Navaratri is a festival celebrating the nine forms of Goddess Durga. Each night we worship a different form through special prayers, pujas, bhajans and sharing the stories of Devi's victories over the demons. After Navaratri, our celebration concluded with Dussehra to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. Join us as we look back on this auspicious event.
Written by: Lakshmi
Navaratri is the colourful and vibrant festival that occurs every autumn where we venerate the Divine Mother in Her different forms. Dance and music are traditionally big parts of this festival, this year we celebrated slightly different given the restrictions put in place due to Covid-19. Despite the necessary adaptations required in light of the pandemic, we took the opportunity to delve deeper in our relationship with Divine Mother.
I’ve been blessed to spend many years celebrating Navaratri in Shree Peetha Nilaya and one thing I can tell you is that during this time the Divine Mother’s presence feels tangible. The potency of Her love is so amazing that you can only feel gratitude for Her.
Along with the beauty of this, we also confront various challenges as She works on bringing all our pride and ego to the surface to be dispelled. This is what Navaratri is all about - the celebration of good over evil. There are moments where you literally feel those inner demons at the surface and sometimes think you're about to go crazy. These are followed by moments of incredible love and devotion. All of this occurs at such a heightened level. Thankfully, the Divine Mother is great at taking care of our wounds on all levels - physically, emotionally, and spiritually!
This year in place of dancing, Paramahamsa Vishwananda blessed us every night by giving commentary on the Mukunda-mala-stotram. If you’ve ever had the chance to listen to any commentary given by Paramahamsa Vishwananda, you’ll know how passionate He is when it comes to talking about the bhakti path. The Mukunda-mala-stotram is a devotional poem composed by the bhakti saint, Kulashekaralvar, seventh of the twelve mystic alvars.
In this beautiful prayer, He asks Lord Krishna to give him salvation from the cycle of birth and death. The beauty of this poem lies in its simplicity and is a wonderful reminder of what it takes to cultivate loving devotion towards God and ultimately find and experience the Love of God. Moreover, hearing the commentary from a living spiritual Master carries more blessings than one can see. I can say for myself that although the messages delivered weren’t new, they were delivered in such a way that the importance of the message really hit home and gave me new inspiration to apply the simple truths that help us out of this world of maya.
Navaratri always ends with Dussehra. On this day, we perform abishekam to Paramahamsa Vishwananda and Divine Mother. It is one of the most beautiful sights for the eyes of a devotee - worship performed on the beloved Master to honour Him for His complete loving service to us. The outpouring of love and deep gratitude experienced from witnessing this event cannot be described in words. I can think of no better way to end the festival of the Divine Mother than by worshipping the one who is the eternal mother to each and every devotee.