Art of Living Wisdom.

After taking stock of wealth and setting up new books of accounts, it is now time to share this wealth with kith and kin.

The 2nd day after the Amavasya, is therefore celebrated as Bhai Dhuj in the West and North of India.

 

bhaidooj

 

Bhai Dhuj is a festival celebrated during this Kaumudi Mahotsava month, Deepavali period, when the brother goes to the sister’s house to greet her family and give her gifts. Post-harvest, there is abundance and prosperity all around. This is the time of sharing. Given this, it is but natural that the brother visits his married sister bringing goodies for her from her parent’s house. For the married sister, the brother’s house is after all her house of birth. It is an occasion for reunion.

By

Rahul Kaimal

E-Mail bharathgyan@gmail.com
Website www.bharathgyan.com

 

Art of Living Wisdom.

Govardhana Pooja

The Govardhana episode is a very popular legend related to the deeds of Krishna. Krishna, who was born in Mathura around 5,100 years back was a very precocious child, a child prodigy. Krishna is the central character of the Mahabharatha events. It is Krishna who gave us the sermon of the Bhagavad Gita, which is one of the primary texts of the Indian lore, speaking of the duties of man and his relationship between himself, his soul and the divine Creation.

 

Govardhan

 

More on Krishna and his historical personage can be read in the book, ‘Historical Krishna’, a part of the Bharath Gyan series.

 

Historical Krishna series

 

Krishna in his childhood, once questioned his elders as to why they were praying to Indra, when instead they should be praying to the hills, the rivers, the forests, the fields and the cows which were so immediate to them, which were near them, which gave them succour in their daily lives.

Krishna opined that instead of praying to Indra, the people of Vrindavan, among others should be praying to Nature and such aspect that gave them the immediate succour. Hearing Krishna’s wrongs of wisdom the people turned their prayers from Indra to the hills, the orchards, the rivers and the cows that were nearby which gave the people the daily nourishment. Indra, the leader of the divine forces obviously did not like being neglected. Indra unsheathed his wrath and sent down lightning after lightning and torrential hailstorms.

The common people who had listened to the advice of Krishna were frightened by the turn of events and turned to Krishna for help. Krishna literally rose to the occasion and lifted up a nearby hillock, collected the local people under it and shielded them from the wrath of Indra, which eventually subsided after wearing out against the steadfastness of Krishna.

This episode was one among the many defining moments in the life and deeds of Krishna. This event which happened over 5,100 years ago, is commemorated to this day as Govardhana Pooja, a day after Deepavali.

While at one level this legend seems like a miracle performed by Krishna, at a ground level, the Govardhana Giri episode is symbolic of Krishna steering people towards achieving harmony with Nature by focusing their attention on performing their daily chores bearing in mind the dependency of man on Nature. Through this Govardhan Giri episode and bringing people under the shade of Govardhan, Krishna was bringing people to the fountainhead of knowledge and re-emphasizing the need for rational thought, physical sciences and knowledge in one’s daily life.

Annakut

 

This event of Govaradhan Giri is also celebrated as Annakut where varieties of food preparation are decorated in the form of a mountain, symbolizing Govardhana Giri and offered to the divine and later distributed to all.

After all the celebrations and feasting, the Govardhan Pooja is a reminder to people to pay obeisance to the Nature around them that has given them all this prosperity and to pledge to work in harmony with Nature in the forthcoming seasons.

 

Annakut

Start of New Accounting Year

The 1st day of the Karthik month, is celebrated as the start of the New Accounting year by the trading community, especially in Western India, the gateway for trade since the times of Krishna, 5100 years ago. More on this can be found in our work Historical Krishna of the Bharath Gyan Series.

For this community of traders, with new produce, fresh stocks have arrived for trading. New books of accounts were therefore opened to start fresh account keeping. This day was celebrated with prayers for a good financial year ahead and also to commit to conducting business in an honest and righteous manner.

Bali Pratipada

The day after Karthik Amavasya, i.e. the Prathama, Pratipada, according to legends is the day when Vishnu in the form of Vamana, a short statured scholar, sends the mighty Asura king, MahaBali to Patala Loka. More about this legend and where Patala Loka lies, is discussed in out book 2012 – The Real Story of the Bharath Gyan Series.

This event is a reminder to people on how arrogance can bring one down, irrespective of however good one is. Bali was a great king and was loved dearly by his people. He was known for his large hearted charity. But he was so arrogant about his greatness and goodness that he did not deem it fit to listen to his Guru’s advice at a critical juncture and this brought about his downfall

Vamana’s leg on Bali’s head

 

This day of Bali Partipada after Deepavali and all the wealth, is a reminder to people on how not to get arrogant like Bali, about the wealth one has gained but to accept it with grace and share it with all like Bali again

By

Rahul Kaimal

Email bharathgyan@gmail.com
Website www.bharathgyan.com

 

Art of Living Wisdom.

Karthik Amavasya, Deepavali

The day of Karthik Amavasya, New Moon, is celebrated as the main day of Deepavali and is ascribed to many reasons.

Lakshmi Pooja

In most parts of India, especially the north and west, the Deepavali festival is celebrated as Lakshmi PoojaLakshmi is the divinity for wealth. During this Lakshmi pooja traders start new accounting books for the next accounting year

Lakshmi

Why do the traders in India start new accounting year on Deepawali?

India as a land is a monsoon rain fed Country. The Southwest monsoon rain sets in in the first week of June. This South West monsoon rain lashes throughout India for the next four months. India being an agrarian Society, that is Agriculture being its main occasion, it is during these four months of continuous rain that the primary crop of India is sown and reaped.

By the time the abundance of this crop is harvested and brought to the market to be traded, it is the time of Deepavali. It is the time of plenty. It is the time of fresh arrivals.

Isn’t it but apt that the new financial, new accounts year for the traders start with Lakshmi Pooja? It has been so through the centuries and through the millennia.

In the word Lakshmi you have the root word Lakshya meaning aim, goal.  The aim of a society is to be productive, harmonious and noble. It is when there is bounty that all this is possible. This Lakshmi Pooja is not only significant for the traders to start new account but also encourages the people at large to relish their hard work from the bountiful harvest, share their bounty with one and all, which in turn brings out their nobility, their dharma –  the aim, the goal, the lakshya of people.

Thus Lakshmi Pooja is just not praying to the divinity of wealth but is in fact a culmination of four months of agrarian effort and is a form of thanks giving to the divinity of prosperity for the plentitude showered and also a time for setting goals to lead a noble and harmonious life.

Coronation of Rama and Rama Rajya

Rama, the legendary hero of India was born in Ayodhya and ruled the kingdom of Kosala about 7,100 years ago.

The historicity of Rama has been traced in our book, Historical Rama from the Bharath Gyan Series.  Rama, after his fourteen years vanavas, exile and after defeating Ravana who had kidnapped His wife Sita, Rama returned to His city Ayodhya with Sita and His brother Lakshmana, to begin His rule on this day. Rama ascended the throne in the year 5076 BCE.

This day of His return and the event of coronation as King of Ayodhya, Rama Pattabhishekh, was marked with joy by lighting series of lamps, Deepavali. It has been celebrated since then, every year as Deepavali in North India

Coronation of Rama

The noble rule of Rama, from then on through the Itihasa, Ramayana and the Puranic legends, have come down to our times, our knowledge, as the period of ideal rule. This ideal rule of Kingship is what is eloquently referred to as “Rama Rajya”. The details of this Rama Rajya, the components of this ideal rule and its relevance in the modern management scenario is discussed in our work “Rama Rajya” which is part of the Bharath Gyan Series.

This ideal rule of Rama was so much cherished through the systems, practices, traditions and stories by generations and generations of people through the ages in this land that the people thought it fit to celebrate the coronation of Rama, His Pattabhishekham as the festival of Deepavali so that successive rulers of this land can try to emulate the good components, the good features of the rule of Rama that can make the land and its people prosperous, progressive and peaceful through the ages.

It is for this reason that to this day, the festival of Deepavali is remembered and celebrated year after year, yearning for a good rule from the rulers of the land.

The rule of India is in turmoil today. The rule of India is sans values.

Apart from bursting crackers, wearing new clothes, eating sweets, distributing gifts and sweets and wishing each other a Happy Deepavali, if we can reaffirm to ourselves the reason for which the festival of Deepavali has being celebrated continuously for the last 7,100 years and create in our times, an atmosphere of a Noble Rule and a value based living, then the festival of Deepavali will truly light up our lives.

Return of the Pandava

It was on this day, about 5100 years ago, that the Pandava returned to Hastinapura, after their 13 year exile. It was a day of joy for the people of Hastinapura which they too expressed by lighting lamps to welcome them. This formed another reason for the celebrations of Deepavali since then

Pandava return to Hastinapura

The historicity of the Pandava and the events in their lives can be found in our work Historical Krishna, from the Bharath Gyan Series.

Start of Vikram Samvat

About 2000 years ago, in 56 BCE, Vikramaditya was crowned king of Ujjain on this day. This day marked the start of the Vikram Samvat, Vikram Era which we follow to this day. It is one of the official calendars for the Government of India. The New Year as per this calendar start with Chaitra Amavasya, i.e. around April in present times.

Starting from the day of Rama’s return to Ayodhya with Sita and His coronation, to the day of Pandava’s return to Hastinapura with Draupadi, to the day Vikramaditya was crowned king, thereby starting the Vikaram Era, have all been celebrated across millennia, as days of joy and hope for good times ahead, by lighting lamps and sharing sweets.

Mahavira Pari Nirvana

Mahavira, the last Jain Tirthankara, attained PariNirvana, liberation from His mortal life, at Pavapuri, in present day Bihar, on the day of Deepavali.

Mahavir

This day is therefore celebrated by the Jains as a day of salvation and enlightenment.

By

Rahul Kaimal

Email bharathgyan@gmail.com
Website www.bharathgyan.com

 

Art of Living Wisdom.

Naraka Chathurdasi

 

Narakachaturdashi

 

The 14th phase of the dark moon, is celebrated as Naraka Chaturdasi in commemoration of the slaying of Narakasura who was causing menace to the people, by Krishna and His wife Satyabhama.

 

In South India, Deepavali is celebrated as Naraka Chathurdasi. Naraka was an Asura who lived about 5100 years ago. Narakasura ruled from his kingdom of Pradyoshapuram. His rule was a misery to the people of his land.

 

Krishna and his wife Satyabhama slayed Narakasura and freed people from his tyranny. This event of vanquishing Narakasura is celebrated as Naraka Chathurdasi. Chaturdasi is the 14th phase of the moon and is the night before Karthika Amavasya, the day of the Deepavali.

 

It is for this reason that Deepavali is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil.

 

By

Rahul Kaimal

Email bharathgyan@gmail.com
Website www.bharathgyan.com

 

Art of Living Wisdom.

Dhanteras 

Deepavali season starts with Dhanteras on the 13th phase, also known as Dhanvantari Trayodasi, a day of paying obeisance to prosperity, today celebrated by acquiring gold or other forms of wealth.

Dhan Teras or Dhan Trayodasi – the name itself suggests prosperity. Dhan means wealth and terastrayodasi mean the thirteenth day of the waning moon cycle. This day is associated with the emergence of the divinities for health and wealth – Dhanvantri and Lakshmi respectively, when the Universe was created.

Emergence of Lakshmi and Dhanvantri

Emergence of Lakshmi and Dhanvantri  along with pot of Nectar, Amrut Kalash, during Creation of the Universe, Samudra Manthan, the churning of the ocean – A Painting by Raja Ravi Varma

Dhan Teras is the festival related to wealth. It comes just prior to Lakshmi Pooja. As we have already seen, this is the season post monsoon. Post the monsoon season, the crops would have been harvested and the farmers and the community at large have money in hand.

In the Indian ethos, gold has always been looked at, not just as an ornament to bedeck the women in the house but more importantly as an investment for future expansion or as a saving that one can dip into during a bleak period. With this thought in mind, the joy of having abundance to buy gold, ornaments and decorate one’s house for the festive season was itself a reason to celebrate, a reason for a festival.

Today, in towns, the focus has shifted from Agrarian needs to the needs and demand of a city life. In this commercial world, Dhan Teras has taken on a commercial dimension of buying ornamental gold jewellery and for picking up electronic gadgets.

Dhan is of two types. One Dhan is the material wealth – gold, silver, luxuries, land and such others. These are all ever flowing wealth as they do not stick to one place. They are constantly in circulation, with us one today, gone tomorrow. The other wealth is the wealth of health.

Dhanvantri Trayodasi – Health is Wealth

The wealth of health is denoted by Dhanvantri, the divine physician. Among the Indian pantheon of divinities, Dhanvantri is the divinity for health. In his very name itself, the first part of the name is Dhan. From this it is amply clear that the seers of ancient India believed that good health while one is living, is the most important wealth and the primary divinity for health aptly termed as Dhanvantri.

Dhanvantri

If you closely observe the image of Dhanvantri, you will see that Dhanvantri is coming out of water. Similarly good health in our body is dependent on the waters in our body as 70% of our body is after all, made up of water.

In one palm Dhanvantri holds a leach, Jalloka. The leach removes bad blood from our system so that fresh blood can rejuvenate our system. In the right hand is the Amrit kalasa, pot of nectar. Nectar is the elixir of life. It is that which gives us freshness and adds longevity to our life.

Along with celebrating Dhan teras as the festival of gold and wealth if we can celebrate it to bring about a right balance in our health, which is the true wealth, then celebrating Dhan teras gets a holistic perspective.

If we see, one of the popular traditions in the South of India, especially Tamil Nadu, is the tradition of preparing and consuming an Ayurvedic, herbal, medicinal preparation called Deepavali Lehiyam, paste. This is given along with the sweets and goodies prepared for Deepavali.

This Lehiyam contains herbs that primarily help with improving digestion as well as immunity – 2 important factors required for a season of festivities and chillness due to winter.

One of the important rituals of this day, is to prepare this Lehiyam and seek Dhanvantri’s blessings to endow all with a life rich with good health.

 

By

Rahul Kaimal

Bharath Gyan

Email bharathgyan@gmail.com
Website www.bharathgyan.com

Art of Living Wisdom.

Recordings of eclipses are available in texts, temple inscriptions, copper plates and legends of the land. Through the times, we see continuity in the understanding and recording of eclipses.

Animation_October_8_2014_lunar_eclipse_appearance

 

Why were our ancients interested in eclipses? Why did they learn to predict eclipses?

Dos and Donts surrounding eclipse

We see there are many elaborate dos and donts surrounding eclipses which have been a tradition of this civilization. Some interesting ones that have continued to this day are

 

  • eating food atleast 4 to 6 hours before an eclipse and not carrying forward food cooked prior to an eclipse
  • the use of Dharba grass to protect food items and other perishables
  • protection of pregnant women from the rays of sun during solar eclipses
  • not seeing solar eclipse with the naked eye

Advice for Pregnant Women

Scientists have shown today how during a Solar Eclipse, the amount of Ultra Violet rays and other cosmic rays reaching the earth are higher. These rays are harmful to the foetus. Hence pregnant women were advised to cover themselves and stay indoors during an eclipse to protect the foetus from these rays. Even today pregnant women are advised to stay away from radiation exposure of all kinds for example X Rays.

Contamination of Food

The increased exposure to such rays also contaminates food. Carrying forward of food cooked before an eclipse is therefore not advisable. Further more, there is the need to ensure that all food in one’s stomach is digested before the start of an eclipse.

 

Using Dharba grass

The antidote for preventing the food from contamination by radiation has been the practice of covering food with Dharba grass. This points to our ancients having used the Dharba grass as a shield to absorb the unwanted radiations in the atmosphere, especially those arising during eclipses.

Dharba grass absorbs X Rays

Nascent, independent research on Dharba grass has revealed its ability to absorb X Rays. These early finds make Dharba grass a very promising field of study.

 

We see a good grasp of astronomy, physics, biology and mathematics all rolled into the practice of predicting eclipses and the traditions followed during an eclipse. This holds good for a host of other astronomical observations and traditions followed too.

 

Donations During Eclipses

De Dhaan Chute Grahan – is a slogan one got to hear on the streets about 4 to 5 decades, during the time of eclipses.

 

It means Give Alms To Release The Eclipsed.

 

It was a common practice in India to give donations during eclipses and other cosmological events such as:

 

  1. Ayana, Solstices – Dakshinayana, Summer Solstice and Uttarayana, Winter Solstice
  2. Vishnuvrata Equinoxes – Mesha Vishu, Vernal Equinox and Tula Vishu, Autumnal Equinox
  3. Grahana, Eclipses – Surya Grahana, Solar eclipse and Chandra Grahana, Lunar eclipse
  4. Amavasya, New Moon
  5. Yugadi, New Year

 

Many explain that such Dhana were given in the superstitious belief that the donor will gain relief from the evil forces that were capable of even devouring the Sun and the Moon.

 

On the contrary, we find from traditional literature that the people were well aware of the scientific nature of these cosmological events. They could predict their occurrences due to their understanding of the motions of the earth, moon and various planets as well as their proficiency in Mathematics, which is needed to model these motions and calculate dates for their occurrences in advance.

 

Dhana for noble causes was given on these significant days as these days were considered as markers of time and hence would be easily remembered over time.

 

Every king, landlord, zamindar, royalty made it a point to give Dhana every year from their accumulated wealth. Various kings like Krishnadevaraya, Harshavardhana and others, repeatedly gave Dhana every year and during such events as eclipses.

 

Many temple inscriptions speak about such Dhana, endowments made to the temple and thereby to the people at large, on the occasion of eclipses.

 

Eclipses continue to happen and many just ignore them. Inscriptions continue to remain as evidences of the ones gone by but are hardly known to many.

 

The request for alms on eclipses is no longer heard on the streets. Neither are there donors, nor are there receivers on this day.

 

But misconceptions about the Indian perception of eclipses continue to loom large in everyone’s minds.

 

Rahul Kaimal

bharathgyan@gmail.com

www.bharathgyan.com

Art of Living Stories, Art of Living Wisdom.

After Chanda and Munda were slain, Shumbha sent his most powerful Asura Raktabija along with a huge army to attack the Devi and her army of all the shaktis (energies). A ferocious war broke out. Maa Kali with her spear and skull-topped staff killed thousands of Asuras. Seeing the Asuras being killed ruthlessly by the Devi and her shaktis, Raktabija strode forward to fight in wrath.

Raktabija had received a boon that whenever a drop of blood from his body will drop on the surface of the earth, immediately there would arise innumerable Asuras, equal in form and power to him. Elated with this boon, Raktabija entered into the battlefield with great force in order to kill Kali and Ambika Devi. The Devi struck Raktabija with different weapons and soon there were thousands of Raktabijas in the battlefield with similar forms and weapons. Then Ambika Devi said to the Kali, “O Kali, open your mouth quickly, and no sooner I strike Raktabîja with weapons, you would drink off the blood as fast as it runs out of his body. O large-eyed One! You would drink off all the jets of blood in such a way that not a drop of it escapes and falls on the ground.” Then Kali, hearing thus the Devî’s words, began to drink the jets of blood coming out of the body of Raktabija. Devi Ambika began to cut the Demon’s body into pieces and Kali, went on devouring them. All forms of Rakatabija;s and finally Raktabija himself was destroyed. When the dreadful Raktabija was thus slain in the battle, the other Asuras fled away trembling with fear. Then the final fierce battle between the Asura Kings and Devi started. Soon Devi cut off the heads of first Nishumbha and then Shumbha with her axe. The glory of the Gods was thus restored.

Meaning of the story:

Raktabija represents the deep impressions (seeds of past action or karma) inside our consciousness which we carry since birth. When the past karma gives any fruit it becomes reason for still many more future karmas. Our karmas are also related to karmas of others around us. Thus the forest of karma is immeasurable. Lord Krishna has said, ‘Gahana Karmano Gatih’ (Unfathomable are the ways of Karma). We are never a master of our own life because of these deep impressions inside which govern our life at a very subtle level. True freedom is freedom from all these impressions. Maa Kali is said to be the ruler of time and death. Time is ‘Now’ and death is ‘Completion’…..Realizing each moment is complete in itself.

Drinking of each drop of Raktabija’s blood by Maa Kali signifies total awareness in action. When there is uninterrupted awareness in action (karma) such action (karma) becomes free from any residual impressions. This is being in the present moment. This is being 100%. The energy (Shakti) that arises with the practice of Pranayama, Meditation, Sudarshan Kriya etc. helps us in erasing all the past impressions. With regular practice of these techniques awareness level increases, vacillations of mind in past & future reduce and mind stays more and more in present moment.

‘Shumbha’ is doubting oneself and ‘Nishumbha’ is doubting others. Doubts arise when the life force energy (Prana Shakti) inside is low. Look at small children. They do not doubt anything because they are full of energy and enthusiasm. Negative forces come up only due to lack of Shakti. When you are full of energy and enthusiasm none of these Asuras (demons) can come near you. ‘Shumbha’ and ‘Nishumbha’ were killed only after killing of ‘Raktabija’. Doubts about self and others can be totally eliminated only when one realizes one’s true nature. Only when all past impressions have been annihilated, one can realize the Self.

This battle is also called ‘Maha Yagna’ because it is the great purifier. Since time immemorial this ‘Maha Yagna’ of Devi is going on!

May Maa Ambika bless all of us with victory in this Maha Yagna!

Sixth Navadurga : Devi Katyayini

On the sixth day of Navaratri, Devi Kathyayini is honoured and worshipped. Kathyayini represents the nurturing aspect of the Divine Mother. She embodies the values of sharing and caring. Young girls pray to Devi Kathyayini for good husbands. Marriage comes with a sense of security, commitment, togetherness, team spirit and belongingness. She signifies the finer qualities of being in a relationship. The ultimate relationship is the union with the Self.

Salutations to Devi Katyayani!

katyayini

 

यादेवीसर्वभुतेषु लज्जारूपेण संस्थिता  

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः १६


Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Lajjaa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||16||

1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Modesty,
16.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations again and again

 

यादेवीसर्वभुतेषु शान्तिरूपेण संस्थिता  

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः १७

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Shaanti-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||17||

1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Peace,
17.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations again and again.

 

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु श्रद्धारूपेण संस्थिता  
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥१८॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Shraddhaa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||18||

18.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Faith (in Higher Self),
18.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations again and again

Also Read :

SIGNIFICANCE OF NAVARATRI 

DEVI MAHATMYA 

DEVI MAHATMYA – STORY OF MADHU KAITABH

DEVI MAHATMYA – STORY OF MAHISHASURA

DEVI MAHATMYA – STORY OF SHUMBA NISHUMBA – PART 1

 

Jai Gurudev

Sanjay Sabnis

Art of Living Stories, Art of Living Wisdom.

Two Asuras named Shumba and Nishumba defeated the Gods and drove them out of heaven again. The gods prayed to the Devi for help. Devi appeared as Parvati and out of Parvati’s physical sheath (kosha) emerged form of Devi Ambika. Because she came out of the kosha, she is also called Kaushiki. The Devi was very beautiful and resplendent with the brightness of a million moons.

When Chanda and Munda, the two chieftains of Shumbha and Nishumbha, saw the Devi they told their masters of her celestial divine beauty and they added that since Shumbha and Nishumbha owned everything that was beautiful and precious in all the three worlds, they should also possess Kaushiki. Thus persuaded, Shumbha and Nishumbha sent a messenger to Devi to get her consent to marry one of them. Devi was furious on hearing the proposal and replied: “I made a promise to myself to marry him who defeats me in battle. If either Shumbha or Nishumbha wishes to marry me he shall have to defeat me in battle.”

Hearing Devi’s reply, Shumbha and Nishumbha got very angry. They summoned one of their bravest chieftains called Dhumralochana and sent him to capture and bring Devi to them. Dumralochana took sixty thousand fighters with him and attacked Devi. However, Devi reduced him to ashes with a mere sigh of the sound ‘hum’. Thereupon his fighters attacked her with all kinds of weapons but Devi’s lion killed them all. Thus Dhumralochana and his army were destroyed.

Shumbha then sent Chanda and Munda to destroy the Devi. Chanda and Munda took with them an array of elephants, horses, chariots and foot soldiers. Devi became very angry, and out of her frowned forehead emerged Kali wearing a garland of skulls, armed with a sword and noose. Her eyes were red and her tongue was lolling out generating fear in the hearts of the demons.

She destroyed the army of Chanda and Munda in no time. Seeing their army destroyed, Chanda rushed at Kali with great ferocity and hurled all kinds of weapons such as spears and chakras. Kali could not be hurt. Kali subdued Chanda and Munda with her subtle paasha or noose of light and then slayed both of them.

Devi Ambika told Kali that since she killed Chanda and Munda in the battle, she will be known as Chamundi.

Meaning of the story:

“Shumbha” means doubting oneself and “Nishumbha” means doubting others. Combination of Shumbha and Nishumbha means doubting everything, doubting at every step. When the mind is clogged with doubts about one self or others, there is no mental peace. Doubts drain the life force energy and strangulate growth. Life cannot progress if we doubt everything. That is why these are called kings of the Asuras.

“Dhumralochana” – “Dhumra” means smoke and “lochana” means eyes – smoky eyes. Dhumralochana means one who has no clarity of perception. As we accumulate stresses we lose the clarity of perception. Saying “hmm” dissolves barriers in the mind. Breathing techniques, Sudarshan Kriya free us from stresses and allow us to see things as they are. Lion indicates valour. All imaginary problems (perceived with distorted vision) disappear just by showing a little valour.  (Devi’s lion kills all fighters).

“Chanda” and “Munda” – Chanda means opposite head. Chanda will oppose anything you say. Chanda is one who cannot agree with anything. (Argumentative people) “Munda” does not have a head at all. He will not listen. Whatever you tell to him, it will all go in thin air. There is no reasoning at all. Wrong logic and perception prevails. The noose of light used by Devi represents wisdom. True knowledge purifies mind like fire along with establishing the mind in the light of the Self. True knowledge is irrefutable special logic (Vitarka). You can’t oppose or reason such knowledge. It simply uplifts.

Fifth Navadurga : Skandamata

On the fifth day of Navaratri we honour the Divine Mother in the form of Skandamata the fifth Navadurga. Skandamata is the mother of Skanda or Subramanya. She is depicted as riding a lion. She possesses four arms out of which two hold the lotus flowers.  One of her hands is always in the boon-conferring gesture and with the other she holds her son Skanda in her lap.  This signifies courage and compassion. Skanda is the skillful one. Often with skill arrogance comes. But here the skill is combined with a humility that nurtures innocence.

Salutations to Devi Skandamata !

Skandamata Maa

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु तृष्णारूपेण संस्थिता  
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥१३॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Trssnnaa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |

Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||13||

13.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Thirst,

13.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

 

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु क्षान्तिरूपेण संस्थिता  
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥१४॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Kssaanti-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |

Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||14||

14.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Forbearance,

14.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु जातिरूपेण संस्थिता  
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥१५॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Jaati-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |

Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||15||

15.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Race,

15.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

Also read :

SIGNIFICANCE OF NAVARATRI 

DEVI MAHATMYA 

DEVI MAHATMYA – STORY OF MADHU KAITABH

DEVI MAHATMYA – STORY OF MAHISHASURA

Jai Gurudev

Sanjay Sabnis

Art of Living Stories, Art of Living Wisdom.

Mahishasura was born out of the union of the Asura (demon) king Rambha and a buffalo. When Mahishasura became the king of Asuras, he fought a great war with the Devas (Gods). The army of the Devas got defeated. The defeated Devas headed by Brahma, went to Shiva and Vishnu. The Devas described to them their plight. Hearing this, there issued forth a great light from the face of Vishnu, Shiva as well as Bramha. From the bodies of Indra and other Devas also sprang forth a great light. Then that unique light combined to become the female form of Devi. The Devi was riding on a fierce lion.

The Devi then gave out a loud roar. By her unending, terrible roar the entire sky was filled, and there was great reverberation. Mahishasura rushed towards that roar, surrounded by innumerable Asuras. He saw the Devi pervading all the three worlds with her lustre. The Devi then killed hundreds of Asuras with her trident, club, showers of spears, swords and the like, and threw down others who were stupefied by the noise of her bell. Seeing his army thus being destroyed, Mahishasura pounced upon the troops of the Devi with his own buffalo form. He rushed to slay the lion of the Devi. This enraged the Devi. She flung her noose over him and bound him. Thus bound in the great battle, Mahishasura quit his buffalo form. Then he suddenly became a lion. As Devi cut off the head of this lion, he took the appearance of a man with a sword. Devi with her arrows chopped off the man together with his sword and shield. Then he became a big elephant. The elephant tugged at Devi’s great lion with his trunk, but as he was dragging, Devi cut off his trunk with her sword. The great Asura then resumed his buffalo form and shook all the three worlds. Mahishasura, roaring intoxicated with his strength and valour, hurled mountains against Devi with his horns. And the Devi with showers of arrows pulverized those mountains. She then jumped and landed herself on that great Asura, pressing him on the neck with her foot, she struck him in the heart with her spear. The great Asura was thus finally slain by the Devi. With the death of Mahishasura, the whole Asura army perished and the Devas regained their lost glory.

 

Maa Durga killing mahishasura

 

Meaning of Mahishasura story:

The buffalo is a symbol of ignorance (animal tendencies). When ignorance starts reigning then one becomes inert, insensitive and dull. Mahishasura never comes alone; he comes along with his army of Asuras. Similarly ignorance is also accompanied by inertia, delusion, arrogance, misery, sadness, depression, fear, insecurity and all other negative tendencies. All good qualities (Gods) get defeated in front of ignorance. Only by awakening of spiritual energy (Devi Maa) can one overcome this demon of ignorance. Spiritual energy gets awakened when each and every part of our consciousness comes together with a single pointed focus (all Devas contributing their energies).

Devi Maa has to fight a fierce battle to slay the demon of ignorance. When the Devi slays the ignorance in one form, ignorance transforms itself into another form. Ignorance cannot be eliminated with simple knowledge. When we remove ignorance in one form with some knowledge, other form of ignorance will arise. Just like knowledge; ignorance also is limitless and infinite.

Ma Durga then jumps up on the Asura and presses the neck of the Asura with her feet and then pierces his heart with her spear. This signifies opening up first of the “Vishuddhi Chakra” (throat center) and then the “Anahat Chakra” (Heart center). With the opening of Vishuddhi chakra, gratefulness dawns in life. With opening of Anahat chakra, unconditional love arises. Ignorance simply dissolves in front of unconditional love and wisdom dawns. When wisdom dawns all other negative tendencies (army of Mahishasura) get destroyed. Thus, by the grace of Maa Durga, the Devas get back their lost kingdom of heaven.

May Maa Durga bless everyone with such unconditional love and gratefulness!

Fourth Navadurga : Kushmanda

On the fourth day of Navaratri, Mother Divine is worshipped in the form of Kushmanda Devi, the fourth Navadurga. The name Kushmanda is made of three words – “Ku + Ushma + Amnda = Kushmanda”. Here “Ku” is “Little”, “Ushma” is “Warmth or Energy” and “Anda” is “Egg”, meaning the one who creates the universe as “Little Cosmic Egg” with the energy of Her divine smile, is called “Kushmanda”. Maa Kushmanda is also named as “Adi Shakti”.

Kushmanda” also means pumpkin. A pumpkin has so many seeds and each seed contains the potential for so many more pumpkins. This is representative of the creative power and its eternal nature. The whole Creation is like a pumpkin. As Kushmanda, the Devi contains the entire Creation within her. She is the Devi who can give you the highest “prana” energy. It is her splendour that pervades every plant and creature of this universe.

Salutations to Maa Kushmanda!

 

kushmanda_navadurga_the_nine_forms_of_goddess_durga_wk91

 

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु क्षुधारूपेण संस्थिता  
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥१०॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Kssudhaa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||10||

10.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Hunger,
10.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

 

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु छायारूपेण संस्थिता  

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥११॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Chaayaa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||11||

11.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Shadow (of Higher Self) (Jivatma as a Shadow of Paramatma),
11.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

 

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु शक्तिरूपेण संस्थिता  
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥१२॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Shakti-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||12||

12.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Power,
12.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

Also Read:

SIGNIFICANCE OF NAVARATRI 

DEVI MAHATMYA 

DEVI MAHATMYA – STORY OF MADHU KAITABH

 

Jai Gurudev

Sanjay Sabnis

Art of Living Stories, Art of Living Wisdom.

At the end of a kalpa (epoch), when the universe was one ocean and Lord Vishnu was stretched out  on Shesha and took a mystic slumber (Yoganidra), two terrible Asuras (demons), Madhu and Kaitabh took birth from the dirt of Vishnu’s ears. These two Asuras sought to slay Lord Bramha, the creator of the universe, who was sitting in a lotus that came out from Vishnu’s naval. In order to awaken Vishnu, Bramha prays to Yoganidra (Devi) dwelling in Vishnu’s eyes. Upon this Narayana (Vishnu) rises from his sleep and sees these two powerful and evil Asuras endeavouring to devour Brahma. Bhagwan Vishnu fights with these Asuras for five thousand years. The Asuras frenzied with their enormous power and deluded by Mahamaya (Devi) tell Vishnu to ask for any boon he wants from them. Bhagwan Vishnu says, “You both should get slain by me now, my choice is this much indeed.” These two Asuras, knowing that the whole earth is flooded with water tell Vishnu, “Slay us at a spot where the earth is not flooded with water.” Bhagwan Vishnu says, “So be it”, and expands his thighs and asks the two Asuras to put their heads on his thighs where there is no water. The Asuras also expand their bodies and Vishnu again expands his thighs ten times more. Seeing this, the two Asuras lay their heads on Bhagwan Vishnu’s thighs and the Lord then cuts off their heads with his Sudarshan Chakra.

On one hand the above story appears as a children’s story with not much essence in it. But if you understand the meaning, the story becomes quite interesting. Madhu means craving and Kaitabha means aversion.

So cravings and aversions are born out of the ears; you hear some words about something and you develop an aversion or craving for it. All cravings and aversions are nothing but thoughts and thoughts are nothing but words. Words can become cravings and aversions when awareness is sleeping. Cravings and aversions try to kill the creativity. The Nabhi Chakra (naval centre) is said to be the seat of creativity and Lord Bramha (the creator of universe) is also born out of Lord Vishnu’s naval centre. Narayana awakens from his sleep by the grace of Devi Maa and realizes that Madhu and Kaitabh are trying to kill Lord Bramha. We realize that cravings and aversions are causing havoc in life only when awareness dawns. However hard Narayana fought, he could not win over Madhu and Kaitabh because they were born out of Narayana. Cravings and aversions are nothing but thoughts in mind and you cannot win over your thoughts by fighting with them. On the level of mind whatever you resist will persist. With your own cravings and aversions; the more you fight with them the more they grow stronger and you are unable to win.

Here Devi again comes to Narayana’s help. Devi signifies the spiritual energy and water denotes love and attachment. So long as you are attached to your thoughts you cannot win over cravings and aversions. Only with the help of spiritual energy you can detach yourself from your cravings and aversions. Realizing that you are much bigger than your thoughts, you can get victory over your cravings and aversions. Only awakening of spiritual energy can make you realize that you are much bigger than your cravings and aversions. Only spiritual energy can make you realize your true nature. Meaning of Sudarshan is right vision and Chakra which is a ‘circular disc in motion’ indicates uninterrupted activity. Sudarshan Chakra indicates the power of uninterrupted, unblemished, choice-less awareness. Only with such awareness you can gain the final victory over cravings and aversions. 

May Maa Durga bless us all with such uninterrupted, unblemished, choice-less awareness!

Third Navadurga : Chandra Ghanta

On the third day of Navaratri the Divine Mother is worshipped in the form of third Navadurga – Chandra Ghanta. This form of Devi is depicted as wearing a bell-like ornament in the shape of the moon. The moon is connected the mind and the Ghanta or the bell is an instrument connected with alertness. The ringing of the bell brings the mind to the present moment. Just as the moon waxes and wanes the mind also wavers. By Chanting the name of this Devi with alertness the mind comes under our control. When such quality of alertness and steadfastness arises then the mind becomes like an adornment. Chandraghanta represents this aspect of beauty in the mind.

 3rd day

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु चेतनेत्यभिधीयते 
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥७॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Cetanety-Abhidhiiyate |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||7||

7.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Reflected as Consciousness,
7.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

 

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु बुद्धिरूपेण संस्थिता  
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥८॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Buddhi-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||8||

8.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Intelligence,
8.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

 

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु निद्रारूपेण संस्थिता  

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥९॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Nidraa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||9||

9.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Sleep,
9.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, I bow down to her again and again.

Also Read Significance of Navaratri 

                  Devi Mahatmya – Day 2

Jai Gurudev

Sanjay Sabnis