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I am an ardent blogger and a web enthusiast. My blogs include varied topics from the picturesque details of my travelogue to theology and worldly facts. My passions are reading English and Tamil classics, Management Topics, Playing Tennis and taking long walks. I live with my wife in Bangalore. Visit regularly my children in Michigan and Colorado to spend time with them and three grandsons. Please brief your opinions there in when you read my blog :- http://divinenotes.blogspot.com.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

' Navarathri Celebrations 2008'


'Navarathri Celebrations 2008'

Navarathri began on Tuesday, the 30th September this year. White House Association decided to have a central function on all days from 1st October. I was called upon to perform a small Puja at the specially erected shamiana in the evening to mark the beginning of the celebrations. Shamiana had a grand look and with many rows of chairs to accommodate as many as 500 persons and more, the set up had the semblance of an auditorium. The items included film and devotional songs, fancy dress competition, skits, mimicry, speeches, Block wise competitions and so on. There were food stalls and exhibition sales put up by vendors which all gave a Temple - Festival look.
The convener of the function had included my name for giving a speech on the evening of 8th October which I came to know on that day only. I was tossing for a while which topic to speak and soon it dawned on me to speak on an appropriate subject for the occasion, namely about ‘ Goddess Sakthi ‘. I wish to give the gist of what I spoke :-

Ladies and Gentlemen,
1)“Vande Vandhaneeyanam Vandhyam Vachamadheeswareem
Kamithasesha Kalyanakalana Kalpavallikam” (Prayer to Goddess Saraswathi
2)” Khsheerasagara Sanchatham Vishnoho Pathneem Dhayamayeem
Lakhmeem Sadhaprapadhyeham Sarvasampath Samudhyathe” ( Prayer to Goddess Lakshmi
3)” Sarvamangala Mangalye Sive Sarvartha Sadhike
Saranye Thriyambighe Gowri Narayani Namosthuthe” ( Prayer to goddess Durga )
After singing the slokas , I started like this :-
‘Let me begin my talk by asking a question from the 'simple laws of motion'. What happens when we clap with both our hands? The answer is simple, “ Sabhda or Sound’ is produced. My next question to you all, “What happens to the Sound”? Does it die ?. It does not die. It stays in the atmosphere or rather I would say it dwells there. Sound and small motions always happen together. For example, as you drop a pin, the motion of the pin starts downwards and as and when it hits or touches the ground, a noise is produced and heard if the ambience is ‘pin drop silence like’. As the sound is generated, actions follow good or bad, depending upon the nature of the sound. Should noble thoughts prevail in the atmosphere, the cause can be attributed to a particular sound. In other words, we can instill good thoughts in people, by creating certain sounds. That is why TV Channels or A.I.R. telecast or broad cast ‘Suprabatham’ like “ Kousalya Supraja Rama Poorva ……” , very early in the morning. We all have assembled here to celebrate Navarathri and we sing devotional music, children appear in the stage dressed as ‘ lord Krishna , Ganesa, or Gopikas which stimulate our thinking on the Almighty. Goddess Sakthi is the chief presiding deity during Navarathri. Why we celebrate for nine days for Devi where as we celebrate one day only for the Trinity Gods. To answer this, I have to take you all to ‘ Devimahatmiyam’ which narrates about the innumerable hard ships caused by the nine Asuras or Demons namely (1)Madhu, (2) Kaidaban, (3)Mahishasuran, (4)Dhoomralochan, (5)Chandan, (6)Mundan, (7)Sumban, (8)Nisumban and (9)Rakthabheejan. They were causing a reign of terror in the Sapthalokas. Devas including the Trinity Gods faught with the Asuras but failed because the demons had obtained boons not to be killed by any gods, etc. Lord Siva realized this and came to a conclusion that ‘Goddess Sakthi’ alone could destroy them. He, being an 'Ardhanari' shook off his other half and released 'Goddess Sakthi’ from him. Other Devas followed suit and released their better halves from them. All the Sakthis generated like this in the form of a “Jyothi” fused together and the result was “Parasakthi” or a very powerful ‘Jyothiswaroopam’ appeared. Since the Devas who were men could not bring out their respective valour to destroy the Demons, now they wished the ‘Parasakthi’ to take a feminine form (opposite form of men) to kill the Asuras. That is why Goddess Kali or Gowri avatar was in a woman form. Parasakthi killed all the nine Demons. 'Mahishasura Mardhini', her one of the names , is after she destroyed the asura Mahishasuran.
This form of Jyothi answers another question why we celebrate Navarathri in night. The splendor of jyothi or Light can be appreciated in night only as the saying goes “Ghanndhakareshu eva Deepa Dharsanam” ( Light only dispels the pitch darkness). Sun God gives light in the days and Jyothi for the night. Since Devi killed nine Asuras after waging a war for nine days, Devas wished to celebrate her victory by praying her for nine days. Nava in Navarathri means nine and Rathri refers to the worship in the nine nights.

Goddess Sakthi is also called as Bhagavathi, Eswari, Parameswari, Kali or Maha Kali, Mookambigai, Ambal, ThirupuraSundari, Akilandeswari and so on. Let us now see what the roles of Goddess Sakthi are:-
Lalitha Sahasranamavali describes the roles vividly, from the very first nama viz ‘Sri Mata’. She is responsible for Srishti, Sthithi and Samhara. The second mama ‘Sri Maharagni’ means Protecor like a queen seated on a golden Throne and the third one “Srimat Simhaneswari” – she being seated on a throne of Lions indicate her role of destruction.
She is also called as “Panchakrityaparayana” which means she is in charge of FIVE roles. The first three I had just mentioned. What are the fourth and fifth?
The 270 namavali describes Sakthi as ‘Thirodhanakari” which means she is invincible. She creates the Maya. We live in a world of Maya which means we don’t really understand what is right or wrong. We create bonds and break them too. We buy something to possess at one time and later discord them. Today we boast of Lap Tops and tomorrow we desire Palm Tops. I refer all these just to bring home the power of ‘Maya or Illusion ‘.
The life will not be interesting without the effect of Maya. The changes in behavior, values, the ‘Kama, krodha, mathas’ are all remind us the “maya sakthi” and we march on in the midst of good and bad.

The Sixth role of Goddesss Sakthi is “Anugraha” which means she blesses her devotees to have the long awaited bliss or emancipation. After all every one wishes to have a peaceful end and we pray to her for the grace or some percent of her looks on us.

Now let me touch upon briefly about the forms of prayer. “ The Five Finger Prayer” get the name as we fold our both the hands and bring the hands in front of our chest.

FIVE FINGER PRAYER

1. Your thumb is nearest to you.
So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you.
They are the easiest to remember.TO PRAY FOR OUR LOVED ONES AS A "SWEET DUTY"

2. The next finger is the pointing finger.
Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal.
This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. KEEP THEM IN YOUR PRAYERS.

3.The next finger is the tallest finger, which reminds our leaders.
Pray for the national leaders, leaders in business and industry,and administrators.
These people shape our nation and guide public opinion.THEY NEED GOD'S GUIDANCE.

4. The fourth finger is our ring finger.Surprising to many is fact that this is our weakest finger; as any piano teacher will testify.It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain.THEY NEED YOUR PRAYERS DAY AND NIGHT.

5. And lastly comes our little finger; the smallest finger of all.Which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, "The least shall be the greatest among you" Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself.

By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective. YOU'LL BE ABLE TO PRAY FOR YOURSELF MORE EFFECTIVELY.

Upasana is serious form of prayer for which the mind needs training. I can give a simple example how to train the mind. If I show and ask you all to say the colour of a Tennis Ball, promptly your reply will be"Greenor more precisely parrot green. In case I , on the other hand, say the colour as 'Red'. you will all simply shout at me and say I have gone mad. Instead I will now ask you to imagine he colour of the tennis ball to be red. All of you will think the ball to be red, In short, you will trin your mind or make it accept to view the ball as if it were red. Upasana needs hard training and forms part of rigorous prayer.

Goddess Sakthi gets satisfied in a simple prayer and in the kaliyuga, the simplest form of prayer is ' Namasangeerthanam', Recite a few names and perceive the forms of Devi like ' Karuna Lakshmi, Karunya Lakshmi, Dhana Lakhmi, Dhanya Lakshmi, Veera Lakshmi, Veerya Lakshmi, Aiswarya Lakshmi, Ashta Lakshmi, Gaja Lakshmi, ,Jaya Lakshmi, Vijaya Lakshmi, Maha Lakshmi, Santhana Lakshmi, Sowbhagya Lakshmi, Rajarajeswari, Jagadhambige, Jagan Mata.....etc.


Visit to Sakthi Peetams like Kanchi Kamakshi, Kasi Visalakshi, Madurai Meenakshi, Nagai Neelayadhakshi, Srigeri Saradambal will make us realize her power and grace.

Goddess Sakthi, as the name denotes, is personification of Energy. We breathe energy and eat for developing physical strength. ' The Will to Live ' and having a clear conscience can be easily be termed as the by-product of the devotion and prayers. The potential energy which is a form of reserve strength which helps us to perform actions in a dynamic way are all different forms of Sakthi or Energy. In short we live or our life exists due to the her grace.

Salutations to Goddess Sakthi and it gives me a moment of joy to speak on this topic on the occasion of Navarathri". unquote.

There was a good round of applause when I finished my speech and got down from the rostrum or shamiana.

In the Block wise Competition which was held on the vijayadasami day, we from Block B1 enacted a ' Phil Harmonica Kitchen Orchestra'. As many as 12 people from our Block wore garlands of vegetables like beens, gourds. Men were in whites and women in blue bolour dress. I gave an introduction that we specialise in presenting organic archestra using Pumpkins, Melons, Gourds, Drumsticks, Pototos, Tomotos, etc, etc. We come from Sweedon, Stockholm on an invitation from WHA. Since we find vegetables cost very high, we can not afford. Instead we use novel, ingenious methods to present the organic orchestra. Our instruments are all kitchen utensils like pots, cups and spoons, and each one will give a different set of tunes. My wife acted as the chief Chef and conducted the Phil harmonica kitchen orchestra. We played symphony and exclusive orchestra. The audience appreciated the novelty in it though we did not win any prize.

Thus ended the Navarathri Celebrations at White House. We had good fun from 7p.m to 10p.m. The Dandia dance was the highlight on Mahanavami Night.

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