- Religion and Philosophy»
AYURVEDA, WOMEN & VRATA KATHA
Storytelling & Taking a Vow for Mother's Day
Storytelling is an important part of many countries and cultures, including India. Vrata Katha is very much a part of the Ayurvedic tradition for women. Vrata means vow and katha means storytelling.
Ayurveda is one of the most ancient medical systems of the world. Many people will tell you it is the most ancient one. Ayurveda is mentioned especially in the Atharva Veda. This form of medicine emphasizes prevention of illness besides helping the person improve their health when they are sick.
Vrata katha is a practice which women developed to solve problems or obtain help with various goals, such as obtaining a spouse, improving the health of a spouse or child, answering important questions or having children. Women developed rituals which helped them achieve these goals. They fasted, prayed, sang and chanted and told these vow stories (Vrata Katha).
In modern times these stories could also apply to obtaining employment as more women are working outside the home as well as inside the home. You can develop a relationship with Nature when trying to achieve an important goal. I am working on receiving full time employment. You do have to do the work of applying for jobs, contacting employers and going to interviews. What I am learning is the development of the Vrata Katha. When I go into Nature, I have learned a ritual to use. Artee to deities is an important ritual. At the Minnehaha Falls and Longfellow Gardens, I was involved with offering lime, coconut and other fruits to the Mother and Ganesha (who removes all obstacles). Reading and singing the artee in a devotional way is very important. It must be heart-felt. Goddess sees your heart and devotion first. The ritual is a symbol of what is in your heart and soul. My connection with Mother Earth is more solid when I am involved with a ritual which will helps me to connect with Her. Out there you develop a tangible relationship with the Mother which is so satisfying and strong. Feeling Her energies is very apparent when you are out there in Nature.
Persistence is very necessary because an entrenched problem takes time to solve. You have to overcome patterns and programming which have been barriers for you. Devotion to anything brings success not always right away. To be good at anything you must have love and devotion.
When I do kathas at mandirs, I am retelling ancient stories which some call myths. Myths are about universal truths told in story form. You take the story and relate it to the times you are living in now. A story is more powerful when it can apply to the here and now as well as to past times.
You birth a new creation when you are relating the katha to the present moment. Women birth stories, communities, prayers, children and how to solve problems. My experience with the katha is that you do your research, write and create it, practice it and then on the day you deliver it the Mother takes over and inspires you to bring a good message which will make the world a better place. When I am out there delivering it, I feel it's the Mother who enters me and does it all. In practice I make all kinds of mistakes and learn a lot, but when the katha happens it's the Spirit of the Goddess Herself who is there.
Relationships are formed when you are living those vow stories. Relationships help you improve yourself as a human being, but they also help you develop connection in a spiritual way to that individual you have the relationship with. Your relationship with God and Goddess deepens when you connect with others. You learn you are not alone with your struggles and challenges. Others have lived with your situation, too. These vow stories are very much a part of strengthening your spiritual connection with others, with the Divine and with yourself.
My own story is about being a woman who can support myself financially, spiritually and emotionally. My vow is about achieving this goal, but it is also about walking on that journey and being open to each situation where I can personally improve myself as a human being. Many people and beings are my teachers. Hopefully I can be a teacher for others, too. This vow has allowed me to develop new relationships with Nature and friends who have helped me improve my life. You realize that connections with others and Nature are so important in solving your problem and achieving your goals.
Sometimes women who go into labor think the child will be born, but it does not always work that way. Motherhood is a process. Sometimes labor stops and the child comes on another day. Sometimes you lose the child to stillbirth and must try again to conceive another child. Finally the child is born and all the pain of labor has been worth it.
Sometimes you also realize that other goals are just as important as the ones you want to achieve. They become part of the process of that vow story or Vrata Katha. Love is also always part of the vow story. The greatest thing in the world is to love and be loved in return. Love and devotion to the Mother and others will get you through the hardest of circumstances. Live and create your own new story.
JAI SHRI VRATA KATHA! JAI SHRI MA! JAI SHRI DEVOTION!