Friday, October 19, 2007

Navaratri: Acknowledging Energy

The second Navaratri of the year, a nine-day festival of the lunar month Ashwin, is currently being observed. These auspicious moments are sufficient to remind the entire Hindu population that God can be feminine as well. God is worshipped as Mother Goddess Durga, who is Brahman Herself and the combined form of Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Kali – the trinity of Shakti, the Primordial Energy.

If you are new to the concept of Shakti, you can grasp the concept from the material end. Whether it is the energy due to gravity, the nuclear energy of stars, the energy stored in black holes, the electromagnetic energy of a lightning bolt, or the chemical energy in living cells, they all together contribute to the total energy of the universe. Hindus like to believe that the total energy of the universe is a part and physical manifestation of a greater infinite energy. They personify this infinite source of all energy and power as Mother Durga, or Devi, and worship Her for what She does for us. Her acts include everything from nurturing us to ‘destroying’ the entire system, though She later re-manifests it according to Her own calendar. For that reason, to spiritual seekers, all natural phenomena represent the functioning of the Goddess.

Because the Devi can supposedly bestow anything the seeker wishes for, people, while acknowledging Her, often make requests for whatever is lacking in their own lives. At times, this is a power, like money, intellect, or physical strength, which can be exchanged for moderate amounts of success in the world. Others request Her for realization and deliverance from the universe. A few of Her favorite kids leave it all to Her and adore Her just for being there for all of us.

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