Jai Mata Di
One is able to comprehend the profound spiritual significance of worshiping Ma Durga only if one is constantly striving to awaken the inner primordial cosmic energy.
Durga is synonymous to Shakti, who is personification of strength, beauty, creativity, wisdom, mystery, anger, compassion, fear, power and profundity in this universe.
These qualities are reflected in each individual, in different events and in this universe as a whole. Other attributes associated with Ma are sword (power of discretion), bow (intellect), arrow (wisdom), conch (sound of bliss), rosary (the thread that binds all in prayerfulness), mace (truth) and the lion (fearlessness).
The Divine Mother has three major forms: Durga, the Goddess of defence; Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth; Saraswati the Goddess of knowledge.
During the 9 nights and 10 days of Navratri, these three forms are invoked. Navratri celebrates and honors the 9 different aspects of Mother Divine, also known as Nav Durga:
Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidyatri. The Navratri which falls in the month of Ashada and Magha is called Gupt Navratri.
The Navratri that falls in theAshwin month of autumn is called Shardiya Navratri and those that fall in the spring is called Chaitra Navratri.
It is the time when you withdraw yourself from all sensory activities (eating, talking, watching, touching, listening, smelling) and rest in yourself- which is the actual source of bliss, joy and enthusiasm in life.
Sri- means the Ma, Mother Goddess, whose refuge you can seek. Such a Devi can only be invoked from the purest recesses of your consciousness.
Sri Vidya- is the knowledge of invoking that Supreme Being. Ma Durga alone assumes the role of Brahma and creates,
She assumes the form of Vishnu and sustains, and She is capable of being a Mahesh to destroy all. She becomes the total Ishwar and with complete annihilation cleanses all.
Then, Ma alone restores grace to revive life, These are her 5 powers of Shakti- THE ALL. This energy is lying dormant within each one of us. It is upto our devotion to seek, to awaken the Divinity. We have to dig deep within us to cleanse our outer Asuras.
These demons are nothing but our own inherent weaknesses.
The Sweet and the Bitter. These are the two most fundamental elements in every human being. Right from birth the child develops the taste of the tongue and has likes and dislikes for food.
The tongue also conveys emotions- lullabies, the tone of words, fondling, cuddling. It is innate. On the journey to self realisation, the first hurdle for every person is to rise above this duality of sweet and bitter.
No force works. Wisdom and foresight is all that sustains. Vishnu is predominant at this stage. We learn to differentiate between acceptance and rejection.
Once you go beyond taste and sound the next challenge awaits us.
The Buffalo/Bull: symbolic of laziness, lethargy, inertia and rage. We need to channelize our whole energy. Our inner Shakti alone can handle this demon.
It cannot be killed. It can only be transformed. These traits impede our spiritual and material progress. It calls for willpower and determination of the highest order. Devi Ma comes to our rescue with her positivity & energy to dissolve this Asur.
Smoke & Eyesight. As we see things we are tempted. Our lust, greed, desire to possess, completely clouds our vision & sense of good and bad. Since we gather information through our eyes, illusions distract us all the time.
The mirage of life entices us. We SEE what we ‘want’ to see. Regardless of how intellectual, profound, smart one is, these challenges will have to be tackled directly.
Ma Durga personifies myriad personalities to slay each demon. That is why we worship and invoke the nine forms of Shakti. In DURGA SAPTASHATI we have 6 demons, each corresponding to the 6 Chakras (7th being Sahastrar) in our body. Each is symbolic of human weakness and frailties.
Chund literally means passion, cruelty, violence. Mund is head, intelligence, wisdom, inner conflicts.
By the death of the 3 previous Asuras, we have conquered our taste, words, speech, sloth, inertia, lust, greed, anger and clouded vision. We have managed to harness that energy, but we still do not know how to channelize it.
Passions completely possess us. Even a good passion can make us egoistic, triumphant and vain. Every passion, as much as, inner conflicts is a distraction.
We are overpowered by doubts, regret, guilt, repentance and lose all clarity. Only by slaying Chund and Mund can we overpower these conflicts.
Poses the greatest challenge of all. It is a demon with a special boon. With every drop of blood that falls on the battlefield, an identical original-like demon would come alive, soon multiplying into a countless army.
Never ending, ever-growing. How can one possibly combat such a force? Raktbeej is none other than our desire. You fulfill one, hundreds sprout up. It’s an unending cycle. Literally unstoppable, beyond control.
Desires are just desires- there can be no good or bad desire. To vanquish this demon we need aggression in the form of highest discipline.
Having overpowered all these weaknesses within ourselves, we are still one step away...
Shumba is none other than sense of ‘I’ or ‘Me’, whereas Nishumba represents the sense of ‘Mine’, or the attachment to things that the false self clings to through identification with other objects.
Shumba and Nishumba follow each other closely. Shumba also means, doubting oneself and Nishumba means, doubting others.
When the mind is clogged with doubt about oneself or others, neither peace nor progress is possible. That is why they are the Kings of the Demons, the highest in the order of negative influences.
Such demeaning forces come up only due to our own doubts, regret, guilt and fear. When we are full of positivity and enthusiasm none of these Asuras can harm us.
Ma is ever-present. We just have to seek her with faith & trust. The battle between the demons and the Goddess is compared to Maha Yagya, because it represents the greatest purification process.
Now, we are ready for the ultimate reward. After the 6 demons are slayed, out come SURATH & SAMADHI for blessings. Surath is the chariot, vehicle of life- empowering us with insight, wisdom, knowledge.
We rise above every duality. Samadhi is Oneness. The Ultimate Bliss. Union with the Divine Self. It is totally liberating. It is Kundalini Shakti alive within us.
DURGA SAPTASHATI is our constant striving to reach this ultimate. The Awakening of inner primordial cosmic energy within us. The DIVINE MA SHAKTI!