Life-giving, Fearsome Devi
Seema Burman

Mothers are known to take extra care in the nurturing and upbringing of children.Similarly,the cosmic Mother nurtures and cares for her children, that is, all life that derives sustenance from her. As her children we make demands; we also invoke her blessings. She in turn showers us with wealth,prosperity, knowledge and power. Mother represents maya, illusion. If we have negative tendencies,that is, qualities of tamas and rajas, Mother comes to us as Avidya Maya. If we have pure or sattvik qualities, She transforms them as Vidya Maya. One may call Her Durga, Parvati, Sati, Sita, Radha, Lakshmi or Saraswati. She is Shakti, energy.

Most cultures acknowledge the power of feminine energy. Energy is Divine Shakti that is present in every being.This vital force is called Divine Mother and worshipped. Everyone requires energy to feel young and energetic, to grow prosperous, to become beautiful,and to evolve as a conscious human being. For this progress it is important to overcome the negative in us.But without the help of a more powerful energy it is impossible to overcome demons.The Supreme Divine Energy is Divine Mother, the fearsome Devi, with a black face, red tongue, carrying a sword, who destroys our beastly instincts.She fulfils our worldly demands and ultimately fulfils the demands of our soul as well.She releases us from the clutches of demons and makes us pure.

Madhu is honey while Kaitabh is poison.They entered the ears of Lord Narayana. Honey is sweet and poison is bitter. Love is sweet and hatred is poison. Praise is sweet and criticism is poison. Madhu and Kaitabh are raga or love and dwesha or hatred,ninda or criticism and stuti or praise.These enter through our ears and Devi comes to our rescue and kills them but it takes thousands of years (Devi Bhagvata). Even though Mother holds a slain head, looks ferocious and wears a garland of heads, She is not a bloodthirsty goddess who wants animal sacrifices.She only wants to overpower and kill the beastly instinct in us. Devi worship is a symbolic way of explaining the mystery of energy worship.

The first three days are for worshipping Mahakali Durga who destroys our vices but only if we want to do so.In the second three days we worship Goddess Lakshmi as energy which enables us to earn Divine wealth,Daivi Sampada.By getting Divine wealth one becomes sattvik and such a person alone imbibes supreme wisdom or Truth.The last three days are devoted to Ma Saraswati who reveals the Truth of Existence and bestows spiritual wisdom.To achieve such a high state it is important to go through stages of annihilating demons and acquiring Divine qualities. Kaushalya and Dasarath had acquired divine wealth in their past lives and as a boon were given Sri Rama in their next life.Rama allows us to celebrate Rama Navmi when we have cleared the thorny path of anger, lust, attachment and have become sattvik.