It’s that time of the year again – the Navratri festival!
We’re about to start our third day of fasting, and so far, it has been wonderful at the beautiful ashram of Divine Bliss International.
If you’ve never heard of Navratri before, “Nav” is a word for nine, while “ratri” means night. The nine days of feasting and fasting starts on the Spring Equinox, a transitioning period where our body’s energies have to adapt to the change of season from winter to spring.
The festival marks a time where traditionally in India, the 3 forms of Divine Mother Goddesses are worshipped:
Mother Durga – Goddess of Valor and Righteousness, representing the infinite power of the universe as well as female dynamism
Mother Lakshmi – Goddess of Abundance and Prosperity and
Mother Saraswati – Goddess of Wisdom
You might be thinking that you aren’t at all familiar with the Hindu religion or Indian culture to understand this, and that’s okay! Because at Divine Bliss International, worshipping these Divine energies simply means coming from a place of humbleness and gratitude to honor the divine energies – we replace our daily activities and thoughts with reverence and gratitude to the energies of valor, righteousness, abundance, prosperity, and wisdom within us instead, inviting the Divine to enter our presence.
The purpose of the Navratri fast is to honor the energies of the Divine Mother also by honoring our physical body as a gift from the Divine. After sunset every day, we eat a diet of potatoes, sweet potatoes, greens, pumpkins, nuts and abstain from all grains. We eat only these simple and easily-digested foods to gently and lovingly detox our body from the toxins and heavy energies we’ve accumulated, allowing our body to benefit from this auspicious and powerful 9 days.
During the festival, we focus on overcoming our physical limitations (pressing thoughts of constantly craving food multiple times a day), as well as emptying out our body’s energy clutter to allow light energies to enter us. We give our bodies an opportunity to take a break from our busy modern lifestyle and our mind the chance to rest from these pressing thoughts. In addition to that, we incorporate chanting and meditation into our daily routine to uplift our vibrational frequency as well to bring maximum positivity to this festival.
And guess what? Whatever we sow during this auspicious festival, the benefits we reap become manifold!
To end this post, we’d like to show you exactly what our fasting food looks like with our dinner last night:
Why We Love Navratri
Unlike common misconceptions around cultures that don’t involve fasting, our fasting food is nutritious and delicious.
We break the fast with a sweet dish – pumpkin, sweet potato, or a carrot halwa (one of these vegetables is cooked in clarified butter, reduced, with added raw sugar to caramelize, raisins, and chopped nuts). Yesterday, we had sweet potato halwa with walnuts and raisins. During this fast, although nuts are allowed, they take time to digest, so we consume it minimally.
We eat potatoes and spinach however we like it – a sautée, soup, or simply boiled. Today, we are having potato and spinach soup with a special sesame-dried chilli talka (fragrant oil) which is Guruji’s recipe. Guruji is absolutely fantastic in the kitchen as usual.
We also have a sautéed kale with sesame dish (top middle compartment, which one of the students added some potatoes from the soup in as you can see!), and a fragrant sesame cabbage dish as well. They were spectacular with Himalayan rock salt.
At Divine Bliss, we are flexible in terms of seasonal vegetables, so tasty versions using natural ingredients are always created in the kitchen with the thought in mind to eat simply, minimally, and to honor our Higher Self and not our greed. The gift of mother nature is for us to embrace humbly, and not in greed.
We leave you a message of love and determination, for you to strengthen your mind, honor your body, chant, uplift your entire being, and feel yourself change positively after the 9 days of fasting.