“We are all entangled in worldly illusions; our minds are involved in this maya. To get rid of this illusion, people celebrate the festival called Navaratri.” – Swami Premananda
Every year in Sri Premananda Ashram we celebrate a festival in which we worship the feminine or mother aspect of the Divine. This festival is known as, ‘Navaratri’, which means nine nights. During this festival in Sri Premananda Ashram, devotees take part in an ancient ritual to the Divine Mother called abhishekam. Although this is performed every evening throughout the year in the Ashram, it is considered to be particularly powerful during this time. Fresh flowers are offered to her as well as pure ingredients such as turmeric, milk and rose water whilst sacred mantras are chanted. It is considered to be a very auspicious time, a time when each person’s personal sadhana can be strengthened and deepened. Swamiji particularly liked to celebrate this festival by worshipping the Divine Mother. During the first three days of the festival we pray to the Divine Mother in her form of Goddess Durga. During the next three days we pray to her in the form of Goddess Lakshmi and during the last three days we pray to her as Goddess Saraswati. A short puja is also performed every day to the Goddess Durga whilst we chant the 108 names of the Divine Mother in Tamil. Every day we pray to the Divine Mother to remove our egoistic and negative tendencies and to bestow her grace upon us. The tenth day of the festival is called ‘Vijayadasami’. On that day we celebrate the victory of Shakti (the divine light) over all ignorance and negativity. “Shakti, the Divine Mother, is the infinite consciousness where there is no pain, no sorrow, no tears, no thoughts, no struggles and no desire. Mother is waiting for you all there with open arms. On this day (Vijayadasami), let go of all your thoughts and find peace by resting in her. Think of her from morning to night and I can assure you that she will give you beautiful and bountiful blessings.” – Swami Premananda
Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati
“Durga personifies power. Meditating on her helps us to cultivate bravery and to destroy untruth.” Swami Premananda
Durga destroys, but destroys to save, to build. Without pity for our ego, she destroys all our imperfections. She destroys ignorance in order to install knowledge and destroys darkness to restore light. To develop our good qualities we must first eliminate our faults. We need to have a stable base on which to build. If we pray to Durga, her divine energy will practically intervene in our lives to help us do just that. By means of self-analysis we need to become aware of our negative tendencies if we are to succeed in destroying our undesirable traits. We need to practise introspection. If we don’t know precisely which faults we have, how can we possibly eliminate them? If, having come to know our faults, we then do nothing about them, they will simply remain with us. We need to have a firm determination and an unflinching will to destroy our ego-qualities. If we have not thoroughly uprooted all our faults they will resurface with the slightest perturbation that comes our way. The Mother, as Durga, is willing to help us in this first stage.
“Lakshmi personifies love, beauty and concern. Meditating on her helps to increase the spiritual light in yourself and in the world and to behave with compassion and kindness.” Swami Premananda
Lakshmi comes from the word Laksme which means goal in Sanskrit, and this means she represents the qualities we must strive to attain in ourselves, to reach the ultimate spiritual goal of liberation. Though this goal is commonly misconstrued as solely to reach our material aims (accumulation of wealth and power, etc.) and she will graciously grant such wishes in us, the real wealth of knowledge that Lakshmi can offer, is to impart to us that the only true riches worth acquiring, are inner riches. So, through diligent self effort guided by her divine wisdom, Lakshmi teaches us that we can prosper deeply on both the material and spiritual planes, through her grace. Sri Lakshmi is the amrit of all creation, the personification of all that is pure and exalted and lustrous. We can see her presence in the rich flowering natural beauty of the Ashram and in the wealth of spiritual guidance and love that overflows from the heart of Swami Premananda!
“Saraswati personifies love and wisdom. Meditating on her helps us to contact our inner wisdom and realize that the Divine is everywhere and in all beings and objects.” Swami Premananda
Saraswati helps us to become attuned to our own inner wisdom and to purify our minds. By praying to her and meditating on her during Navaratri, we can slowly become immersed in the highest reality, in absolute truth. People pray to the Goddess Saraswati to help them with their studies and with the development of their self expression through the creative arts as she is the embodiment of pure knowledge. Saraswati helps us to develop discrimination, which is an essential quality on the spiritual path. She is depicted wearing a white dress as she is absolute purity.
Puja à Durga
Pendant les dix jours du festival de Navaratri, nous adorons Dieu en tant que Mère Divine. A l’Ashram, nous faisons une puja tous les jours sous l’aspect de la Mère Divine connue sous le nom de Durga. La déesse Durga est considérée comme une personnification du pouvoir. Effectuer une puja à Durga tous les jours pendant Navaratri est particulièrement bénéfique et nous aide à surmonter les tendances fortement négatives. Vous aussi, vous pouvez faire cette courte puja pendant les neuf jours du festival Navaratri, ou à tout moment où vous en avez envie.
Procédure de la Puja à Durga :
- Prenez cinq citrons frais, coupez-les en deux et pressez-en le jus.
- Conservez le jus de citron dans une tasse à puja et mélangez-y du jaggery (sucre de canne non raffiné) pour le sucrer.
- Retournez neuf moitiés de citron et placez-les en cercle sur une assiette avec huit moitiés en cercle et une moitié au milieu.
- Remplissez-les de ghee (beurre clarifié).
- Placez une mèche dans chaque moitié de citron.
- Allumez de l’encens et placez-le devant une photo ou une statue de Durga.
- Allumez les mèches dans les moitiés de citron.
- Allumez une lampe arati, agitez-la devant la photo et concentrez-vous sur Mère Durga.
- Asseyez-vous et chantez 21 fois le mantra Om Durgaya Namaha tout en offrant des fleurs et du kumkum (si vous n’avez personne avec qui faire la puja, vous pouvez simplement offrir des fleurs).
- Cassez la noix de coco et placez chaque moitié de chaque côté de la photo.
- Offrez le jus de citron et le prasadam fait avec le jaggery.
- Offrez des fleurs et de l’eau.
- Terminez en montrant des arati à Durga.
Remarque : Vous pouvez également faire une puja plus courte sans offrir une noix de coco.
Vous avez besoin des éléments suivants :
– Une belle photo/statue de Durga
– Une assiette
– Des mèches
– Du ghee
– Neuf moitiés de citron frais
– Une noix de coco fraîche
– Un couteau pour casser la noix de coco
– Une tasse de jus de citron mélangé avec du jaggery pour sucrer
– Des fleurs fraîches à offrir
– Du kumkum