19 Oct 2015

Navaratri 2015: Day 6 - Katyayani Devi

“The Guru is here to make you masters of both shaktis, the male and the female energy, and to rise above that. That's why on Katyayani's day we are reminded that the whole creation is the Mother, and the only aim for this feminine energy is God; we all become gopis and long for Krishna.” – Sri Swami Vishwananda

Devi Name: Katyayani Devi

Katyayani Devi is a warrior Goddess who is closely correlated with the fierce forms of the Divine Mother, such as Bhadrakali and Chandi. She has four hands and Her complexion is as luminous as gold. In two of Her hands, She holds a lotus flower and a sword, while the other two are held in mudras that signify the blessing of courage and the bestowing boons (spiritual gifts).

Sage Katyayan was engaged in a rigorous penance to ‘Bhagavati Durga,’ with the goal of having the Divine Mother appear in his household as his daughter. Durga accepted his penance and took the form of Katyayani Devi, named after the sage himself. She took birth on the fourteenth day of the new moon during ‘Aashwin,’ which is September through October.

Event Highlights:

The celebrations for Katyayani Devi on the sixth night of Navaratri were incredible! Of all the nights so far, this night could be characterized by the singing and dancing, as it was the liveliest yet. The night started with Guru Puja, Gauri Ganesha Puja, Kalash Puja of the Nine Goddesses, yagna, and then, another special puja performed to Sri Swami Vishwananda himself.

After that, a classical Indian dance was performed that displayed the pasttimes of the Divine Mother. With each emotion entrancingly expressed, the dancer captured the crowd’s attention similar to that of a hypnotist. It was a mystical dance to say the least.

The end of the night was when the “party” kicked off! One could hear from far away, choruses such as, “Radhe Radhe! Shyam Shyam! Radhe Radhe! Shyam Shyam!” The tent was quaking with excitement. Sri Swami Vishwananda would make his way to the middle of the tent, and a spontaneous circle of devotees would form, dancing in sync with Swamiji’s movements. Even once Sri Swami Vishwananda had said goodnight to everybody, devotees chanted, “One more song!” to which Swamiji appeared from behind the curtains and granted the request. It was just like an encore you would find at a rock concert. But undeniably, this had the depth of devotion that a normal rock concert lacks.

Instead of dancing for the sake of the music, all of the dancing and singing was done for the sake of the Divine. It was done so that people could open their hearts, and feel the love of God. It was done so that everyone could attain the Lotus Feet of the Lord. What follows is a small excerpt from the speech given by Swamiji last night:

Each day of Navaratri now, what are we going through? What is happening? You are purifying yourself. Purifying through many lives of impurities so that once you are cleansed, the Lord can reveal Himself within your heart, and the Lord can give Himself to you. Because the Lord doesn't reveal Himself just like that. He reveals Himself only when you are ready. And the biggest barrier which one has is the mind. The mind always notices the differences: you are woman, you are man, you are rich, you are poor, you are black, you are white. The mind is in constant judgement. 

As long as you run with the mind, the mind has its power. But when the mind is disarmed from that through Nama Japa or through certain challenges or certain sadhanas, then you transcend this mind. When you transcend this mind, the Lord reveals Himself. First He reveals Himself inside of your heart. Then He reveals Himself outside through the people around you. Then He reveals Himself in grand form: the whole world as Him. –Sri Swami Vishwananda  

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