Amma’s Vijayadasami Message 2017
September 30, 2017 – Amritapuri Ashram
This is the holy day on which we hold the fingers of the tender new generation and initiate them into learning. Vijayadasami is the culmination of the past nine days of Sakti worship. Invoking the blessings of Sarasvati Devi, the Goddess of Learning, children enter the world of knowledge. Holding the index finger of the child, we make them write the mantra ‘om hari sri ganapataye namah’ in rice. It is when the child surrenders its finger to the guru, that it is able to receive the teaching from the guru.
The real explanation behind this is as follows: The guru holds the index finger of the child to do the first writing. The index finger is normally used to point out mistakes in others. We tend to point this finger and say, “He is like that! That guy is like this!” It can also be called the finger of the ego. When we point the index finger at someone, three other fingers point back at us. When we point our finger at someone else, we forget that we have made threefold as many mistakes. Surrendering the index finger for the guru to hold is an expression of surrendering the ego. When knowledge dawns, humility follows. A truly knowledgeable person will be humble. Seeing the divine in everyone, he will respect everyone. Everything is God’s creation; only our ego is our creation.
The guru’s love and grace flow to the disciple when the guru sees the disciple’s surrender. On Vijayadasami, even scholars will write om hari sri ganapataye namah. It marks their rebirth as a beginner. The beginner’s humble attitude “I know nothing” and his desire, enthusiasm and patience to understand guide him to supreme knowledge. Vijayadasami reminds us to safeguard that humility, enthusiasm and surrender throughout our life.
During the nine days leading up to Vijayadasami, Devi is worshipped in different manifestations. Durga is worshipped for good health and success; Mahalakshmi, for wealth; and Sarasvati for knowledge. To achieve material success, each of these is essential: health, wealth and knowledge.
Since ancient times, the tradition of worshipping the Supreme in the feminine—as the Mother—has been prevalent in India as well as in some other regions of the world. In fact, many children from different parts of the world have brought Amma forms of the Divine Mother as was worshipped in their ancient traditions. All four Vedas praise the Parasakti—the feminine energy. This can be seen in Durga Suktam, Sri Suktam, etc.
In the Ramayana, Lord Rama invokes Goddess Durga for victory over Ravana. Similarly, as instructed by Lord Krishna, the Pandavas worshipped Goddess Durga for victory in the Mahabharata War. In order to wed Lord Krishna, the gopis invoked Goddess Durga. All this goes to show just how ancient the tradition of Devi worship is in our culture.
Sanatana Dharma gives each individual the freedom to worship God in whatever manifestation or mood he likes. Among all worldly relationships, the deepest and strongest bond is between mother and child. This is why all devotees, as well as all the spiritual seekers, find a special bliss and contentment in invoking God as a mother—the all-pervading Jagadambika.
An ordinary mother’s love is restricted to her own children. The Mother of the Universe, on the other hand, has this same love for all of creation. It is a selfless love that flows equally to all creatures alike. The Mother of the Universe is also the cause for the universe’s creation, sustenance and dissolution. Like the sun and its light, like honey and its sweetness, like the veena and its sounds, like a word and its meaning, this world and the power of God that exists as the world’s foundation are inseparable. In that sense, everything we perceive in this world is but a different manifestation or mood of the Divine Goddess.
God talks to us in the language of silence. When thoughts subside and the mind becomes calm, we will be able to hear the melody of God who is constantly residing within us. God sees and knows all our thoughts, actions, silences and everything else because all beings in creation reside in that infinite and supreme Sakti. A mother is able to understand the meaning of her toddler’s glances and garbled words. She understands even the child’s silent moods. Similarly, Devi is able to know her devotees’ desires, even without them telling her. Perhaps Devi prefers the prayer of the mind that is silent and meditative—without thoughts—rather than those of the mind filled with countless desires. Perhaps that is why one of Devi’s names is Mookambika—the Silent Mother. She is the supreme energy that silently knows and does everything, yet is unattached, untouched and, like the infinite sky, a witness to everything.
Beyond material prosperity, Navaratri gives the message of a seeker’s step-by-step evolution towards the final goal of Self-realization. Jagadambika removes the impurities and destroys the ego of the seeker who has made God-realization his life’s goal. In the stillness thus created, she awakens one to the Inner Self.
On Durgashtami, we keep our books and tools for worship and take it back on Vijayadasami. This symbolizes offering our lives to the Divine and receiving back what we offered as prasad. It is like making a new beginning after imbibing the ideals of remembrance of God and surrender to the Divine.Whatever be our profession—be we a soldier or a tailor or whatever—we will place our tools for worship on Durgashtami. The objective here is to remember that God is the real doer and power behind our actions. It is an act of surrender to the Divine. It helps us to be less egoistic in our successes. Remembrance of God and surrender to the Divine are what make our life truly blessed. Through knowledge coupled with the right kind of effort, we become receptive to grace.
Due to our karmas and desires, there will be happiness and sorrow in life. Only through the attitude of acceptance can we move forward in life peacefully. Only this moment is with us. Even our next breath is not in our hands. So, in this moment, let us be happy. Like any other decision, happiness is also a decision. Even if we laugh or cry, the days will pass away. So, let us try to smile and be cheerful. Let us engage ourselves in good actions. Let our words be filled with kindness. Let there be compassion in our looks. Amma prays to the Paramatman that my children have the strength for all this. May Divine grace always protect all of you.