Navratri Sharad – Celebration of the Divine Feminine

“Navratri is an opportunity to examine the entire range of concepts of Mother Divine as a constellation. Something that is the whole, that is more than simply the sum of all the parts, that one invisible, big consciousness of a feminine nature that is smiling upon the Creation.”

Thom Knoles

Episode Summary

When we think of feminine and masculine, typically we tend to think in terms of gender, i.e. female and male but the Vedic worldview has a much broader approach than the arrangement or expression of chromosomes. In Vedic circles the feminine and masculine are seen as aspects of creation, present everywhere and in everything. 

Wherever there is masculine there is always feminine, and vice versa, with the feminine often referred to as Mother Divine and celebrated through a vast range of personifications* and a range of festivals or holy days. 

One of those festivals is Navratri Sharad, a celebration of triumph over ignorance, held over nine nights and 10 days in the fall of each year (Northern Hemisphere fall, Southern Hemisphere spring).

Though each night of Navratri Sharad honors specific representations of Mother Divine, Thom invites us in this episode to use the festival as a springboard to making the celebration of the feminine an everyday occurrence and an opportunity to continuously explore just what the feminine is and how She is represented in everyday life.  

*For more on the personification of aspects of creation, listen to our three-part series on God, Gods and Goddesses.

Sharad Navratri Dates 2021: October 7 (Thursday) to October 15 (Friday)

See here for dates in other years

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Episode Highlights

01.

Navratri Sharad – Nine Nights of the Divine Mother

(00:40)

02.

A Range of Appreciation

(02:22)

03.

Connecting the Dots

(03:14)

04.

Removing Limitations

(04:35)

05.

Vijayadashami – The Tenth Night 

(05:43)

06.

An Expansive View of Divine Mother

(07:00)

Jai Guru Deva

Transcript

Navratri Sharad – Celebration of the Divine Feminine

Navratri Sharad – Nine Nights of the Divine Mother

I’ve received a number of questions from Vedic meditators, and others indeed, about a festival of celebration that has occurred in India for thousands upon thousands of years. Actually, there are two of these; one in the springtime and one in the autumn.

[00:00:59] The springtime one is referred to as Navratri Sharad. Navratri Sharad, translated from Sanskrit into English, means the nine nights of the divine mother, the nine nights of the divine mother, Navratri Sharad. And actually there’s a 10th night too, which we’ll discuss in a moment, the culmination of the nine on the 10th night.

[00:01:22] Navratri is the nine evenings. Ratri is evening or night, nava is one of the ways of saying the number nine, and it is the opening of the full expression of the divine feminine to our awareness, and the celebration of the divine feminine.

[00:01:42] Now let’s be very clear, divine feminine just means feminine. I use the word divine here just to give it some distinction, but femininity, that consciousness of infinite organizing power, that consciousness which is present everywhere, in every status, in every structure, femininity is present, whether it’s denied as being present or, whatever some individual status instructor might think it’s doing about the fact of the omnipresence of divine femininity, it is nonetheless an essential feature of every form, of every phenomenon, of every individuated status.

A Range of Appreciation

[00:02:22] So what happens in the Vedic celebration of Navratri Sharad is the opportunity, the invitation to awaken ourselves to all of the different expressions of Mother Divine. Not setting boundaries, but simply setting, perhaps, a focus on the full expression of that feminine quality in whatever way we might perceive that.

[00:02:47] Each one of us has a range of appreciation. Feminine might mean for us, our mother. It might mean our own Self. It might mean God. It might mean for us, someone with whom we’ve shared love. It might mean for us, someone who is a sibling. It might mean for us, someone who is a coworker, or an inspiration, or a leader.

Connecting the Dots

[00:03:14] We need during the Navratri Sharad to allow ourselves not only to connect all these dots. We think of these things as being dots like stars in the sky, then we’re going to create a constellation. How do you create a constellation? You allow your mind to view the dots in a more whole fashion and to see the connections between them, the stars, and you’ll get a larger image.

[00:03:39] So Navratri Sharad is an opportunity to examine the entire range of concepts of Mother Divine as a constellation. Something that is the whole, that is more than simply the sum of all the parts, that one invisible, big consciousness of a feminine nature that is smiling upon the Creation.

[00:04:05] And benign. Benign even in her disciplinary function. When your mother disciplined you for putting a hairpin in an electrical power outlet or something and said, “Don’t do that!”

[00:04:18] You might not have liked it at the time, that you were being prevented from doing something that looked like it would be a lot of fun, but she may well have saved your life and perhaps saved your life on multiple occasions that you don’t know anything about, and even she’s forgotten. Not only life-giving but life preserving.

Removing Limitations

[00:04:35] And so this is the quality of Navratri Sharad. We have nine nights during which time we can turn our awareness to the highest value of truth of the feminine, the highest value of truth. To remove biases and prejudices. To remove the limitations of just what our own past experiences are and expand that to enjoy identifying with that element in our own Self, in our own Self.

[00:05:07] I know some men will be thinking right now, “What? I’m a man. What do I have about me that’s feminine?” Well, 50% of your DNA for one thing.

[00:05:15] So we have the opportunity to really examine and express this.

[00:05:20] Now, for those of us who have access to an Indian cultural community, we may like to get along to some of the many enjoyable cultural festivals that are expressed there because the Indians have been very good at having this once every six months, nine nights of Mother Divine.

Vijayadashami – The Tenth Night

[00:05:43] There is a 10th and the 10th is called Vijayadashami. Vijayadashami means the 10th night. Dashami, the 10th night of Vijaya. Vijaya means all conquering, the all conquering celebration. Vijayadashami, day and night, is the 10th day and night of celebration that comes as the culmination of the nine nights.

[00:06:10] The triumph of the divine mother over ignorance, the triumph of the invincible feminine over the stupidity and ignorance of, that is very often characterized as, the worst of masculinity. The worst of masculinity, the lowest levels of undeveloped and non-evolved masculinity, are triumphed over by the supreme intelligence, the supreme capability and the invincibility of the divine mother.

[00:06:38] And what happens then is the capitulation, the winning over and the surrendering of masculinity into the arms of the feminine. This is on Vijayadashami, on the 10th night.

[00:06:50] And so my team, when they publish this answer to questions that I’ve received about Navratri Sharad and Vijayadashami will also give you the dates.

An Expansive View of Divine Mother

[00:07:00] And so on those dates, and then not limited by those dates, hopefully those dates are simply an initiation for you to have this happening 365 days a year, but it gives us an opportunity, which we can’t really say no to, to enjoy every aspect of the divine feminine, both within our existing conception and with a hope to expand our awareness to a more expansive idea of what Divine Mother means to all of us.

[00:07:39] Jai Guru Deva

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