Navaratri – Day 7

Navaratri – Day 7
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Wednesday, the 1st October of navaratri was reserved for our Chatsworth Sub-centre. Kemmy and Prabha took me by their car in the evening. Just before my departure I witnessed a heavy shower of rains with clouds stunningly black.

As usual the Chairwoman of this Sub-centre Dolly had made arrangements for hot cup of tea. The assembled devotees in the beautifully decorated shrine sang Sri Saraswati Chalisa. This sounded exactly same to the usual tune of Sri Hanuman Chalisa. The three days starting from the 7th day to the 9th day were dedicated to the Goddess Mahasaraswati.

Explaining the meaning of the term Saraswati, my discourse went on to show how Swami Vivekananda gained prominence in USA after his celebrated first oration in the Parliament of Religions in 1893. It is now well-known that he made a mental prayer to Mother Saraswati before he began with the world shaking five words : Sisters and brothers of America.

Thereafter, my discourse went on to Holy Mother who was aptly described by Master that “She is Sarada, the giver of knowledge Saraswati”. The discussion revolved around how Holy Mother was an embodiment of wisdom.

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Navaratri – Day 6

Navaratri – Day 6

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Stanger is a small town about 75 Kms away from Durban. A few devotees took me by their car driving past Dolphin coast to reach Sri Sanathan Mundal by 6 30 pm. SSM has a big temple where the presiding deity is Lord Vishnu. Since it is a sanatan temple it has images of other Gods and Goddesses too. A holy vibration prevails there. The pujari of the Temple is Mishraji from Bihar, India who also came to SA sametime in 2007 when I reached here.

I sat there on a raised chair listening to the bhajans that were being sung. The front row children shined in their innocence while playing manjira with verve and vigour. No topic was given to me…so I started speaking about my earlier visits and how the devotees were open-minded and received me every time with love and warmth. The three days ending on the sixth day were dedicated to Goddess Mahalakshmi. Hence my discourse was on Mahalakshmi. The Chandi scripture says that Divine Mother is Prakriti and She forms the three gunas viz., sattwa, rajas and tamas. I expanded this theme to speak about these three aspects in Mahalakshmi. Amassing wealth for one’s own benefit is tamasik Lakshmi; if it is used for only one’s own blood relations, it is rajasik and when shared with absolutely unknown strangers belonging to weaker sections of society is sattwik Lakshmi.

After the discourse a sumptuous supper was served to all of us. All the devotees who attended the programme also had their supper. The Chairman of SSM presented me with a gift of cute box which was made of very valuable thambuti wood.

My repeat visit to this SSM was possible only because of the earnest request of the devotees who heard me earlier times like Krishnashtami etc. wanted me there during Navaratri celebration. This would remain as the last visit before my departure from this country.

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Navaratri – Day 5

Navaratri – Day 5

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Monday, the 29th September was the panchami, the fifth day of navaratri. There was no outside programme. After attending to my routine sadhana, I decided to recite all the four stutis (hymns) from the sacred scripture “Devi Maahaatmyam”. This book is also known as “Durga saptashati” or more popularly simply as “Chandi”.

Chandi contains FOUR hymns.

The four Hymns are:

Brahma-stuti also known as Tantrik Ratri Suktam (Chapter 1): In the first episode, we find two asuras called Madhu and Kaitaba. In order to slay them Brahma needed the help of Divine Mother who was covering Lord Vishnu as yoganidra. So he prays to Her so that she withdraws from Vishnu. verses 72 to 87
Sakradi-stuti (Chapter 4): At the end of second episode, the Goddess Durga wins the battle with demon Mahishasura. He and his hordes were eliminated. The chief of devatas Indra praises her… verses 1 to 27
The “Ya Devi” Hymn also known as Aparajita-stuti or Tantrik Devi Suktam (Chapter 5): At the beginning of the third episode, at another time the devatas were in danger. Unable to cope up with their situation, they realise that Goddess had given an assurance in the past. They recall the Goddess’s promise to assist them and offer a hymn to the Goddess…verses 8 to 81
Narayani-stuti (Chapter 11): At the conclusion of the third episode, the twin brother demons Sumbha and Nisumbha were destroyed. Happy at the victory gained by the help of Devi Durga, the devatas sing this hymn…verses 8 to 22 “Narayani namostute” but ideally from verses 3 to 35.

The first hymn was chanted collectively every day in our daily satsang.

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Navaratri – Day 4 continued…

Navaratri – Day 4 continued…

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The evening programme was scheduled in eThongatti from 7 pm. This is a an old but small township, about 50 Kms away from Durban ashram. Our forefathers who reached here about 150 years back made many temples. One of them is Chinna Tirupati Devasthanam. It houses Lord Venkateshwara otherwise popularly known as Balaji. The temple had its ten-day festival of Brahmotsavam. This is an annual festival when the Lord Balaji is given different decorations, taken round the streets on His Garuda, the great bird around the temple and also with number of speakers invited every day. The satsang on the last Sunday was vibrant with bhajans.

The decor (in Tamil ‘alankaram’) of Balaji was of Sri Rama with His bow and arrows. By His side Thirumagal (Mahalakshmi) was dazzling in Her splendour. I started off my discourse with the connection of Sri Rama with the family of our Master. He was born in a family where Sri Rama was the ishta-devata. Then proceeded to explain the seven hills of Balaji in India representing seven bhumis or chakras. Discussed about the Love of God. Master’s parable about Arjuna’s egoism and how Lord Sri Krishna crushed it.

Bala Moodley, the Chairman of CT Devasthanam gave a traditional welcome with a garland. Yogan Naidoo gave an intro about me to the audience. The supper was hosted by Murli while the Programme Director was Kola Govendar. 

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Navaratri – Day 3

Navaratri – Day 3
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The third day of Navaratri was spent in Glen Anil ashram which is the HQ for all centres in SA. It was Saturday, the 27th Sept. 2014. Every Saturday our weekly satsang is scheduled and hence joining with Navaratri celebration a whole lot of devotees were able to be present at the Ramakrishna Temple. Outside our temple I saw this fully blown red hibiscus which is very dear to Divine Mother.

On returning from PMB, I found the temple gracefully decorated by our devotees. The background poster that depicts Mother Durga on a grand tiger with Kali, Lakshmi and Saraswati on the sides, with of course our Holy Mother, had been drawn up on the wall.

My Discourse on this day though centring round Mother Kali, because it was the third day of navaratri, went in detail why Navaratri is a nine-night-festival. The important place of tri-guna viz., sattwa, rajas and tamas in our life and how the concepts associated with Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati represent these three gunas.

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