Vedanta in practice

Blog from Swami Vimokshananda now in South Africa

Worship of Wisdom Goddess

Posted by svp on October 17, 2014

Children’s Retreat

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Ramakrishna Centre takes special care of growing number of students in its congregations. There is a regular weekly class on Hinduism at every Sub-centre and its main centre. Annually all the children come together for staging the most memorable Children’s Cultural Function. Twice in a year the centre conducts a sort of Retreat for these children. These programmes make different aspects of our ancient wisdom and practice familiar to the children and youth.

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Navaratri – Day 7

Posted by svp on October 4, 2014

Navaratri – Day 7
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Wednesday, the 1st October of navaratri was reserved for our Chatsworth Sub-centre. Kemmy and Prabha took me by their car in the evening. Just before my departure I witnessed a heavy shower of rains with clouds stunningly black.

As usual the Chairwoman of this Sub-centre Dolly had made arrangements for hot cup of tea. The assembled devotees in the beautifully decorated shrine sang Sri Saraswati Chalisa. This sounded exactly same to the usual tune of Sri Hanuman Chalisa. The three days starting from the 7th day to the 9th day were dedicated to the Goddess Mahasaraswati.

Explaining the meaning of the term Saraswati, my discourse went on to show how Swami Vivekananda gained prominence in USA after his celebrated first oration in the Parliament of Religions in 1893. It is now well-known that he made a mental prayer to Mother Saraswati before he began with the world shaking five words : Sisters and brothers of America.

Thereafter, my discourse went on to Holy Mother who was aptly described by Master that “She is Sarada, the giver of knowledge Saraswati”. The discussion revolved around how Holy Mother was an embodiment of wisdom.

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Navaratri – Day 6

Posted by svp on October 3, 2014

Navaratri – Day 6

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Stanger is a small town about 75 Kms away from Durban. A few devotees took me by their car driving past Dolphin coast to reach Sri Sanathan Mundal by 6 30 pm. SSM has a big temple where the presiding deity is Lord Vishnu. Since it is a sanatan temple it has images of other Gods and Goddesses too. A holy vibration prevails there. The pujari of the Temple is Mishraji from Bihar, India who also came to SA sametime in 2007 when I reached here.

I sat there on a raised chair listening to the bhajans that were being sung. The front row children shined in their innocence while playing manjira with verve and vigour. No topic was given to me…so I started speaking about my earlier visits and how the devotees were open-minded and received me every time with love and warmth. The three days ending on the sixth day were dedicated to Goddess Mahalakshmi. Hence my discourse was on Mahalakshmi. The Chandi scripture says that Divine Mother is Prakriti and She forms the three gunas viz., sattwa, rajas and tamas. I expanded this theme to speak about these three aspects in Mahalakshmi. Amassing wealth for one’s own benefit is tamasik Lakshmi; if it is used for only one’s own blood relations, it is rajasik and when shared with absolutely unknown strangers belonging to weaker sections of society is sattwik Lakshmi.

After the discourse a sumptuous supper was served to all of us. All the devotees who attended the programme also had their supper. The Chairman of SSM presented me with a gift of cute box which was made of very valuable thambuti wood.

My repeat visit to this SSM was possible only because of the earnest request of the devotees who heard me earlier times like Krishnashtami etc. wanted me there during Navaratri celebration. This would remain as the last visit before my departure from this country.

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Navaratri – Day 5

Posted by svp on October 3, 2014

Navaratri – Day 5

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Monday, the 29th September was the panchami, the fifth day of navaratri. There was no outside programme. After attending to my routine sadhana, I decided to recite all the four stutis (hymns) from the sacred scripture “Devi Maahaatmyam”. This book is also known as “Durga saptashati” or more popularly simply as “Chandi”.

Chandi contains FOUR hymns.

The four Hymns are:

Brahma-stuti also known as Tantrik Ratri Suktam (Chapter 1): In the first episode, we find two asuras called Madhu and Kaitaba. In order to slay them Brahma needed the help of Divine Mother who was covering Lord Vishnu as yoganidra. So he prays to Her so that she withdraws from Vishnu. verses 72 to 87
Sakradi-stuti (Chapter 4): At the end of second episode, the Goddess Durga wins the battle with demon Mahishasura. He and his hordes were eliminated. The chief of devatas Indra praises her… verses 1 to 27
The “Ya Devi” Hymn also known as Aparajita-stuti or Tantrik Devi Suktam (Chapter 5): At the beginning of the third episode, at another time the devatas were in danger. Unable to cope up with their situation, they realise that Goddess had given an assurance in the past. They recall the Goddess’s promise to assist them and offer a hymn to the Goddess…verses 8 to 81
Narayani-stuti (Chapter 11): At the conclusion of the third episode, the twin brother demons Sumbha and Nisumbha were destroyed. Happy at the victory gained by the help of Devi Durga, the devatas sing this hymn…verses 8 to 22 “Narayani namostute” but ideally from verses 3 to 35.

The first hymn was chanted collectively every day in our daily satsang.

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