Navaratri: Acknowledging Energy

The second Navaratri of the year, a nine-day festival of the lunar month Ashwin, is currently being observed. These auspicious days 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, together they all 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 universe, though She later re-manifests it according to Her own calendar. For this reason, to some 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, they may make requests for a power, such as money, intellect, or physical strength, which can lead to moderate amounts of success on this planet. 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.

Lord Rama: In search of a home

In the Adhyatma Ramayana, at the beginning of His fourteen-year long exile, when Rama asks Valmiki where He could live in the forest, Valmiki reiterates the omnipresence of Rama by responding that He, the Lord of all, lives everywhere – in all beings. Still, there are some places He certainly and preferably inhabits with Goddess Sita. Briefly, His homes include the hearts of devotees who are peaceful, level-headed, free of hatred for all beings, and who continually remember the Lord. Similarly, He resides in the hearts of mortals who have reached beyond the dualities of good and bad, gold and dirt, and happiness and sorrow, who are in His refuge, who surrender all karma to Him, or who see Him everywhere and serve Him continually.

So it should not be a surprise that Rama has fewer places to live today, at least on earth. Having diminished many of His prospective homes through our selfish guidance to fellow beings, are we expecting Him to search and build His own residence? Well, the unfortunate difficulty for the jiva is that Rama does not reveal Himself in an ‘abode’ unless He is adorably invited to stay in it. And in His absence within us, we will definitely have trouble associating Him with monuments like the Rama Setu, which He had personally touched only once.

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