Would it not be great to spend a few days alone in a place with natural beauty where no one knows us? Every year, for a few days, we should try to learn to be no one – not a father, a son, a wife, a husband, a boss, or an employee. We drop all roles that we have adopted or been bestowed with.
We could take long walks and feel nature. There would be no telephones, TV, or newspapers, and nothing to read, just giving the brain a rest. Doing so will rejuvenate our energies and we can come back to the whirlwind of our routine life as a new person.
The nine days of navratri is a period in nature which is very conducive to the transformation of energy. Yoga says that like man breathes the air around him, the earth takes in prana (or energy from the sun). For six months it inhales (Uttarayana) and for the next six, it exhales (Dakshinayana).
With every breath we take, come two points where we experience such pauses. The first point is during inhalation when we feel completeness when the breath hits the lungs. The second is felt towards the end of exhalation when we sense a blissful emptiness as the breath goes out. Yoga calls them as ‘laya’ and ‘pralaya’. These pauses cannot be measured and they can only be sensed, experienced.
Similarly, in the breath of the earth are two pauses. Very fine energies are made available during these pauses. These pauses are of nine days each and are known as the ‘Chaitra Navratri’ and ‘Asho Navratri’. It is in these intervals that the quality of the earth’s prana undergoes a radical change. The ancient rishis knew and used these two periods to practice their sadhna.
Navratri is a period of transformation of energy. The goddess Durga is worshipped as ‘shakti’ in her nine forms. She defeated the buffalo asura called Mahishasura. The buffalo symbolises tamas, meaning inactivity or laziness. The key to transformation is called ‘raas’ which is danced for all nine nights. As the dancer gets lost in the dance, the gross and heavy energies are transformed and rise up the backbone. With the rising of energy comes a feeling of joy and happiness. ‘Durg’ means a fort. This transformation of energy frees us from the fortress of desire and attachment.