I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “we come into this world alone and we leave this world alone”. Wise words. Birth and death are solitary and also inevitable.
But what about what happens between birth and death? The things that we learn and the actions we take. The people that we meet and choose to love or hate. The environments and conditions that we live in. The actual “life” that we live.
Is it inevitable too?
Was Neil Armstrong destined to be the first man on the moon?
Was David Berkowitz meant to be the son of sam serial killer?
What is it that determines what we do between birth and death?
This article is an editorial. It’s what my beliefs are – based on life experience, from serving the Divine Mother and from knowledge gained based on my interpretation of the available english versions of the S’rîmad Devî Bhâgavatam and the Bhagavad Gita.
I am not trying to convince the readers of this article to follow my beliefs.
I only share it in response to the many emails I received these past several weeks where readers asked “Why does Mother need sacrificial offerings” and “Why would Kali Ma want me to take a life’s soul” and “why does God allow for killers in this world”. This year dies for me today and a new beginning starts tomorrow. I’d like to end this year wrapping up those unanswered emails with this article.
To those readers who emailed, I can only share with you my beliefs. As the Divine Mother’s children, it’s in our nature to want to help our brothers and sisters find their way.
As individuals who come into this world alone, it is up to us to find our own truths, to determine what our truth is – from what we’ve learned and experienced – that resonates with us so strongly that we one day recognize it as our belief.
Before we get started, I’d like to mention that Road To Shakti’s goal for the coming year is to assist those who seek assistance on the road to Shakti through articles on the topics of meditation, chakras, mantras, knowledge of Gods (both vedic and shaktism), mindfulness and kundalini. My goal is to empower you to connect with the Divine yourself and find your own truths. I will continue to write editorials in the hopes to encourage you on your journey.
What is it that determines what we do between birth and death?
It is said in the S’rîmad Devî Bhâgavatam that our souls carry 3 karmas in each lifetime. Karma that we’ve accumulated from previous lifetimes (sanchita), the karma we are going through (prârabdha) and the karma that we are creating (kriyamana).
In “All ABout Hinduism” by Sri Swami Sivananda, he explains: “Prârabdha is that portion of the past karma which is responsible for the present body. That portion of the sanchita karma which influences human life in the present incarnation is called prarabdha. It is ripe for reaping. It cannot be avoided or changed. It is only exhausted by being experienced. You pay your past debts. Prarabdha karma is that which has begun and is actually bearing fruit. It is selected out of the mass of the sanchita karma.”
These Karmas are either auspicious, inauspicious or a mix of both. So our lives are either really good, really bad or it’s OK with its ups and downs. We have no control over sanchita and prârabdha karmas, but the kriyamana karma we create is completely up to us and not only affects our next life but can also bear fruit that we reap in this lifetime or liberate us from the whole cycle of reincarnation (the liberation being known as moksha).
What’s the point of reincarnation?
In the S’rîmad Devî Bhâgavatam, our Divine Mother explains “I am the Sun, I am the Moon and all the stars; I am birds, beasts, Chandalas and the thief, as well. I am the savage hunter; I am the virtuous Mahatma. I am all men, women and every eunuch too. Be sure that if you see anything at all, I dwell in it and that is why it exists. No more can anything on any world exist without me, than a son be born to a barren woman.”
Without her nothing exists. She dwells within everything.
I’m not going to pretend to know her grand plan. I could not tell you why our Mother created us and the earth and everything in it or even why she has created this illusion.
What I do know is our souls need to be pure again before it returns to her. the primal source. It needs to learn its lessons and reap what it has sowed. This could take thousands of lives. And this is the point of reincarnation.
But the Divine Mother also explains in the S’rîmad Devî Bhâgavatam that worship of her, offerings to her with devotion, yoga with meditation, and good deeds with no expectations of a return are also liberators from this cycle of life and death.
Balidan for the Soul
In my opinion, balidan pujas, the offering of an animal, can be very misunderstood. (Videos on youtube are not very helpful in understanding either.)
There is 21 days of fasting and purifying of the devotee’s vessel before he can offer an animal. Within those 21 days the devotee is purifying the body and the mind as he abstains from all his vices and spends hours of his day, each day, in meditation upon and in prayer to the Divine Mother. On the 22nd day, when the devotee has completed the religious part of the rituals/prayers, he must then go to the farm, bathe this animal, give it a flower garland and prepare it to return to the Divine by praying for it’s soul and begging the Mother to accept this soul that belongs to her. During this process, the Divine’s energy can become so strong that the animal starts to shake as if it were going into trance. Before the animal is offered, the animal must shake his head multiple times agreeing to return to the Primal Source.
And once the soul is gone, the animal must be cooked and eaten. Just as it would have been if someone had come to the poultry farm as a customer.
Many have asked me in emails, Why does a God need a life? Why does Mother want me to take a life’s soul? To you my dear friends, here is the short answer: God does not need a life. Souls do not belong to a life. The life belongs to the soul. The soul belongs to our Divine Mother.
So why is it that some of us need to do a balidan puja?
Taking into account what we have just covered about Karma and Reincarnation, I want you to ponder this: If good deeds, worship of the divine, meditation and yoga, purification of the soul, etc, etc are the ways to break free from the cycle of reincarnation and return to the Primal Source, our Mother, what chance does the soul living in the vessel of an animal have?
The Divine Mother explains in the S’rîmad Devî Bhâgavatam that to be reborn human is very rare and that man that is, needs to work on reaching his moksha in this lifetime otherwise it’s a lifetime wasted. This tells me two things. One, our souls can be reborn to animals and two, if I’m an animal, it’s a lifetime wasted because I will not be able to learn the lessons I need to learn by experiencing my karma from past lifetimes.
Now here is where we get slightly theoretical and as I mentioned before, it’s my belief and does not need to be yours.
As an animal, I would live for some time and then die, never doing the things the Divine says can break me from this cycle. I have probably been reborn thousands of times as an animal already to be reincarnated as a human with an OK-type prârabdha karma to experience due to doing nothing but living and dying.
The downside here is that my soul has not been returned to my Mother. That is my soul’s ultimate goal.
But what if during one of those lifetimes as an animal, a devotee of the Divine fasted for 21 days and conducted these rituals to the Divine and then offered my animal life to her. Is he not giving the Divine that which belongs to her, my soul? Is this not the thing that breaks the cycle for me?
When offering an animal to the Divine, you are truly returning a soul to her. You are rendering a service in the name of love and devotion. It has nothing to do with the blood and gore or even the act of the offering, it’s purifying yourself to be worthy to pray for this soul and to offer it to the Divine.
Just as people sit and pray for loved one’s soul when they perform a sharaad, the devotee is praying for the soul that lives within the animal’s vessel.
Again this is my belief from what I’ve read and witnessed myself. It need not be yours.
Why do some have to offer balidan and others don’t?
In the S’rîmad Devî Bhâgavatam, Mother explains there are two paths that will lead you to her. Worshipping her as the Devi or worshipping her form of Lord Krishna. Those who follow the path of Lord Krishna are Brahmin and shouldn’t even be eating meat much less offering it.
As for why some of us who worship the Devi have to offer the balidan puja while those of us who also worship her do not…I assume it’s due to our Karma.
And now it’s time for a new year. A year filled with positive thinking, personal growth, realization of the soul and worship of our divine Mother. Thank you for joining Me.