This article is a chapter from the book The Devi Mahatmya.
Beloved Immortal Selves,
Today you have all assembled in shrines and temples devoted to the great Goddess, the Divine Mother, for celebrating the Dussera. This function is celebrated in various parts of India in different styles. But the one basic aim of this celebration is to propitiate Sakti to bestow upon you all wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, Vidya and all other potent powers. Whatever be the particular or special request that every one of you may put before the Goddess, whatever boon you may ask of Her, the one thing behind all these motives is propitiation, worship and linking oneself with Her. There is no other aim. This is being effected consciously or unconsciously. Everyone is blessed with Her loving mercy and is protected by Her.
This unique aim is yours not only in this particular occasion but every moment of your life. There is incessant struggle within you. The inner self struggles to escape from the clutches of the various senses, being sheathed and suppressed by them. It constantly warns you to identify this self with the major Self. It reminds you that you are on return journey unto the place whence you started. Whether it is your will or not, there is no second course or second destination left or reserved for you. You have to retrace your path. And on no spot can you dwell longer than the wink of an eye. Any amount of retardation on your part will not arrest this onward course. The more the momentum you gain, the sooner you will return to the destination or the goal. Therefore, equip yourself with proper contrivance and speed up. Do not waste a single minute. The leading of your life and the various aspects of it may differ from others, as the boon you ask of the Mother is different from your neighbour’s. But the view of both is the same and the views of different lives too. Every one yearns for liberation.
Throw a ball on the floor. It rebounds. It attempts to reach the same point wherefrom it was thrown. But there is a difference in the return of one ball from the other. A ball with a thick cover, air fully inflated rebounds quickly whereas a Japan ball takes a longer time. Why? There is no sufficient stuff in the latter ball. As soon as it reaches the ground it loses its spherical shape. It gets deformed. The impact is too heavy for it. It has lost everything. It has to attain slowly its momentum.
We are all like Japan balls. We must cover ourselves with Vairagya, inflate with Bhakti and devotion. Kirtans and prayer are double piston air pumps. Meditation is the space of travel. Jnana is the acceleration which takes the ball to its original position. This overcomes Avidya, the down-pulling gravitation. Selfless duty removes all the dust particles adhering to us in the form of egoism and vices. These are the equipment. These can be manufactured by one’s own self as the outcome of various experiences in life. But it is better that it is acquired from parents. You can save much time.
Parents are the well-wishers of the children. They should not allow their children to cultivate bad habits. They must not sing cinema songs and other meaningless blabberings to lull their babes. Only Kirtans glorifying the various forms of the Lord should be used. Sing “Hari Hari Bol, Bol Hari Bol, Mukunda Madhava Kesava Bol.” This tune is very melodious. It is a sweet lullaby. At the same time it leaves deep imprints in the mind of the babe. You do not know what the mind of a child is. You are not capable of understanding its language. A child is full of divine qualities. It is only due to your bad company the child is spoiled. You nurse the child too much. You train the child with toilets and luxuries. You make these articles indispensable for him in later life.
“As is the father, so is the son.” What habits you have acquired in the circle of your movement creep into him also. If you play at cards, your son too will do so stealthily if not openly before you. If you smoke, your son is sure to smoke. First correct yourself. The moment you realise that a son will be born to you, eradicate all the evil habits. Grains will grow perfectly only if the weeds are removed. The birth of a child is an A.R.P siren. It is a danger signal for you to be cautious.
The mud pot is useful only as long as the seed or the bulbous plant grows roots. Afterwards it should not be kept in the pot. If it is kept not only the plant will suffer undergrowth but the pot will be broken. It must be immediately transplanted in a fertile field. The child must be kept in the house only as long as it is not in a position to discriminate between good and bad. The day the child shows a tendency to like or dislike, it must be taken to a tutor and entrusted to him. It is no more a child. Now he is a boy fit to receive instructions. Any parent, who ignorant of this fact, keeps the boy at home virtually stifles and snuffs out the moral, ethical and cultural life-growth in the boy.
Only such tutors who feel it their responsibility to make an ideal man of the boy entrusted to them are to take up the training. Here comes the duty of the tutor. The tutor is not merely to cram certain portions from the prescribed text-books and lecture them to the boys. He is to teach and not to lecture. He must live what he teaches and transform by shining example. He must carefully watch the individual progress and satisfy himself as to the mental and ethical growth of every boy. More than teaching subjects such as science, history, arithmetic, the tutor must give enough of moral instructions to the boys. Their character must be built in such a way that it can never be shaken by any amount of adverse influence of the society in which the boys may have to move after their pupilship.
The father, the mother and the Guru are solely responsible for the righteous behaviour of the boy. Brimming with knowledge all-round the boy comes out as a full blossom. This blossom floats its sweet smell over a vast area. Attracted by the smell, bees crowd to extract and enjoy the honey of wisdom contained in this boy. Now no more a boy but a full-blown Yogi, he mines treasures of secret wisdom not only for the benefit of others but for his own. He is an ideal man. He is the ideal Yogi. He is fit to be called the son of God. He brings name and fame to the parents. A Collector or a Governor is revered or recognised only as long as he holds the post or at the most to the end of his life. But this Jnani, this realised soul is remembered and worshipped not only in this cycle of evolution but eternally.
O Mothers! Pray for such a child. Even if you give birth to hundred children without good qualities you won’t be happy—and children too. Gandhari had hundred sons. Kunti gave birth to three. Kausalya Devi to one and only one. Whom do you like to be? Gandhari or Kausalya?
Pray unto the Goddess to bestow upon you one such son to keep up your progeny. Sakti is all. She can do anything. She can make or mar. She can mend or end. You can worship Her in any form. The very creation of this universe is solely due to Her. We are all spring-dolls in Her hand. Kriya, Iccha, Jnana are the three forms of Power by which this world is ruled. Worship of Sakti gives not only prosperity but liberation from all bondages. Devi declares: “I am of the nature of Brahman, I am of the nature of Prakriti, Purusha. I am Knowledge and ignorance. I am the Self-power. I am the eternal Truth. I am the non-dual power of Brahman.”
May you all celebrate this Dussera with full faith and sincere devotion. May the choicest blessings of Goddess Sakti be upon you all!