Navaratri Satsang - Day 6
We have worshipped Devi Lalitha who is seated at the convergence of our brows and prayed to Her on Lalitha Panchami to make us ever aware of Her presence by vanquishing the demonic forces that have occupied our minds. As well as extolling the glories and leela or divine sport of Devi, the Devi Mahatmyam is also a symbolic depiction of our own inner state of being. Each demon represents a particular negative quality in us which is blocking our awareness of Divinity and preventing our complete inner potential from blossoming. So the Devi Mahatmyam is completely linked with us and reveals innumerable spiritual secrets which empower us to transform ourselves. It shows us how to lead our lives. This is true of all the scriptures like the Vedas, Puranas and Upanishads. They are user manuals given to us by our Sages to tell us how to use the body, mind and soul to make our lives ever joyous. It is from this angle that we should read them. If we ignore the scriptures, we will have to learn these truths the hard way through trial and error. Besides taking innumerable lifetimes, this will be extremely detrimental to our own well being.
We learnt that the demon Mahishasura represents our own ego. Today, Devi vanquishes the three demons Chanda, Munda and Raktabijasura. The presence of Chanda and Munda within us makes us stubborn and adamant. If we are rigid and have many mindsets, it means we are in the clutches of these two demons. Even when people and circumstances show us clearly that we must change certain traits, if we still feel – “I am fine as I am. This is the way I am. I am not going to change for anybody,” then we certainly need the help of Devi to remove our rigid mindsets. In the Devi Mahatmyam, Devi manifests as Chamundi to kill Chanda and Munda. If we feel that our behaviour has become adamant, we should go to a temple of Devi Chamundi to have Her darshan. Though all forms of Devi are only different aspects of Her Unified Energy and equally powerful, each form manifests to vanquish certain negative traits in us.
When we read about the demons in the Devi Mahatmyam, if we recognize even one or two of these negative traits in ourselves, we should immediately offer them at Devi’s Feet and ask Her to uproot them. Otherwise, these demonic traits will drain away all our Chaitanya and over a period of time we will join the ranks of the demons. Therefore, when we become aware of these demonic traits, it is best to surrender at the Lotus Feet of the Divine Mother and seek Her intervention and protection immediately.
The third demon Raktabijasura had become invincible because whenever he was wounded in battle, each drop of blood that fell on the ground would instantaneously become another Raktabijasura. He would deliberately allow himself to be wounded and the whole battlefield would soon be filled with an army of Raktabijasuras who would go on multiplying. When he stood in the battlefield battling with Devi, She called forth Chamundi from Her own Being to vanquish him. Following Devi’s instructions, Goddess Chamundi stretched out Her tongue and licked each drop of blood that trickled from Raktabijasura’s wound before it could fall to the ground. So when Devi ensured that he could no longer multiply through his blood and the demon who had been unconquerable was finally killed.
It is the hidden meaning in this episode that is important to us. Raktabijasura symbolises excessive desire. Each desire we fulfill generates a horde of other desires. For instance if we go to a sale and buy a lot of clothes even though our wardrobe is already overflowing, we have to buy another wardrobe to keep these clothes. Then we become worried about the safety of the clothes and buy moth balls or some kind of insect repellent to protect them. To combat the unpleasant smell of the insect repellent we buy scented sachets or room fresheners. This goes on and on…The excessive desire for clothes generated so many desires just as each drop of blood from Raktabijasura gave rise to another demon.
Most of us have many desires. Often we find it difficult to distinguish between need and greed in our lives. So we go on accumulating things even when we do not really need them. Many times we buy something impulsively and regret it later because it no longer seems so attractive. Obsessive desire can also make us ruthless and insensitive – we bargain and manipulate people to get the price we want from them. We forget that they too have to work hard to earn their living. We also forget that each desire that arises in our minds generates karma. So the more numerous our desires, the greater our karma. Till we learn to conquer desire and stop generating karma, we cannot attain liberation from the cycle of repeated births and deaths or enjoy perennial bliss.
That is why Devi says – “Don’t constrict your mind and heart with greed and desire. Think benevolently and generously. Share your money, time, talent and skills with others as much as you can. Then I will come and seat Myself in your heart. With Me will come My whole retinue and all My Abundance. My Bounty is unlimited. I do not give in handfuls. I give in mountain heaps. When you think selflessly about the welfare of others and begin to discard your selfish desires, I will fill your life with constant prosperity.”
In the Devi Mahatmyam, Chamundi’s outstretched tongue symbolises the faculty of discrimination which can be activated by using our tongue to chant the divine name or mantra of Devi. Mantra shakti enhances our ability to discriminate between dharmic or righteous and adharmic or unrighteous desires. It helps us to distinguish whether our desires are right or wrong, selfish or selfless and whether they promote the welfare of all beings. When we change the way we think and engage ourselves in the sadhana of chanting the name of the Divine Mother regularly, we also gain supreme will power which will helps us to conquer desire.
Today let us sit in solitude for at least ten minutes, chant Devi’s name and pray – “Mother, Remove all the rigid mindsets that are blocking Your Grace from flowing to me. Unknowingly I have cultivated the habit of generating innumerable desires which are imprisoning me with the shackles of karma. They have clouded my vision so that I cannot see you though You abide in my own heart and in the hearts of all beings. Give me the discrimination and will power to overcome all cravings and temptations. Help me to love, care and share unconditionally. Please slay the demon called desire and liberate me from its clutches forever.”
May the All-encompassing Love of the Divine Mother always flow through you to the whole world. May all beings be happy.