Navaratri Utsav springs a revered and a very special festive time, filling the world with renewed energy and enthusiasm. Add to it the venue of Siddhaganj under the divine presence of Poojya Sri Avadhoota Nadananda Guruji, the occasion becomes extremely special. Be it parayana, sadhana, satsang, bhajan or anything else, the atmosphere beams with vibrant visuals and extreme positivity.
Navaratri 2019 has been no different, but with ever-increasing enthusiasm and spirit. The festivities kicked off with Guruji performing Durga/Devi Avahana at midnight of Day 1 so as to invite AMMA herself to witness the proceedings. Abhishekam, Archana and Parayana (Sapthasathi, Beejatmaka Sapthasathi, Siddhakunjika Sthothram) were performed as per schedule on each of the 9 days. The highlight was CHANDI HOMAM which was performed everyday by special purohits of Namboodri family tree of Kerala. It was done as per their unique Parasurama Tradition. The purohits did not chant the mantras openly as per their tradition. Everyone witnessed it attentively and curiously, as it was somewhat different from the regular method of chanting out the mantras loud. Homam was followed by Guruji’s discourse, where he explained the significance of the respective DURGA AVATAR and and also the reasoning behind designing RANGOLI & YANTRAMs before Homa Gundam. Discourse was usually blended with a fusion of bhajans by Guruji and many other devotees.
Festivities on the respective day would end with Prasada Vitharana.
SAILAPUTRI – DAY 1: Guruji said that we have to call Maata/Amma with pure earnest and loudly. While praying Goddess it is enough if one prays with bhavam/feel and there need not be any principles/rules like Ragam, Talam and Sruthi.
Regarding the fact that the purohits did not chant mantras out loud during Homam, Guruji said, ” Mananaan trayate iti mantrah” meaning “Mantra is that one which is not openly pronounced”. It’s 100% true. That’s why even during Upanayana samskaram, the Gayatri Mantra is murmered into the ear of the boy.
Guruji said that today being the first day of Navaratri, the incarnation / avatar of Mata is SAILAPUTRI. In a broader sense it means that she is the daughter of Himavantha, the mountain king and she is known as Parvati Devi. But, at a very minute or micro/sookshma level it is, especially for a sadhak in Sadhana Marg, that feeling of ecstasy that he experiences at the point of sahasraram. Saila means parvat/ hill/mountain and also srungam (sahasraram) and Putri means that ecstatic joy. In other words, the joyous experience of a sadhak in his sahasraram is Saila Putri.
BRAHMACHARINI – DAY 2: Today being second day of Navaraatri, the Amma/Maa’s form/avatar is BRAHMACHARINI. Brahmacharini doesn’t mean one who is in celibacy. “Brahmam Chaarati Eti Brahmachari” meaning Brahama Charini is the one who treks in that path which takes the seeker to the Brahmam/Paramaatma.
So also a disciple has to travel with his or her Guru step by step to reach ‘That Ultimate Reality/Pure Consciousness/Brahmam’. The sadhak should put his/her effort in that direction with ‘trikarana suddhi’ i.e., Manasa, Vaacha and Karmana.
Guruji also explained how the Devata Avahana is being done in front of the Homa Gundam daily in a coconut in suddha tantric and Parasurama tradition of Kerala.
He explained about the muggu/rangoli put before the Homakund for placing the coconut. The rangoli looked like a Lotus Flower/Padmam. The four heart type signs represent the four Gods in Panchayatan. They are Ganapathi, Surya, Vishnu and Siva. The uniqueness of this Panchayatan is that the four Gods are with their symbolic wives in the flower, adjacent to them. They are represented in yellow colour. The Goddesses are Siddhi, for Ganapathi; Chaaya for Sun; Vaishnavi for Vishnu and Shakti for Siva. The main Goddess is in the middle in the form of coconut. The three white circles represent Iccha, Gnana and Kriya sakties. Thus the special lotus rangoli is complete like a Panchayatan.
CHANDRAGHANTA – DAY 3: Guruji said that today Durga is known as CHANDRAGHANTA because in this avatar Goddess keeps vibhooti/kumkum on her forehead like a Cresent moon and holds a Bell in her hand. The sound of the bell becomes one “anahath naad” merging the seven sounds/saptha swar and it rings eternally. This one sound wipes away our negativities accumulated over generations of previous births and puts us in right path/direction. This is the right time for a sadhak for uplifting himself/herself in Sadhana Marg. Maa gives us bhadratha/security in our lives.
Guruji explained that the sound of the bell in Her hand drives away all the demons and evil forces from outside and also our inside evil thoughts/negativities and rekindles the inherent divinity in us. Lion is attributed for Dharma/the righteous path and it’s roar is highly frightening. So, together with the sound of the Bell, which is actually humming sound of ‘Soham’, and the Lion’s roar, the demons, evil forces and negativities disappear instantly. Even in our Puja room we use “Ghanta Nadam” during Harathi to drive away the evil forces and invite Divine forces.
Guruji stressed that this third day of Navaraatri is important and good time for sadhaks. Guruji just touched about Homaagni, the fire and flames of Homam. He said that if one sees it with belief, devotion and concentration the flames burn away our accumulated sins of previous 84 lakhs births in one go – take it from me.
Incidentally he said he came across a report stating that some foreign scientists have discovered that these nine Navaraatri days have very positive changes in Nature and observed something divine. Alas! This has been said by our Rishis and Munis thousands of years back and we didn’t believe because it was said by our own people. So also, NASA of America proved that this whole Universe/Space is reverberating with OM sound. This is also known to us through our Rishis thousands of years back. It’s really pitiable that we completely ignore and utterly disregard the words of our Rishis who said these things many years ago itself, which are getting proved scientifically one by one now. All our traditions and observations in our scriptures have scientific relevance and are NOT casual or fictitious stories, said Guruji.
KUSHMANDA – DAY 4: Today’s avatar/form of Durga is KUSHMANDA. Guruji said, K(a) means a little bit, Ushma means energy/power/warmth and Anda means the Cosmic Egg. Today is the day on which the Goddess created the whole Universe/Brahmanda using a little bit of Her Energy. (It is quoted elsewhere that She created the Universe by just flashing a bit of Her smile).Today is the first day of Jagajjanani’s Creation by breaking the Cosmic Egg. Just by her looks She broke the Cosmic Egg/Brahmanda and the whole Jagath/Universe came into existence ever since. Guruji said that the Maata as Kushmanda Devi is “Hiranyagarbha” because there was no creation or Brahmanda before She Created it. She is the Omnipotent. Thus, Devi Kushmanda is Jagath Prasutha.
Guruji further clarified the vague doubt in some disciples about Kushmanda. In Sanskrit KUSHMANDA means white pumpkin. It is believed that there is some correlation between the Goddess and the white pumpkin to call Her as Kushmanda. Guruji said that when we break the white pumpkin, we can find 183 or 184 beej/seeds inside. And by multiplying 1000 names based to Khadgamala Stotram, the number becomes 1,83,000. These 1.83 lakh seeds are Positive Vibrations released for sprouting on breaking the pumpkin. It is NOT necessary that all the 1.83 lakh seeds/beej visible to naked eye. They are invisible, except the 183.
SKANDAMATA – DAY 5: Today the avatar or form of Durga is SKANDAMATA. Skanda means a boy who can attack or simply Attacker. Skanda’s birth became a divine necessity to eliminate the powerful demon, Tarakasura. Skanda is also known as Kartikeya, Muruga, Subrahmanya, Kumara etc., He is revered more in the South, especially Tamil Nadu. The SKANDAMATA is seen holding their beautiful child Shanmukha (one who is having 6 faces) in her lap.
Guruji explained during his discourse the importance of the Yantram put with rangoli before the Homakund. It is the “Ardhanareeswara” Yantram depicting the Arthanaareeswara Tatvam/philosophy. Both Siva, in red colour, and Shakti in yellow colour with 8 flowers and 8 deepams/lamps around were put. Because of Siva and Parvati becoming ONE, the Creation of Universe happened. Hence, this particular Yantram today. The code to draw and how to draw the particular Yantram were guided by Guruji himself to the purohits.
Guruji explained that this Universe/Jagath is embodiment of Siva and Sakti / “Siva-Saktyatmakam Jagath”. Siva is Nischala Nirguna Brahma i.e., motionless/static Power without attributes. But, Parvati or Shakti is the doer and the Dynamic Power as per Sankalp/ wish, determination of Siva. Shakti is all pervading. Either Siva or Shakti can’t do creation alone. They have to Unite or become One. The Siva Sankalpa/Cause and the Shakti’s action/Effect are interdependent (like the cause and effect theory).
Coming to Shanmukha, Guruji added, the six heads of Subrahmanya are symbolically represent the Five Shakthis and Parvati. And These six faces eliminate the six negativities in us. They are Kama/desire, Krodha/Anger, Lobha/miserliness, Mada/arrogance, Moha/Strong passion, Matsrya/jealousy. Guruji said that there are eight petals and eight lamps around the Yantram. Out of eight lamps six are for eliminating our six negativities and another one for our ego. When these eight negativities go away, the ninth Jyothi becomes active and we become positive. There are four deepams/lamps facing the Homakund. One is for the Guru, second for Ganesh, third for Bhagawathi and the fourth one for all Kula Devatas/family deities of all devotees of Siddhaganj. On this 5th day of Navaratri not only SKANDAMATA came, but also, Kartikeya came in Her lap.
KATYAYANI – DAY 6: Shakti takes the avatar/form of KATYAYANI. This is one the fiercest avatars of Parvati. Her name originated as Katyayani as She was born to sage Katya as per sage’s prayer. Another version is that since sage Katya prayed this form first, She is called Katyayani. It is also mentioned that She was born with the power rays of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva to enable her to kill Mahishasura. She killed the demon Mahishasura with her sword. Her favourite flowers are red colour ones.
Guruji mentioned that today’s Yantram before the Homa Gundam is “Siva-Saktyayukta” Shatkona Yantram. At the bindu sthan there is a Trishul representing “Tri-Shakti”. Red flowers are used to decorate the Yantram.
KALARATRI – DAY 7: Today’s Yantram before the Homa Gundam is ‘Trikona’ Yantram. Trikon Yantra is representative of three phases of Time viz., Past, Present and Future.There is Trishul in the middle also. The implication of Yantram as per Guruji is that on the three sides there are three Devatas and at the each sandhi/joining point of triangle, there is Trishul symbolising three gunas/qualities Viz. Satva, Rajo and Tamo guna. Satva means virtue with receptive mode. Rajo means action and with some ego and authority and Tamo (agnan) means full of ignorance and laziness or inertia mode. There is one more Trishul in the Bindu sthan of the Yantram which is Kalarupi/Kala niyantri/Kala Sanjeevi/Kalayatri and Kala Ratri who takes the sadhak from the three stages of avasthas i.e., Jagruth, Swapna and Sushupthi to the Uppermost Turiyavastha (the Fourth state of consciousness). And for this today’s Yantram was drawn and the special Puja was performed. (Homam is regular and different one from Puja).
Today’s avatar of Durga is 7th one in the Navaratri chronology. She is Kalaratri and not KaaLaraatri, said Guruji. I understand that this deity, Kalaratri is different from KaaLi. She has three nomenclature, “Kalaanaam Ratri, Triraatri and Ratri kaalam”. Ratri or Night is associated with darkness and darkness in other words is Agnan/ignorance. This Goddess would wipe out our ignorance and Tamo Gunn or Aasuri quality and puts us on the path of Eeswari vrutti i.e., virtuous path. This Goddess is also known as Samaya Devi i.e., The One who controls the Time factor in the Universe. Guru, Parama Guru and Parameshti Guru as per the will and orders of Samaya Devi and at appropriate time will drive away our ignorance and beastliness and takes us into the path of knowledge. Samaya Devi or Kalaratri’s vahan or mount is Donkey.
Guruji further added that the donkey is the dullest and lazy animal and it is a pointer that the Maa can turn even the dullest to the level of cleverest at proper Time.
MAHA GOWRI – DAY 8: While Homam was being performed, Guruji and a priest did a special Puja for Sami Vruksham (Shami or Khejri or Jand or Kandi or Ghaf tree) which is the most important tree among Devata Vruksh in Hinduism.
Guruji said that the greatness of this Sanatana Dharma is that it gives respect and place to every being like the animals, birds, trees, creeper, mountains etc., The Puja with vaidik hymns/mantras took place just adjacent to the Homa Gundam. This Sami tree, known as Agni Vruksham, is known to eradicate all our sins and negativities besides bringing success in our life. Just by touch or looking at Sami tree one’s sins vanish, told Guruji.
And then, today being Durgaashtami, “durgati nasini Durge” meaning Durga Devi annihilates all our bad conditions and sins, Guruji lighted a Kagada/torch put it outside and opposite to Siddhaganj. A coconut was broken before it as Bali/sacrifice to redeem the negativities of all devotees and disciples and to bestow good health and longevity of life for all. This was done as per Namboodri tradition of Kerala. What a concern and love of Guruji on all of us…. amazing.
Today’s another speciality is the “Kanya/Kumari Puja” (for young unmarried girls). Guruji said that as is known over the years, today also some age old convention has been broken at and by Siddhaganj. The three girls who received puja are Christian by birth. And by his upadesam their father recites “Panchakshari Mantram”. Guruji added that there is no bias or differentiation at Siddhaganj on the basis of one’s religion, caste, region or language. All are equal here. I, for one, appreciate the parents of the girl who didn’t exhibit any bias for this Hindu ritual and for allowing their daughters to receive the puja. Three suhasinies did puja to the three girls. After Puja, all the three women, Guruji himself and Rama Reddy Garu on behalf of Siddhaganj Pariwar did Namaskaram to the Kanyas. All the three girls were looking amused and in smiles for what they received in front of a big gathering. It’s an honour for the girls, doers of Puja and the witnessed people.
Today’s Yantram before the Homa Gundam is “Navayoni Chakra”. Bhagavathi was invoked on the Bindu sthan.
Today the priests offered Lotus flowers in the Homa/Havan. The offering of eight petals lotus in the Homa is symbolically the reaching point at Sahasraram by the sadhak in his Sadhana. Guruji said that it is nine types yoni and nine manifestations of Durga. These nine merge as One and do the Divine magic of Creation, Sustenance and Annihilation (srushti stiti laya). We know the 7 levels of consciousness. At the 7th level we are in trans. Still we (means sadhaks) retain the ‘Aham’ asmi Brahma. After that we go to the level of Samadhi which is the highest Pure Conscious level known as Pragna. The state or condition of Samadhi is not the experience of sunya/nothingness. But, it is the experience of Purnatva/Completeness or fulfillment. After this experience the sadhak looses his identity/asthitva of “I am the being…I am the existence… I am the Siva etc.,” Hence, in such a pure conscious state who is there to say like that? In Samadhi, Karma/action doesn’t exist. Still Samadhi is not the final state of experience or avastha. In the 8th level one experiences the Oneness of Siva-Shakti.
Guruji explained that one will not get chance to have both materialistic life and salvation simultaneously. You have to choose one. No option to take both at s time. Of course, there are many incidents in history where great people even while being in Samsara/gruhastu life reaching salvation as they didn’t attach themselves passionately to materialistic life. They followed it as a duty and lived like monks in mind. As long as one is passionate about his possessions, relationships and materialistic desires, he won’t even try to think of “who he is and what is the purpose of life”. So, to reach the ultimate 9th level of consciousness one should realise that nothing he possesses today is his nor anybody’s earlier. Guruji told the frequently told story to make one understand the moral and fact of life. What you are enjoying today was somebody’s yesterday and another’s the day before yesterday. Tomorrow, after you, it will be some one else’s again. Then how come people say “this is mine and that is mine”. Nothing is anybody’s. The whole creation and it’s material in whatever form is only God’s. Guruji concluded the discourse by saying, “SARVAM DEVI MAYAM JAGATH” meaning that Shakti is present everywhere and in everything in this Universe.
SIDDHIDHATRI – DAY 9: Today’s manifestation of Durga is SIDDHIDHATRI. It’s the last of the nine manifestations of Durga in Navaratris. Siddhi means One who has super natural powers and Dhatri means ‘giver’. As such Goddess Siddhidhatri can give all types of siddhies to the true seeker, whether materialistic desires or the salvation.
Guruji said that for those who did Sadhana these nine days, the Maa can give 18 siddhies from ‘anima, garima to moksh/salvation instantly. There is a state above the ‘kaivalya’ i.e., Vo hojana/Becoming That. That sthiti/state is which exists Sarvatra/all pervading, Poorna rupse/in totality, Nitanth( the Absolute) Nissabhdhata se/in complete silence. Siddhi won’t give the feeling of Samadhi. By the power of siddhies one may acquire all types of riches and luxuries. But, all these will not be sufficient to buy the state of Samadhi.
Today being the Siddhidhatri’s manifestation day, She gives whatever the deserving sadhak asks for instantaneously. Hence, pray to the Goddess not to LURE you with worldly toys and pray Her as, “Tum Mera hojao”/You become mine and remove the curtain between us”. What Guruji implied is that instead of we getting attached to material things by feeling “this is mine… that is mine…. this is also mine…. all is mine” one should be earnestly yearn for the God/Goddess and that is the realisation of “TATVAMASI (I am That) and AHAM BRAHMASMI(I am GOD). And She answers for such prayer and gives It. Then Guruji said that who did Parayan of 700 Beejaatmaka Sapthasati these nine days are also blessed by Amma as it is equivalent to CHANDI SAPTHASATI. He said today’s Yantram before the Homa Gundam is “Siddhidhatri Yantram”. The priests also performed “Ucchista Chandali Puja”.
The prasadam offered on all these nine days to invoked Goddesses and the remains of prasad, ucchista, on all these nine days will be taken by this Goddess Chandalika. Guruji said on all these nine days everything was done as per Sri Vidya Parampara and very religiously with shraddha/concentration and bhakti.
VIJAYADASHAMI – DAY 10: Today is the concluding day of Navaratri UTSAV. This eleven days celebrations broke all the benchmarks set at Siddhaganj for any such utsav done earlier here. No exaggerations in whatever I write. Right from day one of Mahalaya Amavasya on 28th September to Vijaya Dasami on 8th October (today), each day excited the devotees and opened new box of fulfillment. Every day was an experience itself. All the days put together, the continuous Sadhana for 10 days by all who participated should have awakened their inner sight and would become a daily routine or part of their daily life, at least steadily. WE ALL HEAR BRAHMOTSAVAM for many Temple Gods. Many wouldn’t have got an opportunity to attend or see it. Don’t worry. THIS 10 DAYS PROGRAM IS NO LESS THAN A BRAHMOTSAVAM AND IS BRAHMOTSAVAM. “GURUR BRAHMA” AND HIS UTSAV.
Today’s program started as usual with Abhishekam and Archana. Abhishek was done by Dr. W. Harpreet of Delhi. Then followed unique “Kula Devata Puja” by Guruji himself on behalf of all the devotees to forgive their wrongdoing, if any. Then an “Akshara Abhyaasam” function to a child by Guruji.
Immediately followed the much awaited music extravaganza for three hours, from about 8 am to 11am. Chi. Amritraj, Sri Gangadhar and others together with Guruji took all the audience to a different world with their celestial voices and rendering. One keertan after one keertan, the devotees were drenched in the music shower. Amrit and Gangadhar are classical singers by hobby and profession.
Guruji exhibited his flair and mastery of singing in fusion style as well as classical style once again. Amrit’s bhajans, especially “Ganapathi, Ganapathi, Radhe Govinda etc., were pure ‘Amrit’ to ears. In between this music concert, a Kuchipudi dance for tarangam was done by Sai Charan. His movements of limbs, eyes, mudras and postures as Chinni Krishna and Venu Gopal Krishna were simply awesome and an eye feast. He is a budding multi talented artist.
Guruji’s convention of giving an opportunity to such artists is highly laudable. It inspires them and others towards fine arts in these days. Then followed Kuchipudi dance form depicting “Mahishasura mardhini” by Chi. Geetanjali and others. Geetanjali, a teenage girl looked like real Durga in her getup and looks. The way she danced in Kuchipudi style and her actions in war scene with Mahishasura and the killing of Mahishasura by her as Apara Kali can only be said that the viewers were simply awestruck. After 10 days of Saptasathi Parayan, it is very appropriate to have arranged this bit of Mahishasura mardhini drama by Guruji. Any praise of actress Durga will be less to describe her magnificent performance. Guruji moved along with all the devotees. Her performance took us to the actual scene and the manifestation of Durga right here in her, to say simply. Kudos to her.
All the artists were honoured with garlands and flowers by Guruji himself besides gift amount as per convention here.
Then the final day’s Poornaahuti of Homam continued. The Yantram before the Homa Gundam today was ‘Dasami Padmam’. Sri PV Rama Reddy Garu received the Ashirwad from Purohits on behalf of all the devotees. The purohits were duly honoured with sambhavanas. The scene again shifted to Vaishnavi Mata Mandir in Ashram where Guruji did the “Maha mangala Harathi” in his unique Namboodri and tantric traditional dance to the Goddess.
When this Harathi was given by Guruji few devotee’s eyes became wet and few tears rolled down. After all who would do SO MUCH for the sake of disciples inspite of so many health problems other than a Sadguru Avadhoota Nadananda. Blessed are we all…
It’s curtains for an amazing, astounding, awesome, unbelievable (unless seen), unimaginable and unforgettable Sadhana filled 10 days of Navaratri UTSAV and Vijaya Dashami at Siddhaganj, Kurnool…
Aum Tat Sat!!! Hreem!!! Jai Gurudevaa!!!