What is Navaratri Vratha mahatmyam or mahima? Why Navratri vrat is observed in Chaitra month and Ashwin month (Ashwayuja Navaratri)? Similar to Ugadi and Sankranti, Sharan Navaratri festival celebration is also emerged from the latent knowledge of ancient times.
In a scripture, Sage Veda Vyasa exemplifies the Navratri vrat mahima as below:
Shrunu raha spravakshami navaratra vratham shubham !
Sharatkale visheshena karthavyam vidhi purvakam
Vasante cha prakartavyam thadhaiva prema poorvakam !
Dwavruthoo yamadamshtra khyau noonam sarva janeshu vai
Sharad vasanta namanau durgamou pranina miha !
Thasma dyathna didam karyam sarvathra shubh micchatha
Dwaveva sumahaghora vruthoo rogakarau nrunam !
Vasanta sharadaveva jananashakaraa vubhou
Thasmath thatra prakarthavyam chandika pujanam budhai !
Chaitreshwine shubhe maase bhakti purvam naradhipa !
According to the above verses of Vedavyasa, Vasant ruthu (March – April) and Sharad ruthu (September – October) are toughest periods for human living. Many epidemics and other sporadic diseases may attack the world during these months. Those who aspire the prosperity of the whole universe should perform Chandi puja (Durga Puja) in these times. This is the main reason behind the Ashwin Navratri and Chaitra Navratri. Navratri vrat fasting is also pretty auspicious and known for balancing the health aspects of devotees.
In some areas, Neem leaves, haldi, kumkum, and other puja material used in Navratri Durga puja are better known for their herbal nature in eradicating dangerous ailments.