Celebrating the Festival of Navaratri at the Ashram
Updated: Apr 15, 2020
Everyone is invited to immerse themselves into so called Navaratri Sadhana
In the spirit of the ashram
ashram house manager, yogi
Since the beginning of this month Beacon Yoga Centre has been closed for public programs as hatha yoga and satsangs (spiritual discussions). The ashram is closed but there are 6 residents continuing living in the spirit of Yoga. Everyday they resolve “Serve Love Give Purify Meditate Realize Be Good Do Good”.
We have a tradition at Beacon Yoga Centre to celebrate the festival of Navaratri twice in the year. During this time everyone is invited to immerse themselves into so called Navaratri Sadhana. It is a time to connect with the principle of the Cosmic Mother who gave life to the whole creation. They say that connection is usually through the heart and if the heart is pure and the resolve strong you are able to have Her darshan (vision). And our resolve was strong and our hearts were longing…so all residents joined the purification journey started on 25th March with a yogi purification practice of drinking 1.5L salty water…it was not easy….during and after….especially for those people who had never done Lagoo before.
For the next 9 days the whole ashram was fasting on kitcheree only as it is considered as a perfect satwic food for yogis. Each day started with Devi Puja early on sunrise. Devi was worshiped in a form of Mother Durga for the first three days, in a form of Mother Laxmi for the second three days, and in a form of Mother Saraswati for the last three days.
Day by day the participants were gaining skills in Sanskrit chanting. At the end of the 9 days period I was amazed how quickly they all have learnt a proper Sanskrit pronunciation of mantras that usually takes years to develop. The seven residents were taking turns hosting the event of the morning puja. They had to clean the puja area, set up for the next day, do a research and prepare a reading on the topic for the corresponding quality of the Divine Mother. Each day was unique, each day was beautiful. Each day a specific quality was invoked- Mother that transforms the negative tendencies in us, Mother that is always loving and providing with what we need, not what we want, Mother that is a constant source of wisdom and beauty in life.
On the last day 3rd of April the end of Navaratri was celebrated with the story of Rama coming from the great epos of Ramayana. The story tells about a fight of the Divine Consciousness – Rama with the Ego and the Demonic tendencies – Ravana and the triumph of Rama who had to use his intelligence to win over the battle. Hearing the story one of the residents exclaimed “This battle happens every day inside me”.
We were blessed to be able to pray every day to the Divine Mother for Universal health and Peace for all the people around the world. Oh Mother forgive us all mistakes and grant us understanding heart, equal vision, balanced mind to go through these challenging times. Hari Om.
Last week here at the Ashram we took nine days to celebrate the divine mother through the practice of Navratri.
It was a beautiful week with all residents participating in daily morning Havans (fire ceremonies) and a special devi Kirtan on Sunday evening. In addition we fasted with kitchari and cut salt, sugar, dairy and processed foods from our diet.
For me it was a profound period of sadhana although not without its challenges. By day four I was desperately craving salt but, as does everything else, this too passed. It was interesting to see how I often eat for taste rather than need and how sensitive my taste buds and senses were by the end. By the ninth day every resident was ready to swear off lentils for the next month and we all thoroughly enjoyed the celebration of a beautiful breakfast feast on the 10th day.
The experience has made me more aware of how blessed I am to have such a variety and abundance of food available to me, especially when most of the world's population doesn’t.