I sit with my eyes shut and hands together,
Dear mother divine, today I need you more than ever,

Please dear divine touch my soul and light my mind,
There is turbulence in my head and Calm is difficult to find,

Oh please! Wipe out the darkness and ring in the light,
In peace and quietude I wish to delight,

Inside and outside, I am all around,
My dear, in everything that surrounds,

Open your heart and reach out to me,
Where ever you desire to see me, I will be!

Reverence to the divine teacher in Swamiji, this experience would not have been possible without your contribution. I am extremely thankful for a shower in this divine effulgence that came from you! And I wish, this reaches out to many more!

Before I start, I want to apologize for all the mistakes that I make while expressing myself. I am not familiar with any religious processes or customs or traditions. Lalita Sahasranama, Shree Durga shaptshati these are really big words for me more than a mouthful. It is the first time in my life that I am using them. Sorry!

Lalita Sahasranama is this elixir powered by motherly love from the divine mother. It is a very powerful and effective exercise. I found it to be very empowering and impactful in a lot of different ways. Besides giving me spiritual strength and power, it gave me a sense of wellness and happiness in general. 

Usually, I try and recite it in the morning part or whole, depending on the time I have. I don’t have the luxury to sit and chant in the morning and I am multitasking, to be truthful. But I don’t shy away from chanting even if I have to multitask. Every now and then in between the tasks I will take a few moments to close my eyes and feel the divine love. I almost look forward to the times, where I will have the time to sit and chant. I think this is one of the best things that happened to me! Every once in a while, mother divine will reach out to me, in form of an intense craving to chant. I will drop dead in my tracks and chant except when I am working. Then our date gets pushed to the late night rendezvous!

I attended the virtual Devi Bhagavatam event. In this event, I heard Swamiji talk about how he learnt the Shree Lalita Sahasranama, I think I carried it with me and I felt a strong weird urge to do it. It was almost like it kept ringing in my ears, “Navjot, do it!” While, I was learning this, I quit many times but mother divine brought me back to it! I think prior to this I had heard Swamiji talk about the Lalita Shasranama a couple times in his discourses. I didn’t know such a scripture existed! Long story short, I learnt it, and it stayed with me since then.

It’s a very smart scripture, it dictates its own pace and sometimes it also dictates, when to chant. I have lived through some fairly intense cravings to chant. Where I just dropped dead in my tracts and chanted, before returning to what I was doing. I have woken up from sleep chanting it and then complete the chant before returning to sleep. This is the first time I realized you could crave for chanting! I thought I could only crave Chocolate cake and French fries! Interestingly, it has the potential to hold your attention. Even during the chant, when you lose focus. Then you keep looping in the same circuit until you pay attention and break the circuit and continue onwards from the same place where you lost it! Love it! You figured it, I did this many times over! Maybe, I am the only idiot, who does that.

Lalita Sahasranama is this intense profound experience that touched my soul. It almost feels like I am familiar with this, the way some of the words flow out of me. I almost wonder, Vow! When did I learn this word?

It is an enchanting experience each time, it is chanted. It creates a beautiful powerful energy bubble around the body. The body just feels totally drunk in this beautiful energy. It somehow generates happy hormones! Makes you happy! I bet it will work well for mood disorders. It stabilizes moods in my experience. It can be very intense sometimes, it may take a while to get back on your feet. A couple of experiences, stand out because they were very unique.

Once I sat chanting the Lalitha Sahasranama. I felt as if I was sitting in a bubble of this very divine energy, which was so enjoyable but on this occasion I felt a tiny little energy bundle with intense energy in the area of my heart as if mother divine was present there. It was a very distinct and strong movement. It is very difficult to perceive movement in that area, because there are two very mobile organs heart and lungs that move constantly. But this was very clearly and concisely perceptible movement. I still carry a vivid memory of those beautiful moments. Oh! Mother divine thank you for making my heart your seat!

While we are at the story of the perception of the divine in my heart, I want to recall another little anecdote. I used chant the Navarna mantra every day. One day as I sat chanting, I thought “Mother divine, people say that we need to find the divine in our heart, wouldn’t it be nice if I could see you in my heart.” Before I could even finish the thought, the form of the divine in front of me vanished and jumped to the area of my heart. My heart came to a standstill synchronously with the form, landed there. Then started a new cardiac rhythm after a little pause! I sat there shocked out of my wits! I didn’t know such a thing could happen. In the Devi Bhagavatam event as Swamiji was talking about Sri Suktam, he said mother divine said I run like a deer from the devotee’s heart. I was sitting there saying, yes! yes! yes! Mother divine is right Swamiji, I saw that! While I am aware that finding the divine in your heart is an expression not necessarily to be interpreted physically but in spirit. But I experienced it physically to understand it in spirit!

While Gayatri mantra made me aware of the mother divine’s presence all around myself. Lalita Sahasranama and Navarna mantra established her presence within myself. It almost felt like mother divine was asking “Where else do you want to see me, Navjot.” “Mother divine, I saw you everywhere, inside, outside, up, down, left, right and center, I don’t need any proof of anything anymore. As far as I am concerned, you are present everywhere and all the time! This is the truth that I am now aware of! It is going to take a little time for me, to wrap my head around this and reflect it in my work.

Besides this I also realized the value of my speech. I became aware of the fact that my words do carry the potential to translate into action. Therefore I needed to make an effort not to say something nasty towards someone even when just venting, lest it came true. I would feel terrible about bringing bad energy to someone even though the person was not necessarily in my good books. Besides of course incurring a huge karmic liability. In order to do this I had to stop myself from harboring any ill feelings for people. Otherwise, I would say something that I would want to take back. Even now, such thoughts cross my mind but I keep correcting myself.

Every time I have the urge to yell at someone, I remind myself that mother divine reserves the right to reward and punish people, not me. My narrow human vision can barely see beyond my nose. I do not have the ability to see the truth as clearly as I believe I do! Therefore it is a huge karmic liability for me to assume that role.

Another very sweet memory of Lalita Sahasranama chanting is when I sat chanting the Lalita Sahasranama and I saw a feminine energy form in the hollow of my body, from head to the waist. It was such a beautiful form of the divine. This is not the form that is described in pictures. After this experience I came across some information, that this is an experience that most people seek from the Lalita Sahasranama. Wow! I wish I paid attention to what I did that day and I would redo it.

After this experience, I became conscious of this experience. I found I was more focused on the expectation of this experience and I was losing out on the essence of the chanting. It took me a while to decondition myself, back to the essence of the chant. I figured, it is the essence that needs to stay with me, experiences will come and go!

I feel Lalita Sahasranama is a sort of a gateway to spiritual development because it has the power to promote other spiritual exercises. I had been trying to learn the Shree Durgashaptshati for quite some time, I was unable to get through, the first couple lines of the first chapter in over a year. Even though I used the same strategy as Lalita Sahasranama, just a couplet every day. Essentially, it just means breaking down the task into smaller more doable units.

Now why was I doing this? Because I was in love with the Navarna mantra. I was trying to express my gratitude to the mother divine by observing Navratri, part of it is chanting the Shree Durgashaptshati. It was also my search for commentaries on Shree Durga Shaptshati, which brought me to Os.me. Hence, I believe mother divine brought me here for a reason.

Very smartly, I hired a priest to do this. Next, I saw a dream where mother divine showed me that the priest would cheat and not chant honestly. I was crestfallen, I did not know how to do this. Therefore, I decided to follow each word in the book out of curiosity to see if this really happens and if this does I could prevent it. And this actually happened, I don’t know what was written in the Durga Shaptshati but I followed the whole scripture word for word and brought him back to the parts he missed. He stared at me in utter disbelief! Not just he, as I turned around everyone in the temple was looking at me. It felt very uncomfortable to police someone else and it created a sort of a conflict. I did not like the experience. That’s when I realized that the only way to do it properly was if I learnt how to do it. Now, I was face to face with 700 plus couplets in Sanskrit, and all that I knew of Sanskrit was that it starts with the letter “S.”I struggled with it until, I learnt the Lalita Sahasranama. I did give the priest a second chance and this time he was better informed and did well! I still follow each word and the process very closely.

I think I had been chanting the Lalita Sahasranama for about six months and I had a weird strong feeling to go to the Durga Kavach. I thought because of the pandemic mother divine is trying to protect me. It took me a little while to get to it as I worked through the pandemic. When I got to it, I understood. It is now the time to begin memorizing Shree Durga Shaptshati.

It is a pretty intense exercise because I don’t know Sanskrit, but every word learnt is time well spent. I have a working knowledge of Hindi, so I can put letters together and form a word. However, In Sanskrit many words are combined into one long word, sometimes the whole sentence is just one word. In order to pronounce correctly you have to know the grammar rules to break down words. Which I don’t know so it means I learn it by heart! It is pretty painful, but will do anything for mother divine.

Today, I understand why “Kavach” was so important, going forward I will describe that as a part of Navdurga sadhna. All these scriptures are so smart they are not just self-protecting but also protect the person who imbibes them. Obviously, as divine energy goes out with it. I can’t believe this, totally fascinating! It feels like I am solving some kind of a big puzzle! One that is spread out in time and space.

Never mind the energy it generates, it teaches you the true meaning of word “prachand”. Apparently this word means ‘extremely intense’. This is exactly the energy experience with Durgashaptshati. As I was learning this by heart, I came to a chapter, where in the Navarna mantra is mapped into physical space like the body, face, hands and directions. This was so intense that I did not return to it for more than a fortnight. When I was researching this scripture, I found that there were some communities that chanted the Chandi path before going to a battle field. I can understand why that was done!

In the last Navratri, I was able to chant the first four chapters eloquently enough to my satisfaction. I am at the end of chapter five now. So bottom line is, in my experience Lalita Sahasranama has the ability to power other spiritual pursuits. I don’t know if this was a coincidence or the truth, I just shared an experience.

I will continue with the Navdurga Sadhna, I hope to do it before Navratri, in case someone was interested in it…….