Navaratri is an important Hindu festival. Nava means nine and Ratri means night. During Navaratri, the Goddess is worshipped in Her various forms as Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Though the Goddess is one, She is represented and worshipped in three different aspects, on the nine days. The tenth day is called Vijayadasami. Vijaya means victory, the victory over our own minds that can come only when we have worshipped Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Durga: On the first three days Durga is customarily worshipped. Durga is the one who removes our evil tendencies. She personifies Shakti or divine energy. She is also called Mahishasura Mardini, the destroyer of demon. Mahisha means buffalo. Is not there a buffalo in our minds? We do have the qualities of laziness, darkness, ignorance and inertia. Durga Devi’s killing of the Mahisha demon is, symbolically, the destruction of these qualities within us that is difficult to destroy. By worshipping Her, we invoke that divine Power within us to destroy our animalistic tendencies. Lakshmi: For knowledge to dawn within us, our minds have to be prepared. The mind must be pure, concentrated and single-pointed. This purification of the mind is obtained by worshipping Lakshmi Devi. We think Lakshmi represents only material wealth. Real wealth is self-discipline and the values of love, kindness, respect and sincerity. By practising these values, our mind becomes purified. Only they help us preserve our material wealth. Our wealth of virtues is our true Lakshmi. The six forms of wealth are calmness of mind, self-control, self-withdrawal, forbearance, faith and single pointedness. Our goal is victory over the mind which comes only when the mind is prepared and this mental preparation is the symbolism of the Lakshmi Puja. Saraswathi: Victory over the mind is gained only through knowledge and through understanding. Saraswathi represents this highest knowledge of the Self. Thus we see that the theme of the entire Vedas is reflected in the Navaratri festival. Purify the mind and remove all negativities. Cultivate positive virtues. Gain spiritual knowledge and transcend limitations. This is the real victory-the dance of joy-ritualistically performed at night by some communities in India. Love & regards, Chithra.