Lord Brahma, as it is said by Vedantic philosophy, created the universe in a single day. That day is also the beginning of Navratri, of the Vasant Navratri which takes place after Amawasya in the month of Chaitra which approximately corresponds to March.
Navratri is a nine-day festival of Hindus dedicated to the nine forms of Shakti, Mother Godess and it is celebrated with devotion, love and fervour all over India. Actually, there are four Navratris, each lasting for nine days. All this makes this the greatest Hindu festival in which God is adored as Mother and Hinduism as the only religion in the world which emphasizes the motherhood of God to such an extent. By speaking of God as a mother, we mean the love, compassion, kindness and understanding because of which we feel safe to ask anything of Her. In that way, everyone is blessed with Her loving mercy and is protected by Her.
Every region of India, every community, has a somewhat different custom of worshipping and celebrating, from dancing and singing to devoting oneself to introspection and inner purification by observing a fast and withdrawing oneself. However, the basic aim of all these is to please the Shakti to bestow upon us all that is good for us. Spiritual aspirants also ask her for help on their path, namely, to achieve their goal, i.e. self-realization. The aspirants, therefore, as their initial step, have to get rid of all the countless impurities, so they pray to Mother Durga to destroy all their faults. Then they have to acquire divine qualities, so they pray to Mother Lakshmi, the giver of inexhaustible divine wealth. Once the aspirants succeed in rooting out the evil qualities, and develop Sattwic or pure, divine qualities, they are ready to receive the light of supreme wisdom. At this stage comes the devout worship of Mother Saraswati, who is the embodiment of knowledge of the Absolute. That is why this nine-day celebration is divided into three equally long parts.
In our Ashram in Jadan, this celebration is also taking place. On the first day, on Friday, there was a puja in Shiv Mandir where Mahamandaleshwar Jasraj Puriji, with the help of a pandit, prepared a special pot, called Ghatasthapana, which symbolizes the whole universe and in which all the five elements are present. The soil, wheat and water represent the Divine Mother around whom there is air along with space, while the fire is present in the puja. On top of all, there is a dry coconut symbolizing the Purusha, Shiva and Shakti, and, at the same time, also our ego, which we surrender to the Divine Mother through this puja. To Mother, who is ever-loving, indescribably kind and whose mercy has no limits.