Among the more celebrated goddesses of the Hindu tradition are the trio Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Together they are known as the Tridevi, which means three goddesses or the Goddess in three forms. The Hindu Navratri celebration honors these deities over a period of nine days.
Devotees worship each goddess of the Tridevi for three nights during Navratri. The first three nights are dedicated to Durga, the second three to Lakshmi, and the last three to Saraswati. Traditions vary widely by region.
In the West, some yoga studios acknowledge Navratri with celebrations of their own. The idea is to introduce yoga students to the characteristics of the three goddesses. So, let’s take a brief look at Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati and the powers they offer us all.
Navratri Celebration for Durga
Durga is a warrior. She is the goddess of courage and strength, called upon to slash through anything that doesn’t serve our ability to be our true selves. During Navrati, worshippers celebrate Durga’s supreme victory over evil. Think of Durga when distractions come up that keep you from doing what you need to do.
Durga’s energy—known as Durga shakti—is fierce, and she is usually depicted riding a tiger. She has many hands to hold the tools she uses in battle, such as a thunderbolt, a bow and arrow, a conch shell (which symbolizes the cosmic sound of om), a lotus flower (which stands for spiritual awakening), and a sword, among others.
Navratri Celebration for Lakshmi
Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Honoring Lakshmi does not necessarily mean you will have more material wealth, but the energy of this goddess can help you see the riches you already have. Wealth comes in many forms, of course. We can appreciate the abundance already present in our lives by practicing gratitude for our possessions, relationships, and abilities.
Lakshmi has four hands and wears beautiful red garments. She sits on a lotus flower, and gold coins often flow from her hands.
Navratri Celebration for Saraswati
Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, music, art, and science. Her offspring were the vedas—the four books of universal knowledge that are sacred texts for Hindus. We can honor Saraswati by gratefully acknowledging all that we’ve learned and by appreciating the beauty of music and art.
Saraswati holds sacred scripture on one of her four hands and a lotus flower in another. With her other two hands, she holds a string instrument called a veena, on which she plays the music of love and life. To symbolize her purity, Saraswati dresses in white and rides a white swan.
When is Navratri Celebrated?
Depending on which tradition one follows, Navratri falls once, twice or four times a year. In India, the most celebrated Navratri occurs in autumn, right after monsoon season. The second most common Navratri celebration is in spring. The other two times some Hindus celebrate Navratri are, of course, in winter and at the start of monsoon season in summer.
All three goddesses of the Tridevi have qualities that can enrich our lives. May you be strong, wealthy, and wise!