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In the month of 'Aswayuja ' from 'Padyami' to 'Dasmi' are auspicious days of 'Navaratri' which are celebrated with great joy.This year Dasara(Dusshera) is celebrated during . During these 'navaratri' (literally translated as nine nights) many pujas and 'homas' are perfornmed in honour of mother Durga. The image of 'Sakti' (energy) as the vanquisher of 'Mahishasura' are worshipped during the 'Navaratri' festivities. Some people perform 3 times daily 'Aahavaneeya agni, Grahapatya agni, Dakshina agni'. In addition to this, the adiya homa is performed with the 'Maha Surya Mantra' . All these yagna performance are to create powerful agents in the atmosphere surrounding the house so as to keep the household environment clean and healthy.

1st Day - 'Asvayuja padyami' - Sri Swarnakavachalankruta Durga devi
2nd Day - 'Asvayuja vidhiya' - Sri Bala TripurasundariDevi
3rd Day - 'Aswayuja tadhiya' - Sri Gayatri Devi
4th Day -'Aswayuja chavithi' - Sri Annapoorna Devi
5th Day - 'Aswayuja pachami' - Sri Lalitha Tripurasundari Devi - LalithaPanchami
6th Day -'Aswayuja Shasti' - Sri Maha Lakshmi Devi - Maha shasti
7th Day -'Aswayuja saptami' - Sri Maha Saraswati Devi - Mahasaptami
8th Day -'Aswayuja astami' - Sri Durga Devi - Durgastami
9th Day -'Aswayuja navami' - Sri Mahishasura amrdini Devi- Maharnavami
10th Day -'Aswayuja dasami' - Sri Sri Rajarajeswari Devi - Vijayadasami

In the month of 'Asvayuja' during 'Padyami' we place 'Kalasam' marking the start of Dasara festivities. A stage is set in the puja room to place the 'Kalasam'. 'Gomayam'(cowdung is used to purify the place and is decorated with 'pasupu'(turmeric) and 'kumkuma'. Along with the puja material the 'Panchapallavalu' (five types of tender branches of different trees) and 'Duurvaakuramulu' have to be prepared and made ready.

'Puja Vidhanam': On the days of 'Navaratri' we should wake up early in the morning and take 'Abyamgana snanam' (a bath using herbs) and purify ourself, wear a 'namam' and new cloths and 'pavitram' should be worn. The place where the puja is to be performed is to be spread with a white cloth or red silk cloth(in olden days deer skin or tiger skin is used, but I would never recommend it.) and the 'kalasam' is placed. We should sit facing East or North.

'Akamanam' has to be performed three times while reciting the 'Omkaram' we should meditate on the Lord for ten minutes. 'Gayatri Mantram' has to be recited and we have to think of 'mahasamkalpam' married person should do this puja along with his wife.

Firstly 'Vignaeswara puja' has to be performed. Next according to the directions of 'Brahmanas' the puja is performed for nine days or seven days. In case you cannot perform for so many days three day puja or atleast one day is sufficient. During the days of the puja fasting has to be done while eatig only once a day. During the nine days a flame should always be burning in the house.

Ayuda puja: Long ago the pandavas ended their 'Agnatavasa' exile after Arjuna brought down the 'Gandeeva' from above the 'sami' (jammi chettu) tree where they were hidden and defeating the Kauravas during 'Vijayadasami'. Hence the 'Sami' tree has a special importance during this festive season. It has come as a tradition that kings used to perform pujas to their weapons and chariots under this tree. This tradition is continued still and instruments used in our day to day lives, vehicles are worshipped during this time .

Aparaajita Sami puja: The 'Sami' tree has to be worshipped by reciting the following chant:

శమీ శమతే పాపం శమీ శతృ వినాశనం
sami samatae paapam, sami satru vinaasanam.

By worshipping the 'Aparajita Devi' we should cross the border of our village ('Seemollamganam'). We should move to the eastwards of the village and thus worship the Godess Aparajita Devi:

madhyae aparaajitaayai namah ityavaraajitaamaavaahya
taddakshiNae kriyaa Skyainamah iti jayaam naamatah
umaayainamah iti vijayaamaa vaahma aparaajitaa
yainamah jayaayainamah vijayaayai namah

In ancient times kings used to worship the Godess Aparajita Devi before being crowned. Vijayadasami is considered the most auspicious day to crown a new king, or even to start formal education. However it is better to avoid this time when it falls on 'Aekaadasi'.


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