Durga Navratri, or the nine (nava-) nights (-ratri) of Durga, are celebrated in the first 9 days of the bright half of the month (starting from the day after Amavasya) of Aswayuja/Asvina in the Indian lunar calendar (usually in end of September or early October). This period of nine days is the beginning of the festival season in all parts of India as the period of Navratri concludes with Dasehra (or victory day or Vijaya-Dashami) on the tenth day of the festival. The nine-day festival honors the role of three prinicipal female Goddesses in the Hindu pantheon – Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati.
Om Namah Shivaya is a three word Mahamantra that is considered to be the supreme invocation to Lord Shiva. The gayatri invocation for Lord Shiva is called Rudra Gayatri. Aum tadpurushAya vidhmahe.
“Helping others physically, by removing their physical needs, is indeed great; but the help is greater according as the need is greater and according as the help is far-reaching. If a man’s wants can be removed for an hour, it is helping him indeed; if his wants can be removed for a year, it is more helpful; but if his wants can be removed forever, it is surely the greatest help that can be given him.” – Vivekananda in “The Secret of Work”