The Navaratri Festival celebrations will begin tonight, Friday, at the Broome Street Temple, with a Chandi Homa and Lalita Sahasranama puja, beginning at 5:30 pm. We will perform arati at about 8:30 pm, followed by kirtan with Nina Rao and Deva das.
During the first three nights of Navaratri, the Goddess Durga is worshipped. Durga is the remover of difficulties; however, difficulties are not external to us, they are a reflection of perspective. When we externalize our problems, people and situations become adversarial. When we clarify our perspective, take a broader view of our problems, and become internally quiet, accepting and grounded, we realize that difficulties are bound to come in life, and it is our response to them that matters, and not the situation itself. Life is 1% what happens to us, and 99% how we respond to it, as the saying goes.
During the fall Goddess festival, the weather begins to change, growing colder and getting dark earlier, and naturally our attention and energy begins to move inward. This inward movement of attention sets the inner stage for quiet, which the Goddess encourages. At other times of the year, our energy is expansive and celebratory – but at the start of the Fall festival, we need to become a little more inwardly quiet to begin contemplating the teachings of Navaratri.
The first teaching of Navaratri is that difficulties are not external to us. The demons that arose in chapter one of the Devi Mahatmya which Lord Vishnu slayed were not external to him, either – they were born out from His own ears! What demons do we create through our ears, by virtue of the way we listen to people?
Please join us over these next nights at the temple for the purifying rituals and expressions of devotion that will help quiet the mind, and awaken devotion and gratitude. Chant Om Dum Durgayai Namah 108 times tonight and tomorrow night on your own to strengthen your connection with the Goddess who reveals that difficulties are in our own mind.