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MOTHER ASPECTS WITHIN YOU
Navratri Celebrated March 20th to 28th
Shakti is the manifest energy of the Universe. Shakti is the divine feminine in action. In the East the feminine aspects are active and powerful as well as gentle and loving. So the Divine Mother has two major aspects--being a warrior and being loving and compassionate. In the West the feminine aspects are more passive and receptive in contrast to the Eastern philosophies.
India had the first and most powerful matriarchy in the Kerala region. The men of Kerala were often at war because of invaders of various types. India had Muslim emperors and British colonists who were constantly vying for land and control of India. In Kerala the women established a matriarchy where women owned most of the property and made the decisions in a collaborative way with the men. This society had no poverty and no domestic violence. The woman was valued as Divine Shakti on Earth. She was considered as a representation of the Goddess on Earth.
Later on India became more patriarchal to its detriment. Gandhi tried to remedy this in the Indian Independence Movement. Many women were leaders in the movement and they became governors, MPs, Cabinet Ministers and even Prime Ministers. In modern India women have lost so much status. The current crisis concerning the right of women for safety in walking the streets in very much in the news. Women are blamed for everything including violence against them. This is a far cry from the Vedic tradition which elevated the status of women. All nations struggle with this social problem. We can not solve the problem until we acknowledge the problem. Men need to talk to other men to solve the problem. We must raise girls as though they are, indeed, Divine Shakti on Earth. We can not bury our heads in the sand. Censoring documentaries will only make the problem worse. With open discussion we can form a more just, matriarchal and great society in every country of the world. Women are the wealth and wisdom in the household. Only when woman is respected can any nation really be prosperous on all levels.
Women have been warriors for a long time. This is an aspect of the Mother that we see in our own mothers. They fight for what is right in our communities. They take risks sometimes in speaking out and making people more accountable for their actions. Many women in the Indian Independence Movement stood by the sides of their husbands, brothers, sons and fathers to form an India independent of the British Empire. Some women were leaders in the Movement and later became rulers in the new India along with Prime Minister Nehru. His daughter, Indira Gandhi, became a prime minister and propelled India on a more progressive path. The Goddess is forward thinking. She is for action. She is not passive in achieving Her goals. It was a Goddess who defeated one of the nastiest demons who roamed the three worlds. Women have been warriors for social progress. They were the first to speak out against slavery. They were treated like property in many societies, so they knew and understood slavery on a personal level. They fought to save the ecology of this planet. Dr. Vandana Shiva, one of the world's greatest environmental activists, speaks out against Monsanto and other chemical polluters. Daily women speak up against poverty. They form businesses and coops. Some feed the hungry.
Women come up with creative solutions to age old problems. To give you an example of a creative solution to an age old problem of female infanticide, I will tell you about the village of Piplantri, India. This village plants 111 trees every time a girl is born. In six years it has planted over a quarter of a million trees. Girls are educated there until they are eighteen years of age. The community and the fathers raise money to be placed in an account for each girl with a maturity period of 20 years. This village is dedicated to the girls and the trees. This is the real tradition of Shakti in action in the village. This is the aspect of the Mother which is so amazing. She gets around the system and creates a new, great system which is collaborative and includes everyone. Every nation needs this kind of Shakti. Replacing corruption with a better system and way of life is what Shakti is all about. So get creative in solving your own age old problems. Be a warrior just like the Mother!
The loving, compassionate aspect of the Mother is seen in every day life. When you decide to help out in a crisis financially or volunteering your time, you are showing love and compassion. In WWII many people hid Jewish people in their homes to save them from the evils of the Nazis. This is compassion in action. These people even risked their own lives in the process. Some did give up their lives in the camps. When a parent stays up all night nursing their child, this is loving compassion. Many new parents only know how challenging this is, but they do this for love. In Guyana and the United States there were people who wanted to do something about violence in the family. Pandit Tillack and other priests developed an educational program for youth to prevent future domestic violence. He did this with the help of many loving and compassionate people in the United States and Guyana. Dr. Vindhya Persaud and Pandit Jagmohan Persaud helped fund raise, along with many others, to build a center for abused children in Guyana called the Bal Navis Center. This is only one of the many projects of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Saba. It shows the power of forming collective action to improve society in a loving and compassionate way.
Being a warrior for progress and a loving, compassionate human being are two of the most important aspects of developing Shakti within yourself and the world. Go within and see your own personal Goddess given power to be a warrior for progress. If you only pray and meditate, it is not enough to effect progress in the world. You start with yourself, but you must go beyond just yourself to be a truly spiritual person. Be compassionate and loving with yourself first, then be that way with others. You have to get beyond what was given to as a child by your parents. You must expand your horizons to your neighborhood, city, country and even the whole Earth. Living ecologically is a high form of spirituality. You do not have to be a slave to the chemical industry. You can grow your own garden or buy organic food. As a low income person, I have bought organics and done well. Plant trees or support an organization who plants trees. Trees have compassion for us. We need to have compassion for them!
Wishing you a Happy Navratri! May the Mother bless you today and every day!
JAI SHRI MA! JAI SHRI SHAKTI! JAI SHRI COMPASSION!