Chandi Saptha Sathi – 4
Maharishi Medhas continued to explain the next mantra to be recited.
Keelaga mantra:- Before reciting Saptha Sathi, one should recite Keelaga after reciting Kavach and Argala mantras. Keelaga mantra is akin to pin or lock. Without the first chanting Keelaga mantra, one should not recite the verses in Chandi Saptha Sathi. By chanting this mantra the seeker pins down his energies in one place instead of letting them remain scattered as he has to pool them again when responding to the prayer of the seeker, Goddess Durga reaches him for few moments to accept his total surrender. When Devi appears in vacuum, she signals her presence by some waves when the seeker gives away each and everything in his possession and surrender at the lotus feet of the Goddess through the chant of Keelaga mantra. Total surrender is philosophy of detachment from everything till the course of recital of Chandi Saptha Sathi is completed (Her detachment refers to not wealth but freeing away the floating emotions, feelings and other worldly thoughts). A well-practiced Sadhak keeps his mind blind and chant Keelaga in total faith on Goddess Durga Devi. Chant of Keelaga opens up the next pathway to reach the goal. Similar to how one would not be able to enter into their home without opening the lock, one would not be able to enter into the arena where Goddess Durga is seated, unless the path to reach her is opened up with preliminary mantras like Keelaga. Therefore, listen carefully, Oh, King, both of you should keep concentrated only on preliminary mantras before reciting Chandi Saptha Sathi.
Raathri Suktha mantra :– Suktham means basically prayer. A Suktham is a Vedic hymn in praise of a god/goddesses. Who composed those verses is unknown and it is believed that celestial forces like Vak Devathas may have compiled them. Raathri Suktham from Rig Veda consists of most important hymns that glorifies Goddess Durga. Its recital not only raises the energy level of Sadhak but also strengthens his mind power. It is the first hymn or prayer in Rig Veda recited in praise of Goddess Parameswari for the benefit of mankind.
Darkness is enemy of Sadhak (Here the darkness refers to one’s ignorance of mind). Those who are desirous to do Saptha Sathi Parayan (ritual), hymn of Raathri Suktham which glorifies the aspects of Goddess Durga should not be missed. The verses are so powerful that when it is devotedly chanted at night, it gives lots of benefits and fruitful results to the Sadhak who recite Chandi Saptha Sathi especially during Navaratri period.
Night is the period when the moments of living beings remains suspended or in rest mode. In the eyes of the spiritual world, while day is attributed to wisdom, night is attributed to ignorance. However most of the mystic divine acts actively goes on during night and Goddess Devi is also awake keeping an eye on the happenings in the universe. Therefore the Raathri Suktham, consisting of eight hymns is recited in the night seeking the grace of the ‘Goddess of night’ to destroy the ignorance of the Sadhak and to give wisdom. Even if every movement in the world rested temporarily, the movement of power will continue to remain active.
Similarly the Devi Suktham is recited seeking the grace of the Goddess Ushai, daughter of Sun God to strengthen the wisdom of the Sadhak. Therefore those who are desirous to do Parayan of Chandi Saptha Sathi, shall have to necessarily recite Devi Suktha before reciting Saptha Sathi and when recital of Saptha Sathi gets finished then Raathri Shuktha should be chanted without fail. Actually these two Suktham are gateway to recite Chandi Saptha Sathi.
Navakshari mantra:- Nava means nine. Offering prayer to nine forms of Goddess Durga is done with nine syllable mantra called Chandi Gayathri. In order to remove illusion from mind, the Chandi Gayathri mantra has to be recited twenty times in a day every time whether one do Saptha Sathi Parayan or not. When this powerful mantra is continuously recited, over period of time the Sadhak attains the status of Brahman when the illusion from mind gets destroyed and the Sadhak experience the state of bliss.
The residing deity of that bliss is called Goddess Anandi and she is also called Chamunda Devi. The Goddesses worshiped through Navakshari mantra are called Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi, and Maha Saraswathi. The Navakshari mantra is the main mantra of the Saptha Sathi and unless it is recited, the Parayan of Saptha Sathi would not remain complete and desired benefit would not materialize.
When Maharishi Medhas paused for a while, the King and the merchant wanted him to tell them briefly what the contents of Saptha Sathi is. Maharishi then began to tell them briefly “The Saptha Sathi consists of three stories connected to the three manifestations of Goddess Durga. The first story involves Asuras (demons) named Madhu and Kaitạbha who threatened Lord Brahma when he chased them to retrieve back the Vedas stolen by them. Lord Brahma prayed to Goddess Yoganidra, the controller of sleep who was residing in Lord Vishnu’s eyes to help him retrieve the Vedas. Goddess Yoganidra is also called Devi Mahamaya, an incarnate of Goddess Durga. Lord Brahma requested her to somehow wake up Lord Vishnu who was in deep yogic slumber to slay the demons to retrieve the Vedas. Propitiated by his prayers, Devi Mahamaya woke up Lord Vishnu from his yogic slumber and ensured he killed the demons by creating illusion in them. Though they were killed by Lord Vishnu, it was Goddess Durga, in her avatar as Goddess Mahamaya,ensured their death at the hands of Lord Vishnu. Besides warfare, Goddess Durga used other methods to defeat evil forces to protect the good by appearing in various avatars. She has the power to create illusions in everyone, even the gods. Whenever she used the power of mind, she was known as Goddess Mahamaya.
The second story is devoted to Devi’s most celebrated form Goddess Mahishasurmadini. In ancient times, the devatas led by Indira fought against the demons led by Mahisha. The gods were defeated and Mahisha usurped Indira’s powers to become Indira lok King himself. Mahisha then ruled over all realms of the universe. When the defeated celestial forces ran to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva seeking protection, the Lords got angry. From the anger of the Lords and other divine forces emanated dazzling energy coalesced into a feminine form called the Goddess Mahishasuramardini seated on the majestic lion. She immediately went on war with Mahisha’s demon army and destroyed all of them and beheaded the head of the demon.
The third story is the slaying of demon asuras called Shumbha and Nishumbha, who displaced Lord Indira and the other devathas from their heavenly positions and usurped their power. When the devathas sought the help of Goddess Parvati, she released an incarnate called Goddess Ambika who killed the demons by deceit and saved the devathas and celestial forces”. Hearing the glory of Goddess Parameswari, the King and the merchant anxiously awaited further initiation from Maharishi Medhas.
………..to be continued