इत्युक्ता सा तदा देवी गम्भीरान्तःस्मिता जगौ ।

दुर्गा भगवती भद्रा ययेदं धार्यते जगत् ॥

Ity-ukta-sā-tadā devi Gambhīrāntah-smitā jagau,

Durgā bhagavatī bhadrā yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat

‘Thus addressed, the She, the Divine Mother, who is difficult to reach, who is the blessed one with all blessing, who is the very embodiment of bene, with a deep interior smile, with a smile in her deep interior, singingly said.” – Swami Veda Bharati

Maa Tara

In India the festival of Navaratri is observed twice a year as the sacred nine nights of shakti, of the Divine Mother. As per the Hindu calendar, these days fall in the months of Chaitra and Ashwin māsa (month); the seasons of spring and autumn.

Swami Veda wrote of these days, “These events are charged with special spiritual energy and a very special time to renew your silence and sadhana.”

The worship of the Mother has been at the heart of both spiritual and ritual sadhana. This invocation of divine as a feminine principle is to understand the nature of this manifest universe in all its myriad forms, and to transform our nature from merely instinctual living to an awareness of the higher intellect and purpose of this life.

For spiritual seekers and devotees this is a time for sankalpa, sadhana and satsanga. A time to become antar-mukha, to turn inwards and listen to ‘what She says to you inside’ as Swami Veda explains in the Ity-ukta mantra from Durga Saptashati.

A part of the Markandeya Purana, the Durga Saptashati is composed of 700 verses in Sanskrit. The mantras from this sacred text sing of the glory of Mother Durga, which the ancients believed to be an allegory of the evolution of the soul; about overcoming the negativities and weaknesses of raag-dvesha, attachment, desires, greed, anger and jealousy. The devotees invoke the Goddess to slay the demons Mahishasura, Raktabeej, Chanda-Munda and Shumbh-Nishumbh, the demons are personification of human weaknesses.

At SRSG, Navaratri of the Ashwin māsa was celebrated from 7th to 14th October, 2021.

The nine days of festivity commenced with a puja performed by Pandits and resident Swamis, and heartily joined in by ashram guests and resident families.


As in the past Navaratri events, the intent set by Swami Veda has been followed. The sankalpa is for spiritual growth and individual-prosperity for all the initiates in the Himalayan Tradition.

A significant part of the puja is kalash-sthāpana, of establishing a copper-pot with sacred waters, gems and herbs; called as the amrita-kalash (pot containing nectar) symbolically holds the devatas, all the rivers, oceans, and even the Vedas in it. The mouth of the kalash represents Lord Vishnu (sustenance principle), the neck is Lord Shiva (principle of dissolution), the base is Lord Brahma (principle of creation) and the centre is the Divine Mother. All the devatas are invoked to support the spiritual endeavours of the devotees.

Navaratri is a solemn time for sadhana, purity and prayers.

At the Mother Taara temple in the ashram, special care was given on purity and prayers. And akhanda japa of the Lalita Sahasranamavali (1000 names of Goddess Lalita) were chanted round the clock for nine days. Goddess Taara is one of the dus-mahavidyas in the Tantric tradition and is worshipped with the Lalita Saharanama.

The energy at the ashram came alive with aarati in the evenings, residents and guests joined in chanting the glory of Mā Ambe, praying for removal of pains and miseries and grant spiritual upliftment for all and the sharing of prasad.

In a traditional way, the nine days of honouring the Mother Divine concluded with Kumari Puja, worshipping nine young girls (below age 10) as navadurga, nine forms of Durga. We remembered Swami Veda used to say to not consider this just as a ritual but to see these young girls as Devi herself.

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु मातृरूपेण संस्थिता ।
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥

Yā Devi Sarva-Bhuteśu Mātr-Rūpeña Samsthitā |

Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||

To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Mother,

Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations again and again.

The spiritual energy at the ashram can be truly experienced at this sacred time.