Navaratri Satsang, at The Ashram
Shree Peetha Nilaya, 01 October 2019
On the third night of Navaratri, Paramahamsa Vishwananda spoke about Goddess Chandraghanta. It is She who removes all doubt and other limitations from the restless mind so that it can focus on yearning for the Divine.
Jai Gurudev, everybody!
You know, I was just listening to Swami Dhanamjay and I was asking myself this question: Okay, if you had the Divine vision, what would you do with that? You would go around, say, ‘Yay, yippee, I have seen that!’ You know how quickly you forget things? You know, what amazes me so much about human beings especially, is how quickly they forget the good things in their lives. It’s amazing. Even if you had Divine vision, doubt would overcome it very quickly. I’ve seen so many like that.
Even if you had Divine vision, doubt would overcome it very quickly.
Today we are celebrating the third day of Maha Maya which is Goddess Chandraghanta. She has 10 hands with so many weapons.
The name Chandraghanta: ‘Chandra’ means the moon. The moon actually represents the mind. It’s very similar to the verse of the Gita for today. [Chapter 11, Verse 6] It is this mind which is scattered all around, which is always in constant movement from left to right, right to left, and it is this mind which is deluded by so many things. Even when you think you know something, still the mind is very busy.
Next to that name is ‘ghanta’, which means a bell. Often people who do OM Chanting hear many mystical sounds. They hear a bell sound very often, actually. But to hear this sound is not just a normal sound. It is an inner sound which is ringing for something else to awaken, for you to be awake. If you stay in a dormant state always, you will become lazy; you will take your life for granted and you will never appreciate anything in your life. But life is not only good things. There are also “not good” things happening according to your point of view. But a devotee who is surrendered to the Lord’s Feet has this trust that everything that the Lord gives them is for their own benefit. That is what Swami Dhanamjay was talking about earlier. There are many professors who can talk about great philosophies, but in private it doesn’t mean that they believe in that. Unless one has experienced what they are talking about, that always stays just an idea.
So, Chandraghanta, that aspect of the Mother today, the third day. It’s divided into three parts, you know, rajasic, tamasic and sattvic. That part here is Goddess Durga, the one who removes all the doubt. Chandraghanta is the same, the last of this one-third of the nine days is the one that removes all the doubt from the mind, so that the mind can become elevated, become a single-pointed mind, and become focused. If the mind is always wandering around, you will never be free. Only when the mind is fully focused will one have that yearning. Yearning doesn’t happen just like that. To yearn you must know what you are yearning for. The Shashtra talks about yearning for the Feet of the Lord. Don’t let the mind run left and right. You have done that so for many lives. Why carry on doing the same thing? Luckily, Bhagavan has sent the Guru in your life to remind you where you have to focus that mind. But to transcend this mind that is wandering around is not an easy thing, no? It’s a constant. Arjuna knows that Krishna is not a normal being, but yet, even being in His presence, he could not perceive Him. He had to make himself ready. All this time Krishna was talking to him and transforming that mind so that he could go beyond the limitation which he himself has put there.
Goddess Durga is the one who removes all the doubt. Chandraghanta is the same...the one that removes all the doubt from the mind, so that the mind can become elevated, become a single-pointed mind, and become focused.
Imagine how many limitations you have ever given to yourself. Forget about past lives. Think about this life itself! I am not telling you think about past lives; you don’t even remember what you did when you were young, so it’s a bit too much to think about your last life. So, even being here, listening every day, still your mind is still full of doubt, full of dirt, which you still have to purify. So, imagine that! Don’t think that everyone who lives in the ashram are very pure in their minds, or that they all have transcended the mind. No, no, no, they are not. It is a constant work in progress, because bhakti doesn’t awaken just like that. That yearning must be there, that faith must be there. Because, when we are talking about the scriptures, it’s not just out of curiosity. Don’t think that spirituality is just to satisfy your curiosity. No, it is not just that. It is to have that experience one-to-one, that Realisation. Not just hearing it, and saying, ‘Okay, yes, it’s a beautiful story’.
But those who really sincerely experience the Grace, firstly, of the Guru and secondly, the Grace of God, they never forget about it, not a single time. Like it is said, once you have touched love in your life, you can never forget it. You may try, but you can’t. Like Surdas said to Krishna, ‘You are claiming to be the Supreme Lord, no? You are claiming to be the most powerful of every creation, You are the Supreme Lord Himself, no? I challenge You in one thing.’ Then Surdas said, ‘Make me stop loving You. I challenge You on that.’ Imagine what kind of strength and power, and what kind of surrender he must have had, to say, ‘I challenge You: make me stop loving You.’ Can you do that? Ask Swami Revati if he can do that. He had an experience, you know.
You see, people can talk, and yes, we talk every day about we love, we love, we love, but love is not that. Love is transcending; when you become one with the one that you are loving, when you perceive at every moment that He is sitting in your heart. That kind of focus, that kind of aim, that’s what your soul wants. But unless you transcend that mind… You know, we are talking about Chandraghanta, and when we look at the moon, the moon has many phases, no? The waxing moon, the waning moon. So, like that, you also go through many phases, but is your mind focused? Is your mind absorbed? If your mind is continuously running around, you will never perceive. You may say it, but in an experience, you are fully absorbed within it.
Story of Paramahamsa Ramakrishna's disciple
There was once a saint… You have heard about Paramahamsa Ramakrishna, no? He had one disciple, Narendra [who later became known as Vivekananda]. This disciple, from a very young age, was looking for his Guru. So, when the time came, he met his Guru, Sri Ramakrishna. Every day Narendra would go and have Darshan of Ramakrishna. And Narendra was not very rich. In his house, they didn’t have so much food, but he would tell his mother he was going to his friend’s and he would eat there. What he really would do was go to his Guru and he would sit there. And, of course, Ramakrishna knew this and he would feed him with lots of prasad. At the end of Ramakrishna’s life, when Ramakrishna was on his deathbed, Narendra was sitting next to him, and Ramakrishna reminded him of that time when he was telling his mother that he would go and eat at his friend’s place. So, for days and days he would go on like that. He would not eat [the family's food], but he would ask the mother to feed his brother.
Ramakrishna was telling the story to him and reminding him of the story. Then he said, ‘Remember, I was giving you lots of food, lots of prasad, so that you would say, ‘I can’t eat so much prasad!’ Then he said, ‘How do you think that I knew about that?’
The disciple said, ‘But Gurudev, You are antaryami; You know everything.’
Ramakrishna said, ‘Yes, but more than that, what is it? The Guru is seated inside of the heart.’ That’s what we say when we have Guru Bhakti. He said, ‘The Guru is seated within the heart of the bhakta. So, whatever the bhakta experiences, whether it is hunger, joy, sadness, happiness, whatever, the Guru is part of that also. So, when you were not eating, I also was not and I was feeding you. By you eating, I was being fed also.’
So, he reminded him that the Guru has lots of mouths and lots of bodies. He reminded him that he is never alone and that the Guru will do whatever is needed for the devotees to achieve why they have come here. Because the devotees don’t know why they are here.
When you read in the Bhagavad Gita, you see how Bhagavan Krishna is continuously reminding not only Arjuna, He is reminding each one about the importance of controlling the mind, and how important it is to have faith, because without faith, bhakti doesn’t exist. Bhakti will not awaken inside of the heart if there is no faith. It is through faith that bhakti awakens; it is through faith that one will experience that. Faith is not superficial. You may appear very holy on the outside and very often, I see devotees in front of me and they are very, ‘Oh, Swamiji, Guruji, oooh’; they put on a very humble face, you know. And sometimes when I coincidentally see them outside, everything is out and the clothes are completely different.
So, Chandraghanta…only when you have faith will you hear the inner calling. That bell is not just a bell outside, but it’s a bell which is calling from within. When your heart is longing, when your heart is burning with such a … I can’t find the words for it. Not desire, but your heart is burning for when the next moment will be.