Thursday, September 17, 2009
Navratri: SIGNIFICANCE -THE DIVINE NINE NIGHTS
“Nava” has two meanings. One is ‘nine’ and the other meaning is ‘new’. As a snake sheds off its outer skin, we too should cast away all our old things and make our consciousness new. “Ratri” means night, which gives rest. We suffer from three types of afflictions. One is that suffering, which arises from inside and another is that, which arises externally. The third one is subtle and in-between these two. Night relieves us from these three afflictions and brings rest to the mind, body and consciousness. What happens when you sleep? You are relieved of all your worries. During these nine nights or Navratri, your mind should be in the Divine consciousness. Like a baby is in the mother’s womb for nine months before it is born, similarly, during these nine days and nights, one should go inwards and remember the source. These nine days of celebration are meant to take one inward and upward. It’s an inward and an upward journey. During these auspicious days, make sure that small things do not distract you from your goal. Our mind so tricky that it pulls us away from our goal and gets us stuck in small things. Just someone sneezing next to us or snoring near us is enough to pull us off track. When we become aware of our mind, which is getting into the negative cycle, we become clever. It’s then that we can win over the small chattering mind. Therefore, these nine nights are meant for us to rest. Out of total nine days, three nights each correspond to the three gunas- tamas, rajas and sattva. Therefore, even if conflicts arise, keep them all aside and go back to your innocence. This whole body cosmos is made up of that one energy called Devi. This whole universe is made up of that vibrating and scintillating consciousness, and all our bodies are like the floating shells in the ocean of consciousness, which is unseen. You can’t see it, but you can feel it. So, during these nine days, you should feel the unknown. It’s a journey towards the unknown.
Navaratri Traditions in the Ashram:
For Art of Living family world-wide it’s a special time. Art of Living family is in one spirit and has one Sankalpa (the power that is born to resolve). The first three days of the Navratri are committed to honoring Durga, the embodiment of valour and self-confidence. The next three days are committed to Lakshmi, the embodiment of wealth. The last three days are dedicated to Saraswathi, the embodiment of knowledge. Thus the significance of Navratri is linked to one’s spiritual growth. Knowledge and wisdom, skills and virtuous qualities, will be bestowed upon one, after one rids oneself of impurities. Fasting and following a disciplined routine during these days are common practices. One does not fast to please the Gods, but to purify one’s body and mind.