‘Jai Maa’. Post-Navaratri musings…


Took a little while for this post to hit the press… written the day after Navaratri finished (Oct 15th), whilst in transit to north India for my ‘Magic in the Motherland’ Himachal Retreat, I have a chance to post it now that I’m back home again in the south. Although post-Navaratri sentiments they are, I feel, applicable at any time…

I’m sitting in Basunti Altar an airport again, reflecting on another extraordinary visit to Sri Narayani Peedam for Navaratri (9 nights of the Goddess), culminating in Vijaya Dasami yesterday, the 10th day and celebration of the slaying of the buffalo demon Mahishasura, a symbolic triumph in the eternal battle of good over evil constantly taking place in the heart of all seekers.

Demons were slayed for all of us these past 10 days, and the Love that caused it all so sweet and fierce and palpable.

Amma gave a long discourse last night, at one point talking about guru, the one who removes the ignorance or darkness that obscures the light of the Divine, opening our eyes to see it in everyone and everything.

If you want to climb a mountain, you go with a guide who has been there before, who knows the obstacles, challenges and dangers you are likely to meet on the path. In the same way, on the journey “home”, as Amma described it, our literal journey back to the start, it would make sense to enlist the help of one who has been where we want to go.

To be close to Amma – one who knows and shows the way home, is a feeling cocktail of awe, grace, peace, bliss, overwhelming gratitude and heart-breaking love, as well a sometimes very uncomfortable feeling of being utterly naked and totally seen, in past, present and future simultaneously, across numerous births. It feels like Amma can see who I was and what I’ve done (though I’ve forgotten); who I am now – my dreams, my fears, my thoughts, my heart; and also where I’m headed, knowing the best possible way to guide me there without letting my karma rip me to shreds.

That naked feeling is one of massive relief – I think all of us yearn to be seen like that, and yet at the same time a completely disarming feeling where all otherwise highly successful ploys, charm and tricks for winning the love and approval of others prove utterly ineffectual.

The game is up. There’s absolutely nowhere to hide in the midst of so much light. And while painful and even embarrassing sometimes, I’d never have it any other way because underneath Amma’s apparent rejection, disinterest or displeasure, is the most genuine and transformative love that I have ever known.

What Amma rejects is my falsehood, delusions of separation, pride, doubt, jealousy, stubbornness and selfish desire. What Amma stifles is the insistence of my ego in its desperate last-ditch attempts to assert some kind of control over something, to be something… someone. And what Amma nurtures is an infinitely and ever-expanding capacity for surrender and trust, showing again and again through the most exquisitely orchestrated real life scenarios that life gets so much better when I just let the Mystery be.

‘She’ is, by the way, nothing outside of us. While Her light and wisdom might shine most clearly through certain beings, it is absolutely within each and every one of us and is available whenever we become quiet, and earnestly open our eyes, ears, and hearts to listen for Her guidance.

Alleluia. Jai Maa. Thank God. How tiring it is to hold on. How futile it is to resist. How limited is my plan. How fantastic is Hers.

Om Namo Narayani. I surrender to You.