|| Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
Aum Namo Narayanaya
|Lord adorned as Sri Laksmi Narashima|
As the curtains came down on the austere and puritanical month of Purutassi, it was an emotional experience to see hundreds of devotees descend upon the Veeraboga Temple to celebrate this occasion with Lord Narayana - all bedecked in His finery of jewels and clothing. Pleasing all devotees with His dharshan, He returned to His throne in the sanctum-santorum after presiding over the prayers for a month. I recall when I was little, my granny used to tell us that Lord Vishnu used to awaken at the beginning of Purutassi and go back to sleep (or go into yoga-nidra as Maharaj sometimes refers to it) at the end of Purutassi. As much as it is a myth, as the Lord never sleeps, I do feel pity for Him considering what He has to put up with in this age of Kali. So let us like compassionate children give Him a weeks rest as we join in the company of the Divine Mother.
|Master seeking comfort from His MotherDivine|
The very word mother oozes much comfort and tender love. Her every action is a safety net, lest we fall from the efforts of life. Sharing our pains and sorrows and celebrating our joys, she embraces a quality so unique that none can clone. From 16 October, for nine nights, people from all over the world shall immerse themselves in pooja and fasting to attain the grace of the Divine Mother.
The Festival known as Navarathri glorifies the Mother in her 3 aspects or attributes as: Brahma-Shakti (creative), Vishnu-Shakti (preserver) and Shiva-Shakti (dissolution). As the famous hymn from the Devi Mahatmayam reads: Sristi Stiti Vinashanam, Shakti Bhute Sanathaye: Oh Mother you are the power of creation, preservation and destruction. The programme for the nine days consists of strict fasting, fire sacrifices (havan), bhajans, discourses and special sessions of garbha dancing is observed at some centres.
The principle scripture which forms opinion of Devi worship is the Devi Mahatmayam. Some temples often read this scripture during a special havan ceremony. As much as temples and ashrams may differ in the way they observe this period, the central theme of intense devotion and surrender to the Mother is prevalent all over.
Mother worship, given special attention in Hindu Dharma, provides an avenue for immense comfort and solace to a devotee who lies stranded on the island of despair and anxiety. The loving embrace of a mother can subdue a child’s frantic cry even under the most trying circumstances. Instantaneously the child feels safe and fearless.
The compelling narrative on Sri Ramakrishna’s life unveils to the contemporary reader the ‘mother and son’ relationship that invokes a new level of bhakti in this dark age. The unconditional surrender of complete self at the feet of the Mother resulted in the Master’s vision of the Mother whilst occupying His mortal body. Intoxicated to the depths of His heart with love for her, She became His constant companion, good counsel and protector. There are many scenes that refer to the Master even dancing with Her.
A child who is in the company of his mother has no fear of hunger, shelter and clothing. In the same way, if devotees can reach the levels of bhakti practiced by Sri Ramakrishna, the doors of the spiritual heavens are open for you.
We all know that in order to develop bhakti or make spiritual progress, it takes a lot of discipline, hard work and perseverance. Swami Vivekananda’s clarion call of “Arise, Awake and stop not till the goal is reached” speaks to our tendency to submerge ourselves into tamas (laziness, sleep and lethargy).
The Devi Mahatmayam tells how a demon called Mahishasura(half buffalo half man), having obtained a boon that no male shall be able to vanquish him, started to torment the heavens and the world. Unable to bear this torture, the devas approached the trio of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva for assistance. Taking cognisance of the boon granted to Mahishasura, they converged their powers - from which emerged Mother Durga.
Characterised by celestial beauty - adorning ten arms, armed with specialised weapons from all the Gods - She waged battle with the buffalo demon for nine nights. On the tenth day known as Vijaya Dashami, She vanquished him.
The buffalo is described as a very lazy animal which lies submerged in water for most of its day. It can eat up to 4 % of its weight a day reaching 2000 pounds on weight resulting in extreme lethargy.
We as well, unaware of our divine potential within and our life’s mission of God-realisation, have been caught up in the web of tamaguna. The 10 arms of the Divine Mother working in concert represent our 5 organs of action and 5 organs of sense - which if brought under control and working in union with the intellect for the sole purpose of spiritual elevation - can vanquish the laziness and lethargy that has set in.
Sri Aurobindo said: This is why Swami Vivekananda, noticing the deep tamas of India, used to say: "Rajas is needed, the country needs heroes of action, let the strong current of impulsion flow. Even if evil follows in its wake, it will be a thousand times better than this tamasic inertia".
Many people waste this life away in sleep and laziness. This body or form is a great gift from God. Utilise it for the welfare of God in humanity by unearthing fearlessness through worship of Mother Kali (first 3 days); wealth (vista of spiritual knowledge ingrained within) and prosperity by worshipping Mother Lakshmi (middle 3 days); and fine tuning our intellect by worship of Mother Saraswathi (last 3 days). The convergence of these 3 attributes will annihilate the tamas and awaken the divinity within.
May this period of spiritual sadhana on the Divine Mother bring you to action on your journey towards moksha is my sincere prayer.
Jay Ambe Ambe Mata ki Jay!!!!!.My saluations and adorations at the feet of Holy Mother
With Love and Prayers Always