The story of Navaratri vrata

Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!

Once upon a time the celestial Sage Sri Naradji was roaming around the universe. He went on a pilgrimage from Swargaloka (heaven) to Mrityulok (mortal world). When he came to Mrityulok he saw people burdened with problems and full of sorrow for one reason or the other.

After going round Mrityulok a thought came in his mind that it was long since he had seen his father Lord Brahma. Therefore he decided to proceed to Brahmalok.
Upon reaching Brahmalok, he put the question to Lord Brahma and said what could be done by mortal beings so that their prayers are fulfilled and they attain happiness. Pleased with his son’s concern for suffering humanity, Brahmaji recounted a story.

In olden times in a beautiful city, there lived a Brahmin named Anath. He was a devout follower of Bhagavati (Goddess) Durga. Due to his good qualities he begot a beautiful daughter Sumati who was blessed with good qualities and beauty.

The child Sumati soon grew up to be a beautiful young girl. Whenever her father was doing the puja and havan of Mother Durga she was always present. One day Sumati went with her friends to play and she was absent for the puja of Bhagavati.

The father seeing this negligence of his daughter got angry and said to his daughter, “Oh negligent daughter, today you have not done Bhagavati Durga’s puja.  Because of this I will get you married to a sick and poor man.”  Hearing the harsh words of her father Sumati became sad and said to her father, “I am your daughter and it is my duty to do as you say. You may do as you wish. You can get me married to a King, a leper or whoever you wish, but my marriage will take place as per my destiny. Man has many desires but God’s will happens. Whatever a person does so does he reap the fruits of his action. Because it is man’s duty to do action (Karma) and God’s duty to give him the fruits of his actions.”

His daughter’s answer made the Brahmin even more angry. Eventually, he got his daughter married to a a leper and said angrily, “go now and reap the fruits of your action. Let’s see ‘depending on destiny’ what you will do.”

Hearing these bitter words of her father, Sumati thought in her mind how unfortunate she was to get such a father and such husband. Thinking in this way, Sumati along with her husband went into the jungle and spent the night with great difficulty hearing the cries of wild animals.

Seeing the poor child in this state and due to her previous good deeds, Bhagavati Ma appeared in front of Sumati and said to her, “O dear child, I am pleased with you. Ask me any boon, I will grant it.”  Overjoyed on hearing Goddess Durga’s words Sumati inquired who she was, why she was happy with her and to tell her everything and free her from her pathetic condition.

Hearing thus from the Brahmini, Devi said, “I am Adi Shakti, and I am Brahma Vidya – Saraswati. When I am pleased I remove the sorrow of human beings and bestow them with happiness. O Sumati I am happy with your past karma. In your last birth you were the wife of a Bhil hunter called Nishad and you were a devoted wife. One day your husband Nishad had committed a robbery. Due to the robbery you both were arrested by the soldiers and thrown in prison. They did not give both you and your husband any food to eat. This way during the days of Navratri you neither ate nor drank water for 9 days and thus unknowingly completed the Navratri vrat.

Due to the fast I am very happy and today I will grant you your wish, so tell me what boon you want. Sumati replied,”if you are really happy with me then O Mother Durga, I pay obeisance to you. Kindly remove my husband’s leprosy.”  Devi said as the fruits of one of the days of fasting in your past life, your husband will be rid of leprosy and get a beautiful golden healthy body.

With the blessings of Bhagvati Durga, her husband was free of leprosy and he became a handsome young man whose brilliance outshone the brilliance of the moon. Seeing the radiance of her husband and the immense power of the Devi,  

Sumati thought and said, “Oh Ma ! You are the remover of obstacles of the three worlds and remover of all sorrows, remover of the disease of the sick; on being happy bestowing boons and destroying wicked persons; you are the Mother and Father of the entire universe.

Oh Ambe, due to my mistake my father got me married to a leper and removed me from the house. Thus banished, I have been unhappy. It is you who have taken me across this ocean of misery. Oh Devi! I offer my salutations to you. Please protect me from misfortune.”

Brahmaji continued, this way Sumati prayed to the Devi. Hearing her prayers Devi was very pleased and said to the Brahmini,”you will have a son named Udalak who will be very intelligent, wealthy, hardworking and brilliant.”

Then Bhagavati Devi again told Sumati to ask for any other boon that she wished for. Hearing these words of Goddess Durga Sumati said, “O Ma if you are happy with me then kindly explain to me the rituals and way to do the Navratri fast and also the fruits one can achieve. Kindly explain in detail to me.”

Pleased with the Brahmini’s prayer, Durga said, “Dear child, I will narrate to you the complete procedure of the rituals of the Navratri fast, which removes all the sins. Simply by hearing this one is freed from all the sins and attains moksha (liberation).

In the month of Ashwin during the bright fortnight from the very first day till the 9th day one should keep a fast. If whole day fast is not possible then one meal can be eaten during the day. One should have vegetables, fruits and milk, With the help of learned Brahmin priests, a kalash and wheat grains should be installed and everyday water should be poured on that vessel.

Making clay figures of Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Maha Saraswati, one should worship and also offer flowers and worship as per rituals, every day. With Bijora flowers one gets beauty, Jaiphul gives brilliance, Amla gives happiness, Banana gives jewelry. In this way, performing havan with fruits and incense, one gets wealth.

Kheer, ghee, coconut, honey, jowar and til (sesame seeds) and fruits, with all these items one should do havan and one will achieve whatever one desires. The one performing the fast should with immense devotion, pay obeisance to the acharya and for the yagna performance give dakshina.

The one who follows the instructions regarding this great fast  assuredly gets all happiness and there is not an iota of doubt that during these nine days all that is given in charity will bear fruit multiple-fold. Oh Sumati, the entire fasting and worship can be done either in a temple or in the house as per the instruction.

 This way explaining to the Brahmini the procedure of fasting during Navaratri, Goddess Durga disappeared.

Those men and women who keep this fast with devotion get in this world happiness and in the end attain liberation. Hearing these words of Brahmaji, Naradji became happy and said to Brahmaji, “You have blessed me immensely by explaining the importance of the Navratri fast. O Lord other than you, who could explain the importance so beautifully.”

Jai Ma!

Jai Sri Radhey !

Jai Guru !