Navaratri Satsang - Day 9
From yesterday we have all been experiencing the meditative form of the Divine Mother. Today, the ninth and last day of Navaratri, we will continue to meditate upon Her. The ninth day is also called “Ayudha Puja”. In Sanskrit ‘Ayudha’ means weapon. We have the custom of offering worship to our vehicles, machines, appliances, tools and sharp implements on this day since these are the ‘weapons’ we use in our transactional lives. Though this tradition reveals the greatness of Sanatana Dharma which recognizes the presence of Divinity even in inanimate objects, Ayudha Puja has a much deeper significance.
According to the Devi Mahatmyam, the Gods not only invoked Devi to seek Her protection against the demons, they also offered their weapons and radiance at Her Lotus Feet so that She could use them during the battle. On this day of Ayudha Puja, Devi returned their weapons and radiance to the Gods saying - “All of you gave Me your weapons to win the battle against the demons. Now that we are victorious, I am returning your weapons to you having made them a million times stronger than they were before.” Overflowing with gratitude, the Trimurthis - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, replied on behalf of all the Gods – “Mother, You are the one who created this entire Cosmos and You are the one who created all of us. All our weapons came from You. You could have materialised any number of weapons for the battle or You could have burnt the demons to ashes by merely opening Your third eye. We are truly blessed that You were magnanimous enough to accept our weapons to vanquish the demons.” Smilingly compassionately the Divine Mother said - “That’s true. I could have created as many new weapons as I wished, but I used your weapons and radiance instead because you offered them with total selflessness for the welfare of the world.”
What can we give the Divine Mother when it is She who has given us everything? Does She want a house, car, money, job, name or fame like us? No. She accepts whatever we offer only in order to multiply it a million times and return it to us. How do we offer something to Devi? By sharing whatever we have with others at their time of need. We may share our knowledge, time, money or skills. These are some of the weapons with which She has empowered us. When we use them to help others, Devi is supremely happy.
Many of us may think that we have nothing really worthwhile to share with others, but the Divine Mother has given each one of us at least three strengths. It may be an external strength like good health, vitality, wealth, power, prestige, education or time. Or it could be an internal strength like patience, devotion, intelligence, love, dedication, creativity or a healing touch. Each one of us have been endowed with a minimum of two external strengths and one internal strength. Most of us will have many more. So we are all eligible to offer something at Devi’s Feet. How do we know this? Otherwise you would not be here listening to this discourse or reading it now. It is not you who have made the choice to come here today. It is Devi who has called you here and it is Devi who is prompting Me to reveal this to you. When you are given such an opportunity it means you have the complete Anugraha or Grace of Devi. She has blessed all of us with Her Anugraha today. We should not be skeptical or doubtful about this. We should have total belief that we have Her Complete Grace. Let us close our eyes and pray to Devi – “Mother, along with all my other weapons, today you have given me the most powerful weapon called Grace. Let my faith and belief in you increase every moment. Let me use all the weapons you have given me for the welfare of others. Let Your Grace flow through me to envelope all beings.”
Today, let us begin meditating by chanting the mantra ‘Om Namah Chandikayei’ because Devi Chandika is the Anugraha Swaroopini or Epitome of Grace. When we chant Her moola mantra [the mantra that connects us to Her very source] today, She will be consecrated in our hearts as Navadurga. Her Chaitanya or consciousness will merge with the Shakti or energy of Lord Shiva and activate our awareness and concentration. Till now we had Her Grace, but we were not aware of it. Today, Lord Shiva has fill us with His awareness so that we are able to experience the bliss of our inner core. Now we have both the Anugraha or Grace of Devi and the Amrita or Nectar of Lord Shiva. As we chant this mantra, women should visualise Devi in the lotus of the heart and men should visualise Her in the energy vortice between their brows. Let us establish Devi Chandika within us by chanting this mantra together…[Chanting and Meditation]
Bring your mind to a state of complete equilibrium…Slowly open your eyes…If we want to offer our weapons to Devi, we must first understand how we were created and what our innate strengths are. When Devi created human beings, she made two basic forms – male and female. If we have a female body, we are endowed with 85% Gouri Amsha or Devi’s Energy and only 15% Purusha Amsha or Shiva’s Energy. What is Gouri Amsha? It is the ability to fill the lives of others with Supreme Auspiciousness and Good Fortune or Soubhagya. If you are a woman, you have the power of Goddess Navachandika in you. The strongest point in your body is your womb which is a reflection of the Cosmic Womb or Hiranyagarbha. You are specially privileged because you were born enlightened, but over many lifetimes, you have allowed impurities to cloud your mind. If you have any resentment or bitterness against anybody, discard it. Then the Gouri Amsha in you will blossom completely. Your womb also empowers your speech to such an extent that if you chant a mantra 27 times, it is equivalent to a man chanting it 108 times. Devotion and dedication come naturally to you, but you have to make an effort to cultivate faith and belief.
Another great weapon that a woman has is her mind. The depth of your mind is equal to the vastness of the Cosmos itself. You have the capacity to achieve things merely through the power of your thought. So never allow your mind to get spoilt because it is your most powerful weapon. You must keep it absolutely pure. Otherwise you are the one who will suffer most. It will play havoc with your hormone levels and wreck your health. To bring out your inner strength and power, you must worship Devi in some form. Lalitha Sahasranama, Lalitha Trishathi and Mahalakshmi Ashtotra are very suitable forms of sadhana for you.
If we have a male body, our two main weapons are dehabala or physical strength and buddhibala or intellectual strength. You must exercise and practice yogasanas or yogic postures to enhance your physical strength. Since you have great intellectual strength, you can easily please Saraswathi, the Goddess of Knowledge through your sadhana. Only when Goddess Saraswathi is established in you, will Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and inner abundance bless you with Her constant presence. So the more you meditate, the more you will prosper in life. Spiritual practices are more required for you than for a woman. Your Trikuti or the energy vortice between your brows is extremely powerful. Chanting the Gayatri Mantra is a very effective sadhana for you.
However, whether we are men or women, from today all of us must comprehend, assimilate and integrate the external form, contemplative form and meditative form of Devi into our sadhana everyday. For instance, if we go to a Devi Temple, we should first complete the sadhana related to the external form of the Divine Mother by having Her Darshan in the sanctum sanctorum and performing Her puja or worship. We should take the prasada, tirtha, [consecrated food and water] flowers and kumkum or vermillion powder. We should apply the kumkum on the crown of the head, forehead, base of the neck and centre of the chest. Then we should sit down in a quiet spot in the temple and chant the mantra ‘Om Namah Chandikayei’ a few times and then recite the shloka ‘Sarva Mangala Mangalye…’. After this we should continue to keep our eyes closed as we sing a bhajan, chant the Lalitha Sahasranama, Lalitha Trishathi or our sadhana mantra. We can chant any of these to activate our feelings of devotion and love so that our mind begins to contemplate upon Devi with effortless concentration. When our devotion becomes intense, we should simply visualise the form of the Divine Mother and allow this to dissolve into us through meditation. Men should meditate both on Shiva and Shakti in a Shakti temple and on Vishnu and Lakshmi in a Lakshmi temple. When we connect ourselves to our inner core by adoring Devi in this way, She will grant all our prayers and fulfill all our aspirations. She will take care of everything for us. Have complete faith in this and sip the sweet nectar of the Divine Mother’s Grace forever.
May all of you be enveloped in the protective mantle of the Divine Mother’s Grace always. May all beings be happy.
Jai Matha. Hari Om Tat Sat.