by Nayaswami Dharmadevi
October 7th marked the first night of Navaratri, a nine-day festival in honor of the Divine Mother in the form of the Goddess Durga.
I actually had no idea Navaratri was coming up but about 3 weeks prior I felt inspired to purchase a specific rosary called The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows. I had read about it in an inspiring book, “Our Lady of Kibeho”, which tells of the Marian apparitions in a small village in Rwanda.
The Divine Mother was coming to warn Her children of the impending genocide that occurred 13 years after the apparitions. Part of Her advice was to practice the Seven Sorrows Rosary.
My rosary arrived on the first day of Navaratri so I decided to practice it every day for these nine days devoted to Divine Mother. The little booklet that came with the rosary explains each of the seven sorrows of Mary, along with reflections.
I read them once through on the first night and then decided going forward to let Divine Mother inspire my reflections.
It was beautiful to experience my inner reflections shift as the days went by. They went from the physical and emotional pain of an earthly mother for her beloved son, as she watched him suffer and die, to the expansive love and compassion of the Divine Mother as She embraced all of Her children as Her own.
Each night brought new insights into the life of Jesus Christ through the eyes of Mother Mary and each day I felt Her presence more tangibly.
We don’t have to be mothers (or even women) in this life to act on behalf of the Divine Mother. She is asking us to love Her children as our own, whether naughty or good.
A good mother loves her children even when she dislikes the child’s behavior. That is advice that Swami Kriyananda gave all of us – to separate the person from the behavior.
Rather than saying “I don’t like that person,” say “I don’t like that behavior.” Rather than “that driver is an idiot,” you might think “that person is driving poorly.” I’ve really found it to be a helpful practice because I can move on more quickly. It’s easier to forgive a mistaken behavior than to affix that behavior to a person and thereby make them “bad” in our minds.
People are inherently good and as Swamiji would often say, “all of us, even the worst mafioso, is seeking happiness and trying to avoid suffering.” He would go on to say that we just don’t all know how to avoid suffering and move towards true happiness. But doesn’t that deserve our compassion as we’ve all stumbled blindly before we knew the right direction to go in? Similarly, Paramhansa Yogananda said, “this world is for our education and entertainment… but how few are either educated or entertained!”
Let us live in these times as instruments for Divine Mother’s love and joy, drawing on inspiration from Yogananda’s poem Samadhi:
“From joy I came, for joy I live, in sacred joy I melt.”
In Divine Mother’s Unconditional Love,