NAVARATRI – NINE DAYS FOR PURIFICATION OF THE MIND
Navaratri is a festival of nine days celebrated adoring Mother Divine. This festival is in essence a depiction of the journey of a Sadhaka, from a state of ignorance towards THAT perfect, blissful state of existence, free from all conflicts, misery and sorrow. How is that so?
In our day to day life, we experience various negative tendencies that cloud our mind and prevent us from perceiving life around in the right sense for responding harmoniously. We are troubled by negative emotions such as Deep urges/desires, Anger, Attachment, Greed, Pride and Jealousy. We have developed wrong habit patterns such as indiscipline, laziness, inertia, sense of doubt, inferiority complex, self-pity and lack of discrimination etc.
Our Sadhana to battle these terrible enemies is not an easy one. This needs tremendous will power and immense strength. From where will this strength come? It comes from within. But to invoke that strength, we seek the grace of none other than the Mother of the Universe, the ever compassionate and loving Mother Divine in the form of Maa Durga.
During the first three days of Navaratri we adore and seek the grace of Maa Durga. Maa Durga, the form terrible that overpowered the Asuras and protected the Devas, is what is the symbolic meaning here!
The energy and grace of Mother Divine in the form of Durga enables the Sadhaka to battle the negative tendencies deep within and purifies the Mind. She mercilessly eliminates all negative tendencies. The Sadhaka should develop intense devotion and feeling towards Maa Durga during the first three days of Navaratri and sincerely work on the negative tendencies that are blocking him or her to progress in Sadhana. That union of intense Bhavana and the grace of Maa Durga can annihilate any negative tendencies. What a powerful way for purification of the Mind!!! So, the first three days of Navaratri are meant to remove negative tendencies.
When you remove weeds from your garden ground and not plant any new meaningful plants, it can still remain as fertile ground for weeds to grow back strongly. The same is the case with our mind. Elimination of negative tendencies alone will not work. We need to instill strong sattvic values and habits in the mind. This is the next phase of Sadhana. We invoke Devi’s form as Maa Lakshmi for next 3 days of Navaratri.
Maa Lakshmi is grossly misrepresented as goddess of wealth. The real wealth for a human being is noble and sattvic values. Guruji Pattabhiram often used to repeat the noble qualities a Sadhaka should nurture – Enthusiasm, Courage, Adventurous spirit, Personal philosophy for life, Balanced Approach in external life engagements and Uncompromising pursuit for Harmony and Freedom.
To develop noble and sattvic qualities, the Sadhaka invokes Mother Divine as Maa Lakshmi and seeks her grace. A Sadhaka has to work with himself, constantly nurturing the sankalpa to develop positive virtues and perform his Sadhana. The Sadhaka seeks the grace of Maa Lakshmi for his personality to flower in goodness. So the next 3 days are focused on developing noble virtues.
Our Shastras proclaim the purpose of human life in the famous saying “Dharma Artha Kama Moksha…”. As per this, the purpose of life is not mere fulfilment of desires by following righteous means, but going beyond and experiencing Freedom and Harmony here and now.
Hence, working to eliminate negative tendencies and cultivating positive virtues alone is not the end of pursuit in Human life. The next phase of Sadhana is of the form of deep and subtle contemplation on the nature of one’s own personality at all levels, enquiring into the relationship between oneself and the world around and fundamentally seeking the purpose of life.
This phase of a Sadhaka’s journey is very subtle and deep. The beauty is that the Sadhaka has prepared the mind by purifying it, that is, he has eliminated negative tendencies and cultivated positive virtues. The mind has gathered the deservedness to seek subtler truths about both life and the universe at large. Thus, having purified the mind, the Sadhaka invokes Maa Saraswathi for the next 3 days of Navaratri to seek Knowledge. This knowledge is not the knowledge about worldly things but the knowledge of the SELF which is supreme and sacred.
Maa Saraswathi who is the embodiment of all Vidyas in the universe feels pleased with the efforts put towards purifying the mind and thus bestows upon the Sadhaka, true knowledge of the SELF through the Guru.
Thereafter, the journey of the Sadhaka is a continuous one, keeping a strong vigil against negative tendencies, constantly nurturing positive virtues and ever establishing in the awareness of divinity, pulsating from deep within.
The last day after 9 days, is a day of celebration of this fascinating path, process and journey of Self-transformation in the Sadhaka.
So profound, sacred, meaningful and practical is this wisdom!!!! We are simply taken through the entire journey of Sadhana from beginning till end, say as a trailer in 9 days!
The energy and grace of Mother Divine in the form of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi remain very potent, active and easily accessible during the Navaratri period due to the Tapasya of countless Sages over thousands of years.
The Sadhaka has to only connect with this divine realm through uncompromising Shraddha and Bhakti, rest will be a journey of Peace and Happiness.
Let us all celebrate Navaratri to receive the blessing of the Divine Mother in this manner and move forward in our Sadhana.