Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Kara Darshanam: Invoking the Goddesses

On October 5th 2013 a very auspicious festival has started in India. It's called Navaratri, and it's a 9 night/10 day festival where they worship the three main Godesses for three days each: Durgā, Lakshmī, and Saraswatī. These nine days are very powerful for prayers, especially when praying for a good life partner, love, health, and financial security.

There's a beautiful small prayer which we can do in any place. It may be difficult to find a temple or an alter to pray to a Goddess, but with this prayer it's not even necessary! Because we invoke these three goddesses in our own palms.

It goes like this:

कराग्रे वसते लक्ष्मीः   करमध्ये सरस्वती ।
karāgre vasate Lakshmīḥ / karamadhe Saraswatī

करमुले स्थिता गौरी   प्रभाते करदर्शनम् ।।
karamūle sthitā Gaurī / prabhāte karadarshanam

On the top of the hand resides Lakshmī Devi. In the middle of the hand Saraswatī Devī. At the base of the hand abides Gaurī (Durgā Devī). In the morning, may you look at your hand (and invoke the Goddesses).

May you get up in the morning, remembering and invoking the grace of these three Goddesses, Devīs. Each of them provide resources to us in a two-fold manner, which generally are taken for granted, yet which are so important to our wellbeing.

Durgā provides for good health in two ways; physical and mental health. By invoking Durgā Devī we ask for strength, endurance, and stability. We need these not only for our body but also for our minds, because both are very much interconnected. A healthy mind and a healthy body go together. Thus in times of emotional difficulty, we pray to Durgā and ask her to remove the negativity, and destroy the evil thoughts.

Lakshmī Devī provides for wealth. External wealth (bāhya dhanam) in terms of material benefits, as well as internal wealth (āntara dhanam) which can be considered as contentment, tripti. Without realizing the internal wealth, our basic state of happiness and fullness, we will always go externally to find that contentment. And this can be a never ending and expensive search. The Vedas say that that which we search for outside, is already there inside. So we pray to Lakshmī Devī to help us discover the contentment within ourselves, and allow us to tap into that joy!

Lastly, we pray to Saraswatī Devī for wisdom. Wisdom also comes in a two-fold manner: general knowledge and studies, as well as spiritual knowledge. Spiritual knowledge in this sense means the capacity to adjust our minds to receive the situations that happen around us. Sometimes we get to face choiceless situations, where no matter what we do, nothing will help. When that happens there's only one thing left for us, and that is to accept it. But this requires a great inner capacity, mental maturity and readiness to accept the choiceless. For this, we pray to Saraswatī Devī, and ask her to help us manage the situations that life presents us.

During this auspicious festival, may we pray to these Godesses, and invoke their grace and blessings for us to have good health, compassion and joy, and the capacity to live with inner freedom. May we gain the shakti sāmyam- a balance of the three resources that are provided by these Devīs.

Om Shrī Durgāyai namaḥ

Om Shrī Lakshmyai namaḥ
Om Shrī Saraswatyai namaḥ

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