Oct 19, 2020 Letters
The Sanatan Vaidic Dharma Pandits’ Sabha of Region Three extends greetings to all Hindus on this auspicious festival of Devi/Mother-Navaraatri. We pray that the Mother Divine inspires us all along the noble paths of Bhakti (devotion), Karma (self-less works) and Jnana (Self knowledge).
Religious observances and traditional worship have, at times, more than one significance. Apart from them being the adoration of the Divine, they are commemorative of thrilling bygone events, allegoric when interpreted from the occult standpoint, and are significant pointers guiding man on the path of God-Realization. Nava-raatri is one such observance. It is dedicated to worship of God as Divine Energy (Shakti) which is called Mother. The Mother Divine is adored in three prominent aspects—Durgaa, Lakshmee and Saraswatee.
While Nava—Raatri is featured by a plethora of richly symbolic rituals and ceremonies, there must be a more sublime and profound inward transformation of life, that every spiritual aspirant seeks to undergo. This deeper purpose of Nava-raatri is captured in its division of three sets of three nights each, in which the spiritual aspirant adores the different aspects of the Energy Divine (Shakti). This has got a very sublime, yet thoroughly practical truth to reveal. In its cosmic aspect, it epitomizes the stages of the evolution of man into God, from manhood to Godhood. In its individual import, it shows the course that spiritual pursuit should take.
The central purpose of existence is to recognize the eternal identity with the Supreme Spirit. It is to grow into the image of the Divine. The Supreme One embodies the highest perfection. It is spotless purity, “Niranjana”. To identity with That, to attain union with That, is verily to grow into the very likeness of the Divine.
The spiritual seeker has, therefore, as the initial step, to get rid of the countless impurities and the un-divine elements that have come to cling to him in his embodied state. This transformation is to be experienced during the first three nights of Nava-raatri, where the Energy Divine is worshipped as Mother Durgaa. The acquisition of virtues is then sought for during the second three nights wherein the Divine is adored as Goddess Lakshmee. When rendered full of purity and goodness, Knowledge flashes upon the seeker like the brilliant rays of the sun upon the crystal waters of a perfectly calm lake. This is to be experienced in the final three nights of Nava-raatri when the Energy Divine is invoked and worshipped as Saraswatee.
This arrangement has also a special significance in the aspirant’s spiritual evolution. It marks the stages of evolution which are indispensable for every seeker of spirituality, through which everyone should pass. One naturally leads to the other, and to short-circuit this would inevitably result in a miserable failure. Nowadays, many ignorant spiritual seekers aim straight at the appropriation of Knowledge without the preliminaries of purification and acquisition of divine qualities, and complain that they are not progressing along the path. How can they? Knowledge will not descend till the impurities are washed out and purity is developed. The pure and good plant can grow on no impure soil.
Nava-Raatri therefore offers an opportune moment for nurturing the seed of spirituality in oneself. It’s an occasion to reflect on spiritual life and begin climbing the ladder towards the Ultimate Truth that is God, as pointed in the Yajur Veda (19.30), “By self-dedication one becomes consecrated; by consecration one obtains grace; by grace, faith and by faith, Truth is obtained.”
Sanatan Vaidic Dharma Pandits’ Sabha,
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