Conclusion of the Navaratri Festival
“If we are to connect
to the deep nourishing forces
of femininity and nature within and without
we must open our ear to hear her voice.
The voices of patriarchy
may deafen the tone of her wisdom.
The yogini is one who listens
to her mystical song.”
We are currently in the middle of one of the years most important Tantric celebrations: Navaratri, the 9 nights of the Goddess.
This year Navaratri will culminate on the 26th of October, on its concluding night which is dedicated to the goddess Durga and celebrates the victory of the divine feminine.
Victory over what?
And what is it that opposes the feminine?
These answers are not given out cheaply by the Goddess Durga, but must be investigated with ones Heart, if they are to be earned.
She is the great Ugra Devi (Intense Goddess).
She requires intensity of us if we are to approach her gate.
Tantricly, it is the time of victory, when the Feminine prevails over the patriarch. A hint as to the meaning of the ritual is given by the myth of Mahishasura…
The Legend of Mahishasura
The Legend of Mahishasura is where the story starts.
Mahishasura was a powerful yogi who’s powers went to his even more powerful head.
He became powerful through yogic austerities that gave him the power to call forth Bhrama, the creator. He earned a wish by the power of Siddhi.
Mahishasura demanded power and immortality.
He had earned great power and was initiated to something equally great. But Mahishasura overestimated his power. He assumed a greater height that he actually had.
In his self-satisfaction he was not careful in his wish before the creator.
He proudly proclaimed his wish to the creator that no God, Demon, Ghost, man or animal would be able to ever defeat him. He wished for absolute dominion over all of creation.
His wish was granted!
As the creator parted from Mahishasura,
he said: “watch out for a Woman,
you only said no man!”.
Mahishasura, fumbled for words and wished the wish to be rectified but it was too late to go back.
The creator left with a smirk…
Mahishasura did not believe a woman would ever have the power to defeat him.
He had great siddhi and thought he should not worry about it, and rather get busy in playing the new god to the creation that he believed was now in his hands.
He swam in the sea of self-aggrandisement and got busy in oppressing the beings of the three worlds to satisfy his will.
The three Worlds are known collectively as Triloka. They are the three worlds of the under, upper and the earth between them.
Mahishasura’s desires were perverse.
The once upon a time most dignified gods were now abjectly oppressed to do his instant bidding. Because of the blessing of the creator Brahma, Mahishasura was unstoppable.
The Gods surrendered and Mahishasura’s hideous guttural laughter could be heard echoing through the three worlds.
The Gods approached Shiva the destroyer who did not wish to be disturbed from his meditation.
Shiva’s samadhi kept the 3 worlds in order, and he didn’t feel compelled to do anything. They continued to agitate him until he opened his third eye for a second and said: “my wife will sort it out.”
Man and woman alike had been oppressed and made subservient to Mahishasura’s perverse rein of patriarchy. Cruelty and the rape of nature ensued, humans became drones to the mantras that he commanded them to recite.
Mahishasura enjoyed rapturous pleasure and did not keep to his Yog austerities and practices anymore. He grew pleasantly fat with a perpetual soft smile upon his cheeks. Shiva telepathically from his mountain heights asked his wife to go and look into the situation. She set off to meet Mahishasura.
When the beautiful daughter of the mountain king arrived in her innocent apparel, the great Mahishasura had no idea of the extent of her feminine power.
He invited the beauty to drink wine, he had only one thought on his mind that he believed could be accomplished with a click of his fingers.
He thought to himself, why not relax from all this oppressing and terrorising for a moment, and play a game of cat and mouse for a bit?
He thought he was the cat.
But soon he would learn who really commanded the game…
As he made his advance, he was thrown back with extreme force, his golden goblet dribbled it’s wine like scattered essence.
Never in his life had he been moved by anyone.
He advanced again with more ferocity.
This woman was a match!
Mahishasuras was a shape shifting yogi, and so he shifted through numerous forms to try and subdue to Goddess. The Goddess simply moved with him, matching every move.
He became a Giant, and the Devi became a vast Ugra Devi. He changed from animal to ghost in order to subdue her, but nothing worked!
He tried all the tricks he knew, even appearing as Sundernath, the beautiful form of her husband, nothing could get past this woman!
He tried the old trick of multiplication… as drops of his blood flew around he became many from each droplet. Still, nothing worked.
The great Mahishasura was impressed by such a woman, her power awakened deep perversity in him, he wished to conquer her with his manhood.
He saved his main trick till last, the trick of tricks that could never fail.
Mahishasura, it is to be remembered, derives his name from Buffalo, a creature of huge weight.
Mahish means buffalo and Asura means perverse.
In full blooded arousal he charged to mount the goddess who’s sari had fallen for an instant.
In the air he changed form from man to buffalo. Alas, the Trishul (trident) studently appeared from beneath the silken folds of Durga’s sari, bursting Mahishasura’s heart.
He gazed at her as he took his last breath, bewildered by the fat that a woman had defeated him.
He had not even had the change to shapeshift fully. His naked body splayed over the floor, only his head had turned to that of a Buffalo, his tongue rolled out of his mouth and lopped to the side. The Lion upon which Durga rode, sunk his fangs in, just to be sure!
FEMININE TRIUMPH OVER PATRIARCHY
Durga is the most Ugra of all forms.
When she is angry, all the Urga Devi’s shoot from her third eye.
She is Mother of the World.
She is at once nature and protector of nature.
She is a favourite to the Yogins.
Ambarani is the name of Durga as Queen of all the 3 worlds.
The trident that pierced Mahishasuras heart struck his being in all 3 levels, till not a trace of his oppression over the feminine remained.
The Goddess festival is concluded upon the defeat of the patriarch by the feminine.
The 9 nights of Navratri reach their climax on this night.
The feminine is victorious.
This Tantric teaching story has many connotations upon which to mediate.
Each Navaratri night has built up to strengthen the feminine principle.
The star forces are there to absorb by those who have quieted the other forces that oppress the voice of the Goddess.
The Goddess who keeps the heartless patriarch in his place is both an inner watcher and an outer necessity in our lives.
If we are to connect to the deep nourishing forces of femininity and nature within and without we must open our ear to hear her voice.
The voices of patriarchy
may deafen the tone of feminine wisdom.
The yogini is one who listens
to her mystical song.
Upon this night of Tantric ritual the age old circle practitioners meet to work with and to celebrate the feminine power.
The Tantrics have kept this ritual alive for aeons.
Through patriarchal rule of missionary religions, through the British and other male oriented empires upon the soil of the mystical culture, the Tantra has never been lost, it has lived on secretly on the outskirts and in the shadows.
The sacred feminine ritual of the Mother of all worlds.
Tantrics practice the Mudras and Mantras of Durga.
The Ugra mantras translate as the terrible sounds.
They are part of the Gupt (hidden) practices.
They are techniques that create sound
while subtlety choking the throat
through an inner contraction.
They produce fear and passion simultaneously
in the practitioner and raise inner substance
to work Tantricly with.
They raise the Prana and create great heat in the system.
A heat that feeds Kundalini with one’s Shakti, if it is concentrated.
The Maage mudras of the Buffalo and Sheer mudras of the Lion comprise a great part of this ritual.
Above all, it is a ritual of working with, empowering and celebrating the feminine power.