Discourse of Parama Pujya Shri Shri Nimishananda Guruji on Day 4 of Navaratri [1st October 2011]
Offering our reverential prostrations at the Lotus Feet of the Divine Mother, let us see what truths She will bless us with on this fourth night of Navaratri. Yesterday, Devi took us to Brahmaloka, Kailasa and Vaikuntha and was gracious enough to finally take us to Manidweepa, Her own divine abode. As the Pushpaka Vimana carrying Devi and the Trimurtis descended here, a flight of steps studded with precious gems rose up to the aerial chariot of Devi.
This symbolizes a very deep truth. When we make up our minds to evolve, God Himself comes to our doorstep. This is the first truth that the Divine Mother is revealing to us today.
That is why we say, when we take 1 step towards God, He takes ten steps towards us.
When we take 10 steps towards God, He takes a 100 steps towards us.
If we take 1 step with complete dedication and devotion, He takes a 1000 steps towards us.
If we take 1 step towards God, determined that we will never turn back, He comes running and merges with us forever. Such is His boundless grace and compassion.
Each story or incident described in the Devi Mahatmyam has a very deep significance. Many of us look at this treatise and other epics with cynical skepticism saying that they may never have happened or that they are just stories that have been contrived for the religious entertainment of the superstitious and the gullible. This attitude has arisen because our immediate forefathers did not emphasize this importance of this infallible wisdom to us. So, we have developed a casual attitude towards our scriptures and try to measure their credibility with our logic. Let us look at a simple example to understand this better. When we go to the doctor with a health problem, he prescribes a medicine for us. Before taking this medicine, do we open the capsule and analyze all its ingredients? No. Our knowledge in that field is too limited to do this. So, we simply swallow it with faith and it cures us. So also, we must chant God’s name and listen to His stories without using our limited tools of logic or analysis. It is only because we have overused these two faculties that we have reached this state of advanced decay and are now rapidly moving towards rot. This is the second truth and we should understand and accept it gracefully, but our Ego does not allow us to do so.
If we author a book, it is forgotten after a few months or at the most a few years. When this is the case, we should contemplate upon how the Devi Mahatmyam, which came to us through our Sages, still continues to be revered epoch after epoch. We believe in history and the historical record of the lives of kings. Then, why don’t we believe in Devi and the Devi Mahatmyam? A king’s history is the history of a region. When we can accept this, why can’t we also accept the history of God which unveils the mystery of our own life? Having implicit faith in the Scriptures is the first step on the journey towards Divinity.
Today, as we look at the wonderful stairway in Manidweepa, we should remember that God is eagerly waiting for us to take this first step towards Him, so that He can come running to embrace us. We should begin this journey immediately; otherwise we will become too old. We may feel that we don’t have the time for spirituality in our lives now. We may think that we can do all this after we are 60 or even later in our lives when all our worldly responsibilities are fulfilled. But, the fact is that such a time will never come in our lives. The same worldly problems that surround us now will continue to surround us even then. If we do not take that one vital crucial step towards Divinity right away, our inner realm will never evolve. It will simply continue to revolve around the hub of troubles and problems. That is why we change very little and continue with the same thought, speech and behavior patterns day after day without moving towards even an inch towards God.
Transformation is an indispensable part of our lives. The incidents of Devi Mahatmyam that the Divine Mother has been revealing to us till today show that even Gods undergo tremendous transformation over several epochs. Right now, we are in the epoch of the Kali Yuga which is designated to be 143,000 years by Devi. The previous epoch which was Dwapara Yuga was twice as long i.e 286,000 years. The Tretayuga which came before that had double this span i.e 572,000 years. The Satya Yuga, which was the very first yuga continued for 1,144,000 years which is two times this. All these big numbers may seem completely mind boggling to us because even the 365 days in one year often appear to stretch into eternity. From this knowledge, we should realize that the Devi Mahatmyam, which is giving us the history of such a vast time span is not just a spiritual treatise, but the Hiranyagarbha or the golden womb of the Cosmos itself. If we understand this and make up our minds to delve deep into it, we can skip all our future janmas or incarnations. Then we will emerge as Jnanis or Self realized beings to guide others to truth. Devi says, “When man gives up all his mindsets and surrenders to My Lotus Feet, I will take Him into My own Womb and recreate Him. So, instead of being reborn again and again as a human being in the womb of an earthly mother, he will be reborn once and for all as a divine being from My own Hiranyagarbha.” This is the third truth.
Now, let us recall how Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Maheshwara became transformed into Stree Shakthis with beautiful feminine forms as they took the first step in Manidweepa. In fact, what happened was Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Maheshwara actually unmanifested and only their Chaitanya remained there while their corresponding, counteractive energies materialized instead. These counteractive energies were none other than their own respective consorts – Lord Brahma’s consort Goddess Saraswati, Lord Vishnu’s consort Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Maheshwara’s consort Goddess Parvati.
Why did this happen? As we learnt yesterday, in the last three epochs each one of the Trimurtis had behaved very egoistically and eccentrically at different times leading to utter chaos in the Cosmos. Due to this, they were not eligible to take more than one step in Manidweepa, the holy abode of the Divine Mother. As we are aware, Lord Maheshwara was overcome by a frenzy of rage when His consort Goddess Sati gave up Her life by jumping into the Homa Kunda (sacrificial fire). In His fury, He took the form of Rudra (the fierce terrible one) and drove out all the Gods from their realms so that the world was plunged into a state of utter darkness and disorder. When this happened, the corresponding, counteracting shakthis or consorts of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Maheshwara were destroyed. Now, as the Trimurtis unmanifested, Devi created an opportunity for their consorts to manifest once again so that Her creation could regain its balance and rhythm. Though the Trimurtis were present in the form of Chaitanya in Manidweepa, they could no longer sense or feel who they were. Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Parvati descend the majestic stairway of 108 steps along with Devi. This leads to a huge mantapa (pavilion) of diamond and cats-eye where they are welcomed with the resounding chant of the Vedas. When they are seated inside, Devi Herself answers the questions that Sage Veda Vyasa had asked Sage Narada. She announces, “I am Moola Prakruti, the Primordial Energy beyond birth and death. I have no beginning or end. I am eternal and beyond change. I am also Maha Maya, the Great Goddess of Illusion. I am Mahashakthi, the Supreme Power. I am also Mahadevi, the Supreme Goddess.”
“Where do I reside? In the Chaitanya or consciousness of Maha Vishnu. Where is the source of My Chaitanya? Like the stalk of a lotus, it lies below the milky ocean, Ekarnava. Howevcr, I manifest Myself in the heart of Maha Vishnu and in the Consciousness of every human being.” As, Devi reveals all this, She is enthroned in the vast, beautiful gem studded pavilion with Lakshmi, Saraswati, Parvati and Her 16 upashakthis or feudalatory deities. The Trimurtus are also present in their unmanifest state.
Here the fourth truth is revealed to us through Devi by Sage Veda Vyasa, “If you are following an order and system to re-link yourself to your Chaitanya, I will reveal your true identity to you. You are the Chaitanya of Moola Prakruthi or the Primordial Energy itself.” Now, Devi makes Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Maheshwara manifest in their original forms and addresses them saying, “Since I am the Moola Prakruthi, I have once again invested you with your form. You had to go through this process because you behaved egoistically in the past and forgot your own Moola Prakruthi. Due to this, in the Kali Yuga human beings will also forget their Moola Prakruthi when they behave arrogantly and egoistically as you did. Their arrogance will block divine grace from flowing freely to them. If any human being who is operating through his ego thinks that he is receiving an abundance of grace, he is simply deluding himself. Unless he follows the order and system set up by the Sages for human beings in the Kali Yuga, he will never be receptive to grace.” This is the fifth truth.
As Devi finishes speaking, the chanting of the Vedas begin to recede and a beautiful melody of ‘Hrim, Hrim…’ chanted by the beautiful Goddess Hrimalekha begins to resonate everywhere. This is the bija mantra of Devi. Here Devi reveals the sixth truth. When we chant Hrimkara, it removes our ahankara or ego. If we chant this regularly, we will never forget our Source or become victims of the ego. Devi says, “Unless you go to your own source, you will never be resourceful.” Without the Divine Mother’s grace we can never be resourceful. In the Kali Yuga many of us think that money is our main resource, and spend most of our time trying to accumulate more and more money. We forget that our Moola Prakruthi is making us breathe, think and move our limbs. The body that we think is all important is only Prakruthi or matter, while the Jiva or Soul within it is our Moola Prakruthi or Source. To unite these two and synchronise their vibrations harmoniously, we should chant Hrim. When we begin the chant of Hrim, the syllable ‘Ha’ begins in the region of the chest. This part of verbalizing the mantra through our Vak or power of speech is called Pashyanti. From our chest, this bija mantra (sacred seed syllable) moves up to our throat where the syllable ‘Ra’ is added to it. This part of verbalizing the mantra is called Madhyama. Here, the Chaitanya of the mantra which is interwoven with our prana (vital energy of breath) revolves in our throat 108 times and comes out through our mouth as ‘Hrim’ with the addition of the syllable ‘Mm’. This part of verbalizing the mantra through our mouth is called Vaikhari. ‘Hrim’ is a very pure and powerful mantra and Shuddha Vidya, the Pure Knowledge of our own Source comes to us through this seed syllable. Now Devi asks the Trimurtis and their Consorts to chant the bija mantra ‘Hrim’ together. As they begin to chant in unison, all of them enter a state of ecstatic silence. Devi says, “Whenever the energies of the Trimurtis unite with the energies of their Consorts, the seed syllable of Hrim will be generated.”
As we listen to these truths that Devi is telling us, we should remember that we have come to the last kalpa called the Kali Yuga in this cycle of Creation. In the next kalpa, Lord Vishnu will be born first and remain as an infant, floating on a peepul leaf sucking His own toe, until Devi nurtures Him with Her milk of knowledge and begin the kalpa. However, whether all this will happen will be decided by the Divine Will of Devi. Today, She wants us to realize the urgent need to awaken and transform ourselves and categorically says, “All those who seek me through Sadhus, Saints, Sadgurus and Shudha Vidya, will unite with me. They need not worry or bother about anything henceforth because they will always remain in the golden epoch of the Satya Yuga even during Kali Yuga whether it is in this kalpa or the next ones.” This is the seventh truth.
In Manidweepa, ‘Hrim’ is resonating melodiously as the Trimurtis and their Consorts chant in unison. Lord Brahma intuitively becomes aware that due to certain egoistic misdeeds that he has committed in a previous epoch, no temples will be dedicated to him in the Kali Yuga. (There are only 2 temples of Lord Brahma in India, one is in Pushkar, Rajasthan and the other is near Kalahasti, Andhra Pradesh). So, He asks Devi, “Amba, what is the nature of my work in the Kali Yuga?” Devi replies, “Performing tapas or austerity is your task. You are here to generate spiritual vibrations in the Kali Yuga in which you will be ably assisted by your Manasika Putras (sons arising from your own mind). Your mission will be to constantly spread spiritual power in the world. Through the vibrations generated by your tapas, each human being should come to know who he is, where he is going and how unlimited his power is. Through the heat of your tapas (which is different from meditation), you will melt the ignorance of human beings and reveal their core of Chaitanya.” Today, all of us are in satsang here with the Sages where Naimisha Aranya has been re-created by Devi, only because of the tapas being performed by Lord Brahma.
Now, Lord Brahma asks, “Amba, please tell me what I should do to make spirituality grow.” With the Hrimkara resounding in the background, Devi replies, “In the Kali Yuga, man will suffer from a major ailment and you must remove it through spirituality. What is this ailment? It is a mental disorder called Moha and Vyamoha or materialistic attachment and infatuation. This most violent and cruel affliction will affect each and every person in the Kali Yuga. So, Brahma, you must establish the spiritual tradition by giving Sadhus, Saints and Sadgurus the right prompts and by inducing human beings in the Kali Yuga to follow a Sadguru so that they can attain Shuddha Vidya or Brahma Vidya. Shuddha Vidya is pure knowledge or the height of knowledge which takes us beyond Jagrat, Swapna and Sushupti (wakeful, dream and deep sleep states). It takes us even beyond Sakshatkara or the vision of God and establishes us in the state of Turiya (Samadhi). Without a Sadguru it will be impossible for a human being to attain Shuddha Vidya and he will be reborn again and again to go through the same cycles of suffering.” This is the eighth truth.
Still addressing Brahma, Devi continues, “Only those who do not have attachment will be able to attain the state of liberation.” Here we may ask whether it is wrong to have possessions at all. We can keep our possessions, but must give up our mental attachment to them. The bondage of attachment can be very subtle. The feeling that our possessions belong to us is moha or attachment and the feeling that we must acquire more possessions is also attachment. The difference between these two is like the difference between a theist and an atheist. To overcome attachment, it is not necessary to renounce our home, family and possessions physically. We should simply be aware that all this has come to us through the grace of God. We are just the custodians of all these ‘possessions’ and should use them only to promote the welfare of all beings.
Lord Brahma asks, “Amba, then are there any other ways in which people can give up attachment easily in the Kali Yuga?” Devi says, “Today, you see the effulgence of My Chaitanya manifested before you as Moola Prakruthi or Primordial Energy. However, in the Kali Yuga, I will manifest myself through a form. This is the form of Bhuvaneshwari (the Supreme Goddess of the Earth). When this form is adored and worshipped with dedication, it removes the shackles of moha.” As Devi says this, She takes on the four armed form of Bhuvaneshwari. She holds the Pasha or noose and the Ankusha or goad in two of Her hands while the other two are in the Abhaya (protective) and Varada (boon giving) postures. The Devi Mahatmyam describes the divine beauty of Devi in this form. Her toe nails have the hue of orange pomegranate flowers and Her lips are tinted with the rich dark luster of a ripe pomegranate fruit. When Devi speaks with a voice as melodious as a nightingales, Madhura bhava or unconditional love brims and overflows from Her. To free human beings from the trap of attachment, Shri Adi Shankaracharya and others consecrated Devi as Bhuvaneshwari in many places in India to promote the tradition of Her worship.
Overawed at seeing Devi manifesting Herself through a form for the first time, the Trimurtis and their divine consorts bow down and prostrate saying ‘Ambe Bhuvaneshwari’. Even in this there is a protocol to be followed. As the big toe of Devi’s right Foot touches the ground, Lord Brahma prostrates first touching Her Foot reverentially. As He bows down, the whole of the Brahmanda or Cosmos is seen in the nail of Devi’s big toe. As Her nails begin to blossom and expand more and more, Lord Brahma sees billions of lokas or worlds revolving there.
While Lord Brahma is lost in wonder at this divine experience, let us ask ourselves why are we being told all this. This brings us to the ninth truth. This knowledge was passed from one Sage to another. The first Sage heard it as Shruthi (the wisdom which is heard) and when he passed it on to others who recorded it, it became Smriti (written or recalled form of wisdom). In this way, this knowledge has passed through a long chain of Sages, Seers and seekers before it has reached us. Through us, this chain will continue until it is passed down to the very last human being in this cycle of creation. Till the last day of the Kali Yuga, whether a human being wants it or not, whether he is interested in it or not, he will hear this truth. Once this seed of knowledge is planted in him, it will go on sprouting and blossoming inside until it takes him to an enlightened state one day.
In the Kali Yuga, we may miss food or sleep but we should never miss a Satsang. Satsang is the primary source of Knowledge which is imparted to us in the form of shruti. So, whenever there is a congregation of Souls discussing the truth, we should never ever miss it. Every satsang is blessed by the presence of Chiranjeevis or immortal beings, Sages and Seers. In their subtle forms they are also participating and filling us with their Chaitanya. This is the tenth truth.
In Manidweepa, Devi in the form of Bhuvaneshwari says, “I will create a new Bhuloka (Earth) for all of you. All the worlds that you saw yesterday were just virtual images.” She asks Vishnu to go back to Vaikuntha and create the Earth from the medhas (fatty extracts from the brain and bone marrow) of the demons Madhu and Kaitabha. Since the Earth will be created form medhas, She will be called Medhini during the Kali Yuga. All these instructions are being telepathically transmitted from Devi to the Trimurtis and their consorts as they bow down to Her. Brahma immediately communicates this knowledge to His Manasika Putra Narada from whom it goes to Sage Veda Vyasa who transmits it to Prince Janamejaya. The Prince communicates it to Suta Muni through whom it reaches Sage Saunaka. Beginning from this chain of Sages long, long ago, it has reached all of us today.
Resuming Her instructions, Devi tells Rudra (Lord Maheshwara), “Go to Kailasa and begin your laya karya or task of annihilating negative vibrations as the Earth is being created. You must collect the garbage of nonsensical thoughts that human beings generate and dispose of them so that they do not hinder the activity of creation. From the sacred region of Badrikashrama in the Himalayas, My Chaitanya or Consciousness should flow constantly to all parts of the Earth so that Shuddha Vidya may reach mankind. Brahma, to make this possible, create a wheel from your mind. This wheel will be called the Kala Chakra or the wheel of time.” Obeying Her command, Lord Brahma immediately creates a wheel through his mind and throws it into the Naimisha Aranya on Earth. As this wheel strikes the Earth, a violet blue fire with a tinge of golden orange begins to blaze and spread everywhere around Naimisha Aranya. This flame takes the form of a circle which begins to revolve. This is how the wheel of time was created by Brahma. During this process, the whole region of Naimisha Aranya was encircled by this blue flame of knowledge. Referring to this, Devi says, “All those who go towards Jnana or Knowledge through the Sadguru in the Kali Yuga will be protected by this fire. All their ignorance, illusion, delusion, attachment and karma will be burnt away.” This is the eleventh truth. All seekers who sit in meditation get a vision of this bluish violet orange flame between their eye brows in the region of the third eye or the Ajna chakra. This is the darshan of the Jnana Jyoti (flame of knowledge) in Naimisha Aranya.
All this time, Lord Brahma is still touching the Foot of Devi Bhuvaneshwari. In fact, the Devi Mahatmyam begins here and all this is described in its very first chapter. The moment the Kala Chakra thrown by Lord Brahma lands in Naimisha Aranya, the desire or moha to obtain a son is born in Sage Veda Vyasa. What does this signify? It shows us that the moment we are born in the Kali Yuga, supreme attachment is born with us. We cannot come out of this moha until we come into the fold of spirituality. That is why Devi thunders, “It is outrageous and blasphemous to retain and nurture this feeling of attachment. This is the root cause of all your troubles and problems. If you don’t come out of your moha, you will never get permanent happiness or attain mukti.” This is the twelfth truth.
Now Brahma asks his next question, “What is behind this entire leela of Yours, Amba?” Devi replies, “If man has to transcend from an ordinary life to an extraordinary life, from a materialistic life to a spiritual life, he has to get over this feeling of possessiveness. Otherwise, he cannot experience lasting peace and contentment.”
Brahma asks, “Then, should we be careless and indifferent to everybody and everything?” Devi replies, “This is not about being careless or carefree. Instead of this, care for each and everybody. This is the secret of Shuddha Vidya.” This is the thirteenth truth. Addressing us, Devi says, “All of you, human beings, have a ‘don’t care’ attitude in life. You don’t love anybody selflessly. If somebody approaches you for help, you think “I don’t want their headache”. Selflessness is not just related to money. It is about the way you live. Unconditional love and care for everybody should ooze out of you every moment.”
That is why the first thing that a Guru teaches his disciples in the Ashram is to pray selflessly for the welfare of all beings, including birds, animals and the smallest creatures in the world. Just as a snake becomes dangerous to everybody when it comes out of its hole, our mind becomes hazardous to the world when we don’t have an attitude of share and care. The Divine Mother says, “When you care, you are sharing your love and kindness with everybody. That means, you are sharing My own qualities and establishing them in your heart forever. When you do this, I will throw open the Cosmic Mind so that you will receive a constant outpouring of My grace.” This is the fourteenth truth. If we try to acquire Shuddha Vidya without giving up our ‘don’t care’ attitude, we will never succeed. Today it is impossible to quantify our selfishness because it has invaded each and every pore of our being. Only those who have experienced the unconditional love of the Divine Mother can see and understand the extent to which the toxin of selfishness has poisoned our lives.
Devi turns to Lord Brahma and says, “Once you have released the Kala Chakra, ensure that all those who are selfish cast aside their ‘don’t care’ attitude and become selfless. If I had an ego like the human beings do and became selfish, the whole of this Creation would collapse immediately. The Cosmos is standing on the foundation of My selfless love. If I nurture all beings with My love constantly, they will never survive.” This is the fifteenth truth.
Today, the Divine Mother is saying in a voice akin to thunder, “Drop your selfishness. It is making you very, very crude and very, very rude. Remember that you have a Soul which is extremely subtle and sensitive. Unless you give up your selfishness, you can never remain connected to this subtle, all powerful energy or Chaitanya of your Soul which is your Moola Prakruthi. Give up your sarcasm and drop all feelings of complacent superiority. If you think that your excellent education and linguistic skills make you eligible to whip others with your sarcasm, just stop for a moment and think “Where would I be if my tongue is stilled and I am unable to speak anymore?” Remember that your inner Chaitanya is powering everything including your tongue. Don’t ever misuse or abuse your Vak-Shakti (power of speech) which is your main strength.” This is the sixteenth truth.
Giving Her final instructions to Lord Brahma and the other Trimurtis, Devi says, “Brahma, through your Kala Chakra, make sure that everybody corrects their mistakes. Now I want all of you to return to your lokas (realms) and begin the Kali Yuga.” As Devi is saying this, in another realm the Mahabharata war is over and the Kali Yuga is just beginning with the misdeed of King Parikshit. Though Devi’s Creation is infinitely vast, each and every element is synchronously linked to the others.
Now Devi says, “The ego has made human beings very arrogant. They even suggest alternatives and substitutes to God Himself.” This is the seventeenth truth. What does Devi mean here? For instance, let us say that we decide to go to a temple with the intention of getting a certain ritual or seva performed. When we reach there, we may find that the cost of performing that ritual exceeds our estimated budget. Forgetting that everything is orchestrated by the Divine Will, we may immediately begin to criticize the temple, its trustees, its priests etc. We may begin to dispense unsolicited advice to them about how to run the temple and manage the sevas economically. We also become highly logical and calculative in deciding which ritual we should perform. By doing all this, instead of removing the poison already festering in our minds, we are only adding to it. Many devotees also suggest alternatives and substitutes to their Sadguru with a delusive feeling that they have a greater knowledge of the world. This attitude of trying to dispense advice to Divinity itself amounts to supreme arrogance. This is what Devi is highlighting to us here.
Out of Her Supreme Love for us, today the Divine Mother has chiseled us with Her hammer blows of wisdom. We should receive it with extreme humility and allow Her to carve us into a beautiful from during this Navaratri. To facilitate this, let us take everything She has revealed till now very seriously and begin a new life from today. Let us offer our gratitude to the Divine Mother for all the love and grace that She is pouring upon us.
May all of you be freed from the shackles of attachment. May the divine quality of unconditional love blossom in you. May all of you become eligible to receive the Shuddha Vidya. May all beings be happy.