6 Oct 2014

Navaratri Day 9 – Kanya Puja and Dashami

On the last day of Navaratri, Sri Swami Vishwananda performed the Kanya puja, praying to Navadurga represented by nine little girls.

At the beginning of this ritual he said, “Kanya puja means the worship of the Goddess in the form of the little girls here. In the Devi Purana, Maha Devi Herself said that due to their innocence, due to their purity they carry the essence of the Mother and this essence of the Mother is made active inside of them during the Kanya puja. Each girl here represent one Devi: Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri, and Siddhidatri.
"So, we are worshipping the essence of the Devi inside of the little girls, because due to their purity the Mother gets manifested through them, acts through them and blesses through them. Through your eyes you will see only what you perceive externally but through the inner eyes one perceives the Devi Herself seated in each one of them and the blessing of the Mother in that form is very important.

Kanya puja
"Sri Ramakrishna from Dakshineshwar... one day when he saw one of his nieces - a deep bhav, a flow of energy was awaken inside of him. He had this great urge to worship the Mother in the form of the niece. Of course for the brother of Sri Ramakrishna this was maybe weird, but in reality what he perceived was not the little niece, he perceived the Divine Mother Herself.”

At the end of the night, we celebrated Dashami. Sri Swami Vishwananda invoked Durga in Her fierce form of Mahishasur Mardini.

Goddess Durga in Her fierce form of Mahishasur Mardini
The 21 verses of the Mahishasur Mardini Stotram were chanted several times, gradually increasing the tempo, while a live performance of the killing of Mahishasur by Devi was presented.

The victory of the Divine Mother over Mahishasur
At the end, Sri Swami Vishwananda did a final offering to Ma (a watermelon), whose symbolism he explained as follows, “On the last day, one of the big offerings to Ma is the sacrifice – there will be a fruit that symbolizes that sacrifice, all the animal qualities that are within us.”

Sri Swami Vishwananda also explained to us the deep meaning of Dashami: “During the reading of Devi Mahatmyam, you have heard the history of Maha Devi destroying all the enemies, Mahishasur. Let's see who is this Mahishasur? She was killing all these great demons – millions of enemies – destroying  all of them in a fraction of seconds; just by the word ‘Sa’, they were all reduced to ashes or chopped into pieces. But what are these demons? Who is this great demon Mahishasur?

"The great demon Mahishasur is the pride in man, because from pride all the other negative qualities arise. When you have pride, then arrogance comes; jealousy, envy, anger, all these qualities arise out of pride. The pride is something that consumes oneself. And these qualities, if you enter into it, they will take full control of you. Then, you don't see anything else, you are blind to the truth of who you are in reality. That's why it is said that only by the quality of humility one will achieve the Divine.

"Of course, when the quality of humility is there, that doesn't mean that the other qualities are not there. They are like little demons. As long as they are there, they will always try to attack. If you are on the spiritual path, and you are advancing towards the Divine, towards God-realisation, towards Ma, of course the mind will never accept, the mind will always object the calling of your heart; and out of the mind, the pride starts to take over.

"Of course, humans have the capacity of either going into the game of it or choose not to go into the game of it. But saddly, most humans in the world, they do go into this and let themselves be ruled by these demons. So once one realises this, one tries to get rid of all this. One starts to self-analyse, to change oneself, and that's when the aggressiveness of these demons arise also. Have you ever heard that the more we feel close to the Divine, the more problems we have? Or, the more one tries to be positive the more the mind becomes negative? This is when the demons start to get agitated and then they fight back. The best is to surrender everything on the Divine altar and pray that God gives you His help, so that the Divine Mother comes to you, carries you and destroys all these qualitites. Because by your own effort it's very difficult.

"Human beings out of pride think that they have the power to do many things, thinking, ‘Oh I am somebody.’ You are nobody! You are nothing! As She destroyed everything just with the word ‘Sa’, like this She can also finish you all. So who are you? You are not just this pride that makes you think that you are somebody more special than anybody! You are all the same, You are all Her children, You are all part of one God. This perception comes later on, when there is no trace of this pride inside. But before that, you have to learn not to go into that qualities even if they arise. So, just surrender them to the Mother!

"Let Her take care of you, let Her handle you. She has the best solution for them, She knows how to annihilate them, She knows how to unroot them completely. But for that you have also to surrender these qualities. When you give something away to someone, that thing doesn't belong to you anymore. If you give this to the Divine Mother saying, ‘Mother handle that for me,’ but yet you are still roaming around it, as if it is yours; then She will say, ‘Take it back!’"