I’m ashamed to say it but I’ll be honest, like many who follow the path of shakti worship, I too had once forgotten how important Durga Ma is. Yes, yes, like all good temple-going-hindus I would attend Navratri services and sing hymns to this amazing Mother. Bring her fruits, coconuts, malas and light a dia while I fast those nine days. And yes, yearly, I would have my own durga puja/durgapath at home.
But beyond that? The rest of the year? I would barely remember to arti her when I attended service.
Too busy running to arti Ma Kali and Kateri Ma. Bringing them the offerings and adorning their murtis with garlands of flowers. Waiting for the call-up session to speak to these Mothers. The fact that I also manifest these forms of Shakti made matters worse. I felt that no goddess should receive more love from me than these two do.
If you are a follower within Shakti worship, if you do attend kovil/temple, then you know exactly what I mean, and if you are willing to be honest with yourself, it’s quite possible that many of you will find that you’ve committed the same crime.
Yes! It’s a crime! And a crying shame, that we could “forget” this powerful Devi.
I somehow forgot that when I was little, Durga Ma was my Wonder Woman. My parents had a collection of religious movies and though Ma Radha was clever and Ma Sita was beautiful and loving, Ma Durga was the woman that kicked butt and saved lives. She saved Gods! She saved Heaven and Earth!
Sadly, what I allowed to happen when I became more involved in Shakti worship is what many of us Guyanese and Trinidadians allow to happen. I gave myself permission to place her other forms above her. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I turned to Shakti worship when I was in trouble. The fact that I could speak to a Devi was so mind-boggling, I swore there was nothing better. If I am to be truly honest, I felt these Devis were more willing to help me, because they were “here” taking action that I could see. They were giving me camphor talismans to carry, blessed limes to wash the house, bathing me and feeding me to remove negative energies. Whereas Ma Durga was a Devi I worshipped from afar. Those days I didn’t feel her energy show up. (What I didn’t understand at the time was that I had not yet reached the level where I could.) I had many visions of her, my whole life, which I had chalked up to dreams. Even, wishful thinking… But all the while, it was her taking action.
When Ma Durga fights for you…
Eight years ago, (7 years after I first attended a Shakti temple) my life broke again. I’m about to say things that many people are not going to agree with but it’s what happened to me and I think the only way to explain my personal journey is to share this with you. There will be many naysayers who will email me insults and bash me on social media, but they are not the ones who can see themselves in this story, so it doesn’t matter.
Eight years ago, unexplainable issues arose in my life. Life threatening issues. Marriage breaking issues. Loss of employment too, all at once. All in the space of weeks. And through it all, Ma Durga gave me dreams where she played a role. And I would go to temple and ask “this” master or “that” mother and be answered in riddles or outright denials. But, Ma Durga kept giving me dreams.
In one of those dreams there was me, standing in front of the Mother Kateri’s murti, asking her if she had given a boon against me. And the murti’s face turned away from me. And as I went to walk away from the murti, a young beautiful heavy set woman in a yellow saree stopped me to give me a big basin of 5 dry coconuts and then turned me around to face the Mother Kateri again. The woman whispered in my ear, “for the bribe.”
The following Sunday I went to Kovil with 5 dry coconuts, 5 shares of 3 fruits, a flower mala and a share of drink and smoke, with the full intention to bribe the Mother Kateri to help me. While I was placing my offerings on the altar, I heard someone say behind me, “she must have a bribe to break.” In that moment I realized the offerings weren’t to bribe Kateri Ma but to break a bribe against me – a boon that was given to someone in return for the offerings they made against me.
After service, it was time for the Arul Vaaku. (This is when a marlo manifests the power and consciousness of a deity, sometimes referred to as the “call-up”.) Ma Kateri was very happy to see me and said she accepted my offerings. So I asked, why my life had gone down the drain and she said her brothers and sister had been paid by my enemy.
I literally had the tantric side of the kovil against me. These deities that I prayed to, brought offering for, all had accepted offerings to turn against me. Some were enforcing it, which accounted for all the drama and some were not enforcing it but were looking the other way… Remember my dream? Kateri Ma was one of those deities who was looking the other way. I was grateful she was not enforcing it, she is one powerful mama, but at the same time, if you had cut me, I would not have bled.
Sidenote: My experience has been that when the powers that be can not tell you something, they will confuse you with what they do say. Or jharay you and send you on your way. But that is my experience. No one has the same karma.
It was like having your parents turn their backs on you because of a jealous sibling. I was angry for days proceeding this. I didn’t go to my alter. I didn’t express my thanks over anything. And I absolutely refused to chant and call any deity’s name, so instead I sat and practiced conscious breathing, which by itself turned out to be a form of meditation. It relaxed me and helped me to feel my power without calling upon a deity.
After doing this for a few days, my anger started to subside. And Ma Durga started showing up in my dreams again. Loving as always, when I felt low and abandoned. I had again forgotten her and the fact that not only did she give me guidance to find out what was going on, she was there for me.
And so I started visiting my alter again but only focused on her, only chanted for her. I sat with her Chandi Path each day, reciting her 108 names and the curse removal mantra. I brought offerings to only her, determined that I would not offer anyone who accepted offerings against me. This was a mistake in itself, but it got me through the hell I was in.
Sidenote: If I had at the very least continue to arti those deities, the path to clearing up all the negativity would have been easier. I guess sometimes easier doesn’t teach a lesson and this was a lesson I needed to learn.
I made many offerings to Ma Durga across a few weeks, asking her to accept it and break whatever so-and-so devta/devi had against me. I also went to kovil every weekend and asked Kateri Ma to bathe and feed me. She had better, faster solutions for me, but I was so caught up in my anger and feelings of betrayal, I decided to take the long route. A 4 month long route. I had free will and I was determined to use it the way my enemy was allowed to use her free will against me.
Sidenote: Usually when a deity has been paid against you, you’re put under “devotion” for a few weeks for that deity and then you conduct a victory puja. I had 7 deities left. I refused to do 7 pujas.
After 4 months of daily prayer and offerings to Ma Durga, I finally found my way. Issues started to clear up. Two months later my life was back to normal. I did go back to honoring these deities and eventually loving them again, but it took a lot of meditation and soul searching. Here is what I came to believe as my truth:
- We all have free will and Adi Parashakti in all her forms gives us enough rope to hang ourselves.
- We all have free will to create our own Karma. No Mother or Master will stop you from creating Karma. What Karma you decide to create is up to you.
- Meditation and prayer is a powerful thing.
- We should feel blessed when given the opportunity to do a puja to clear up negative energies. Many times we look at it as “puja again”. The fact is, the positive energy we put out via the puja, balances out the negative energy that has enveloped us, balancing our life back to normal.
- Ma Durga should never be forgotten because she never forgets those who have loved her.
For the past 8 years, I’ve given Ma Durga a mala every Sunday. I have never forgotten her once since. It has changed my life incredibly. My family is happy and stands strong. I have not had financial issues bigger than a hiccup since. It has opened my ability to manifest stronger, fuller. It has increased my personal shakti and made it stronger.
I walk within the armor of Ma Durga’s love and I am eternally grateful.
And that’s all I have for you this week folks. If you’ve enjoyed this article, I would appreciate you sharing it to help build the awareness of how truly wonderful Durga Ma is.