As I started to write about the singularly most unique, empowering and life changing experience of my life. It felt like I wanted to say so many things but my lips were locked and there was a dearth of words to express myself.
“Dear mother divine, your stature is so tall,
My humble little words are so small,
In capturing your essence,
Yet everything around me spells your presence,
Everything that’s mine,
Is your shelter divine,
Who am I?
A tiny little speck at your feet,
I am fortunate that you let me be,
You are the power of the pen in my hand,
It’s your design, on the land that I stand,
It’s your grace, that words to my lips, find their way,
It’s you in the sounds that in my ears play,
It’s your generosity that I find my voice,
It’s your gift that in happiness I rejoice,
It’s your lap that my sorrow finds,
It’s your light that fills my mind,
It’s your love that my heart beats,
You are the life that I breathe,
You created this vast expanse,
Everywhere that I can glance,
You put me on this journey of life, now I am tired and I seek the divine,
You just said it here my dear, peek into your heart, there’s the divine.
My spiritual diary, is a humble little attempt to share my experiences with some of the spiritual exercises. My faith in these exercises is informed and inspired by my personal experience with these. I am very ordinary normal person with a rigorous work schedule, household chorus and a special needs child to add to the blend. I don’t have any big spiritual achievement to my credit, it may have happened but I have no measure to gauge that. I did not start out with spiritual achievement in mind.
However I do have a tangible physical measure of the beneficial effects that these spiritual exercises have bestowed upon the quality of my life. And there may be a lot of other people like me who might want to make this change, hence I am sharing this. As a part of my obligation to pay back to the creation of the divine, that I have received from the divine.
There came a time in my life, when I felt really tired and exhausted. Despite working very hard and successfully meeting challenges that the life presented to me. I never really felt happy or content. Anytime I achieved a goal and it became mine, I no longer desired it. I went back for more. It seems to be a vicious cycle which kept perpetuating itself, exhausting me in the end. At some point I realized this and felt the need to get out of this, I just did not know how.
“I can’t imagine how anyone can say: “I’m weak,” and then remain so. After all, if you know it, why not fight against it, why not try to train your character? The answer was: “Because it’s so much easier not to!”
― Anne Frank, The dairy of a young woman
This is one of the most memorable books I read as a young child. This sentiment echoes my approach to the problems in life. I thought of Anne Frank as I picked the title of the post. It is also my experience that writing down your thoughts helps to learn from yourself.
Tired, exhausted and confused, I went to the owner of energy, Maa Shakti. And I said “Dear mother divine, I am really getting tired trying to find the real happiness and contentment. I am seemingly doing all the right things and I even make it to my goals but yet this happiness and contentment evades me. Then I come back to you begging for more energy. I feel ashamed of myself, despite having a lot more than others, and I still can’t stay happy. I can’t understand this starvation amidst plenty. Why don’t you just give me this happiness and contentment instead and then both of us will be happy.” Mother divine said, “So be it Navjot.” Any spiritually smart person would know, what this means! It was the start of a journey of transformation and making changes. I just did not realize this in the moment and only recognized it in the hindsight.
I did not know anything remotely spiritual or religious. I could probably count the number of times I went to a temple or a Gurudwara for the real reasons. Socializing vs spirituality dominated these sparse visits.
Somehow Mother divine prompted me to seek out the Navarna Mantra. It is the mantra of the mother divine and anyone can chant it.
I learnt how to pronounce it first, there was a whole lot of people chanting it in all kinds of ways. I said to mother divine “Mother divine I am trying to chant this Navarna mantra, I don’t know if I am chanting it right but I am trying my best. I wish I knew how to do this right.”
It was suggested that it should be chanted 108 times. I tried desperately to do the mental math but it was very challenging. I saw my daughter’s abacus sitting in front of me, so I used that. I used my pointer finger to move each bead as I chanted. I was well aware that I was probably making a lot of mistakes unknowingly. So every day I would chant and then say “I am sorry mother divine, I really don’t know whether I am doing it right or wrong, but I want you to know that I am really trying hard.”
The abacus had only 30 beads and so I started to look for something else, I had brand new string of beads that was lying idle, I decided to use it to count. When I counted there were only 103 beads and I did the mental math for the remaining 5.
This went on for a few days, then I thought to myself. There are a lots of innovative folks out there in the world, I bet someone has figured out a better way to chant this 108 times. It was then that I came across the Spiritual abacus – The Jap mala or the rosary. I was over the moon with this discovery. I slapped the back of my head “Idiot! how come it never occurred to you, you’ve seen people holding the rosary in their hand, you should have known better.”
After some research, I found a shop where I could get myself a spiritual abacus. Then I learnt how to use the Jap mala, I stopped using my pointer finger to move the beads. There is a bead that sticks out in the Jap mala and it marks the end of a cycle, norm is not to walk across this bead, it’s the Guru. When you reach there, turn back and start chanting. Of course in my ignorance! I went across the little bead several times. I did apologize to the jap mala for bad conduct.
“’Anytime is good for chanting, anyplace is good for chanting, don’t be scared of making mistakes. Mother Divine will guide you.”
As you can see here, I made a mistake in everything. Despite making all these mistakes Maa Shakti blessed me and guided me through this process. I chanted every single day without fail with complete honesty and devotion. There were days when I would be very tired to sit up, then I would prop myself on my pillow and chant or just lie down and chant. After a while I would be energized enough to sit and complete! But chanting I never missed. I think it must be about 6 years now that I have never gone to bed without chanting this mantra.
After a while I started to feel this beautiful energy during chanting and I wanted to stay situated in that state, I didn’t want to move, I did not want to even breathe, I would hold my breath until I could no longer go without it. I would start out to chant 108 times (1 cycle) but would end up with 3-4 cycles sometimes. It was just so captivating! This energy had a very therapeutic effect on exhaustion, pain, moods, digestive function, mental focus and sleep. Of course it gave me this beautiful enchanting experience that bound me to this mantra.
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
― Albert Einstein
Reflecting on the spiritual dimension associated with chanting this mantra. It is this experience of being a part of the whole universe that this mantra helped me get and that changed my perception of everything around me. I found peace in being myself and the environment around me. Hence, I no longer desired any change in anything and my relentless race to acquire things and to change things ended.
I am not a spiritually smart person. But I can bear testimony to the strong transformative power of this mantra. When I started chanting, I did not know where the Navarna mantra comes from. I know today it is the beej mantra of Durgashaptshathi. Durgashaptshathi is very revered text of the Shakta tradition. It is said that it holds the key to liberation of the spirit from the constantly dodging physical forms that keep us locked into this physical state of existence. I can see why it has gained this reputation after my own life changing experience with it.
I just want to acknowledge that there are different ways of achieving the same thing, this is just how I did it. I respect all religions equally and see them as different pathways to achieve the same goal.
I will continue with “Finding my voice for chanting……………