altar into which oblations are offered).
The most important component of the Yagnam
is the Rudra yagam where the oblations are made in the Yagna
Kunda to Lord Shiva while chanting hymns from the ‘Sri
Rudram’. In addition to this, other rituals like –
Surya Namaskara, Sahasralinga Archana, Srimad Bhagavatha Parayana,
Ramayana Parayana and the Devi Mahatmyam are simultaneously
performed. Amidst these rituals, a few pundits continuously
chant various hymns from the Vedas, joined by Bhagawan’s
students. The Yagna concludes with the ‘Poornahuti’
the final oblation that is offered amidst chanting of the
‘Chamakam’ on the Vijayadashami day.
The evening programmes are held in Sai Kulwant
Hall, under the auspices of the Prasanthi Vidwan Mahasabha,
where many speakers, primarily students and functionaries
of Bhagawan’s institutions, address the august gathering
on many topics concerning spirituality and philosophy, Bhagawan’s
teachings and experiences of devotees. Following these talks,
Bhagawan would bless everyone with His Divine Discourse.
Sai Grama Seva
In addition to the Yagna, another very important
aspect of the Dasara Celebrations in the recent years is the
‘Grama Seva’ (Village Service) where the students
of Bhagawan’s School and University visit Puttaparthi
and surrounding villages and distribute Bhagawan’s Prasadam
consisting of food and clothes, as a symbol of Bhagawan’s
love and blessings to the people.
“The life of a man who cannot respect
and love one’s mother is utterly useless. Recognizing
one's mother as the very embodiment of all divine forces,
one must show reverence to her and treat her with love. This
is the true message that this nine-night festival (the Navaratri)
gives us. The supreme Shakti manifests herself in the form
of Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Durga grants us energy -
physical, mental, and spiritual. Lakshmi bestows on us all
forms of wealth - not just money but intellectual wealth,
the wealth of character, and others. Even health is a kind
of wealth. She grants untold riches to us. And Saraswati bestows
intelligence, the capacity for intellectual inquiry, and the
power of discrimination on us. The Navaratri festival is celebrated
in order to proclaim the power of the goddesses to the world.
One's own mother is the combination of all these divine beings.
She provides us with energy, wealth, and intelligence. She
constantly desires our advancement in life. So she represents
all the three goddesses that we worship during the Navaratri
- Divine Discourse: 14th October
"Indians (Bharatiyas) have been celebrating
the Navarathri festival from ancient times as a mode of worship
of Devi, the Divine as mother. They worship Durga, Lakshmi,
and Saraswati during those nine days. Who are these three?
These three forms have fascinated man. Their esoteric significance
is represented by three potencies (shakthis): karma, devotion
(upaasana) and spiritual wisdom (jnaana).
The significance of Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati
has to be rightly understood. The three represent three kinds
of potencies in man: will power (ichchaa shakthi), the power
of purposeful action (kriya shakthi), and the power of discernment
Saraswati is manifest in man as the power
of speech (vaak). Durga is present in the form of energy and
dynamism. Lakshmi is manifest in the form of will power. The
body indicates purposeful action (kriya shakthi). The mind
is the repository of will power (ichchaa shakthi). The Atma
is the power of discernment (jnaana shakthi). Purposeful action
comes from the body, which is material. The power that activates
the inert body and makes it vibrant is will power. The power
that induces the vibrations of will power is the power of
discernment (jnaana shakthi), which causes radiation of energy.
These three potencies are represented by the mantra, Om Bhur
Bhuvah Suvaha. Bhur represents the earth (bhuloka). Bhuvah
represents the life force, conscience in man. Suvaha represents
the power of radiation. All three are present in man. Thus,
Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati dwell in the human heart.
What should do during these ten days of the
Navarathri festival? Convert your will power (ichchaa shakthi)
into a yearning for God. Convert purposeful action (kriya
shakthi) into a force for doing Divine actions. Convert your
power of discernment (jnaana shakthi) into the Divine Itself”.
- Divine Discourse: October 9, 1994