05 October 2022, Amritapuri Ashram
Navaratri – Vijayadasami Celebrations
For the last three days, the Amritapuri stage was filled with books, musical instruments and other working instruments. These items were worshipped through various pujas, to invoke blessings for the owners of these instruments of knowledge, that kept them there.
Daily when Amma came to the stage, she would be joined by all the ashram children and lead them in a prayer and offer flowers at the altar.
This was part of the bigger celebration over the last 9 days, that included daily special pujas and bhajans that were conducted at the Kalari and in the main hall.
On Vijaya Dasami day, the 10th day of this festival, Amma initiated everyone into the world of written letters. Amma herself wrote letter by letter in a plate of rice, ‘Om Hari Sri Ganapataye Namah.’ Letter by letter Amma would write and everyone else would write the same letter on the floor with their fingers, and ask everyone to loudly repeat each letter after her.
After this group ceremony, Amma personally initiated many young kids, around 3 years old, into the light of knowledge. She personally took them onto her lap and holding their finger, helped them write out the same mantra letter by letter.
Exerpts from Amma’s Vijaya Dasami message
Speaking on the occasion, Amma said: “Vijayadasami is the celebration of a remarkable victory. All of us have experienced different kinds of success in life. For example, scoring high marks in school and college tests, winning competitions, success in sport, art or business ventures, victory in war, and so on. However, the greatest victory of all is the victory over our own mind. Vijayadasami is the celebration of such a victory.
All the demonic force and divine forces reside in our mind. Vijayadasami is a celebration of the victory of the divine forces over the demonic ones. In other words, Vijayadasami is our victory over our lower tendencies and the realisation of our true divine nature. It is transcending the finite and realising the infinite.
In order to achieve such a victory, we need the blessing of Parasakti—the supreme transcendental force that controls the universe. This is why we worship that parasakti—the Goddess, who is the Mother, female in form, and who is prakrti [Nature] embodied.
Sarasvati Devi, the embodiment of knowledge, is adorned in a white garment. When we wear white, any dirt is immediately seen. We will not continue to wear it until it is cleaned. The principle behind wearing white is that the heart has to be similarly pure.
The swan, which represents paravidya [knowledge of the Absolute] and the peacock, which represents aparavidya [knowledge of the world] are both vehicles of the goddess. In her four hands, Devi holds a veena, a japa-mala and a book. Devi’s four arms represent the four directions. The veena represents nada-brahman—the vibration of transcendental sound—as well as all the arts. The book represents knowledge, both worldly as well as spiritual. The japa-mala represents meditation. The mind has to be brought under our control. The japa-mala is a practical shortcut to control the mind. The mind is taught not to wander. Even when sitting idle, the mind should continue to chant. Through continuous chanting, energy can be generated, the mind can be brought under control and steady awareness can be maintained.
While material life air-conditions the external world, spirituality air-conditions the internal world—our mind. Even in palatial homes, people commit suicide and suffer from mental illness. Spirituality teaches us how to control the mind. It teaches us to adjust it in any situation. Just as the gears of a vehicle can be shifted to adjust to the type of road—be it bumpy or steep or winding—so too spirituality gives us the capacity to adjust to any circumstance. This was taught in the gurukulas of old. Children also got this teaching at home. After this, when they led a family life, they continued to maintain their reverence and gratitude towards everything on Earth. They showed us by example for posterity to follow.
Today, our education system is mainly based on success in material life. However, a complete and holistic education should provide us with the courage to stand on our own two feet and face any challenging situation with ease. It should awaken our intellectual curiosity. It should kindle our ability to reflect. It should give us the potential to seek and find solutions independently. A good education should shape one’s character, encourage social responsibility and build consideration for one’s fellow-beings. In short, it should impart a good moral culture to the individual.
Considering others’ feelings is a sign of true culture. Education should develop culture. Culture is compassion. Real education is that which elucidates the fundamental truths. The years of education are the years upon which one builds one’s life.
It is the grace of Devi, the cosmic power, that is responsible for all attainments and progress in life. She manifests as knowledge, love and all ideal virtues. This entire universe is but a play of that cosmic power. Hence, we should see the Mother of the Universe in everything and love and serve everyone equally, without prejudice. May Vijayadasami shine brightly in each one of you. May divine grace shower blessings on you all.”
A total of 265 ashramites participated in Nadapuja, a musical offering that included, everyone from small kids to the elderly. 165 tabla players, 75 kaimani players, 6 singers, 14 harmonium players, and a keyboard, mridangam, veena and edakka player – all performed 3 bhajans beautifully in unison as Amma and the rest of the ashram watched in awe and appreciation.