Month: July 2015

Gupt Navaratri

From the 17th of July 2015 begin the Ashadha Navratri, also known as Gupt Navratri and also as the Gayatri Navaratri. These are not the days when you will find special thali meals for those observing the fast at fast food chains. Neither are these days for delighting in dance and revelry in the guise of Garbha. Nor does it culminate in ostentatious gifting, and feasting and gambling in the name of Dusserah and Diwali. The Gupt navaratras are followed by serious saadhaks, who believe that all of life, the cosmos itself is Shakti. She who is considered the embodiment of energy and dynamism is celebrated. Obeisance is paid to her many forms. This maybe in the form of mantra chanting, tantra images, different set of anushthans, fasting, mauna or any other rituals that have developed over the years. While we may not resonate with some tenets or with (aspects of) many rituals, there are some elements which when interpreted in a logical manner can enable a better understanding of our world and lives. I had written an article about Interpretting Navaratras a while back. It is a period of celebrating and revering the feminine energy in its myriad forms. Recognizing and celebrating the multifaceted woman in her many roles as mother, sister, leader, politician, business partner, teacher is not just a modern trend, our scriptures have been doing...

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Interpreting Navaratras

Sitting around Babaji, though unable to decipher the reason why, we were all feeling light and happy. In the contrasting setting of modern women clad in jeans and this starkly dressed Kapali Baba, the discussion of relevance of fasting in modern times ensued. While none of us had any issue with the benefits of fasting for health and medical reasons, we did observe that from the religious point of view all fasts were for the males in society. Why is that women are only expected to fast for men Babaji, one of us protested? It is either Karva chauth for the husband or Hoi for the son. Why don’t men fast for women? “But they are supposed to, he said. What do you think Navratras are? He went on – The 1st Navratri is for Mother Earth, Dharti Ma ke  liye. The 2nd is for Dhai Ma,the woman who did the delivery and is responsible for cutting your Umbilical chord. The 3rd is for Prasooti Ma, the woman who lives in quarantine with you for forty days after birth in order to ensure that you are not bothered by germs from the outside environment and your immunity develops.(Modern medicine too ratifies this need of maintaining utmost hygiene and limiting contact for the first six weeks, especially of caesarean babies). The 4th is for the janam dene waali Ma, the mother who gave...

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