It is ‘Ashtarathri’ this time, not ‘Navarathri’
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It is ‘Ashtarathri’ this time, not ‘Navarathri’

September 14, 2021

Scholars attribute change due to two ‘thithis’ falling on single day

Mysore/Mysuru: It is an age-old tradition to celebrate Dasara as ‘Navarathri’ or nine nights where Goddess Sri Chamundeshwari is propitiated with various ceremonial rituals without a single lapse. But this year’s celebrations will not be a ‘Navarathri’ but ‘Ashtarathri’ (eight nights) as two ‘thithis’ have fallen on the same day to be called ‘upari’. 

This year, Dasara begins on Oct. 7 and will conclude on Oct. 15. It will begin with ‘Padya’ and the eighth day (Oct. 14) will be ‘Navami’ and Oct. 15 (ninth day) will be Vijayadashami. As per traditions, this year, the pujas and rituals to Goddess will have to be performed in eight days instead of the usual nine days and Vijayadashami will fall on the ninth day instead of the usual 10 days. 

On the first day of Sharannavarathri that falls on Oct. 7, pujas will begin with ‘Padya’ where the Goddess atop the Chamundi Hill will be propitiated as ‘Shailavritha’ (as she is ‘Shailaputri’). On the second day, Oct. 8, a ‘Bramhacharini’ puja will be performed and on the third day, Oct. 9, ‘Chandraghanta’ puja will be offered to please the Goddess. 

On the fourth day, Oct. 10 ‘Chaturthi’ and ‘Kooshmanda’ pujas will be performed on the same day. This can slightly vary as on Oct. 10 ‘Chaturthi’ and ‘Kooshmanda’ pujas can be performed along with the fifth day (Panchami on Oct. 11) rituals where the Goddess is worshipped as ‘Skandamata’. 

The chief difference in the rituals will be either on the fourth day (Chaturthi) or on the fifth day (Panchami). Either the third and fourth day rituals will be combined or the priests will perform fourth and fifth day rituals together. All the rituals of other days will not change and the Vijayadashami will be held on Oct. 15, the ninth day. 

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Panchanga calculations

The calculations have been reflected in the Vontikoppal Panchanga and also the Mysore Palace Panchanga and the rituals will be performed accordingly. 

According to scholars, the change has occurred this year as the moon orbits around earth and even the earth has its own orbit around the sun and there is some change in the orbit that is reflected in the ‘thithi’ too. 

Observing the change in the moon’s rotation, Panchanga writers have recorded the timings and have calculated two ‘thithis’ in a single day. In 2015, there was ‘Ashtami Upari’ and as such, Ayudha Puja and Vijayadashami fell on the same day. Later, however, it was decided to celebrate Ayudha Puja and Vijayadashami  on two separate days. 

Speaking to Star of Mysore, noted spiritual thinker, Dr. Shelvapillai Iyengar said that this year ‘Navarathri’ will be observed as ‘Ashtarathri’ due to a change from first till fifth ‘thithi’. “However, there will be no change in any of the rituals and the priests have to perform two pujas in a single day. This will be decided by the priests based on the traditions they are following,” he said. 

Chief Priest of Sri Chamundeshwari Temple Dr. Shashishekar Dixit said that after all the ‘adhika masa’ (extra month) is calculated, there will be changes in the ‘thithi’. “As such, once in four to five years, the phenomenon of ‘Ashtarathri’ (8 nights) and even ‘Dasharathri’ (10 nights) is witnessed. This year it is ‘Ashtarathri’ where two ‘thithis’ fall on a single day. However, there is no problem in this and this is not considered as a bad omen. This is only a minor change and all the rituals to the Goddess will be performed as per the set norms,” he explained. 

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