The Art of Living Navratri Celebrations, Nine forms of Mother Divine
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The Mother Divine: Nav Durga
The nine nights of Navratri celebrate and honor the nine different aspects of Mother Divine known as Nava Durga.
The Mother Divine manifests herself in nine different forms with each form signifying something subtle and deep. Discover the hidden meanings of the nine goddesses or the Nav Durga.
The first among the Navadurgas is Shailaputri. Shaila means stone, and putri means daughter. Praying to this aspect of Mother Divine brings strength (like a stone). It brings commitment. When the mind is wavering, chanting the name of this Devi Shailaputri helps the mind to be centered and committed. It gives us strength, courage, and composure.
Brahmacharya means celibacy. Celibacy brings a lot of strength.
Brahmacharya also has a higher meaning than just celibacy. Brahma means infinity and charya means moving. Put together, Brahmacharya means moving in infinity, which signifies knowing your vast nature. You are not just the body, you are like a glow of light. When this truth comes to your awareness, then you are in Brahmacharya.
The more joyful you are, the less you feel the body. The more you are in the infinite consciousness, the less you feel the tension or the physical weight of the body – that is Brahmacharya.
When we pray to this form of Mother Divine, we invoke the quality Brahmacharya. And our consciousness starts moving in the infinity, in our true nature. When we recognize our true nature, we become vast and powerful with a lot of vigor, valor and strength.
On the third day of Navratri, the Divine Mother is worshipped in the form of Chandraghanta. This form of Devi is depicted as wearing a bell-like ornament in the shape of the moon.
The moon is connected with the mind, and the Ghanta (or the bell) is an instrument connected with alertness. The ringing of the bell brings the mind to the present moment. Just as the moon waxes and wanes, the mind also wavers. Chanting the name of this Devi brings the mind in our control with increased alertness.
When the qualities of alertness and steadfastness arises, then the mind is like an adornment. Such a mind adds beauty to one’s nature. Chandraghanta represents this aspect of beauty in the mind. A beautiful mind is an adornment.
Kushmanda means pumpkin. A pumpkin has many seeds and each seed contains the potential for many more pumpkins. This is representative of the creative power and its eternal nature. The whole creation is like a pumpkin. As Kushmanda, the Devi contains the entire creation within her. She is the Devi who can give you the highest prana (creative energy).
Skandamata is the mother of Skanda or Subramanya (Lord Karthikeya). She is depicted as riding a lion with the baby Skanda on her lap. This signifies courage and compassion. The lion signifies courage, while Mother Divine is the embodiment of compassion.
Skanda is the skillful one. Often when one is very skillful, they tend to be arrogant. Most of very talented people have arrogance. But here the skill is combined with a humility that nurtures innocence.
When we pray to this form of Mother Divine, we are bestowed with the qualities of skill along with innocence, and courage along with compassion.
Kathyayini represents the nurturing aspect of the Divine Mother. She embodies the values of sharing and caring. Young girls pray to Devi Kathyayini for a good husband. Marriage comes with a sense of security, commitment, togetherness, team spirit and belongingness. She signifies the finer qualities of being in a relationship.
The ultimate relationship is the union with oneself (soul).
Kaala is time. Time consumes everything in creation, and time is a witness to everything as well. Ratri means deep rest, absolute rest at the level of the body, mind and soul. Without rest, how can you be bright? Kaalaratri represents the deepest rest so that you can attain dynamism.
Gaura varna means white color. White represents purity. Purity comes out of innocence. Maha Gauri is the combination of brilliance and innocence. Gau also means knowledge. When we pray to Maha Gauri, she gives you the wisdom that is the elixir of life.
Siddhidhatri is the one who gives all the siddhis. Siddhi means perfection. When you want something, and if before the want arises it is available to you, that is called Siddhi (when you receive before you even feel the need, and when you receive more than what you need). A sadhak or seeker will get many siddhis on the path. However, if you misuse or run behind them, they will be lost.
Only when you are centered, you receive the true knowledge; one who knows never loses equanimity. The tradition of the Master is very important here. The sadhak should follow the footsteps of the parampara and move on the prescribed path of knowledge. Siddhidhatri fulfills all desires and bestows powers naturally. Perfection and enlightenment are the gifts of Siddhidhatri which are attained in the presence of the Master.
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