HERHCA Navratri (Hindi: नवरात्री Gujarati: નવરાત્રી Oriya: ନର୍ଵାର୍ତୀ Bengali: নবরাত্রি Kannada: ನವರಾತ್ರಿ Assamese: নৱৰাত্রি Marathi: नवरात्री Punjabi: ਨਰਾਤੇ Kashmiri: نَورات / नवरात Telugu: నవరాత్రీ Tamil: நவராத்திரி Malayalam: നവരാത്രി) is a festival, celebrated throughout India, dedicated to worship of the Hindu deity Durga. Navaratri in sanskrit means 'nine nights'. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Deity are worshiped. The tenth day is commonly referred to as Vijayadashami or "Dussehra". Diwali, festival of lights is celebrated twenty days after Dussehra. Navrartri also corresponds to a nine-day Taoist celebration beginning on the eve of 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, observed primarily by the Chinese of Min Nan linguistic group in Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Riau Islands called the Nine Emperor Gods Festival.
The origins of the rituals:
1. The tenth mandal of the Rigveda addresses the devotional sadhanas of Shakti. The "Devi Sukta" and "Isha Sukta" of the Rigveda and "Ratri Sukta" of the Samveda similarly sing praise of sadhanas of Shakti.
2. Before the beginning of the war between the Kauravas and Pandavas in the Mahabharata, Lord Krishna worshipped Durga, the Goddess of Shakti, for victory of the Pandvas.
3. Lord Brahma is cited in the Markandey Purana as mentioning to Rishi Markandey that the first incarnation of Shakti was as Shailputri.
4. Further incarnations of the Divine Mother are: Brahmcharñi, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri in that order. These nine manifestations of Shakti, are worshipped as "Nava-Durga". Chapter 5 of the Rudra Sanhita of Shiva Purana also vividly describes the various emanations of Durga.
A sanskrit stotra (hymn) from the Devi Mahatmyam:
या देवी सर्वभुतेषु
नमो देव्यै महादेव्यै शिवायै सततं नमः ।
नमः प्रकृत्यै भद्रायै नियताः प्रणताः स्म ताम् ॥१॥
Ya Devi Sarvabhutesu
Namo Devyai Mahaa-Devyai Shivaayai Satatam Namah |
Namah Prakrtyai Bhadraayai Niyataah Prannataah Sma Taam ||
1.1: Salutations to the Devi, to the Mahadevi; Salutations Always to Her Who is One with Shiva (the Auspicious One).
1.2: Salutations to Her Who is the Auspicious (being One with Shiva) Primordial Source of Creation and Controller of Everything; We Bow Always to Her
रौद्रायै नमो नित्यायै गौर्यै धात्र्यै नमो नमः ।
ज्योत्स्नायै चेन्दुरूपिण्यै सुखायै सततं नमः ॥२॥
Raudraayai Namo Nityaayai Gauryai Dhaatryai Namo Namah |
Jyotsnaayai Ce[a-I]ndu-Ruupinnyai Sukhaayai Satatam Namah ||2||
2.1: Salutations to the Terrible, Salutations to the Eternal, the Shining One and the Supporter of the Universe.
2.2: Salutations Always to Her, Who has a Cool Brightness like the Moonlit Night, And the Radiant Form of the Moon, and Who is Joy Herself.
The Durga Saotashti is part of the 136 chapters of the Markandeya Purana (Sanskrit: मार्कण्डेय पुराण) is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas circa 255 BCE It is written in the style of a dialogue between the ancient sage Markandeya and Jaimini, a disciple of Vyasa