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Navaratri is a very important 9-day festival for Hindus, today being the 1st day. We celebrate these 9 days in honour of Divine Mother Durga, the Creative and Protective aspects of Consciousness.
The spiritual mantra for Durga is ‘Om Dum Durgayei Namaha’. During these special days I chant this mantra a few times every night before going to bed, with an attitude of gratefulness for Her love and protection. I find that chanting this mantra, whenever I feel the need for help and protection, gives me the courage and strength to face difficult situations in life. For those of you who would also like to chant this mantra, the u in Dum is pronounced as the u in Sun.
During each day of Navaratri, I also contemplate on one or two principles of yoga, and think of ways how I can adopt them more in my life. The 5 Yamas ans 5 Niyamas of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras together constitute the 10 principles of yoga.
First principle is Ahimsa (non-violence)….which means not to hurt anyone, or have the intention to hurt anyone, with your speech, thoughts and actions. It also means not to carry any ill-feelings, anger, and negative judgements toward anyone. A yogi who lives this principle is called ‘adwaishta’. In Bhagvad Geeta Lord Krishna tells Arjuna to become ‘adwaishta’ toward all living beings.
So today on the first day of Navaratri, I try to become a better ‘adwaishta’ by not giving so much importance to the past experiences and associated emotions and judgements. I know that with continuous practice, today and everyday, I will become an adwaishta. This is the only way to witness each moment as fresh and new, and to bring out the compassion that is buried under negative emotions of the past experiences.
I always abide in this knowledge that there is no difference between Self, Guru, and God. On this auspicious day of Navaratri I express my gratefulness to my Guru for appearing as a living embodiment of Self and God.
May the Divine Mother Durga protect you!
Tomorrow I will share with you the 2nd principle of yoga.
Your yoga friend,
Shivaratri, a religious and spiritual festival celebrated by Hindus all over the world , is also a very important day for the seekers on the path of yoga. Shiva is the source of all that there is, including the knowledge of yoga.
Shiva means the ‘Consciousness’, and ratri means ‘night’
A seeker, on this day (and night) makes a conscious effort to remember that he is not just the body, thoughts, or feelings, which are temporary and ever-changing. He remembers that, instead, he is a part of the pure Consciousness that is Non-changing, Immortal and Eternal. He remembers this with honor and gratitude.
Just as our bodies receive rest during the night, the same way the remembrance, that you are a part of something infinitely big, frees you from the smallness of the mind and its weaknesses. With continuous remembrance of this Truth your mind and inner being receive deep rest in the Self, the Shiva.
On this day, the seekers and devotees also remember and honor their spiritual masters who have realized the Truth that it is all Shiva.
A realized spiritual master can help you in realizing the Truth just as a lighted candle can light many other candles.
I feel blessed and grateful for having my spiritual master Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in my life.
May you realize the Truth! Happy Shivaratri!
May the New Year bring you
Happiness, Good Health and Abundance!
Your yoga friend,