It is the season of the Goddess – the Goddess that creates all seasons. The Goddess who is energy or Shakti – the force that is everywhere and in everything. The Navratris or nine nights of the Goddess are celebrated to remember the various forms of our energy which is primordially formless, yet takes infinite forms to create all there is. The nine forms sequentially represent three of the maiden forms, three of the mother and three of crone aspects of the Goddess.
THE FIRST FORCE: Adi-Shakti is the name given to the formless one who is the source of all there is. She is unconscious and conscious at the same time. He consciousness is Shiva, the God who is also a way of understanding her. It is said that Shiva being consciousness created the world out of Shakti who of course is his true and formless self. This Shakti first presented herself in the form of his left side of the body, similar or the story of Adam and Eve where Eve emerges from his left rib. The left side represents the feminine or Ida naadi that is our lunar or intuitive self. This is worshiped on the first night as Siddhidatri or the giver of Siddhis (psychic powers) and the force that creates all of the universe.
THE FIRST CREATION: The second night of the Goddess honors the second form of the Goddess called Kushmananda. Kush refers to particle or manifest reality and Ananda refers to joy or bliss of being. Through the energy of the formless, the form and shape of the universe is created starting for this infinitely tiny ‘God particle’ of infinite bliss which is in-fact a form of the Goddess incarnated. The manifest universe is a vibration of love and is created out simply for the joy of creation. All reality is light which appears at matter to our senses, energy condensed into formation.
THE FIRST INTELLIGENCE: On the third night we remember and reconnect with Brahmacharini whose name means Virgin or the wise teacher (acharya) or the universal self (Brahma). She is the virgin teacher similar to Saraswati and mother Mary. Asexual reproduction is the primordial source of multiplicity of the forms of early life. It is nature that is self-propagating and infinitely multiplies of its own accord through its own pure cosmic intelligence unfolding through itself in every fractal form that we see all around us, progressing through the Fibonacci golden spiral forms.
THE NOURISHING FORCE: The fourth night of the Goddess sees her in the form of Shailputri, the daughter of the mountains. In this form she gains power and matures into her feminine ‘mother’ form of earth. As an earth goddess she creates all of manifest nature, the elements of nature – water, fire, air and earth that flow out of her sacred womb. She is the spirit of nature much like Laxmi, who creates abundance and generates life out of life in the form of our abundant earth. The rivers flow out of mountains and create life on earth. In this way her ‘mother’ or fertile aspect becomes more pronounced.
THE BALANCING FORCE: The fifth night celebrates the Goddess as Mahagauri or the great bright goddess. She is visibly beautiful and kind in every way. Her soft or light aspect is her ability to care, give and nourish all life unconditionally. She is the ‘fair’ or compassionate one who ensures that all is in balance through the laws of Karma. There is learning and growth for all beings from life after life through her blessings as all spirits learn valuable lessons of love and light. She keeps the universe in perfect and divine order.
THE EXPANSIVE FORCE: The sixth night is sacred to Chandraghanta or the bell of the moon. In this form the Goddess is the mother who is adorned with the moon at her wedding as she unites with Shiva in her manifest form. This union is part of the cosmic dance of the solar and lunar tides of earth. Astronauts who have landed on the moon have mentioned that they could hear the moon ringing like a bell. The cosmic sounds or music of the spheres is part of the expanding universe that is infinite like the womb of the mother Goddess that is constantly creating through vibration of her energy.
THE WARRIOR: The seventh night is dedicated Skandamata, one of the more mature forms of the Goddess now transforming into the crone as the mother of Skanda (Kartikeya or the God of war). Skanda means division. The forces of multiplicity, challenge, strife, division, struggle and victory are necessary parts of human evolution and growth. In this way the crone helps us gain more awareness about righteousness and justice so that we may learn to be more positive and peaceful eventually through our own experiences of our divided forms.
THE LIBERATOR: The eighth night brings to our awareness the form of the Goddess known as Katyayini or the one that cuts. She is a warrior goddess linked with destruction of negativity. She presents herself when evil gains power, in order to transform it into love once again. When we were divided by war we were hurt and caused each other pain just to protect our egos. The Goddess cuts off the cords that bind us to ego and frees us from ignorance. The demon Mahishasura represents this evil of ignorance which is slayed off by the great crone eventually to enlighten us to our inner oneness.
THE END OF TIME: The ninth night is to unite with the great crone in the form of Kalaratri or the great dark night that represents ending of the cycle of time. She sheds her outer visible skin to reveal her invisible inner form. In this she destroys the demons called Shumbha (ego glorification – me) and Nishumbha (negativity glorification or attachment to possessions – mine). No longer can we justify our personal attachments to our own self-created negative patterns. Our limited personal ego bows down to our supreme cosmic soul within and accepts defeat.
The tenth night that follows is Dussera – a celebration of this cosmic story in which the Goddess has defeated the demons of ignorance and brought us into the divine light of self-awareness.
Swati Prakash is a spiritual author and can be followed on www.amazon.com/author/swatiprakash