In early October, we celebrated the Hindu holy days called Navaratri. For 9 days, we performed pujas or worship ceremonies, honoring the Divine Mother in the form of 3 deities that represent all the spiritual qualities of the feminine nature. We were blessed to have two visiting Swamis, Jyotirmayananda and DIvyananda, leading our offerings and prayers.
We invoked the Mother as Durga and her capacity to remove our selfish tendencies and support us in withstanding the difficulties that expose our faulty thinking and attachments. We contemplated how Mother nature can remind us that we are not in control as we imagine, and need to humble our egos to receive guidance.
Next, we invited the grace of Goddess Lakshmi, representing Divine abundance. We contemplated all the blessings that can be bestowed upon us when we allow our selves to be guided by spiritual values instead of self-centered thinking. Material prosperity, spiritual teachings and support in all forms can be received when we make use of these gifts to serve others.
The last feminine form we invoked was Goddess Saraswati, representing Divine wisdom. She reminds us that with sincere effort and humble persistence, we can fully awaken our own inner Light, develop keen discrimination, and live with peace in our hearts.
On the tenth day of these holy days, one honors all 3 forms, and we were blessed to have two illumined souls to lead our service, Acharya
Mangalananda and Swami Gurucharanananda. They led us in heart opening chants to the Divine Mother, and Swamiji spoke eloquently about the very real presence of Divine Grace that is available to us if we surrender to it.
Surrender in this spiritual sense does not mean to give up or be defeated, but to be willing to acknowledge the mind’s limited capactiy to know the truth, and the illusion that compels us to harm each other. Our dear friend, Chinnamasta, also agreed to speak briefly and she echoed this truth that she so fully embraces in her own life.
We ended that evening by walking throughout the Institute, blessing every room and corner of the building. This is symbolic of welcoming the Divine Mothers presence in every aspect of our lives and in every function of the Institute. I pray that this sincere worship opens our hearts to the compassion, courage and wisdom that is our birthright, and that we make use of all our blessings to bring more Light into the world.