Navaratri Festival Marks Autumn
Pohl, Laura Zahn, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Laura Zahn Pohl Daily Herald Correspondent
The onset of the new moon Tuesday signaled the beginning of Navaratri, a nine-day festival observed at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in Lemont, 10915 Lemont Road, Lemont.
The festival marks the start of autumn and winter, an important transition period of climatic change caused by the sun's annual rotation.
"Changes in nature have an influence on the bodies and minds of people ... so we worship the divine power to bestow upon us the power to maintain our physical and mental balance," said Subramanian Veerabahu, a spokesman for the temple.
The word Navaratri actually means nine (Nava) nights (ratri).
"During Navaratri, we invoke the energy aspect of God in the form of the Universal Mother, commonly referred to as 'Durga,' " said Veerabahu. "The name literally means the remover of miseries of life."
Navaratri is divided into sets of three days to adore different aspects of the Supreme Goddess.
On the first three days, the Mother is invoked as Durga in order to destroy all a believer's impurities, vices and defects.
On the following three days, the Mother is adored as Lakshmi, a giver of spiritual wealth.
The final set of three days is spent in worshipping the Mother as Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom.
"In order to lead a successful life, we need the blessings of all three aspects of the Divine Mother," he said.
The festival is celebrated in different styles throughout India. …