This article is a chapter from the book The Devi Mahatmya.
The nine-day worship of the Divine Mother has just been celebrated by millions of Hindus. It is but meet that one should refresh one’s memory about the significance of this worship of the symbolic Power of the cosmic Consciousness, which we call variously as God, the Providence, the Immortal Spirit, and rededicate oneself for the realization of the goal.
The Divine Mother is symbolised as the transcendental dynamism of the Absolute, which governs this universe. The law of gravitation, of cause and effect, of evolution, are all representative of this cosmic dynamism. It is the symbolic Power behind creation, preservation and dissolution; the whole universe is the manifestation of this Power.
In the early dawn of civilisation, the Hindu mind conceived of the symbol of the eternal Consciousness in the idolisation of the Mother Divine, which was a more appealing, comprehensible, filially close and intimate, emotionally satisfactory and domestically affable conception than that of a vague, formless, unqualitative, ungraspable, ethereal ideal that could be one’s goal and support of life.
All the world is gigantic imagination of the mind; says the Sruti. Yet, it has vivid, decisive and relatively substantial reality so far as one’s physical, emotional, intellectual and subconscious entities are concerned. Likewise, any concept featured out of imagination, enlivened by faith and devotion, and magnetized by concentration and meditation, can certainly have a physically substantial, mentally responsive, materially reciprocative, intellectually conceivable and spiritually transformative reality, which can have a far-reaching effect in the human life in its evolution towards Self-realisation.
The Pauranic anecdote of the Mother Divine represents the triumph of the Divine Power over the myriads of dark forces of negativity—too well-known in all human lives—in the struggle between the dual factors of good and evil, truth and untruth, virtue and vice, freedom and involution, light and darkness. The occasion, therefore, is an annual reminder to the aspirant of the great Cosmic Law that the divine will always prevail ultimately over the undivine.
The Navaratri is an annual awakening call to experience and express afresh the divine nature in man, make manifest the light of truth and love to vanquish and conquer the forces of evil within; for, it is through the positive forces of love and brotherhood and selflessness that negative and undivine elements can be effectively eliminated from the hearts and the minds of people. Darkness can never resist light. Truth, light and goodness are synonymous terms; they are the visible expressions of God.
Truth alone triumphs, however long and agonising its twisting duel with untruth may be. The positive must and does overcome the negative. The call of the Mother is to rouse oneself to this truth and regulate one’s life as a dynamic expression of divine positivism. The message of the Mother is: Become a practical embodiment and champion of positive idealism, relative usefulness without attachment to the world, self-perfection, equal vision, balance of mind, motiveless service to humanity, unselfishness and absolute humility.
Let one’s life, therefore, be based on a perfect righteousness and purity; let one’s idealism and goodness be eminently practical; let one’s virtues be vital, effective and life-transforming; let all aspire to be good, do good, and radiate goodness.
The solace and salvation of the world consist in living the life divine. The brotherhood that one professes should be brotherhood in practice. The intellect and the emotion should be simultaneously activated by the self-same ideal.
The evolutional process of nature always works in stages; all creativity or constructiveness is modulated according to the law of evolution. Evolution is the process of the unfoldment of real life and true growth. It results in permanent achievement. Therefore, one has to cultivate all that is good and noble through positive and constructive process of growth.
If one wants happiness and well-being, one has to cast aside all violence and hate, and experience and radiate wave after wave of peace, serenity and compassion. Life without selfishness, lust, anger, greed and vanity is itself divine life. To nurture the plant of love, one has to pull out the weeds of jealousy, hate, suspicion and revenge.
Not to do evil deeds, not to cause the slightest hurt even to the lowliest of the lowly, not to vilify anyone, not to gain at the cost of others, not to be impure and unholy, not to be deceitful and sly, not to choose the pleasant in preference of the good, have been the central teachings of all the saints and prophets all over the world. Cruelty towards any creation is cruelty done to Mother Herself. The essence of religion consists in refraining from harm to anyone.
May all work together to overcome hate by love, evil by goodness, injustice by justice, untruth by truth, selfishness by selflessness. May peace be unto all. May the blessing of the Mother Divine lead all from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, from mortality to immortality.