Shailputri is the daughter of the Himalayas. She is also worshipped as Parvati. Day one is dedicated to her. The offering is pure ghee offered on her foot. The prasad blesses the devotee with a life free of disease.
Brahmacharini is a lover of simple food. Day two is dedicated to her. Devotees offers her a bhog (pudding) of sugar and fruits. She increases the longevity of the family members.
Chandraghanta rides a lion and is believed to destroy all evil and wickedity. Day three is dedicated to her. She wears the half-moon on her head. She is pleased with an offering of milk (e.g., plant based), sweets and kheer.
Kushmanda produced the cosmic egg with her smile, when the universe was plunged in darkness. Day four is dedicated to her. She is offered sweet fried bread (malpua) in syrup, and one fasts before the evening prayer.
Skandamata is seated on a lotus, and she also has a lion as her ride. Day five is dedicated to her. She is offered bananas and she keeps her devotees in good health.
Katyani is the daughter of the sage Katyana. Day six is dedicated to her. She is offered honey. Her blessings make the devotees free of bitterness.
Kaalratri protects her disciples from evil powers and spirits. Day seven is dedicated to her. She is offered sweets made from jaggery.
Mahagauri is offered coconut as prasad. Day eight is dedicated to her. It is also believed that if one offers coconuts to the Brahmins, then one will be blessed with a child.
Siddhayatri protects the devotee’s family from any mishaps. Day nine is dedicated to her. She is offered sesame seeds and one fasts before the prayers.
The purification process
When we worship the goddess in her different avatars for nine days, we ourselves are going through a purification process. Also observe that none of the offerings are extravagant, they are simple foods, which most people can offer. The Goddess takes care of us as long we remain sincere in our devotion.
Navratri means nine nights of worship. Nine colors are worn on nine different days.
White is the first color and it stands for peace and serenity. The Goddess Brahmacharini represents peace and serenity. She is depicted with a rosary in her right hand and a water pot in her left hand. Jasmine and white lotus are offered to her. Continue reading →
What is worship? Puja begins with external things. One gathers flowers, makes sandal paste, prepares prasad (offering of food to the Goddess) and collects the necessary items for the external puja. However while one is performing this activity, one is conscious that one is attempting to please the mother. All these external activities take one’s mind inwards and focus on the deity. Continue reading →
There was a poet who said looking at a photograph, “I do not know what you are like in real life. You may be cruel, destructive or loving and gentle. However whenever I look at your picture I see you the way the way I wish to see you.” So this applies to all of us when we gaze at the picture of our personal or deity. We do not have to think of our deity or Guru in flesh and blood. We are in the presence of spirit and purity. And this experience becomes living reality. Continue reading →
Two are required to have a relationship. Without two, there is no love, no longing, and no union. Without another, the self is meaningless. For sat (truth) to be understood there is then no need of maya (illusion). If one’s soul is to be still, it is only possible if there is restlessness. Continue reading →
When some of us think of Hindu Goddesses, we associate some of them with being fierce and blood thirsty. That is not the case; it is our misunderstanding which has been reinforced by the distortion of facts. As a child, I never felt afraid of Kali, Tara, Chinnamasti, Matangi and Bhairavi. They all wear garlands of skulls or severed heads. Continue reading →
Close your eyes. Visualize Manidweep. In Manidweep (island of precious gems), there is a golden mountain. On this mountain there is a personal city of Devi, called Sri Pura. Sri means the Goddess and pura is the city. We use the word freely today, personal for trainers, shoppers, assistances. However, this word personal has been applied first to Gods (personal deities) and the city of the Goddess. Continue reading →
I was in Varanasi with my husband to celebrate our fiftieth wedding anniversary. Varanasi is considered the holiest city on earth for Hindus. It is supposed to be 5000 years old. The place where the supreme light shines, it is believed to be the home of Lord Shiva. When Shiva got married to Uma, the daughter of the Himavat, of Himalaya Mountain, he had to move from his abode in Kailash. Kashi was the most splendid city at that time and Uma was a princess and a goddess. It is believed that the river Ganga pays its respect to Lord Shiva by the direction in which it flows. The ajna chakra is on the banks of the Ganga and the Kashi Visvanath temple is where it is. Annapurna Devi‘s temple is next door. Continue reading →
Tantra is a pure science of dedication to Mother Power. In Tantra we behold God as mother. God should be the Mother because only the mother can create. She is the ultimate dynamic power. She is the preserver and also the destroyer. It is by her command that the celestial beings, human beings and all of creation moves.
How does your day start? I know how mine starts. I silently chant my mantra for the Goddess and then I sit up and leave my bed. My first response are my guests seated in the balcony. My wild cats, mother and son and their extended family are the guests. I light the incense in the different rooms. I give them their breakfast and then play my chants on the CD player. After that it is one thing after the other. Continue reading →
The Goddess has been worshipped in the vedic and tantric traditions in numerous forms. Thousands of goddesses exist in India, all manifestations and symbols of one energy and power. As Durga, she is the remover of obstacles, as Kali, the destroyer of time and annihilator of the ego. As Lakshmi, she is the granter of wisdom and knowledge. As Saraswati, she is the granter of wisdom and knowledge. As Tara, she is the guiding light. As Jagdamba, she is the mother of the universe. Continue reading →
In Kaliyuga, we tend to be abrasive and abusive about life. We condemn and criticize. We think that we are self -sufficient.
I have been contemplating on the subject of man / woman attachments. A male form is incomplete without the existence of a female form. God cannot be incomplete. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva have female counterparts: Sarasvati and Brahma, Vishnu and Lakshmi and Shiva and Shakti. Together these three couples embody the understanding of the ultimate divine. Brahma creates, Vishnu sustains and Shiva destroys. Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Shakti embody knowledge, wealth and power. Continue reading →
We all have to join together and rid the universe of evil and destruction. In the Shastras it is written that the easiest way to experience God in these troubled and turbulent times is by worship. We need not go into a complicated philosophical discussion. All we have to do is to bow our heads before the deity, who is greater than any other power of the world. Aradhana (prayer) starts from this act and progresses gradually towards bliss and love. Begin with the deity, one loves and adores (it can be the elements, chakras, and yantras), and one rises progressively above the form and merges into the supreme atman. Continue reading →