Navratri Special: Believers to observe Navratri fasting with utmost divinity amid coronavirus scare

DN Bureau

The nine-day long Navratri festival, the celebration of goddess Durga, is one among many festivals, observed by many devotees with much spiritual fervour every year.

Goddess Durga
Goddess Durga

New Delhi: The nine-day long Navratri festival, the celebration of goddess Durga, is one among many festivals, observed by many devotees with much spiritual fervour every year.

The festival witness scores of devotees fasting continuously for nine days in honour of the goddess.

However, the sudden scare up in the air due to the novel coronavirus outbreak in our country and across the globe has put a hold on many activities.

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Restrictions of movements, advised by the authorities as a precautionary move to contain the virus, can become a sorrow factor among the devotees during this year's festival.

But that doesn't seem to affect the enthusiasm. "Puja will take place in all its glory," an ardent devote of goddess Durga Pushpalata told.

Right from her younger days, she actively observes fasting during the festival and follows no-meal fasting until the daily ritual is completed.

Due to age and health restrictions, the now 56-year-old woman has diluted the no-meal fasting to a liquid-fasting but has no plans to bring a pause to the ritual.

However, knowing of the lockdown, Pushpalata is slightly on the bet of "stockpile the essentials in advance that is a must-have for the festival."

She also stresses the fact that a hurried, unplanned stockpiling solely out of fear of shortage of essentials would be an irresponsible act.

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"Not that every shop is being closed. The required food items for the fasting is available even at a basic essential shop. Worrying on that would be unnecessary," said Pushpalata

"Faith is strong, and it is of an utmost surety that the occasion if done with pure devotion can push away all the negativity prevailing in the country," she added with complete confidence.

Despite juggling with her professional works amid the coronavirus scare, Sumitra Kumari by no chance has any plans to not keep fasting on this Navratri.

According to Sumitra, following the suggested precautions by the health experts during the fasting time will be the 'only extra' thing we need to focus on.

"For long, I have been observing the Navratri fasting every year. The only difference we can see this year would be the conscious cleanliness and sanitization in arranging the fasting essentials," she said.

The 40 plus old woman, however, doesn't encourage in stockpiling the fasting requirements and does not encourage visiting temples during this peak of the contagion.

The disease is "not something that comes today and goes tomorrow." Hence, she said that as a responsible citizen, we must adhere to the restrictions of movements at least this year.

"A grand arrangement of festival essentials is not the idea of the fasting or the Navratri festival. Limiting to the things we can easily find in our kitchen, and two-three flowers from our garden for the puja arrangements would be more than enough to feel the devotion," Sumitra told.

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Moreover, a country as diverse as India, it is not the just the elderly people who practice fasting, but even young girls follow up the Navratri fasting with much enthusiasm.

Much aware of the seriousness of the spread of COVID-19, a literature student Shubhra Sharma is of the opinion that keeping fasting will, in turn, be beneficial to "detox our body and can help building immunity."

The 20-year-old is seeing two-way benefits of fasting, "keeping up my ritual tradition and also making sure to fall back to a healthy diet."

Making a comparison to the previous year's festival time, the difference Shubhra has seen is that the price hike in some of the essentials of fasting and that being mainly due to the closure of weekly markets.

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"Since there are no weekly markets now, there is clear visibility in a price hike for some of the basic items required for fasting, that is a different case than any other year," she said.

"The festival is of great power and holds a great devotional space in our heart, thus, praying for the heal of the world will be the main prayer up in my mind," she further said.

The concept of the Navratri festival, which is said to celebrate the defeat of terrible evil by the forces of good, has become a ray of hope among many in the face of coronavirus scare. (ANI)

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