Navratri Anushthan is held every year during Navratri (the festival of nine nights) at Sandipani Vidyaniketan.

Since it began in 1982, the tradition has been the musical recitation of the entire Shri Ram Charit Manas in the mornings spread over the nine days led by Pujya Bhaishri in which devotees from all over the world join in harmony. This is followed by bhojan prasad (lunch) for thousands of people.

Rishikumars reciting the Vedas prior to Shri Ram Charit Manas Recitation, Navratri 2016

Mahabharat Katha in the afternoon sessions during Navratri Anushthan, 2016

Thereafter, in the afternoon, discourses are held by revered saints either on various topics or on one scripture throughout the nine days. Enlightening discourses on the different scriptures in the past have included: Mahabharat, Devi Bhagavat, Bhakta Māl and also the popular scriptures of Shri Ram Charit Manas and Shrimad Bhagavat.

Following the discourses, all devotees attend the Shri Hari Mandir evening Aarati followed by garba (traditional Gujarati dance) in the gardens of Shri Hari Mandir. In the evenings, cultural programmes are also organised after dinner.

Watch garba at Sandipani by Pujya Bhaishri, Rishikumars and devotees:

Medical camps during Navratri Anushthan 2016

The event is not just packed with religious and cultural events. Medical camps covering various areas such as dental, eye, skin, gynaecology, respiratory and many others are also held during the nine days by doctors who volunteer their time. The camps not only cover free consultation by doctors, but also, free laboratory tests, medicines and follow ups for those who require them.

Read some of our reports on what is involved in the medical camps.

On the last day, a divine Sunderkand Yagya is performed. Devotees then travel to Dwarka with Pujya Bhaishri to hoist the sacred flag atop Dwarka Mandir (dhwaja rohan) and receive prasad.

On all the nine days, the temple of Shri Karunamayi Maa is decorated elegantly and devotees enjoy the divine darshan of Maa. Abhishek of Shri Karunamayi Maa is also performed along with nauka vihar (a boat ride in the stream of water) in the gardens of Shri Hari Mandir on some occasions.

The students of Sandipani take a break from their studies and immerse themselves into the organisation of the event including the stage, arrangements at Shri Hari Mandir, serving and looking after the guests, feeding everyone, the medical camps and the cultural programmes.

Shri Karunamayi Maa darshan with theme created by Rishikumars of all nine forms of Maa Durga during Navratri

Pujya Bhaishri reciting the Ramacharitamanas with his Guru Shri Hargovind Shashtriji (Tatvajyoti School) at Raval, Gurjarat

History of Navratri Anushthan

In 1981, Pujya Bhaishri was invited by the Gugali Brahmins of Dwarka to attend a Navratri Anushthan which impressed him. He decided to conduct one from the year after in a small village called Raval, near Porbandar in 1982.

Pujya Bhaishri introduced the recitation of the entire Shri Ram Charit Manas at this time with the aim of bringing the village community together and provide not only a spiritual experience, but also enjoy the cultural aspect of Navratri.

The occasion was a huge success as people from the villages and surrounding areas gathered to enjoy this festival. It encouraged people to take the holy scripture of Shri Ram Charit Manas and sing along with Pujya Bhaishri, the soulful recitation of which charged the environment with devotion.

This tradition continues with more religious and humanitarian activities added to it.