Navaratri Activity

Devotion and Worship

Navaratri or Dussehra is one of the most important festival in Bharatiya tradition and is celebrated for a period of nine days. This festival is celebrated in different parts of India in their own unique ways. According to Swami, the true worship of Navratri is to pay obeisance to Nature. Why should we love and adore Nature? What is the relationship between Nature and God? Let’s find out what Swami has to say on this topic.

According to Swami, the basis of the whole creation is Nature or Prakruti. It is important to worship Nature and receive the blessings of the Lord. Swami explains that seeds in our hand by itself have no value ore use. Only when they are sown in the ground, they grow into trees and bear fruits. It is Earth that makes this possible. So, for existence, earth is the basis. Swami further explains that for anything to be successful, both human effort and Divine Grace is needed. From time immemorial, worshipping Nature was a practice followed by all ancient cultures. Worshipping Nature by default ensures that we do not misuse Mother Nature. Worshipping Mother Nature is equivalent to worshipping all the three deities or the Divine Mothers, Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Sarawathi and Goddess Durga.

It is not correct to experience and enjoy the benefits of Nature and then forget the abundant Grace of God. This is the reason why the Upanishads paid their obeisance to Nature. Offering Namaskars to Nature also signifies doing good deeds. Mother Nature is made up of the three Gunas - Satwa, Rajas and Tamas. The inner significance behind the worship of Mother Nature which is composed of the above three Gunas is that, there should be purity of thought, word and deed. This will alone enable us to receive the grace of God.

According to Swami, a true human being or a Noble man is one who has the unity of thought, word and deed. Only he can dispel darkness or ignorance. Goddess Lakshmi who is the embodiment of all prosperity is represented by pure heart or thought. Goddess Sarawathi who is the Goddess of Learning is represented by pure words and Goddess Durga who represents Shakti or energy represents pure or good actions. Navratri is a festival that is celebrated with the objective of dispelling darkness from our life.

True Devi Puja is observance of Trikarana Shuddhi which means Unity and Purity of thought, word and deed. Navratri leads man to the sacred path thereby destroying both ego as well as ignorance. Nowadays, people do not put much effort in understanding the meaning of festivals. They give importance to rituals and practices blindly. Like, for Dussehra people are more excited to neatly arrange Golus (toys and idols of various deities) and offer their worship. The main aim should be to experience Divinity. Worship should not be mechanical and artificial. Rather it should be full of earnestness and devotion.

According to Swami, the internal worship is to achieve purity in thought, word and deed. The external worship should be worshipping Nature, the manifest form of Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Nature is Bhudevi or Mother Earth. Mother Earth satisfies all our needs and more. She is very generous. Mother Nature has given us bountiful precious gifts and it is our duty to protect all that she has given us. We should not misuse any of the wealth given to us. We should save electricity, water and strive to keep the environment pollution-free. The ozone layer is getting depleted. Ozone layer protects us from harmful UV rays. Without this layer all the water would get evaporated. There will be no water.

There are many ways to keep the environment clean. We should work together to reduce pollution. We can plant more trees, we can cycle to work or car pool, we can avoid bursting fireworks etc. Can you think of other ways? Noise pollution is also today a great concern.

Have you ever thought that Nagarsankirtan and Bhajan singing also helps to cleanse the environment by giving out positive and good vibrations to the surroundings? It also cleanses our minds.

So, this Navaratri, let us pledge to practice internal worship and achieve purity in thought, actions and deeds. As part of external worship, let us worship Mother Nature by protecting her bountiful gifts and wealth!

[Ref:http://media.radiosai.org/journals/vol_12/01OCT14/Respect-nature-and-purify-thought-word-and-deed-dasara.htm]

Devi Resides in Everyone
(Tales of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa)

It was a sunny morning in Mount Kailash. Lord Ganesha, the darling son of Shiva and Parvati decided to go outside and play. With a hop and a leap he was out in the garden.

He plucked and smelt fragrant flowers. He chased the multi-coloured butterflies. He climbed trees and ate the delicious fruits. He tried to catch the deer, but they were too fast for him. All the running about tired him. He sat under a tree. Just then he heard a mewing. It was his pet cat greeting him. He looked at it fondly. It walked up to him gracefully and climbed into his lap. It closed its eyes and cosily settled down for a nap.

Ganesh felt this was not right. It is bad to sleep in the day-time. He should not permit it. He roused the cat. It opened its eyes a little and gave a small mew in protest. Ganesh stood it on its hind legs. He would literally teach it a lesson; Stick in hand he asked pussy to repeat what he said. But the cat only blinked. It climbed back into his lap and closed its eyes again.

Ganesh was irritated. His pupil was getting disobedient. He caught hold of the pussy and scratched its face. The cat jumped out of his grasp and ran away. Ganesh smiled to himself. Cats will be cats. He roamed about in the garden for a little longer and then returned to the house.

He felt very hungry. “Is the food ready,mother?” he asked. Parvati looked at him smiling and said, “Yes, Ganesh, go, wash and come. I shall finish dressing my wounds.” Ganesh was puzzled. Wounds? He looked at his mother more closely. He got a shock. There were many ugly scratches on her lovely face. Ganesh became angry. “Mother, tell me who has done this to you? I shall tell Father and get the culprit punished.”

He was then in for another shock. Parvati said, “The culprit is none other than my beloved son Ganesh”. Ganesh could not make head or tail of what she was saying. “I hurt my dear mother! Impossible, even in a dream. And was I not all the while out in the garden? Perhaps some mischievous boy was in my guise and did this wicked deed.”

But Parvati only shook her head. “Ganesh, tell me, did you hurt anyone while playing in the garden?” “No, Mother,” said Ganesh “I had no companion to play with today”. “Then did you play with any animal and hurt it in anyway?” asked the mother.

Ganesh now remembered how he had punished the disobedient cat. But what had that to do with the scratches on his mother’s face? He questioned her.

Parvati smiled and said, ‘Ganesh, don’t you know I am the Mother of the whole Universe? It is I who live in all creatures. Therefore, when you hurt any creature you are actually hurting me as well”.

Ganesh bowed his head in shame. He now understood. He was only one of the children of the Divine Mother. She loves all her Children equally and suffers equally with all. Ganesh realised his mistake and told his mother, “Mother, from this day onwards, I will not hurt any person or any creature by thought or deed”.

We too should make the promise that Lord Ganesha made. And keep the promise. Only then can we be really the children of the Divine.

Printable Colouring Sheets
Navaratri Across the Nation
(Cut and Paste Activity)

DRESS-UP DEVI
(Radiant Rangoli Art)

The Universal Mother is referred to as ‘Sarvaalankaara Yuktham’ and ‘Sarvaalankaara Bhooshathaa’: meaning She is adorned with different ornaments and is always dressed to perfection.

Dressing up the Divine Goddess is one way of showing our devotion to her. The Rangoli images of traditional timeless jewellery, drawn to perfection, will add to the beauty of the Divine Goddess. The striking Rangolis of the ornaments adorning the Devi, will beautify Her image and this image will effortlessly get etched in our hearts. The attention to minute and elaborate details in the given Ornamental Rangoli images,reflect the artist's dedication to the work! These ornate Rangolis will definitely help us to visualize the Divine Goddess in her greatest form radiating beauty, love, grace and compassion!

This Navaratri, let us try such radiant rangolis for Devi and kindle our art skills.

CROWN OR KREEDAM
NECKLACE
EARRINGS
BANGLES
JADAI SINGAARAM AND KUNJALAM (Hair Decoration)
ANKLETS
Rangoli by Janani Raghavan
Ornamental Rangolis for Mother Earth

As Navaratri is nearing, let us get ready to decorate our mother earth with a beautiful ornamental rangoli designs.

It is said that one of Goddesses Abirami’s Thaadankams (worn in the ears) which she threw, turned an Ammavaasya day to pournami (full moon ) for the great devotee Abiraama pattar.

The exquisite pieces of traditional Indian jewellery have been artistically and intricately drawn in the form of rangolis to enhance the beauty of the Navratri Festival. Age old images of the Divine Goddesses depict them adorning timeless pieces of jewellery with rubies, fiery diamonds, and serene pearls and more. These stunning rangolies of priceless jewellery and finery are definitely worth a try this Navratri!

NAVARATRI DAY – 1




NAVARATRI DAY – 2




NAVARATRI DAY – 3



NAVARATRI DAY – 4





NAVARATRI DAY – 5





NAVARATRI DAY – 6




NAVARATRI DAY – 7






NAVARATRI DAY – 8



NAVARATRI DAY – 9






Rangoli by Janani Raghavan
GO GREEN, GO DIVINE - DIY Thamboolam Bag with Old Newspaper
(Navaratri Activity for Balvikas Students)

During Navaratri, giving Thamboolam is our tradition and calls for a small bag to keep the Haldi, kumkum, betel leaves, gift etc in, compactly. Keeping the environment in mind, the trend now is to go for bio degradable bags replacing plastic bags. Here is a video that shows how to make a Thamboolam bag with old newspapers.

A good picture speaks a thousand words and also reflects the feelings of the person. It adds to the beauty and elegance of the hand crafted bag. Here, having 'Sai Maa' in the centre of the bag gives out the message of 'Love' and teaches children to handle the bag with care!

This Navratri, let us show our Love to Mother Earth by making useful things out of waste!

Shwetha Padmaasana (White Lotus Seat)
(Art and Craft Balvikas Activity for Navaratri)


White Lotuses stand tall in muddy waters. They are untouched by the dirt and emanate beauty and grace. Thus Lotus flower represents purity and symbolize the need for man, to remain untouched by negative influences.

Here is a video that shows how to make this elegant 'Shwetha Padmaasana' (white Lotus Seat) with thermocol plates for Goddess Saraswathi. A figurine of the Divine Mother can be kept in the centre.

This NavaRatri, let us learn this simple craft in the Balvikas class and add magic to our Golu decoration with a unique Shwetha Padmaasana!

STUNNING RANGOLIS
(For Our Divine Mother Earth)

As Navaratri is fast approaching, let us get ready to dress up our Divine Mother Earth with radiant rangoli designs. Here are few ‘stunning glittering ornamental rangolis’.
The Universal Mother is referred to as ‘Sarvaalankaara Yuktham’ and ‘Sarvaalankaara Bhooshathaa’: meaning She is adorned with different ornaments and is always dressed to perfection. The sacred texts on the Goddess, like Lalitha Sahsranaama, Soundaryalahari, Abirami Andhaadhi (Tamil verses), etc., always describe her ornaments and their significance.
It is said that Goddess Abirami once threw her Thaadankams (earrings) to turn an Ammavaasya day (no moon day) into Pournami (full moon day) to please her devotee ‘Abiraama Pattar’.
On this holy occasion of Navaratri, let us lovingly decorate and dress-up our Goddess with ‘jadai singaram’ & ‘kunjalam’ (Hair decorations), bangles, earrings and anklets, in the form of rangoli and glorify her beauty!
Let us meditate upon that Goddess, who has a body of the colour of saffron, who has three graceful eyes, who has a jewelled crown, who always has a captivating smile, who has Reddish flower in her hands, who is the ocean of peace and also one who adorns stunning and glittering ornaments.
And also let us try such radiant rangolis for Devi and kindle our art skills.

DRESS-UP DEVI - Rangoli Art

Dressing up the Divine Goddess is one way of showing our devotion to her. The Rangoli images of traditional timeless jewellery, drawn to perfection, will add to the beauty of the Divine Goddess and this image will effortlessly get etched in our hearts.

The attention to minute and elaborate details in the given Ornamental Rangoli images, reflect the artist’s dedication to the work!

The crowning glory of Goddess Durga is her daredevil act of killing Mahishasura, the buffalo demon.The elaborate jadai (hair) decoration is truly a tribute to the undaunted Mahishasuramardini!

These ornate Rangolis will definitely help us to visualize the Divine Goddess in her greatest form radiating beauty, courage, love, grace and compassion!

We are happy to present a video that shows the artist making a Rangoli of intricate hair decoration for Devi. Using similar techniques, one can experiment with various innovative designs and come out with superlative original ornate Rangolis!

COCONUT SHELL HOLDER

VALUES INCULCATED :
  • Making art out of waste.
  • Making effort to keep the environment clean.
  • Patience.
MATERIALS REQUIRED :
  1. Coconut shells
  2. Sand paper
  3. Acrylic paints and brushes
  4. Varnish
  5. Fevicol or fevistick
  6. News paper
  7. Rolling pin
ACTIVITY :

  1. Take a half shell of coconut and scrap the outer part neatly.
  2. Polish it with the sand paper.
  3. Varnish the inner and outer part of the shell.
  4. Paint the shell in golden colour or any designs can be painted inside and outside of the shell to make it more colourful.
  5. Using the knitting needle or any thin rolling pin, roll the paper tightly.
  6. Make a coil with a thin paper roll.
  7. This paper coil can be used as a stand for the holder.
  8. Two coconut shells can also be stuck together(as shown in the above pictures) , the bottom one inverted and can be used as a holder for keeping clips, pins etc.,
  9. These holders are attractive golu pieces or good gifts for Navaratri.
NAVARatri GOLU DOLLS
BEST OUT OF WASTE ACTIVITY (WITH COCONUT SHELLS)

VALUES INCULCATED :
  • Making art out of waste material.
  • Patience.
  • Making effort to keep the environment clean.
MATERIALS REQUIRED :
  1. Coconut shells (half) - 3 shells.
  2. Sand paper
  3. Acrylic paints and brushes
  4. Varnish
  5. Sequences or beads
  6. Fevicol or feviquick
  7. Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati idols (may be in plastic or terracotta or fiber)
  8. News paper
  9. Knitting needle.
GET READY WITH :

Gurus should explain to the children about the significance of Dussehra or Navaratri. They can also narrate some short stories/legends related to this festival.

ACTIVITY :
How to Make the Dolls ?

  1. Take half a shell of coconut and scrap the outer part of the shell neatly.
  2. Polish it with sand paper.
  3. Varnish the inner and outer part of the shell.
  4. Now, paint the inner part of the shell in red colour and allow it to dry.
  5. Paint the Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi idols in golden colour.
  6. Allow it to dry.
  7. Stick the idols to the inner part of the coconut shell as shown in the picture.
  8. Decorate the outer layer of the coconut shell with sequences or beads, as shown above.
How to Make the Stand?

  1. Roll the newspaper to make a thin rod, placing the knitting needle or any thin steel rod inside and roll tightly, as shown in the above picture.

  2. Make a tight coil with a paper roll as shown above in the picture.
  3. Paint the coil with a vibrant colours.
  4. Paper roll stand is ready.
  5. Now stick the coconut shell with the idol on the paper coil.
  6. Navaratri golu dolls are ready.

Kundan Rangoli

VALUES INCULCATED :
  • Creativity
  • Patience.
MATERIALS REQUIRED :
  1. OHP sheet with trace paper
  2. Cello tape
  3. Golden or coloured bead chains or sequences
  4. Kundan stones or multigrain
  5. Fabric paints
  6. Scissors
  7. Fevicol/fevigum /craft glue
ACTIVITY :

  1. Draw the outline of any rangoli pattern on a tracing sheet.

  2. Then, stick the OHP sheet on the tracing paper using cello-tape as shown in the above picture.
  3. Trace the outline of the symbol with craft glue on the OHP sheet.
  4. Now, start sticking the sequences or beads on the OHP sheet.
  5. Then, colour the symbol using fabric paints and decorate with Kundan stones or beads, as shown in the picture.
  6. Cut the excess part of OHP sheet.
  7. Decorate in front of Golu during Navrathri
  8. Different patterns can be done in this way, few samples are given.


Navaratri Across the Nation
1. West Bengal, Assam and Bihar


Saptami, Ashthami, Navami and Dashami—the last four days of Navratri are celebrated as Durga Puja in the eastern parts of the country. Durga Puja is the most popular festival in West Bengal, Assam and Bihar, and is celebrated with great pomp. The festival celebrates the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura.

2. Gujarat and Maharashtra


Swirling to the rhythm of music, the women and men get together for the dance of Garba and Daandiya raas! The sounds of dandiya sticks and dhol can be heard all over Gujarat during the first nine days of the month of Ashvin. Devotees observe fast and worship Maa Shakti. In the evening, a garbi, an earthen pot with diyas symbolizing the source of life, is used for the evening aarti.


For Maharashtrians, Navratri symbolizes new beginnings, hence this is considered the best time for buying property or making business deals. Married women invite their married friends over; they apply haldi and kum kum on their forehead and exchange gifts. Just like Gujarat, each of these nine nights is garba and dandiya night for Maharashtrians.

3.Tamil Nadu 


Just like other states, Tamil Nadu has its unique way of celebrating these nine days. During Navratri, they worship the goddesses Durga, Saraswati and Laxmi. Three days are dedicated to each of them. In the evenings, relatives are invited over to the house and gifts are exchanged. Married women are given bangles, bindi and other ornaments. The most fascinating ritual is Kolu, where a makeshift staircase is decorated with dolls which are said to be passed on from generation to generation.

4.Punjab


Most Punjabis fast for the first seven days of the Navratri, honouring of all the reincarnated forms of Maa Shakti.  Every night, jagrans take place, where devotees gather to sing religious songs. On the Ashtami or the Navami, fasts are broken by inviting nine young girls from the neighbourhood, who are honoured with gifts including money, food etc. These girls, known as ‘kanjak’, are considered to be representations of the nine different avatars (forms) of Maa Shakti.

5.Andhra Pradesh


During the nine days of Navratri, the people of Andhra Pradesh celebrate Bathukamma Panduga, nine days dedicated to Maha Gauri, the goddess representing womanhood.  During this time, women make flower stacks in the traditional style with local flowers and perform a puja. At the end of Navratri, this stack is then set afloat on a lake or any other water body. 

6.Kerala


In Kerala, Navratri is associated with education. As this festival marks the victory of good over evil, Keralites consider these days as the most auspicious for learning or starting something new.  During the last three days, they worship Goddess Saraswati and place books next to her statue in their homes.

7.Karnataka


Navratri in Karnataka is known as Nadahabba and is celebrated in the same way that it was way back in 1610 by the great Vijayanagara dynasty. Vijayadashami, the tenth day of Navratri, marks the victory of the good over the evil when Goddess Shakti fought and killed the demon Mahishasura on this day. Ironically, the state of Mysore was named after Mahishasura.  On dashami, people march elephants on the streets and exhibitions and fairs are held all over the state.

 8.Delhi



Watching the towering effigies of Ravana, Meghnad, and Kumbhakaran burned to the ground in the society grounds or local ramlila maidans have always been a mesmerizing affair. Add to this the numerous food stalls and joy rides – a festival that marks the victory of good over evil. The main feature of Dussehra and the preceding Navratri (9 nights) has been the enactment of scenes from Ramayan in the form of Ramlila performances.

9.Himachal Pradesh


Navatri celebrations in Himachal Pradesh take place on the tenth day of the Navratri. Unlike the rest of the states, the celebrations in Himachal Pradesh starts when it ends for others. It’s known as Kullu Dussehra marking the return of Load Rama to Ayodhya. During the nine days of Navratri, local Hindu families have get-togethers and show their respect to Goddess Durga.

Navaratri Across the NATION
(fOR Group I Children)
Values Inculcated:
  • To learn how the festival of Navaratri is celebrated in different styles across the four regions of India.
  • Visualising the colourful scenes of Navaratri
Materials Required:
  1. A Map of India (Printable map available below)
  2. Images of different clothes, sweets, idols, etc. taken from magazines or newspapers (Printable images available below)
  3. Craft glue / Fevicol
  4. Scissors
Getting Ready
  1. Gurus to highlight the below points on Navaratri celebrations across the Country.
  2. In the North, Navratri is celebrated by hosting a ‘Mata Ki chowki’ and ‘Kanya Puja’ at home.
  3. In the West, it is all about the famous ‘Garba dance’, performed by both men and women, who are traditionally dressed in ‘chaniya choli’ and ‘kurta pyjama’.
  4. In the East, people worship goddess Durga on all nine days by performing the Durga Pooja every evening. The women dress up in beautiful saris while men in Kurta Pyjama.
  5. In South India, especially in states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, it is a practice to arrange dolls on steps. This is called Golu. Friends, Relatives and neighbours are invited to see the Golu and for Haldi kum kum. In Kerala, people perform Saraswati Puja and worship books on a particular day.
Activity:
  1. Children to collect the images or take from given sheet.
  2. Stick these images to the corresponding regions of the country.


Navaratri Across the NATION
(for Group II - Children)
Values Inculcated:
  • To learn how the festival of Navaratri is celebrated in different styles across different states of India.
  • Visualising the colourful scenes of Navaratri
Materials Required:
  1. Take a printout of India Map or Draw the map on a chart paper (Printable map available below)
  2. Images of different clothes, sweets, idols, etc. taken from magazines or from News Papers (Printable images available below)
  3. Craft glue / Fevicol
  4. Scissors
Get ready:
  • Explain the children about the festival facts and Conduct a small quiz to reinforce the learning.
Activity:
  • Children to collect the images or take printout
  • Stick these images in the corresponding states/place of the map.