Ashadha Gupt Navratri
Ashadha Gupt Navratri is observed from the First day (Pratipada ) till the Ninth day (Navami) during the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of the moon) in the Ashadha month. The nine-day festival dedicated to Goddess Shakti which falls during the rainy season in July/August is called Ashadha Gupt Navratri.
The word ‘Gupt’ means hidden or secret. Of the two Gupt Navratri, Magh Navratri is celebrated in the northern region of India –Uttar Pradesh, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Haryana, and Punjab. Ashadh Navratri is celebrated prominently in the Southern states of India. It is one of the important festivities observed by Hindus with utmost devotion and It is said that very few people know about the Navratri that takes place in the month of Ashadh, so it is called Gupt Navratri.
According to Hindu scriptures, Navratri falls four times a year. There is two Navratri, Chaitra Navratri (in March/April) and Shardiya Navratri (in September/October) that are supreme significant. While two other Navratri are Gupt Navratri celebrated once in Magh Month (January/February) known as Magha Gupt Navratri and once in Ashada Month (June/July) known as Ashada Gupt Navratri. Though these Navratri are less popular than Chaitra Navratri and Shardiya Navratri, devotees of Goddess Shakti observe fast and worship Navdurga during the nine days.
When is Ashada Gupt Navratri in 2021?
In the year 2021 Ashadha Gupt Navratri starts on 11th July (Sunday) and will end on 19th July (Monday). The Ashtami will be celebrated on 17th July (Saturday), while Navami on 18th July (Sunday).
Ashadh Gupta Navratri rituals are similar to Chaitra and Shardiya Navratri. Devotees fast for nine days, do Ghatasthapana on the first day, and worship Goddess Durga in nine forms daily after completing the daily morning routine. On the day of Ashtami or Navami, girls are welcomed and worshipped and feasted as Udyapan of the fast. It is believed that this practice ends all the problems and helps the devotees to achieve peace in life.
If due to some health reasons, devotees cannot keep strict fast, partial fasting is also allowed. Apart from Vasanta Navaratri and Sharadiya Navratri, devotees of Goddess Durga, observe a fast for nine days during the Hindu months of Magha and Ashadha.
On the other hand, people associated with Tantric activities practice ten Mahavidyas instead of the nine forms of Mother during Gupt Navratri. These ten Mahavidyas include Maa Kali, Tara Devi, Tripura Sundari, Bhuvaneshwari, Mata Chhinmasta, Tripura Bhairavi, Maa Dhrumavati, Mata Baglamukhi, Matangi and Kamala Devi. Tantriks, Sadhaks, or Aghori do a spiritual practice of Maa Durga to attain Tantra-Mantra and Siddhi. During the ancient Vedic age, this Gupt Navratri was only known to few accomplished ‘Sadhaks’ or Sages. During this period, the Sadhaks invoke Goddess Durga, hence they are most popular for Tantrik Puja.
Since Navratri are the most important days to worship Goddess Durga and her nine forms, Gupt Navratri are particularly devoted to the Mahavidyas. Gupt Navaratri is very powerful and yields quick results if anyone chants Durga mantras with specific purposes secretly. The festival is attributed to fasts, Dhyan (meditation), and recitation of shlokas. It is said that during these nine days whatever the devotee wishes for earnestly, will be granted by Goddess promptly.
Nine Days of Ashadha Gupt Navratri
Navratri Day 1: 11th July, do Ghatasthapana and worship Maa Shailputri.
Navratri Day 2: 12th July, worship Maa Brahmacharini.
Navratri Day 3: 13th July, worship Maa Chandraghanta.
Navratri Day 4: 14th July, worship Maa Kushmanda.
Navratri Day 5: 15th July, worship Maa Skandamata.
Navratri Day 7: 17th July, perform Maa Mahagauri puja and do Durga Ashtami.
Navratri Day 8: 18th July, worship Maa Siddhidatri.
Navratri Day 9: 19th July, Navratri Parana (done when Navami tithi is over and Dashami tithi begins).