This week, I started the celebration of Navaratri, the annual festival dedicated to the Divine Mother that extends for nine nights and ten days.
In Sri Premananda Ashram, Navaratri is always celebrated with devotion, and the same applies to the length and breadth of India, as do many devotees around the world. Here, then, more details of a festival that, even if he is of Indian origin, could apply essentially to anyone who believes in the “maternal” power of the Universe.
Sanskrit nava means nine and rati means night. According to tradition, during these ten days (nine nights) devoted to the Divine Mother, a ritual celebrated to worship him and ask for his grace and blessings.
The Divine Mother, the Mother Goddess or feminine aspect of God has been worshiped forever in numerous civilizations. God or the Divine Energy, is called “Mother” by those who know her, because they feel and see how God cares for us so perfectly and is constantly trying to make us realize our true divine nature, we have forgotten.
Considering the Supreme Being ( Brahman in Hinduism), which is transcendent, infinite, eternal and beyond the reach of the senses and mind, we can say that what we call Divine Mother is the dynamic aspect of the Supreme Being. She is the conscious power of God, the power of God manifested, the creative aspect of God.
The relationship between the Divine Mother and Brahman is, therefore, that between the manifest and non-manifest. Both are inseparable. One cannot exist without the other. They are like fire and heat.
The five elements (air, fire, water, earth and ether) and combinations thereof, are outward manifestations of the Mother. Intelligence, insight, psychic power and will are internal manifestations. She is the lifetime of the universe; it is the cosmic power that appears in all forms and all names.
According to Hindu culture, the Divine Mother is one, but we are presented under different aspects which have been given different names. The ancient rishis taught to worship as manifestations of creation, preservation and destruction.
The names corresponding to these three functions are Saraswati, Lakshmi and Durga.
These are the three things we found during the days of Navaratri. Three days are dedicated to Durga, the next three to Lakshmi and the other three to Saraswati .Doing it this way has a profound meaning.
The first three days (this year 1, 2 and 3 october) worships Durga, the Shakti (feminine energy) of Shiva. At first glance, watching his seemingly ferocious image we might think that we are venerating a fearsome Goddess. First we must understand the symbolism. She destroys in His loving kindness to save, and then to build, without penalty for our ego. She has tools to destroy all our imperfections. Destroys ignorance knowledge to install, destroys the darkness to restore the light.
To develop our good qualities, we must first eliminate our faults. Therefore, the Mother to help us destroy our faults he implores during these first three days, our negative tendencies. We need to practice introspection to recognize our faults and ask them disappear. Mother Durga who helps us at this early stage.
After Durga that has helped us to purify, Lakshmi will help us in the next stage (4, 5 and 6 october) which is to acquire moral and spiritual qualities. Lakshmi is the Shakti of Vishnu. Within the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, Vishnu is the energy that maintains and preserves the world. To maintain, one must possess. Therefore, Lakshmi is responsible to nurture and maintain the Earth.
She, therefore, is also considered the goddess of wealth, fortune, health and beauty. Distributing wealth Lakshmi should not be understood only in the material sense. She tells us that the only true worthy acquired wealth is inner wealth, strength of will, the moral force and intellectual force.
So we venerate after Durga and before Saraswati .
On reaching the seventh day begins worshiping Saraswati for three days (7, 8, 9 october). She is the Sakti of Brahma, the creator.
Thus, it is considered the mother of all creation. It is that which gives us the essence of our true self. She is the origin and the conclusion. It represents power and intelligence. Mystical wisdom, without which organized creation is impossible. It also represents creativity, science, arts, professions and trades. Is knowledge as opposed to ignorance and darkness?
The image of Saraswati is surrounded by symbols that you show us how to achieve true knowledge.
When the unmanifested transcendental power is turned apparent when one became multiple and appeared in various forms at the time of creation, a process of involution began. This process leads progressively through increasingly rough up finally reach the realm of inert matter areas.
Noting the order of the festivities in Navaratri, Durga, Lakshmi and end Saraswati, we see that we follow the same process but in reverse order. It is an evolutionary process of human beings returning to the source and reaching the Divine.
The first three days involve destruction of the negative trends; Durga purifies us to initiate the return. Then Lakshmi gives the applicant the qualities needed to advance on the path and finally reached Saraswati.
On the tenth day (10 october), the last, victory over darkness is celebrated, known as Vijaya Dasami.
The only way the spiritual aspirant can be victorious is if it meets all the strength, energy and power of the will to combat negative trends. Then the divine will intercede.
Everyone should have their own experience of Navaratri. Swami Premananda. Encourages the spiritual to make some kind of celebration during these ten days hopefuls Swamiji says: “Mother is in your heart.”
If we use this time to open our minds and our hearts, to focus on the Divine Mother and pray, to connect with the Divine origin in our own hearts, definitely we receive grace and blessings of God.