Navratri ("nava" + "ratri") literally means "nine nights". This ritual is observed twice a year, in spring and in autumn. "Vasant Navratri" is nine days of fast and worship that Hindus undertake during spring every year. Vasant Navratri is also known as Ram Navratri because Ram Navami falls on the ninth day of Chaitra month. This year it commences on the 27th March and concludes on the 3rd April, 2009. Sri Ramnavami will be observed on Friday, April 3rd, 2009.
Chaitra month is considered as very auspicious maasam (month in Hindu calendar) in which the creation of the universe has started. Worship during Chaitra month brings the blessings of every aspect of divinity and empowers the devoted.
It is the devout Hindu’s duty to perform the worship of Devi for both material and spiritual welfare during the Vasanta Navaratri and follow the noble example set by Prabhu Sri Ram, who was a devotee of Maa Devi. One can easily realize his goals with the Divine Mother’s blessings. The auspicious time has come to sing Her praises and chant Her powerful name. Meditate on Her form and do worship. Pray and obtain Her eternal grace and blessings. May the Divine Mother bless us with all divine wealth.
Here are excerpts from the Sri Durga Saptashati, prayers to Maa Durg
Namo devyai maha devyai, shivaayai sa-tatam namah,
Namah prakrityai bhadraayai, Niyataah pranataah sma taam.
Salutations to the Divine Mother who is ever auspicious.
Salutations to Her who is the primordial cause and the sustaining power
With honor, we make obeisance to Her.
Raudraayai namo nityaayai, Gauryai dhaatrayai namo namah,
Jyotsnaayai cha indu-roopinyai, Sukhaayai sa-tatam namah
Salutations to Her who is terrible, to Her who is eternal.
Salutation to Gauri, the supporter (of the universe).
Salutation always to Her who is of the form of the moon and moon-light.
Salutations to Her who is happiness itself.
Kalyaanai pranata vriddhyai, Siddhyai kurmo namo namah,
Nairrityai bhubhritaam lakshmyai, Sharvanyai te namo namah
We bow to Her who is welfare
Salutations to Her who is prosperity and success.
Salutation to the consort of Shiva who is Herself the good fortune
As well as misfortune of kings.
Durgaayai durga-paaraayai, Saaraayai sarva-kaarinyai,
Khyaatyai tatha eva krishnaayai, Dhoomraayai sa-tatam namah
Salutation always to Durga who takes one across in difficulties,
Who is essence, who is the author of everything,;
Who is knowledge of discrimination,
And who is blue-black and also smoke like in complexion.
Atisaumya-atiraudraayai, Namas tasyai namo namah,
Namo jagat-pratisthaayai, Devyai krityai namo namah
We prostrate before Her
Who is at once most gentle and most terrible;
Salutation to Her who is the supporter of the world.