Shri Durga“Adi-Maya-Shakti: Let me meditate on the supreme goddess who is existence itself, who sits on the lotus, who rides the tiger, who plays the lute, whose divine form dazzles gods, demons and humans, whose womb contains Time and Space, who embodies cosmic energy, who holds in her hands the implements of life and the instruments of death, who spins the cycle of existence as she creates and destroys all that is, was and will be and who empowers and enriches her devotee with the ability to accept and appreciate the unfathomable universe.” (Pattanail 2002 cover)
On July 13, 1998 at 11.25 a.m. Arwinder again told his father that he had sat on Shri Mataji's tiger.
Arwinder: “I also rode on the tiger. I wanted to know how it was, friendly.”
Question: “Did you ask Shri Mataji's permission?”
Arwinder: “Yeah, I have to.”
Question: “How big was the tiger?”
Arwinder: “Maybe long as one meter, maybe longer.”
Question: “How many times have you sat on this tiger?”
Question: “Only once?”
Question: “Why did you want to sit on the tiger?”
Arwinder: “I want to see if it is friendly and all those things. I just wanted to try out.”
Question: “Were you not afraid?”
Arwinder: “No, because I know Shri Mataji's tiger is nice. I have already been with Her, so it must be nice.”
Question: “Was Shri Mataji alone, or were there other people also?”
Arwinder: “Other people, Shri Shiva and all that.”
Question: “Did they also sit on the tiger?”
Question: “You are sure?”
Question: “They sat after you, or before you?”
Arwinder: “Yeah, before.”
Question: “Did Shri Mataji talk to the tiger?”
Arwinder: “Yeah, in different language.”
Question: “What do you mean by 'different language'?”
Arwinder: “Like the language that was invented by Shri Mataji" (i.e., Sanskrit.)
Question: “Do you understand that language?”
Arwinder: “Not that much.”
Question: “What you mean by 'not that much'? Can you give me words of that language?”
Arwinder: “No, I forget.”
Question: “You mean you only talk that language down there?”
Question: “Then you say that they talk to you in English?”
Arwinder then clarified that Shri Mataji occasionally explains the meaning of the Sanskrit words She uses while talking to him in English. Apparently, there are many words in Sanskrit with no direct English translation, and their interpretation is necessary for conversations to be more clearly understood.]
Question: “How old are you when with Shri Mataji — eight-years old, or bigger?”
Question: “You mean you are more than eight-years old?”
Arwinder: “Yeah, or smaller.”
Question: “I don't understand all this. What you mean bigger, or smaller?”
Arwinder: “I can be bigger (older) if I want, or smaller.”
Question: “Were you as old as papa?”
Question: “Are the people as Shri Shiva as old as papa?”
Arwinder: “More older.”
Question: “How do you know?”
Arwinder: “From their size.”
Question: “Do they have white hair?”
Arwinder: “White hair? What white hair?”
Question: “Like papa?”
(His father held some tufts of salt and pepper hair from his own head.)
Question: “Does Shri Mataji have white hair?”
Question: “Is She young or old?”
Arwinder: “Old! But She doesn't have white hair.”
Question: “How do you know She is old?”
Arwinder: “I asked Her.”
At 8.25 a.m. today November 9th. 2007, prior to approving this post, i again asked my son Arwinder about his experience of sitting on Shri Mataji's tiger years ago.
Question: “Can you still remember riding on Shri Mataji's tiger?”
Question: “You mean you can still recollect your experiences with Shri Mataji after all these years?”
Arwinder: “Yeah, kind of, if you remind me.”
Question: “I never asked you this before, Arwinder, but did you see Shri Mataji sitting on the tiger?”
Arwinder: “Yes.” (affirmatively)
Question: “How many times?”
Arwinder: “A few times but i cannot tell you exactly how many.”
Apparently Arwinder is the only person who can still recollect his experiences spanning back more than a decade. Both his siblings Kash and Lalita cannot. In fact Kash admits it is impossible to remember any experience with Shri Mataji in the Sahasrara after a few months, let alone years. He has no idea how Arwinder is still able to do so.
i also want to wish all a Happy Diwali and hope this post and others will deepen our faith and inspire us to dedicate our tun (body) mun (mind) and dhun (wealth) to Her advent, cause and ultimate victory.
regards to all,
“The great mother goddess Durga astride her tiger, brandishing eight to eighteen arms each carrying a distinct weapon or tool, is one of the most ubiquitous images in South Asia. She is stunningly beautiful: her long dark hair cascades down her back; each arm is adorned with bangles and decorated with hennaed tattoos; golden earrings dangle from her ears and are connected on one side to a delicate chain that leads to a ring in her nose. A garland of orange and yellow marigolds flows over her breasts. The folds of her sari enhance her sensual feminine features, and intricate symbols patterned on natural objects are portrayed on her feet.
Durga radiates great confidence and authority. She is formidable and fearsome; four of her hands hold a scythe, a spear, a trident, and a club. She is beneficent, generous, and reassuring: three other hands hold a conch shell, a lotus, and a discus, while another gives the mudra or hand gesture of 'Fear not, I will protect you.'
The sacred objects Durga carries in each of her eight to eighteen hands carry the power to create and destroy. Symbolically they serve as guides and tools for use in enduring the inevitable cycles of death, destruction, and suffering as well as life, blossoming, and joy. For example, Durga's knives are not to be used for violence, but are a symbol of liberation. The knife is a tool that cuts away; it severs or excises that which no longer serves, whether it is a destructive belief, an unhealthy relationship, or a toxic situation. Her sword also points to helping focus and draw the discriminating wisdom that is necessary in life-particularly to those committed to a spiritual path. All the sharp weapons Durga carries cut through obstacles that impede progress and clear the path for spiritual growth.
Often she carries a shield for protection, a bow for determination and focus, and an arrow for penetrating insight. When she holds a bell, it is to be used to invoke mental clarity and to clear the air of negativity. When her fingers play with a string of beads (mala), her worshippers are reminded of lessons on concentration and spiritual growth. The club she wields can be used to beat a new path, and the three-pronged trident pierces through the veils of the past, present, and future and teaches about birth, life, and death. The conch shell represents the vibratory powers of manifestation, while the lotus refers to both spiritual and material abundance. The skull or severed head, a common motif also associated with Durga in her fiercest of forms, represents the ego and all the ways it can enslave. The mind conceives of situations as bad or good, positive or negative, while Durga shows the paradoxical nature of reality and the divine unity behind all existence. Both negative and positive are part of her inseparable force.
The goddess's name, Durga, means 'fortress' and expresses her unconquerable, unassailable, and invincible nature.
History of the Goddess
Durga appears in benevolent and terrifying forms throughout her history. She is both the all-devouring and all-nurturing mother. In the ancient world, the goddess was conceived as responsible for the generative and creative as well as destructive aspects of existence. Throughout her evolution she takes on various epithets or names that describe the different functions for which she is responsible. The different names and attributes associated with a specific form of goddess define the vast terrain of earthly and cosmic experience that she has governed since ancient times. Although she appears in thousands of names and forms, within the Hindu view she is ultimately one goddess.
Earliest evidence of the goddess today known as Durga in South Asia goes back to the Saraswati Valley Civilization approximately 3500 BCE., but there is ample evidence of mother worship throughout the ancient and indigenous world. The goddess astride her lion or tiger is a common motif. From earliest times the feline has been one of the sacred vehicles and power animals of the goddess. The goddess's association with the tiger and other animals demonstrates shamanic connections and an understood interrelationship between the animal and human world. Trees and plants also were believed to contain spirit, and qualities found in the goddess Durga can also be traced to nonhuman forms. The goddess is also portrayed as a vegetative goddess and in this manifestation she is called Sakhambari. In her early vegetative form, the goddess is depicted with legs open, yoni exposed and a pot with a blossoming plant where her head would be. In this manifestation the generative powers of the yoni (vulva or uterus) are understood as synonymous with the earth.
Myriad forms of this goddess are worshipped in aniconic form as uncut stone or geometric designs as well as anthropomorphic representations throughput South Asia. Villages often have a central deity that shares similar characteristics and/or iconography with Durga; however, these goddesses are called by specific, regional names. Others host the ubiquitous image of Durga slaying the buffalo-headed demon, or simply Durga on her tiger with her eight or eighteen arms. Ritual practices in villages and more remote places often are based on ensuing the fertility of land. There is a strong identification of earth with women. The connection between women's bodies, specifically a woman's menstrual and reproductive cycle with the lunar and agricultural cycle, is an important focus of worship in the earth-based and female-centered Shakta and later tantric traditions. The Shakta tradition, known in its earlier historical appearance as Kaula, is one of the earliest sects of the Hindu tradition. within it, the goddess is understood to be the supreme force behind all existence. Reverence for the female principle as divine is evident in contemporary ritual implements and objects throughout South Asia. The symbolic origin of many of these ritual objects can be traced back to the SarasWati Valley civilization.
The highly creative, peaceful, and egalitarian Saraswati Valley civilization existed around the now underground Saraswati River and extended over half a million square miles. Controversy over the results of archaeological findings remains a heated dispute within scholarship today. Nevertheless, the undeniable presence of thousands of female figurines and seals that exhibit a pictographic script suggest a sophisticated ancient culture that honored the power, beauty, and immanent divinity of the female. Many scholars contend that Durga's earliest form can be traced back at least to this civilization, if not earlier.”
Goddesses in World Culture, Volume 1
edited by Patricia Monaghan, Praeger (Dec 1 2010), pp. 71-74
India's 'miracle river'
Scientists say new evidence could unearth the Saraswati
“The legend of the mighty Saraswati river has lived on in India since time immemorial. Ancient Hindu scriptures called the Vedas, recorded thousands of years ago, are full of tantalising hymns about it being the life-stream of the people.
In a new radio programme, Madhur Jaffrey recounts the legend of the Saraswati river - and explores startling new evidence that it may not have been a myth after all.
Vast and awesome, the Saraswati's holy waters are supposed to have flowed from the Himalayas into the sea, nourishing the land along the way. But as the centuries passed and no one could find it, myth, belief and religion came together and the Saraswati passed into the realm of folklore.
Now most people in India think of it as a mythical river. Some even believe that it is an invisible river or that it still flows underground. Another commonly held perception is that the Saraswati once flowed through the north Indian city of Allahabad, meeting there with two other rivers, the Ganges and the Jamuna.
The confluence of these three rivers - one of which is not visible to the eye - is considered one of India's holiest spots.”
BBC 29 June 2002
Govt to trace the lost river Saraswati
Vishwa Mohan, TNN | Aug 12, 2014, 08.47PM IST
NEW DELHI: Government has launched an effort to unravel the mystery behind the ancient Saraswati river, which found its references in 'vedic' texts.
Though efforts had been made in the past by geologists and scientific community both during British period as well as in independent India, the river remained a mystery so much so that its mention in the ancient texts has invariably been termed as mythological reference.
“There are enough scientific evidences on the presence of the river Saraswati in some parts of the country through which it flowed about five to six thousand years ago...Saraswati is not a myth", said the Union water resources and river development minister Uma Bharti on Tuesday.
Responding to a calling attention motion in Lok Sabha, Bharti said her government was taking up the issue very seriously "to trace the route of the river.”
Times of India August 12, 2014
The Rediscovery of the Sarasvati River
Dr. David Frawley
“The retreat of the Aryan invasion theory has been accompanied by the rediscovery of the Sarasvati river of Vedic fame, though many scholars are still unaware of the connection of the river with the Vedas. Recent excavation has shown that the great majority of Harappan settlements were east, not west of Indus. The largest concentration of sites appears in an area of Punjab and Rajasthan along the dry banks of the Sarasvati (now called the Ghaggar) in the Thar desert. Hundreds of sites dot this river, which appears to have been the breadbasket of the culture. Mohenjodaro and Harappa, the first large Indus sites found, appear to be peripheral cities, mere gateways to the central Sarasvati region. The main sites are found in a region of northwestern India, which owing to the lack of water was never again a region of significant habitation. Hence it appears quite clearly that the sites were left owing to a shifting of the rivers and a drying out of the region which is a cause quite different than any invasion. The hand of Mother Nature is shown behind the population shift, not hostile invaders.
What is most interesting in this regard is that Vedic culture is traditionally said to have been founded by the sage Manu between the banks of the Sarasvati and Drishadvati rivers.(*10) The Sarasvati is lauded as the main river in the Rig Veda and is the most frequently mentioned river in the text. It is said to be a great flood and to be wide, even endless in size, the greatest and most central river of the region of the seven rivers.(*11) Sarasvati is said to be "pure in her course from the mountains to the sea.”(*12) The Vedic people were well acquainted with this river along its entire course and regarded it as their immemorial homeland.
The Sarasvati, as modern land studies now reveals, was indeed one of the largest rivers in India in ancient times (before 1900 BC) and was perhaps the largest river in India (before 3000 BC). In early ancient and pre-historic times, it drained the Sutlej and Yamuna, whose courses were much different than they are today.(*13) However, the Sarasvati river went dry by the end of the Harappan culture and well before the so-called Aryan invasion or before 1500 BC.
How could the Vedic Aryans know of this river and establish their culture on its banks if it dried up some centuries before they arrived? Indeed the Sarasvati as described in the Rig Veda as a green and fertile region appears to more accurately show the river as it was prior to the Harappan culture as in the Harappan era it was already in decline. In the Brahmanas and Mahabharata the Sarasvati is said to flow in a desert and in the latter does not even reach the sea. The Sarasvati as a river is later replaced by the Ganges and is almost forgotten in Puranic literature. The stages of the drying up of the river can be traced in Vedic literature showing the Vedic people did not merely come at the last phase of the river's life.
The existence of the Sarasvati as a great river was unknown until recent land studies. The very fact that the Vedic Sarasvati was traditionally only identified with a minor desert stream was previously regarded as proof of the invasion theory under the surmise that as the Vedic original river had no real counterpart in India, its real location must have been in another country like Afghanistan. Now that the great Indian Sarasvati has been found that evidence has been countered. If rivers in Afghanistan have Vedic names it is more likely an overflow of populations out of India, not the other way around, as no Afghani river has the size, location, or reaches the sea as did the Vedic Sarasvati. We have already noted Harappan sites in Afghanistan that would explain the naming of rivers there from larger Indian counterparts.
Therefore I am also proposing, along with many other scholars today both in India and the West, that the Harappan or Indus Valley civilization, should be renamed the “Sarasvati civilization,” or at least “Indus-Sarasvati civilization.” This would put an end to the misunderstanding of it, as the Sarasvati is the main river of the Vedas. The Indus and Sarasvati regions to the sea, which were the center of Harappan culture, are also the same geographical region of Vedic culture, which proves their identity.”
Web (March 26, 2015)
10. Manu Samhita II.17-18.
11. Note Rig Veda II.41.16; VI.61.8-13; I.3.12.
12. Rig Veda VII.95.2. This is in a hymn of the rishi Vasishta who has the greatest number of hymns in the Rig Veda.
13. Studies from the Post-Graduate Research Institute of Deccan College, Pune, and the Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI), Jodhpur. Confirmed by use of MSS (multi-spectoral scanner) and Landsat satellite photography. Note MLBD NEWSLETTER (Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass), Nov. 1989.
Note also Sriram Sathe, BHARATIYA HISTORIOGRAPHY (Hyderabad, India: Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Samiti, 1989, pp. 11-13.
Now, in India when we cast the horoscope of a person, we have three categories of people: one are the devas, they're called dev; the second ones are the ones which are manavas, means human beings; and the third ones are rakshasas. So I think I have got all of you from the dev categories, because you could not have taken to Sahaja Yoga that seriously unless and until you were there. After all, why should you believe Me also that when I say that there was the Durga, and there was this thing, and She did this and did that? It's not that from one faith you have come out and now you are jumping onto another faith; it's not like that. It is actually been proved - you can feel. For example, when you are raising the kundalini on the center Heart, you can feel that on the center Heart if there is a catch, you have to take name of the Jagadamba. Unless and until you take Her name it won't open out. Also when I am clearing out your center Heart, I have to also say, 'Now I am in reality Jagadamba,' and then the Jagadamba within you awakens.”
Navaratri Puja, Cabella Ligure, Italy—27 September 1992
“The Devi has many forms. But is the embodiment of the Shakti. Adi Shakti gives Shakti to all these embodiments and so there are many Goddesses we have. At different times they came on this earth and did all that was necessary for the ascent of people who were seekers. Especially the one we know of, Jagadamba, Durga. She was trying to protect all the seekers of truth and to destroy all evil forces. Because without the ascent of human beings they do not know the truth, and that's why whatever they try to do is a mental projection. And this mental projection, if it is not substantiated by truth, by dharma, it declines. In Sanskrit they call it Glani. When this takes Glani place, then incarnations are born to solve the problem.
In all incarnations of the Goddess there have been very much incarnated Satanic forces, they had incarnated and She had to fight with them and destroy them. But this destruction was not for the destruction's sake that the evil forces are to be destroyed, but evil forces always try to put down the seekers, put down the saints, try to harm them, sometimes even destroy. All these destructive forces do not come at the same time, normally. At different times, it's easy to handle. But the aim of the incarnation is to save, to protect the people who are seekers because they are the most important people in the realm of spirituality. All others are nothing but dust, good for nothing, useless. If they are not seeking the truth in the eyes of God, they are just useless lives that have come and will be finished. They have no value and they have no dignity. They have no understanding of anything.”"
Navaratri Puja, Cabella Ligure, Italy—24 October 1993
“Yesterday you have seen how Durga used to protect all the seekers - sadhakas, and how she killed the people who have been troubling, torturing, killing the seekers of truth. Her whole advent was to protect them from all these evil forces. In those days that was the most important work. So that's how the sadhakas came up to these modern times and now they are seekers of truth or they have found the truth. All these different passages have taught the sadhakas what is the use of their lives. They were frantically first trying to find the truth, frantically and they went into different, difficult places. They thought by going into some lonely places they'll be able to settle their minds in peace and they'll be able to find the truth.
Also they sacrificed many things - their wealth, which was bothering them, their families, they thought were standing in the way of their search. All this went on, and there are still some people who believe that by becoming an ascetic one can find the truth. Buddha did the same, Mahavira did the same, their life was nothing but a great tapasia. Their tapasias are helping us today, in such a way that we now have got such a blessing that our personalities, as they are, can receive self-realization, for which people struggled and struggled.
In such a way, that if you read that how they were suffering you might be really amazed - how they went through all this suffering and all this tapasia - just with the goal to get their self-realization. It is an ordeal, even to read about them and to know about them. And while they were seeking, also there were so many people who tried to trouble them, who tried to torture them, who tried to kill them and the people surrounding them didn't know what they were doing, they used to ridicule them, laugh at them, make fun of them.
With all this, what we learn is that we have got our self-realization very easily - without any torture, without any ordeal, without any sufferings, fasting, nothing. That's not true - because you are the same people who have done all this before - and that's why you are here, it is your matter of right to have your self-realization. It's no way, is to say that - “Without anything, we got it.” Because, it is life after life you have been seekers. Whatever path you followed, whatever religion you followed, whatever faiths you followed, it was a torture for you and this torture is today now fruitful, that today you are self-realized people. But in anyway, we see that human beings, if they get something rather easily, they don't understand the value of how they got it. Now, to get this easily, actually you must know it's not just because you were nothing - you were something great, you were great saints who went to the Himalayas - you did all kinds of ordeals and fasting and so many of you were killed and butchered in the name of God.
So today, whatever you have got, whatever realization you have got. It's not just something you should think that - 'It is only Mother's grace that we have got it' - it's your own great personality which has achieved it. Otherwise it would have been impossible for me to give you realization. Whatever the work the Deities have done, they have brought you to this level of human existence, protecting you, but now naturally, just this is the last step which you have crossed and you have achieved this self-realization and so many of you have achieved great heights. This power within us, the Kundalini, which has connected you to this all-pervading power, has been struggling, has been guiding you, has been all the time looking after you, protecting you, so that you should achieve your goal in this Kali Yuga. It was said that only during Kali Yuga this will happen, and those people who are seeking God in the mountains and in the valleys will find it. But they will be normal people, people who will have households and living like normal people in the society. They won't be some sort of sadhus or saints, but people who are married, who have children, all such people who are leading a very normal life, will receive their realization.
It is already said, it is already predicted by '(Brughuni ?)'. So it's all been already set, I think all been planned. But in this, a credit goes of course to you people, that you have recognized what is the truth. As you know there are so many false people going about, they are doing all kinds of tricks, they are trying all kinds of methods to entice people. Despite that, you have recognized me. This recognition is something very remarkable and I'm myself surprised how, like lost children finding their Mother, come back to Her in the same way all of you are here. But in this, we should not think that we have got it easily or we have got it without any difficulties, because this can create a little problem that we will not go further with the same speed, with the same dedication as we have been doing before. So, whatever you think is easy, was not easy at all - it is Sahaja - it is, what you can say, spontaneous. But now it is for you the time, is really to understand that, this time is so important - we have to save the whole world. That you have to project yourself, as I said last time, and to find out ways and methods how you can do these things.”
Navaratri Puja, Cabella Ligure, Italy—October 1, 1995
“I would say, with this, today's special celebration of Navaratri. Like yesterday you saw Shri Durga's nine forms, also. In that, one is Kushmanda, is one of the forms, that you absorb all the filth in yourself, in your stomach. But the Devi does that, not you. What the Devi can do, you should not do. That's her job, that She is supposed to do this, not you. What you have to do is to only be in silence so that you absorb whatever will increase that silence, will increase your depth. The Devi will look after all the rest of the things, she'll look after all the filth, all the anger, all the temper, all the everything that's going on in this world. She will absorb all that, but what you have to do is to just enjoy everything that is pure.
Enjoyment is only possible when you are beyond your mind. With your mind you can never enjoy. It is like a big load. It will not act, it will not help. Enjoyment comes when you are in complete silence, in a rippleless lake, the reflection of all the joy that is created on the shores of that lake are completely reflected, they are not deflected. If they were repulsed it would have been a different image altogether, and would have been something nowhere near the image of reality.”
Navaratri Puja. Cabella Ligure, Italy—October 1, 1995
“Durga, ( Sanskrit: “The Inaccessible") in Hinduism, a principal form of the Goddess, also known as Devi and Shakti.
According to legend, Durga was created for the slaying of the buffalo demon Mahisasura by Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and the lesser gods, who were otherwise powerless to overcome him. Embodying their collective energy (shakti), she is both derivative from the male divinities and the true source of their inner power. She is also greater than any of them. Born fully grown and beautiful, Durga presents a fierce menacing form to her enemies. She is usually depicted riding a lion and with 8 or 10 arms, each holding the special weapon of one of the gods, who gave them to her for her battle against the buffalo demon. Durga-puja, held annually in her honour, is one of the great festivals of northeastern India.”
“The theology underlying Durga's appearances and exploits is clear in the Devi-mahatmya, the most famous text extolling her deeds. Durga is said to underlie or pervade the cosmos; to create, maintain, and periodically destroy it according to the rhythmic sequences of Hindu cosmology (12.33-35); and to assume different forms from time to time when cosmic balance is threatened by enemies of the lesser gods (11.38-51). The Devi-mahatmya puts the matter succinctly: 'Though she is eternal, the goddess becomes manifest over and over again to protect the world'" (12.32).
Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Tradition
David R. Kinsley, University of California Press, 19866, 101