Mother Durga

 

  (In 1961, one Sunday. Mangalore.)

        That Sunday, the disciples at Mangalore requested us (my husband and me) to recite the Lalitha Ashtothara, the litany of 108 names of Devi, at the end of Bhajan.Glorious roses were heaped in trays for the archana.The Bhajan commenced. Later when Mother came, it was into the midst of ecstatic songs in praise of sri Krishna Mother took Her seat and after the song was over started to speak. The words were about the need for absolute self surrender in the life of Sadhaka.Mother said that even though Sri Krishna expounded the Gita to Arjuna,Arjuna surrendered absolutely only when Lord revealed His Viswaroopa.Repeating “Viswarupa ,Viswarupa”,in thunderous voice,Mother rose from Her seat and stood amidst us in the magnificence of Mahabhava.At first,naturally,we all thought Mother was in the bhava of Sri Krishna.Then we realized She stood in the queenly majesty of Devi,one hand raised in chinmudra and other in the celestial Abhaya Mudra.

         Mother stood just in front of us, facing the small shrine in the hall. Some of the disciples brought my husband to my side requesting us to recite Lalitha Ashtothara and offer the roses at Mother’s Feet. We were both rather hesitant, as we had heard that Mother was not accepting any sort of worship those days. But some inner power compelled us and we started the beautiful prayer, offering the flowers at Mother’s Lotus Feet. Mother stood a glowing figure when devotees offered garlands. When the verse “Chanda munda Nishumbhadi khandanayai Namo Namah”(meaning She who destroys the demons Chanda,Munda and Nishumbha) was recited, Mother raised Her Foot and stamped on the ground .We felt as if the earth itself was shaking under the power of that divine force.

        Soon the ashtothara was over, but still Mother did not come to body consciousness.A great urge rose in our hearts to worship Her with Durga Nama which we were reciting daily. But fear lingered that She might descent from the Mahabhava and not receive the worship.

So like nervous children we started the first line”Om Hreem Rama Devaiah Namah”.The moment it was uttered, with a move of force and grace, Mother turned and face us.

Her body began to sway from side to side, and on Her face was the light of divine Ananda.the glorious Durga, she of power and beauty was before us was indeed before us, intimate and immediate, the Hands raising the Abhaya Varada Mudra, and receiving our heart’s worship. We forgot ourselves and the world around us as bliss filled us. One by one the beautiful names of Durga thrilled the listeners. As conclusion Arati was brought and we were blessed t offer five Aratis at those lotus feet.

 More slokas on Durga was sung by devotees. Mother remained deeply absorbed and later, still in silence She left. For us it was a divine fulfillment. The Mother’s command from Trichur shrine to worship Her as Durga crystallized as veritable truth, for without any premeditation, She came as Mother Durga to receive our worship. We were in a dream.”Oh Mother divine, Thine energy pervades the entire Universe.Thou art the power of diverse presiding deities. Thou art the worship of all Gods and sages, do thou bestow on us what is auspicious, and we bow down to Thee in devotion”. This beautiful verse Devi Mahatmya rose in our hearts.

 

OM SHANTHI!