The Light of the Divine Mother
The Divine Mother, the supreme power that is the very cause of the universe, showers love equally on all beings and guides humanity towards spirituality, says MATA AMRITANANDAMAYI
Navaratri (The Festival of Nine Nights) is an occasion for invoking Parashakti, the supreme power that is the very cause of the universe. Vijayadasami (the Victory of Goddess Durga) marks the successful completion of this occasion. These days are a time for vows, spiritual practices and worship. Negativities such as laziness, lust, anger, pride, envy, impatience and a lack of faith are obstacles to spiritual practices. Overcoming them through austerities and attaining contentment is what Navaratri is all about.
It also teaches us that through prayer one gains strength, auspiciousness and wisdom.
The ultimate reality of the universe is pure consciousness. This consciousness never undergoes any change, not even when the universe manifests from it. We refer to the power behind this universe as Devi. God and this divine power are one and the same, just like the sun and its light, honey and its sweetness or a word and its meaning.
Sanatana Dharma – The Eternal Supreme Wisdom
In Sanatana Dharma, we have the freedom to worship God in any form we like, as mother, father, guru, friend or even as our own child. The only thing that is essential is that our devotion should be selfless and based on spiritual principles.
Among worldly relationships, the mother-child relationship is the noblest. The child has total freedom with its mother. It always gets what it wants, be it through tears or persistence. The child clings to its mother, even when getting spanked. The child’s attitude is “Other than my mother, I have nowhere to go; she is my only refuge.”
No matter what may be the cause of the child’s distress, it finds solace in its mother’s lap. This should be our attitude with God. And, on her part, the mother is the embodiment of patience. No matter how many times her child does something wrong, she forgives it and showers it with affection. Most mothers only have such love for their own children. However, the Divine Mother’s way is to shine love equally on all beings and to guide humanity towards spirituality.
From Maya (Illusion) to Freedom
Some people may ask, why do we refer to Devi as Maya? “Doesn’t Maya lead us to delusion, sorrow and bondage? If Devi is also Maya, why would we worship Her?” The universe is the visible manifestation of Devi. That power of Devi — the creative energy — pervades all of its forms. The power that allows pure, unconditional consciousness to become the conditioned world of names and forms is called Maya. So, it is through the power of Maya that God enables us to reap the fruits of our karma.
It is also through this power that God facilitates our liberation, presenting the ultimate reality to us in a way that we can understand. When we worship Devi as Maya, we acknowledge this truth and humbly bow before it. In fact, the binding aspect of Maya is none other than our own mind; it is not some external force. Maya is the root form of the mind, which, even though it is the cause of bondage, is also the cause of liberation.
Once, a man was robbed, tied up and pushed down a well. He shouted for help. Someone ran to the well, threw down a rope and pulled him up. Here, we can see that one rope bound him, another saved him. Similarly, the same mind is both the cause of bondage and the cause of liberation. The mind becomes bound when it is obsessed with worldly objects. We become liberated when we awaken to our true nature, which is pure consciousness.
Master the Mind, And Know Eternal Bliss
One must master the mind by the mind. We use a thorn to remove another thorn embedded in our foot. Then we throw both the thorns away. Similarly, we need to use our mind to transcend our likes and dislikes, to cultivate good qualities and wisdom. In this way, through the mind, we attain mental purity and then, ultimately, transcend the mind, realising our true nature.
Look upon all of creation as God and love and serve it. This will make us worthy of divine grace. Though it might be difficult to do so, we need to try. Let us do what we can. Even small gestures like a kind smile and forgiving others’ mistakes help. Such noble qualities will serve like a torch, illumining our path. Once our path is fully illumined, we will not mistake a rope for a snake or vice versa. We will see things as they truly are and be free of sorrow.