SHARANNAVARATRI is celebrated in the month of AASWAYUJA. YUJ means “to unite with, to yoke with or connect with”. SWA means “tomorrow”. AASWAYUJA means “to always or to continuously stay connected with”. AASWAYUJA also means TRANSCENDENTAL and IMMANENT, which means “pervading everywhere (macro) and at the same time within oneself (micro)”. Therefore, the every word AASWAYUJA means to constantly and continuously stay connected with the Higher, the Ultimate Reality at the universal and individual level.
Dasara Dolls – Significance: Navaratri (Dasara) during Aaswayuja is a sacred and auspicious occasion for each and everyone of us to acknowledge and express our gratitude to Iswara, the Lord of Creation-Sustenance-Dissolution and the created, the entire manifested world of things and beings – from the gross to the subtle, from small to the big, from the inert and insentient things to the dynamic and sentient beings, from the terrestrial to the celestial, from micro to the MACRO – from VISHWA to VISHWANATHA! However it is next to impossible to go out and individually express our gratitude to each and every one of the Lord’s creation – to the whole universe. Therefore, we bring the entire universe into our homes! The entire atmosphere and environment within the house becomes sanctified and divinised. Every house is a mini universe! Every house is a temple complex!!
The entire universe is laid out or spread out in the form of dolls, across nine levels or nine steps (odd number of steps). The Principle Gods, other devatas representing the cosmic phenomenal forces, the rishis, the saints, the king and queen, the common folk, animals, plants, mountains, rivers, gardens, temples, lakes, market place, the shops, agricultural fields, etc, etc., are all systematically and artistically laid out – Vishwa along with Vishwanatha in the house! This is not a mere dolls display or dolls show. The dolls represent something extremely sublime and subtle. The entire Universe and its Creator have all been “cast-in-the-form-of-dolls“. With heartfelt gratitude, we acknowledge the significant role and contribution of all of them in our lives. Hence, prostration to this One Divine Altar inside our home represents our salutations to the entire universe, animate and inanimate along with its Creator! Therefore, the invocation and salutations, the puja and arati are not for the dolls. It is solely for the Jagat and Jagadeeshwara undertaken by the Jeeva, the individual.
Temple Utsavas: The Lord in His compassion has given us everything in so much of abundance, and therefore, we in turn acknowledge, reciprocate, and express our gratitude by offering everything back to Him. When it comes back to us, it becomes His prasad.
Hence the various alankaras (decoration) and utsavas (procession) to the various deities in every temple. Alankara is done to the deities starting from haldi (turmeric) and kumkum, flowers, vegetables, fruits, gold and precious gems, etc – our offerings unto Him of what He has given to us. Animals are worshipped in the form of Lord’s vahanas (vehicles). Our own homes (gruha), equipments (ayudha), cars and other vehicles (vahana) are also worshipped and revered. All are nothing but an expression of Lord’s divine glory!
When these rituals are understood in the correct perspective and sincerely undertaken, with implicit faith and total devotion, our constricted minds expand, evolve and become more subtle. When we learn to respect, revere and adore every thing and every living being, we are automatically aligned with and come to live in harmony with the whole universe which is nothing but a loving display of His Glory. Infact, the universe is a manifestation of the Lord Himself! Effortlessly, our mind moves closer to the Higher Reality, the God-principle! From Jagat, the Universe of things and beings to Jagadeeswara, the Lord of Creation-Sustenance-Dissolution and then to transcend them all and move to the realms of the BEYOND is the REAL and EVERLASTING VICTORY – the VIJAYA! the VIJAYADASAMI !!
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Video talk on ” Why keep dolls during Navaratri?” : https://youtu.be/G1gFPpAoN-4
Video talk on Temple Utsavam during Navaratri : Expression of Gratitude to The Almighty https://youtu.be/yDvKHac30mA
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