Navratri – the Goddess Festival
Navratri is the Indian festival full of colours, music, dancing and yummy food. It is celebrated in different parts of India in different ways but the essence is the same – it is the celebration of the Goddess or Devi (if you prefer the Indian word).
My conscious mind has always struggled to understand any and all religious festivals regardless of the religion. It befuddles me to understand how the Millennials can so delightedly follow “traditions” and dogma without question when it comes to religion and festivals? Without Introspection? Especially at a time when people are moving in waves towards spirituality and away from organised religion. How can you be aware, educated, exposed to the world through travel, through the internet and yet not see what is right in front of your eyes?
The truth burns hot and bright in the core of my very Being. It has always done so. Yet until now I haven’t had the means of expressing myself. Sure I would speak to anyone who would listen… but the searing need to shout out loud had no platform. Thank goodness for blogging!
What a beautiful tradition… celebrating the Goddess… as humongous idols of her are dragged through the streets accompanied by frenzied dancing and raucous fanfare by people to place in a pavilion for 9 nights and 10 days only to be taken to the water’s edge on the 11th day to be left to pollute the water through no fault of her own.
Idolised. Deified. Worshiped. Men and women alike jostle among each other to get closer to the statue. Women are groped, stared at, shoved aside and disrespected within the same crowd that has come to salute the power of the divine feminine and seek her blessings. Both men and women behave badly.
People fast, co-ordinate the colour of their clothes with the colour of the sari draped on the Idol that day. They chant their sholkas and light their lamps and incense sticks. They play the latest Bollywood songs and dance away without a pause to reflect what it is that they are celebrating exactly?
I sincerely doubt that the Goddess is very impressed with all of this. It is shallow, pointless, meaningless, insulting to Mother Nature and nothing more than a great excuse to have a very long and very lavish party where everybody is invited.
On its own a party where all are welcome is a great thing. Fantastic time for society to bond and let their collective hair down and be happy and joyous. But what is the meaning of it all if the essence is lost and the end result is disrespect of women and Nature? The air pollution, the noise pollution, the water pollution? I saw a post today on Facebook – a sketch of a woman depicting Mother Nature saying #metoo. Enough said.
What is the meaning of it if each and every one of us does not sit down to introspect, contemplate or understand rationally and on a spiritual level what we are celebrating? If we come away from a festival not transcended or transformed then what were we doing while we were worshiping? This thought of mine applies across the board, across all religions and each of their respective festivals.
If she had a choice. If she had a voice – what would she say? This blog post is about what I believe she would say if she could. According to Hinduism the Devi is the force who rises up at the request of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara to clear the world of demons during the period of Kalyug. And we are currently living in Kalyug.
It is interesting to note as a new wave of consciousness is rising up around the world so is mayhem and bigotry. Feminism is the energy of the Goddess and well I would say that it wouldn’t be nonsensical to salute the #metoo movement and realise that it is the Devi rising up in all her wrath and glory to stamp out ignorance, intolerance, misogyny and bigotry across the world.
Channeling the Goddess
If she had a voice I believe she would say “I reside within each and every girl child and woman on the planet. If you want to worship me – worship her. Not with blind faith and fanfare but with respect, love and devotion. Trying to stamp her out will not eliminate me. My energy is serene, kind and gentle and it is called Shakti. Shakti means strength. If the great Shiva was wise enough to embrace it and become Ardhnareshwar then what is stopping you from following his lead O Mortals?
Shakti is required by every living thing. It empowers and gives movement to everything. So how can you deny it? Your mother, your sister, your daughter, your lover and your wife – in front of you, beside you – right there for you to love and honour. For you to benefit from the benevolent grace of the strength that comes from those relationships. That come from each and every woman you come into contact with everyday.
Women have you forgotten the spirit of Sisterhood? Jealousy, envy, greed, avarice, lust and vanity has pitted you against each other and so you forget. Men have you forgotten that I reside within you too at the behest of Maheshwara?
You remain enmeshed in the Mayajaal and Moksh for you is a dream that does not even graze your consciousness. You waste this present precious incarnation of your soul in pointless pursuits furthering your own karmic entanglements.
Why don’t you slow down? Sit and reflect. Let your soul be heard by you for once? Let go of karmic ties, forgive others and heal yourselves?
In your ignorance and pursuit of blind worship you fail to see the messages each avatar of mine over these 9 nights is trying to send to you. I cannot manifest in front of you… you have to reach within yourselves to find me and light your own fires that will burn away the demons of ignorance from within you.
Use your energy centres to tap into the Universal Divine Feminine Energy that pours down so abundantly during this period of Navratri. Interpret the message which each of my avataars is sending to you and embrace it as your new truth.”
Why this thought
This blog post was triggered by my Instagram posts regarding colours and chakras I was talking about, being misunderstood. Like I said earlier, there is a theme colour to each day of the festival, although the cycle of colours remains the same. It changes from year to year depending on which day of the week the festival begins.
What doesn’t change however is the order in which the manifestations or avatars of the Devi are worshiped. So the message stays the same, only the colour of her sari changes and if the crowd wishes to dress in the same colour they have that choice.
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From a recent conversation with a very close and learned friend I became aware that what also remains unchanged is that on Day #1 you meditate on the Root Chakra (Muldhara) and work your way up each day through each Chakra and when the 7 are done there is a 8th one between Divine Consciousness and you, a gateway of sorts if you will and then finally the 9th which is the one where you are able to attain Moksh – and that only happens when you successfully defeat the demon of ignorance. In this way all the dots joined together for me.
Needless to say there are plenty of other tasks you must complete in order to attain Moksh, but that is a story for another time.
There is plenty of information online and posts by other bloggers explaining the 9 avatars of the Devi and I am not getting into that here.
Here are some links to get you started if you are interested in finding out more about Navratri, Durga Puja and the colour story: