The nine candles on the picture were the centre of my Durga Puja early this morning; the nine nights and nine days to celebrate The Mother have begun. Shubh Navratri! Around the world Hindus are honoring the energy of Adya Para Shakti, or the Divine Mother in the form of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. These three Goddesses stand for force and strength, fine arts and expression, and wellness and forbearance. Though it isn’t that simple; there is a much deeper meaning for celebrating the nine days of Navratri.
When men have taken on themselves a lot of negative energy, like anger, greed, egoism, materialism, jealousy, desire, ignorance and when there is injustice and aggression, the Divine Aspect of Life or the Atmic Principle comes into a human body to the world to take on all these bad virtues herself. Only then they can be overwon, because only she has the will power, the awareness and force to be able to overcome all these evil elements. In the Veda’s these are described as ‘demons’ and they come out of the ground when people have become materialistic and exhaust the natural sources of Mother Earth. They are killing their mother (earth), so she comes in the form of Durga to destroy all evil so that light, gratefulness, love and happiness can shine again.
Shakti represents this inner force and it is the strongest energy in the world, it all began with Prana Shakti, the life giving energy. She in her form of Durga was able to destroy all demons, because she has this pure love or shakti very much present inside of her. That is the symbolic meaning of the story that Shakti in the form of Shiva’s wife Parvati got all powers of the three Gods and was named Ma Durga, to be able to defeat Mahishasura, the worst demon ever, who stands for ‘ego’. Men were not able to do that, only a woman could. When overcome, demons will disappear everywhere, because all energy is connected. Cosmic energy is the very essence that is present in Shakti; when she wins, the whole universe will. The symbolic meaning of this story is that our life-giving energy, or love (which is the essence of every living soul) will always win from negative energy. After overwinning all inner demons of dark and negative energy, through the path of Jnana, Karma and Bhakti Yoga, Ma Durga was shining so much light, that her inner Divine aspect of Shakti brought love into the whole universe; that light works as a magnet for other goodness and more bliss and love. We can learn from this lesson that what we have inside ourselves, we also attract from the outside. When we are light in our inner world of thoughts, we attract light with our experiences. Also known as the law of attraction.
Shakti also stands for ‘nature’ and ‘culture’; there has to be a balance between them. What we see in our physical lives we often get too much involved in earthly matters (maya), a part of culture and materialism. In this era we always seem to struggle to keep in touch with nature. Though if we loose contact with the elements and nature we are out of balance because Shakti is out of balance. Prana will flow off. We get inner demons. We get sick. Shakti stands for love, so there is less love in the world. Love (prana) is what heals and gives bliss and forbearance. Therefor we need to celebrate Navratri two times a year, it is a constant reminder to always keep in touch with nature and our ‘real nature’ as humans, to stay conscious (buddhi) and to do right actions in life. That way we honor our Mother or love in the form of the Divine Atmic principle: then she will give us happiness and good health.
The esoteric significance of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati is represented by three potencies (sakthis): karma, devotion (upaasana) and spiritual wisdom (jnana). The three represent three kinds of potencies in man: will power (ichchaa sakthi), the power of purposeful action (kriya sakthi), and the power of discernment (jnaana sakthi). We are reminded two times a year with Navrati that we always have to do right actions in our lives, like seva, the action of the body. This way it is easier to control our minds so that we are able to see Sathya, the real truth about us (that we are our soul, love). This radiates love, prana or Shakti in a way that she can find us to shine her love on us. So in a way, consciousness radiates a vibration which is waking up The Mother (particles of the same attract). Like it is said that when you think of God He is really there, because the thought of God has the same vibrational energy as God himself. The same principle applies to The Mother: when you are aware of Her, she’s there (God or Brahma and Shakti represent the same pure Atmic Principle). This is also expressed in the Gayatri Mantra, with Aum Bhur (earth) Bhuvah (force, consciousness) Suvaha (power of radiation). Chanting this mantra activates Sattvic qualities which are needed to be able to vibrate the love to attract happiness and bliss into our lives.
Ma Durga is honored with red kumkum to fulfill her wishes and please her: when she sees the red kumkum on her feed, it signifies the blood that is shed to kill all the ‘inner’ demons. It means that we have worked hard on ourselves, we have sacrificed, to let the light and love shine into cosmic energy. That is why she is often seen as the head-slaying strong woman riding a lion; she is in control. She will protect us from evil, as being the strongest energy in the world. Love will always win from evil. Light is always dissolving darkness. The nine candles stand for the light Durga is radiating after killing all demons in the nine days and nine nights of Navratri.
Celebrating Navrati isn’t just doing pujas or putting on beautiful clothes, it is the very significance of our whole being. It is the purpose of our lives (universal dharma) in which we are overcoming all evil inside ourselves during this era Kaliyuga, with an inner cleaning proces of Jnana, Karma and Bhakti Yoga so that we shine, be happy and enter the new era of the Golden Age as one light of pure love. When we are conscious of the Divine aspect, she has a doorway through our Kundalini to enter the world and shine perfect bliss through all her children; only through humans she can shine her unconditional love into cosmo. Happy Navratri!