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Navratri: A Celebration of the Divine

7 September 2011 3 Comments Print article Print article

In India, the nine days of Navratri* (see NOTE below) are spent in festivities that celebrate the victory of Shakti over negative influences. On the spiritual level the goal is for the individual soul to reach the state of Shiva gradually by sadhana (spiritual practice).

Meditation on Maha Kali

I resort to Maha Kali, who has ten faces, ten legs, and holds in Her hands the sword, disk, mace, arrows, bow, club, spear, missile, human head, and conch, who is three-eyed, adorned with ornaments on all Her limbs, and luminous like a blue jewel, and whom Brahma extolled in order to destroy Madhu and Kaitabha, when Vishnu was in mystic sleep.

Meditation on Maha Lakshmi

I resort to Maha Lakshmi, the destroyer of Mahashasura, who is seated on the lotus and is of the complexion of coral and holds in Her eighteen hands the rosary, axe, mace, arrow, thunderbolt, lotus, bow, pitcher, rod, Shakti, sword, shield, conch, bell, wine cup, trident, noose, and the discus Sudrashana.

Meditation on Maha Saraswati

I meditate on the incomparable Maha Saraswati, who holds in Her eight lotus-like hands bell, trident, plow, conch, mace, discus, bow, and arrow; who is effulgent like the moon shining at the fringe of a cloud; who is the destroyerof Shumbha and other Asuras; who issued forth from Parvati’s body and is the substratum of the three worlds.

In India, the nine days of Navratri* (see NOTE below) are spent in festivities that celebrate the victory of Shakti over negative influences. On the spiritual level the goal is for the individual soul to reach the state of Shiva gradually by sadhana (spiritual practice).

The nine days are divided into three parts of three days each devoted to worship of the Divine Mother in the forms of Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati. For the first three days we invoke Maha Kali to destroy our negative tendencies so that our hearts are purified.

On the following three days Mother Lakshmi is worshipped to acquire positive qualities and noble emotions. She grants both material and spiritual wealth and helps prevent negative qualities from repossessing our minds. We pray to Her with love and devotion to enhance our divine qualities.

It is only after this that we become fit for knowledge through the grace of Maha Saraswati, the Mother of wisdom. We pray to Her for spiritual enlightenment.

The goal of human life is to move away from identification with the body and to attain the state of Shiva. The first step toward this goal is for you, the disciple, to sincerely and from the depths of your heart remove all negative qualities and tendencies and replace them with positive and sattvic attitudes. With the destruction of tamasic qualities and dominance of sattvic, the heart is purified and becomes ready to receive divine knowledge. To attain this, tremendous will and ceaseless efforts are required. Each and every atom and molecule has Shakti; without it no success can be attained in any field. Since all Shakti is focused in the soul, realization of the soul is essential.

These nine days of Navratri are followed by the “tenth day of victory” known as Dashera. This “victory” is referenced in the Ramayana when Lord Ram was victorious over the tenfaced demon, Ravana. As Ma said in her talk given on Dashera in 2009:

During these ten days, the concept and understanding is that the individual should do something to control and transcend the five senses each of action and knowledge.  Navratri is all about the victory over these ten senses. The very name of Lord Rama’s father, Dasharath, the one who had absolute control over these ten senses, symbolizes the tenth day of Navratri.

The ultimate goal, through the victory over the senses, is to control the mind. With that control, we need to close the nine doors of the body and open the tenth door, the sahasrar, to unite the soul with the universal and achieve our very worth. The tenth day of victory that we celebrate as Dashera is the victory of Lord Ram over the various negative forces and tendencies. These negative forces, demons, whatever you want to call them, are a part of daily life, both internally and externally. The whole battle of life is to be able to overcome those forces, within and without, and to be in absolute control of the mind.  What is running around externally needs to be stopped, checked, and made internal; that is what the victory of life is all about. (click here to read Ma’s complete Dashera talk)

May Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati help you remove negativity, gain all positive qualities, and ultimately, through the divine sound from the vina (a divine instrument played by Maha Saraswati), grant you bliss and eternal happiness and finally, liberation.

 

* NOTE: This year the period of Navratri covers eight days instead of nine because of differences between the solar and Indian (lunar) calendars. Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

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3 Comments »

  • Chirag said:

    OM AIM HRIM KLIM CHAAMUNDAAYEI VICHCHE||

    AIM – Maha Saraswati who has form of SAT
    HRIM – Maha Lakshmi who has form of CHITT
    KLIM – Maha Kali who has form of ANAND

    I bow to you all three – SATCHIDAANAND – to bestow me with knowledge of PARAM BRAHMAN.

  • satya said:

    Gosh i didn’t get to read this until after Navratri but i certainly received a gift from our divine Mother Anandi Ma. I was pretty disappointed in myself that i just couldn’t get in all the sadhana i hoped i would but did do something each day. The morning after the last night of Navratri i had an awesome dream in which Ma came up to me and embraced me. I was so surprised and could hear someone speaking behind me about how silly and strange it is to be in a body. The voice sounded very adult so i turned to look and it was a very young child speaking like a buddha. This caused me to fall down and start rolling around laughing with delight and a pure sense of happiness. That day was a pure delight! Thank you Ma!
    satya

  • Manjul Khasat said:

    Hello, I want to observe Navratri this year. I have never fasted for Navaratri. When does it begin & end. What do you do and can or can not eat. It would be nice if instructions were given as to how to observe Navaratri. Thanks

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