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Region 1 - Merton Centre Celebrate Navarathri

From Saturday 5th October to Sunday 13th October, thousands of devotees all around the world were celebrating the auspicious festival of Navarathri, dedicated to our Divine Mother Goddess.

Navarathri is a Hindu festival celebrated over nine days, as suggested by the name, to commemorate the victory of good over evil. This nine-day festival is usually divided into three parts. The first three days are dedicated to Goddess Durga, to Whom we pray to grant us physical, mental and spiritual energy. The next three days are for the worship of Goddess Lakshmi, the One who blesses us with wealth of many kinds - this includes physical wealth, intellectual wealth and wealth of character. Finally, the last three days are dedicated to Goddess Saraswathy, the One who grants us an intellect to discriminate between right and wrong, and the capacity for intellectual inquiry.

Swami has said that the nine days of Navarathri should be used effectively to destroy the demons within us; they are present in the form of lust (kama), anger (krodha), delusion (moha), greed (lobha), pride (mada), envy (maatsarya). The tenth day, Vijayadasami, is used to honour our victory in overcoming these evil qualities through the guidance of Goddess Devi.

In Prashanthi Nilayam, the festival is usually celebrated with the Veda Purusha Sapthaha Jnana Yagna. This is a week-long sacrificial ritual conducted in the Divine Presence by renowned Vedic scholars, for the welfare of the whole world. This includes making offerings to Lord Shiva using the celestial fire, the worship of the Sun and the reciting of sacred epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharatha. Such acts of worship are believed to inject divine energy into the world and destroy any source of evil.

Merton Sai Centre celebrated the Navarathri festival with uplifting bhajans to our Divine Mother Sai every evening from 7pm to 8 pm. This included Omkar, 108 names of our beloved Swami, followed by bhajans and Arathi. Each day was allocated to a different family of devotees, to prepare the Mandir and altar and to provide prasadam for the devotees after the bajan. The Region 1 Youth were given the opportunity to organise the bhajans on Friday 11th October. The love of all the devotees towards our wonderful Mother Sai created a vibrant spiritual energy, where we could all feel Her Divine presence. These nine days allowed all the devotees to take part in some way. Whether it was arrangements for the altar, preparation of prasadam or taking part in the bhajans, it was wonderful because we all had Mother Sai sitting in our hearts and minds throughout.

Sharlini - Merton Youth