Marathi Culture and Festivals

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Ghatasthapana / Navratri starts

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Sunday September 29, 2019 All Day


Image: Gaikwad Family Ghatasthapana Valencia CA USA

Ghatasthapana, also known as Kalashsthapana Puja, is performed on the first day of Navaratri. Ghatsthapana involves invoking Goddess Shakti in Kalash or Pot and symbolically on the growing shoots of wheat. This is continued for the next nine days. The puja ends on the 10-th day morning of Vijaya Dasami or Dasara.

How to perform Ghatasthapana Puja?

Clean the puja room or area where you plan to perform the Ghatsthapana.

Take a pitcher / kalash with large mouth made of mud or copper and fill it with soil and sow seven types of grains like barely, wheat etc. Nowadays people opt for single grain or lentil or gram. While sowing the grains mantras dedicated to Lord Varuna are chanted. If you do not know any Vedic mantras, you can chant any mantra you know especially dedicated to Goddess Shakti.

Bring another set of soil and make a thick square or rectangle bed with thickness of five or seven centimeters in the puja room or area. Grains are sown on this too.

Photo of Goddess Durga or any other incarnation of Goddess Shakti is installed in the puja room or puja area near the thick square of sand bed. Navarna Yantra, if available, is installed near the picture of Goddess Durga.

A copper or silver or earthen pot is made to be the Kalash pot – fill it with water, sandalwood or paste, flowers, durva grass, rice mixed with turmeric (akshata), betel nut, five leaves, five gems or a gold coin. All these items are put into a single pot. A coconut is placed on top of the Kalash – some people avoid placing the coconut and instead use garland to cover the top.

Garlands and flowers are placed on the pot, picture or idol. Flowers are placed near the pot and picture of Goddess.

Morning and evening lamps are lit and Aarti is performed. In some houses a lamp remains lit for all the nine days.

The mantras that are chanted during puja vary from region to region and vary with family tradition. Some people opt for simple Goddess Durga mantras.

While offering Prasad, flowers etc the devotee says I offer flower (name of flower) to Goddess Durga or Shakti.

Make sure that moisture is maintained on the sand bed and in the pot with sand. For this slight amount of water is sprinkled.

Fresh flowers and garland are offered on all the nine days.

Above is the basic direction to observe Ghatasthapana puja, every household / family has their own tradition and could differ from these. You can follow a pujavidhi book or direction of your preist as well.

On the tenth day, the grains might have grown 3 inch or 5 inch and this is cut and given as Prasad to family members, friends and neighbors.

There is also a tradition to observe fasting for all nine days in Maharashtra called “kuldharma”.

Some people observe fast only on Ashtami (8th day) and women get together to do haldi kumkum

The Legend:

Victory over Mahishasura

According to a very popular legend, Mahishasura, the mighty demon worshipped Lord Shiva and obtained invincible power. Soon, he started killing the innocent lives on earth and set out to win the seven lokas. He acquired the swarglok. Nobody could save the living creatures from his tyranny. Even the three mighty gods of the Hindu Trinity - Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva - were unable to defeat him. Therefore, all the gods, including the Hindu Trinity, united their supreme powers and created a divine being called Ma Shakti or Durga, the Warrior Goddess.

With all the accumulated power and the weapons given by the gods, Goddess Durga set her trail to defeat Mahishasura. To accomplish the task, she entered a war with him, which extended for nine days. After fighting hard with him for nine days, Goddess Durga killed Mahishasura on the tenth day. Consequently, she lifted the tyranny of the demon off the innocent lives on earth and restored the swarglok to the devatas (Gods). Therefore, Navratri is celebrated to commemorate her victory over the demon, which symbolizes the victory of the good over the evil. The nine nights of Navratri symbolize the nine nights of the war between Goddess Durga and Mahishasura.

The other Legends:

As per Hindu mythology, Uma, daughter of King Daksha of Himalayas, married Lord Shiva against the will of her father. In order to take revenge, King Daksha arranged a yagna where he invited all the deities except Lord Shiva. The story goes that when Uma visited her parents to take part in the yagna, her father offended Lord Shiva. Unable to bear the insults meted on her husband, Uma jumped into the agnikund, which is why she is also known as Sati. In her rebirth, she married Lord Shiva and also made peace with her parents. It is said that Sati comes to stay with them for nine days, which is celebrated as Navratri.

It is also said that Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga in all her nine forms, for nine days, in order to gather all the powers required to vanquish Ravana the demon, and release his wife Sita from his clutches. Those nine days imply Navratri, and the tenth day when he killed Ravana, came to be known as Vijaydashmi and is celebrated as Dussehra.

The history of Navratri also takes us to the assumption which states that in prehistoric times, the Kshatriyas used to drive themselves out from participating in any warlike activities all through monsoon season. As soon as monsoons got over they would worship Devi for nine days and set off with their war activities. These nine days are today celebrated as Navratri.

In Maharashtra, women play bhondla / hadga songs on navratri days. An elephant motif drawn on a wooden square / pat and fresh flower and rangoli decoration is placed in the center , and girls and women sing bhondla songs walking in circle around this wooden block.

Famous Goddess temples of Maharashtra:

In Maharashtra, Rnuka mata – Mahurgadh

Tulaja Bhavani- Tulajapur, Mahalaxmi – Kolhapur, Nashik / Vani - Saptshringi

Durgashtami: .

Durga Ashtami or Mahashtami is 8th day of Navratri.Some people observe fasting

on this day.There is a tradition to ask for " jogwa" that means you pray to Goddess

for a particular wish. In 1674 Shivaji maharaj did " Jogwa" on Raigadh.

[ Need to do more research on this]

Nine forms of Devi are worshiped during this time and that is why its called " Navratri"

The Nine form are:

1 Durga

2 Bhadrakali

3 Amba or Jagdamba

4 Annapurna: The one who provides grains (anna) in plenty (purna: used as subjective)

5 Sarvamangala: The one who gives joy to all.

6 Bhairavi:

7 Chandrika or Chandi

8 Lalita

9 Bhavani

घटस्थापना

अश्विन शुद्ध प्रतिपदा ते नवमी हा देवी उपासनेचा काळ, ह्यालाच नवरात्र उत्सव असं म्हणतात. नवरात्रात घरोघरी घट स्थापना केली जाते. ह्या नवरात्रींत देवीपुढे अखंड दिप लावला जातो. रात्री देवापुढे बसून उपासना, जप, ग्रंथवाचन, देवीची छान छान भजने, स्त्रोत्रं म्हटली जातात.

देवी कां प्रकट झाली? कशासाठी अनं कशी प्रकट झाली. ह्या बद्दल देवी महात्म्य नावाच्या ग्रंथात जी गोष्ट सांगितली जाते ती अशी :

पूर्वी पृथ्वीवर एक महिषासुर राक्षस फार माजला होता. त्यानं देवदेवता ऋषीमुनी, साधू संत सज्जन आणि भक्त भाविक ह्यांना अगदी सळो की पळो करून ठेवलं होत. तो सर्वांनाच फार त्रास देत होता.

तेव्हा सर्व जण ब्रह्मा, विष्णू, महेश ह्या देवतेंकडे गेले. त्यांनी आपली समस्या त्या देवांना सांगितली तेव्हा त्या देवांना महिषासूर राक्षसांचा फार राग आला. त्यांच्या क्रोधातून एक शक्तीदेवता प्रगट झाली.

त्या शक्तीदेवतेने महिषासुराशी नऊ दिवस युद्ध केले आणि त्याला ठार मारले. म्हणूनच त्या देवीचं सर्वांनी नांव ठेवलं महिषासुर मर्दिनी. त्या देवीच्या उपासनेचा काळ म्हणजेच नवरात्र.

अश्विन शुद्ध प्रतिपदेला देवघरांत, मठ मंदिरात जी घटस्थापना केली जाते ती कशी ह्याच उत्तर असं :

घटस्थापना

दोन पत्रावळी घेऊन त्यात एक परडी ठेवतात. परडीत काळी माती घालतात त्यात एक सुगड ठेवतात., तांब्या चा कलश हि ठेवता येतो . त्याला कुंकवाची पाच किंवा सात बोटे काढतात. त्या सुगडाच्या तोंडावर नऊ विड्यांची पाने लावतात. त्यावर एक नारळ म्हणजेच श्रीफळ ठेवतात. त्या श्रीफळालाच देवीचा मुखवटा मानून हळद कुंकू लावतात. हार वेणी गजरा घालतात. घटा खालच्या काळ्या मातीत सात प्रकारची धान्य पेरतात.

ह्या घटाजवळच अखंड नंदादीप लावतात. त्या दिव्याची काळजी घेतली जाते. दीप म्हणजे प्रकाश. अन प्रकाश म्हणजे ज्ञान, तसेच ह्या घटावर फुलांच्या माळा सोडल्या जातात. सकाळ-संध्याकाळ देवीची मनोभावे पूजा केली जाते. भक्ती केली जाते. उपासना केली जाते.

नवरात्रातली ही देवी उपासना प्रामुख्याने रात्री करतात. कारण रात्रीची वेळ ही उपासनेला उत्तम असते. रात्री मन शांत स्थिर असते. त्याची एकाग्रता तादात्म्य भाव लवकर साधतो. एकेका दिवसानं घटा खालच्या मातीत पेरलेल धान हे पाणी आणि अखंड दिव्याची उष्णता ह्याने अंकुरते – हळू हळू वाढू लागते. तेच त्या देवीच घटावरच दर्शन असत.

आपल्या महाराष्ट्रात माहूरची रेणुकामाता, तुळजापूरची तुळजाभवानी, कोल्हापूरची महालक्ष्मी व वणीची सप्तश्रृंगी देवी अर्धे पीठ अशी देवीची साडेतीन शक्तीपीठे आहेत. येथे नवरात्रीमध्ये नऊ दिवस फार मोठी यात्रा भरते. देवीचे भक्त देवीच्या दर्शनासाठी खूप लांबून येतात. देवीला साडी-चोळी. पीठा-मीठाचा जोगवा, ओटी अर्पण करतात व सुखाचे वरदान मागतात.

ह्या घटासमोर बसून उपासना करणाऱ्याचे मन शांत प्रसन्न व स्थिर होते. देवीची त्या भक्तावर कृपा होते. त्याला सुख शांती अन समाधान लाभते.

नवव्या दिवशी म्हणजे दसऱ्याच्या आदल्या दिवशी नवचंडीचे होम करतात.

ह्या नवरात्र उत्सव काळांत देवळांतून देवीची वेगवेगळी पूजा बांधतात. ती आदिमाया शक्ती दुर्जनांचा नाश करणारी आणि सज्जनांचे रक्षण, मंगल आणि कल्याण करणारी आहे. ह्या शक्तीचे पूजन देशभरात केले जाते.

ही शक्ती देवता देशभरांत अन वेगवेगळ्या भागांत विविध नावांनी ओळखली जाते. ह्या उत्सवाला सुद्धा सध्या सार्वजनिक स्वरूप प्राप्त होऊ लागले आहे. नऊ दिवस उपास पण काही जण करतात , आणि काही लोकं अष्टमी चा उपास करतात आणि त्या दिवशी बायकांचं हळदी कुंकू असत.

मुलींना आवडणारा हादगा हा ह्याच दिवसांत करतात, ह्याला भोंडला पण म्हणतात . मुली पाटावर हत्ती काढून त्याचे भोवती फेर धरतात. हादग्याची गाणी म्हणतात. नवनव्या खिरापती केल्या जातात.

नवरात्रीला सध्या जे सार्वजनिक स्वरुप आले आहे त्यामध्ये मुले मुली नऊ दिवस गरबा खेळतात. तसेच विविध मनोरंजनाचे स्पर्धा महिलांसाठी भरविल्या जातात. मुलां-मुलींसाठी अनेक स्पर्धात्मक कार्यक्रम राबविले जातात. शेवटच्या दिवशी देवीची फार मोठी मिरवणूक काढली जाते. शक्ती उपासनेचा हा नवरात्रीला उत्सव फार महत्त्वाचा आहे.

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