In Chandi sadhana parayana or the recital of the text is considered more important than the japa of any mantra. Though the navakshari mantra is chanted, it is chanted as an integral part of the recital of the text. Traditionally the entire text of thirteen chapters is recited in Sanskrit. There is an obligatory prelude (purvabhaga) as well as a postlude (uttara bhaga) to the central text of thirteen chapters. The navakshari mantra is also an integral part of Chandi parayanam. Traditionally recitation of the Chandi is a serious and complete sadhana in itself and requires initiation from a Guru.
Most people are content with chanting selected slokas of the text or chanting the Durga Saptashloki (seven verses) which contains the essence of Chandi, apart from a devout reading of the myth in a language that they are familiar with. Chanting selected slokas for specific results is a practice that is quite common.
Swami Sachchidananda who had initiated me in Chandi parayana had instructed me to prescribe certain slokas as remedies for problems. Accordingly I have been prescribing the chanting of certain slokas as remedies since the last ten years or so.
The recitation of the entire text of 13 chapters can be done in several ways:
- All 13 chapters continuously in one sitting
- In a span of three days as given below
Day 1 – Chapter 1
Day 2 – Chapters 2, 3, 4
Day 3 – Chapters 5 to 13
- In a span of nine days -One reading of the text in three days as above, followed by two more repetitions in the next six days thus completing three readings of the text in nine days
- In a span of 7 days as given below
Day 1 – Chapter 1
Day 2 – Chapters 2 & 3
Day 3 – Chapter 4
Day 4 – Chapters 5, 6, 7 & 8
Day 5 – Chapters 9 & 10
Day 6 – Chapter 11
Day 7 – Chapters 12 & 13
- If there is no time to read all thirteen, at least Madhyama Charitra (chapters 2, 3, 4) can be recited.
Any of the above methods can be adopted in reciting The Chandi. Those who are not initiated but still wish to benefit from Chandi sadhana can follow the same procedure except that they may read the translated story in English or any other language as a spiritual practice. Even the myth itself is very powerful and therapeutic. Those who are not initiated can devoutly read the myth and chant The Saptashloki. The Goddess will shower Her grace on those who do this with faith. Those who wish to do complete parayana of Chandi can pray to The Goddess as it is only Her Grace that can lead them to an accomplished Guru who can initiate them into a full-fledged parayana.
Sri Sri Chandi should be read with firm faith, devotion and correct pronunciation. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday are auspicious week days for the reading of Sri Sri Chandi. The 8th day (Ashtami), 9th day (Navami) and 14th day (Chaturdasi) are the best lunar days for reciting the text. The nine days of Durga puja during Autumnal equinox (Sharad Navaratri) and Spring equinox (Vasanta Navaratri) are very auspicious times of the year. Those who cannot do regular parayana can read The Chandi at least on selected auspicious weekdays, lunar days or the Nine nights.