Om Namo Bhagavade Sivanandaya

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Report: Navaratri 2022

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Divine Life Society of S.A. celebrated Navaratri from Monday, 26 September 2022, and concluded with Vijaya Dasami on Wednesday, 5 October. The programme over the 10 days consisted of melodious Bhajans and Kirtans in adoration and worship of the Divine Mother, readings and poems.

Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda states in the book, Hindu Fasts & Festivals, "Outwardly, the nine-day worship of the Mother is a celebration of triumph. This celebration of nine days is offered to the Mother for Her successful struggle with the formidable demons led by Mahishasura. But to the sincere spiritual aspirant, the particular division of Navaratri into sets of three days, in order to adore different aspects of the Supreme Goddess, has a very sublime, yet thoroughly practical truth to reveal. In its cosmic aspect, it epitomises the stages of the evolution of man into God, from Jivahood (the state of individual life) to Sivahood (the state of union with God). In its individual import, it shows the course that his spiritual practice should take.

"Let us now consider the first three days, during which the Mother is adored as supreme power and force, as Durga, the Terrible. We pray to Mother Durga to destroy all our impurities, our vices, our defects. She is to fight with and annihilate the baser animal qualities in the spiritual aspirant, the lower, diabolical nature in him.

"Once you have accomplished your task on the negative side, that of breaking down all the impure propensities and old, vicious habits, the next step is to build up a sublime spiritual personality, to acquire positive qualities in place of the demoniacal qualities. If this development of the opposite qualities is not undertaken in right earnest, the old demoniacal nature will raise its head again and again. Hence, this stage is as important in an aspirant's career as the previous one. This pleasanter side of the aspirant's spiritual practice is depicted by the worship of Mother Lakshmi. She bestows on Her devotees the inexhaustible divine wealth or Daivi Sampath. Lakshmi is the wealth-giving aspect of God. She is purity itself. Thus, the worship of Lakshmi is performed during the second set of three days.

"Once the aspirant succeeds in rooting out the evil propensities, and develops pure, divine qualities, he becomes competent to attain wisdom. He is now ready to receive the light of supreme wisdom. He is fit to receive divine knowledge. At this stage comes the devout worship of Mother Saraswati, who is divine knowledge personified, the embodiment of knowledge of the eternal Absolute. Then all divine knowledge will become yours; you will become omniscient and omnipotent, and you will feel your omnipresence. You will see your Self in all. You will have achieved eternal victory over the wheel of births and deaths, over the demon of worldliness ─no more pain, no more misery, no more birth, no more death! May victory be yours"!

The importance of the worship of the Divine Mother is further clarified by our Divine Master in the article entitled, "The Divine Mother". In a simple and logical manner, the Master explains, "In this world, all the wants of the child are provided by the mother. The child's growth, development and sustenance are looked after by the mother. Even so, all the necessaries of life and its activities in this world, and the energy needed for it, depend upon Shakti or the Universal Mother. The human mother is a manifestation of the Universal Mother. All women are forms of the Divine Mother.

"You are more free with your mother than with anybody else. You open your heart more freely to your mother than to your father. There is no God greater than the mother. It is the mother who protects you, nourishes you, consoles you, cheers you, and nurses you. She is your first Guru. The first syllable which almost every quadruped, or human being, utters is the beloved name of the mother—Ma. She sacrifices her all for the sake of her children.

"A child is more familiar with the mother than with the father, because the former is very kind, loving, tender and affectionate, and looks after the wants of the child. Whenever the child wants anything, it runs with outstretched hands to the mother, rather than to the father. If she hears the cry of the child, she leaves her domestic work and runs immediately to attend to the child. In the spiritual field also, the aspirant or the devotee─the spiritual child—has more intimate relationship with Mother Durga than with the Father Siva. Lord Siva is absorbed in contemplation of the Self. He remains in a state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. He has handed over the power of attorney to His consort, Durga. It is Mother Durga only who looks after the affairs of the world. Lord Siva gazes at Durga, His Shakti. She engages Herself in creation, preservation and destruction.

In Sivananda's Gospel of Divine Life, we see the Master's all-embracing vision. The Master talked to suit time, place and circumstance. He said the right thing at the right time. Addressing the staff and students of the Central Hindu Girls' School, Madras, he began with charming innocence, "What shall I talk to you about? You are my first Guru. Everything man has learnt from you. The child asks his her, 'Mother, what is this? Ma, what is that?' and learns everything. You are the Guru of Gurus." Slowly he picked up sequence and speed and, before he ended his speech, made the exhortation, "Let patience be your necklace. Let love be your apparel. Don't forget that the Atma is the beauty of beauties. There is no need for external beautification at all. How can you beautify beauty itself? Wear the divine virtues as ornaments. Self-restraint, modesty, simplicity, patience, generosity ─these are your real ornaments."

The tenth day is called Vijaya Dasami or Dussera. The Divine Mother fought against the demon for nine nights ─and killed him on the evening of the tenth day, known as Vijaya Dasami. Our Master states, "Dussera can also be interpreted as 'Dasa-Hara', which means the cutting of the ten heads of Ravana. So, let us resolve today to cut the ten heads-passion, pride, anger, greed, infatuation, lust, hatred, jealousy, selfishness and crookedness-of the demon ego, and thus justify the celebration of Dussera".

This day marks the triumphant victory of the soul in having attained freedom and liberation while living in this world, through the descent of divine knowledge by the Grace of Goddess Saraswati. The soul rests in its own Supreme Self or Satchidananda Brahman. This day celebrates victory and the achievement of the goal. On this day, as we celebrate valour and courage, triumph of good over evil, may the Divine Mother grant one success in all one's undertakings.

Our Master concludes as follows, "Pray to Her fervently. She will be easily pleased. Do not ask Her for petty worldly things; pray for Moksha or final liberation. She is ever ready to rush to you. Only you have to accept Her! Clear your mind of all dross and install the Mother in it on a Golden thrown. Give up your little ego at Her Feet. Pray, 'Thy will be done Mother! I want nothing!' She will take you by the hand and lead you to Moksha"!

Last modified on Friday, 07 October 2022 08:20
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