Navratri is a very special festival devoted solely to the Mother Goddess — known variously as Durga, Bhavani, Gauri, Kaali, Parvati, Lalitha, Saraswati, Chamundi, Mahishasuramardini and her many other manifestations. I was trying to see how to explain these divine forms and its significance to my kids, when I read this beautiful article on Significance of Navratri from the Art of Living website. But as I read these, I could only see how every mother fulfills all these nine roles, just about every day!
As the first avatar Shailaputri, she exudes the highest peak of emotion.In the pure love that fills the mother’s being the moment she lays eyes on her newborn, and then only grows manifold with every passing day..thinking only of the child, reveling in motherhood, completely and unselfishly.
As Brahmacharini, she is truly omnipresent, not indulging in small things, not getting stuck in small limited things but indulging in the whole. She thinks of the family and its goals- happiness, health and peace always. Whether it meant working late in the night to finish her office work, but being there at 6pm home to spend a few hours with her child before he falls asleep; or nudging the child to exercise regularly even if he protests or dropping that argument where she is certainly justified for the sake of peace in the house. ..every mother does it, day in and day out.
As Chandraghanta, while she being naturally emotional, finds often herself torn between the ambitions and dreams that are her own, depression at feeling unappreciated , sadness at being judged and misunderstood.. yet when it comes to her duty, the scattered and entangled mind finds a single pointed, unparalleled strength to be a good mother..and rises above this noise.
As the radiating Kushmanda, she is the energy that powers the home.Just running on the pure love from her family, she juggles maid woes, class schedules, friendships and heartbreaks, office politics, weight loss issues..she does it all! Don’t trust me.. just check the mood of the home when the mom falls sick!
As the Mother of Wisdom, Skandamata is that form that brings practical wisdom and action together. From teaching you to eat on your own, to nudging you to get the skills you need to succeed, a mother has influenced and honed our power to act. When you have had that first fight with your best friend or were too scared to face a bully…it is she who inspires you to invoke that strength of knowledge from within and act. And not to forget, she is the one who will grind the veggies and hide it in the pasta sauce, replace the Lays with baked sweet potato chips, switch to healthy, fortified oils in serving your favourite samosa and sneak in those multigrains into your meal, supporting her children’s growth today thereby ensuring a healthy tomorrow.
As, the Upholder of Truth, Katyayani, she is fury cutting negativity for the purpose of restoring Dharma. Who can forget your mother’s fury the first time you lied or cheated? And she is your moral compass, telling you clearly the right from the wrong.
In her seventh form , she is Kaalratri, a very fierce and terrifying form. She is death incarnate for demons. So is a mother. She is the one who quells all your fears. She is the one who will go to every extent to demolish all the negative influences in your life.
In her eighth form, she is Mahagauri, beautiful, serene and resplendent… as only a mother can look, even when she comes back tired and ruffled and gets a big hug from the kids, then gets pulled in differed directions to be told the top news of the day.. she glows in that warm fuzzy love, perfectly beautiful!
And finally as Siddhidhatri she blesses you with fulfillment and totality in every sphere of life… which of course is every mother’s blessing for her child.
Truly so, while we honour and worship the Divine mother in all her glorious forms, let us take a moment to thank the Mothers on this earth.. worship the goddess of your home, your mother, your wife, your sister, your daughter, your niece, your aunt, your friend and all the ladies, who have “mothered” you, who make your life bliss.
As Spiritual Guru Deepak Chopra puts it, “We need the feminine qualities of leadership, which include nurturing, affection, intuition, attention to aesthetics and the environment, …these are the qualities that make people feel safe and cared for”