16 Oct 2015

Navaratri 2015: Day 3 - Chandraghanta Devi

“Chandraghanta spreads calmness and eternal peace all around Her, but to someone who is wicked, She is terrifying. If your mind is negative, all things around you will be negative. But if your mind is clear, pure and calm, all around you will be calm.” – Sri Swami Vishwananda

Devi Name: Chandraghanta Devi

Chandraghanta Devi (sometimes spelled Chandrakanta) is the form of Maa that grants eternal strength to Her devotee. As ‘Chandra’ is the name for the moon, She is named Chandraghanta because of the bell-shaped mark of a crescent moon on Her head. This form of Maa possesses ten arms holding many weapons and She sits on top of a lion.

Because of Her incredible beauty, the demon king, Mahishasur, wanted to have Her as his wife, to which the Divine Mother replied, “If you want to be My husband, you have to be stronger than Me.” Mahishasur had forgotten that the Divine Mother is the one who enacts everything, and that it would be impossible for him to defeat Her. Furious, he sent thousands of demons towards Chandraghanta Devi, but with one pronunciation of the syllable, ‘sa’, Devi instantly turned all the demons to ash. (Such is Her power and grace to destroy the spiritual demons within all of us.)

After an intense battle, Chandraghanta Devi killed the demon king, and received the alternative epithet of Mahishasur Mardini, ‘the destroyer of the demon Mahishasur.’

Event Highlights:

The celebrations for Chandraghanta Devi felt more like a family gathering, rather than a public event. The third night had the underlying theme of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” – the whole world as one family. According to the structure of these ceremonies, the night included the puja, yagna, Devi Mahatmya narration, and as always, a lot of singing and dancing! Though once the final prayers had finished and all had received their blessing and darshan from Chandraghanta Devi, the amrit of the night was yet to emerge.

As the night came to an end, Sri Swami Vishwananda asked that each Swami and Swamini give a small improvised speech. The newly-appointed Swami’s/Swamini’s expressed their gratitude to Sri Swami Vishwananda, and some shared their personal surprise that Swamiji wanted to initiate them into Swamihood at all! It was said several times that they were grateful to have a Satguru who has all the qualities of the mother and who can be a most affectionate one, and yet, still discipline when the need arises. It was the love and experiences that the Swami’s and Swamini’s shared for Sri Swami Vishwananda that united all who attended -- even the distant family watching via livestream.

The sincerity of each speech showed that they weren’t talking to a crowd of strangers, but rather to a family of devotees. At times, the tent was roaring with laughter, and at other times, it was silent with rapport. After all of the Swami’s/Swamini’s had given their talk, Sri Swami Vishwananda ended the night with a few words of wisdom that gave insight into the role of the Swami’s and Swamini’s and about the importance of respecting others:

(The) Swamis are my representatives, of Mahavatar Babaji, of (the) Sri Sampradaya - Sri Ramanuja Acharya - in their respective countries. Devotees have to respect them but, even before that, they should give the respect; we can't expect to be respected or loved without giving the respect, and loving others.
All the Masters and all the holy scriptures say that one should not have expectations, “Don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” When there are no expectations, you are free, and what flows through you is only the Grace and the Love, only the blessing, and this is not only for Swamis, but for all on the path towards God Consciousness, on the path towards Narayan.

Keep reminding yourself to be humble. Like Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita reminded Arjuna of his duty, the Guru reminds the devotees also of their duty in life, because life is a learning process. It's very rare to receive the Grace to be under the guidance of a Satguru, so you have to follow and transform yourself. When you give your effort, whatever the Master blesses, it will become active, it will be manifested.

For nine days, throughout the night you are singing, dancing, thinking of Maa – (it’s a) good technique to change the mind, otherwise the mind will run outside. During these nine nights, Maa cleanses you and removes all the negative aspects that you have accumulated, under the guidance of the Master. You have taken a path that is purifying you and that is making you shine. (The) Swami(ni)s have taken the path of service, so (they) have to be more humble than anybody; (they) should never expect people to respect them, but they should always give respect. – Sri Swami Vishwananda
For more impressions from the event, please check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SriSwamiVishwananda