Updated: Jan 21, 2020
THE GODDESS IS SHAKTI, ENERGY
Hindu spirituality has as its foundation a singular divinity called Brahman. Brahman is beyond duality (two-ness) and beyond our comprehension. This single divinity then manifests through multiplicity, and it is that multiplicity that manifests existence.
So how does duality start? Duality starts when the One becomes two. Brahman becomes the god (male aspect, consciousness) and the goddess (female, energy).
Each form of the divine duality (god and goddess) then takes on three pathways of manifestation through the qualities (gunas): creation (sattva), maintenance (rajas) and destruction (tamas).
The internal state of the male divinity is seen as the three states of consciousness: waking, dreaming and causal being. The male forms are personified as Viśṇu, Brahmā, and Śiva.
The internal form of the female divinity becomes known as Śrī śakti- the power of being, Bhū śakti- the power to create, and Kālī śakti- the power of the material world/time/change. The female divinity is personified as Lakṣmī, Sarasvatī and Kālī.
The interaction of these energies is complex and creates the reality that we perceive in our world.
Durga Maa is Śrī Śakti. She is the primary power from which all other forms manifest.
She has nine nine main forms in which she is manifests and is worshiped. She is the Mother that we worship during Navaratri.
It’s important to not get lost in the forms. All forms are just faces of the one Mother.
For example, once you were an infant, a toddler, a child, a teenager, and may now reside in an adult body. You are still a single person, yet you resided in all these qualitatively different states.
In the same way the divine energy manifests in different states, and we call these different states by different names.
This multiplicity is both external and internal. For example, our personality has different natures.
When we are with young children, a gentle personality comes out. When we are with rough aggressive people, a tough natured personality comes out. When we are frustrated, our short-tempered personality comes out. There is an artist, a cynic, an inner child, a lover, a spiritual devotee, and more that all live within our single being. These different aspects of our own self are reflections of how the energy of the one becomes many.
By honoring the core nine archetypes of the Divine Mother, we honor the core causal aspects of creation, the core mental archetypes within our mind, and the core energies that we see in the world.
These forms can be associated with the nine Vedic planets but they are not governed by the planets. These forms of the Mother are the supreme powers of the universe who are the energy behind all of the planets. Durga Maa is the power of Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Śiva - EVERYTHING comes from her!
Honoring her is honoring our feminine creative source; the source of who we are.
Knowing the importance of the different forms of Durga Maa will help you to perform Navaratri worship with ultimate devotion and dedication.
This understanding will keep you focused on a different aspect of Mother every day, as it outlines a path of sadhana to enrich and elevate the spiritual aspirant.
Understand, follow, and implement this process which is not just limited to Navaratri time, but also can serve as the journey to be taken over your lifetime as your soul progresses toward union with God.