NAVRATRI: KUSHMANDA

Creatrix of the Universe

Vasant or Chaitra Navratri is celebrated for nine nights starting April 4th this year. Nav means nine and ratri means night. The Divine Mother is honored and worshipped especially during this time. Her worship is very much about discovering knowledge of the Higher Self, Atma or Soul. The creation of the Universe began in the month of Chaitra or April/March in the Western Calendar. The blessings of every aspect of Divinity can be realized during this time.

Pandit Rajin Balgobind says this about Devi or the Mother, "Devi does not belong to any religion. Devi is the conscious power of God...The Mother's Grace is boundless. Her mercy is illimitable; Her knowledge infinite; Her power immeasurable; Her glory ineffable and Her splendor indescribable. She gives you material prosperity as well as spiritual freedom."

I dreamed of the Mother last night. She appeared to me and another woman, who I do not know, and showed her many forms to me: Mother Mary, Quan Yin and Mother Durga, separately and then all as one. Mother Mary was blue. Quan Yin was white. Mother Durga was red. Mother Mary is about our ability to get through suffering. We all are daughters or sons and go through suffering just like Mother Mary. Quan Yin is about our ability for compassion for she is the Mother of Compassion. Mother Durga is about our ability to battle the problems in life. She is the warrior aspect of ourselves to overcome adversity. Yet the Mother is much more than all these qualities. Kushmanda will show us many aspects of this great Mother.

During this time period called Navratri, a pot is placed at a sacred location in your abode. A lamp is lit in the pot for the completion of the nine nights. Devi is worshipped through the placement of the lighted pot and through your own heart. The pot is a symbol of the Universe.

Nine forms of the Mother are worshipped at this time: Sri Shailaputri (Faith), Sri Brahacharini (education and self control), Sri Chandraghanta (Steadiness of the Mind), Sri Kushmanda (Provider of the Earth's Vegetation), Sri Skandamata (Adorer of Children), Sri Kaalraatri (Dispeller of Darkness and Encourager of Time Efficiency), Sri Maha Gauri (One who is Golden and Reminder of Our Inner Beauty) and Sri Siddhidhatri (Reminder of Our Will to Achieve Our Goals).

Many of the nine forms of the Mother are with us daily. She is very much in the everyday reality of real people's lives. The Mother is practical in her methods very much like our own mothers are in solving everyday problems in the household, work places and spiritual communities.

My favorite form of the Mother during Navratri is experienced on the fourth day of the celebration. She is Kushmanda Devi who brings the Earth's vegetation. She is the Creatrix of the Universe resides in all solar systems and brings great knowledge to the Self. She likes the offerings of the Kumhde, from which she gets her name. She created the Universe as a little Cosmic Egg. She is also called Krishnamanda. She brings the light to darkness and ignorance. When you learn something profound, she is there. My dream showed me that principle. She eliminates ego, disease, sorrow, depression and ignorance. "Kumbh Bhand is about Cosmic Truth in Pindi Shape or knowledge of cosmic intricacies in the human race. The abode of Mata Kushmanda is Bhimaparvati." She is about balancing the macro and micro universes. This is discovered and achieved through meditation. She is in charge of birthing and rebirth. Women understand the birthing process through child birth or in the birthing of new ideas and problem solving in our households, work places and spiritual communities. Modern science has researched the mind. The feminine mind is physically different in the connections of the hemispheres. We are superior in seeing the whole picture in situations like Kushmanda. The masculine mind tends to focus on one aspect well. Her day is about changing one's life for the better, forgiveness and about your relationship with all creation, including yourself.

She resides in the core of Surya (the Sun). She is the only one who can live there because of her power and strength to do so. Her body shines like the Sun. Every one receives the light of Her Divine Smile. She rides the lion, which is a symbol of Dharma or Universal Purpose and Truth. If you do a pooja or prayer to her during Navratri, she will help you with your health and well being.

She has eight arms holding various weapons: Kamandalu, Bow, Arrow, Lotus, Jar of Nectar, Discus and Mace. Her eighth arm holds a mala or rosary. Her Kusha Grass is a most sacred grass which is used in religious ceremonies. It grows in the Ganges River and is considered a purifier. Kusha grass is the hair of Goddess Sita. Kusha is the name of one of her twin sons. When Sita left the Earth, Kusha tried to stop her but could only grasp a lock of her hair. Her hair dropped and Kusha Grass grew. Kusha symbolizes discriminating wisdom. In Ayurvedic Medicine Kushmanda is a fruit which treats digestive problems, mercury poisoning, pain and is a cleanser of internal organs and also is like ginkgo in that it helps increase brain power and memory ability. Kushmanda Mata can bring about the fulfillment of all desires.

We often hear about Durga, Saraswati and Lakshmi when discussing forms of the Mother, but Kushmanda combines aspects of all these deities. She creates the Universe inside and outward. She is a healer and a bringer of knowledge, truth and light. She is also an Earth Mother in her connection to Ayurvedic Medicine and vegetation of the planet. She is one great form of the Mother. Choose an aspect of the Divine Mother to experience and worship during this Navratri. The Mother never lets you down just like your own mother. She is right by your side always. Happy Navratri. May the Mother bless you many times over.

JAI SHRI NAVRATRI!

JAI SHRI KUSHMANDA!

Radhapriestess

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