Navaratri Satsang - Day 5
Yesterday we learnt that when we immerse ourselves in the constant chanting of Devi’s name, the Gods themselves crown us with the Shakti or auspicious energy called ‘Shri’ and the golden radiance of Devi called ‘Gouri’ envelopes us. When these two divine energies are added on like a prefix and suffix to our names, we begin to feel the presence of Lalitha within us. Today is Lalitha Panchami - a day most auspicious for adoring Her.
Who is Devi Lalitha and how do we adore Her? She is the ‘Ever Playful One’… Creation is Her Divine Recreation…Her eternal sport in the realm of consciousness creates and dissolves millions of Universes - they emerge from Her when She Wills and dissolve into Her when She Wishes. She is in every organism, She is in every atom and She is also present in us. Describing this, the Scriptures say – ‘Lalaatithi Sthithe Lalitha’ or ‘The one who is seated in the ‘lalaat’ at the convergence of the two brows is Lalitha’. She constantly abides in the Ajna Chakra, the vortice of energy between our brows. This is Her supreme abode, Her throne. It is from Her presence here that this body of flesh and bones gets its value.
Many of us are unaware that our body is a temple which enshrines all forms of Divinity. Our chest with the inverted heart lotus is Vaikuntha - the abode of Lord Vishnu, our navel is Kailasa – the abode of Lord Shiva, our fontanel on the crown of the head is Satya Loka – the abode of Lord Brahma and the energy centre between our brows is Manidweepa – the abode of the Divine Mother Herself. The Saints and Sages gave us many techniques to activate and energise these important energy centres which constantly connect us to Divinity. All these techniques put together were handed down to us as the spiritual culture and tradition of Sanathana Dharma. Most of these techniques are simple, easy to follow and extremely effective. For instance, women have the custom of chanting the names of Devi while worshipping Her with ‘kumkum’ or vermillion powder. This consecrated kumkum is then applied to the spot between their brows. This kumkum is also called ‘Rakshe’ which means ‘eternal divine protection’. When we adorn our lalaat or the abode of Devi Lalitha with kumkum everyday, it protects us and our entire family as well. When all the members of our family apply kumkum everyday, the divine grace which envelopes all of us removes hurdles in our paths to make our lives smooth, joyous and successful. This simple tradition connects us to Divinity, and if we are sadhaks, it enables our sadhana to go on effortlessly within us all the time.
Unfortunately, being unaware of how much this custom protects and empowers us, many of us have discarded it altogether and some of us follow it without knowing its true significance or the way in which kumkum should be applied. When we apply kumkum, we should not use any gum, vaseline or cosmetic cream to make it stick to our forehead. The best way is to wet this spot with a drop of tirtha or consecrated holy water and apply the kumkum there with our right ring finger. As we apply it, we should chant the mantras “Om Namo Shri Chandikayei” and “Om Shri Mahalakshmiyei Namaha”. It is also good to apply kumkum to the energy vortices on the crown of the head, the base of the throat and the centre of the chest.
Our ‘Chit’ or consciousness is centred in the pineal gland behind the lalaat which is the seat of enlightenment. When we do not energise and activate it with kumkum and sadhana, instead of blossoming and taking us to enlightenment, this energy simply drains away. Then the flow of grace is cut off and problems begin to crop up one by one. Even if our house is full of the most sophisticated gadgets, none of them will work if the power source is switched off. Likewise, when we disconnect ourselves from our spiritual traditions, our lives go off track. Things stop happening at the right time and a tremendous amount of effort is required to accomplish even the simplest tasks. Our children are confronted by many obstacles in their education and career. Marriages do not take place on time and ill health rears its head. Our financial situation and reputation may be affected. We wonder why everything is suddenly on a downslide in our lives. So it is extremely important to understand the significance of our rich spiritual culture and follow the traditions established by the Sages for our own peace, prosperity and happiness.
When we worship the Divine Mother as Lalitha, She removes our problems by reconnecting us to our inner source of divine power. Chanting the 1008 names of the Divine Mother in the Lalitha Sahasranama or the 300 names in the Lalitha Trishathi is the traditional way of revering and adoring Her today. Devi Herself revealed the Lalitha Sahasranama to Sage Agasthya and his consort Lopamudra and empowered them to give it to us. Though each one of these 1008 names is potent with meaning and has the power to slay the demonic forces in us, the Divine Mother has given us 1008 names so that we can savour Her sweetness through all of them and allow the one we like best to reverberate within us all the time.
Today, though Devi is seated in the lalaat as Lalitha, She has receded to the background of our minds because the demonic forces have occupied the foreground. So let us chant at least 27 names from the Lalitha Sahasranama or the Lalitha Trishathi and invoke Her Grace by praying – “Today I became aware that You are seated in the lalaat between my brows. I adore You and worship You, Mother. Help me to remain connected to You by following the traditions established by the Sages. Please uproot all the demonic tendencies in my mind and make me always aware of Your presence, Mother.”
May the Divine Mother remove all the troubles in your life and shower you with Her Grace and Knowledge. May all beings be happy.