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Oṁ Namaścaṇḍikāyai
Om, Salutations to Chandika, the Goddess

Puja Offered in Shree Muktananda Ashram in Honor of Navaratri

Tuesday, October 9 – Thursday, October 18, 2018

Mahadurga Puja

Navaratri Gallery IINavaratri Gallery IIINavaratri Gallery IV

During the time of the harvest in India, as the monsoon season ends, the rice fields across the countryside are verdant and abundant. So, too, are the fields of people’s hearts—they are abundant with exuberance. People cannot help but offer their gratitude to Mother Earth, the great Goddess, and the various forms in which she manifests. Therefore, people throughout the country come together to celebrate the festival of Navaratri by worshipping the Devi in different ways—through participating in puja, singing hymns of praise, storytelling, fasting, preparing and sharing sumptuous foods, and performing jubilant dances called garba. This festival spans nine nights, and culminates on the tenth day with the celebration of Dasera, also known as Vijayadashami, which is, according to the Indian calendar, panchanga, one of the three and a half most auspicious days of the year.

On the Siddha Yoga path, when we observe Navaratri, we are honoring the Devi as the embodiment of Kundalini Shakti, the spiritual energy that Shri Guru awakens within us with the bestowal of grace, shaktipat diksha.

For this year’s celebration of Navaratri, Management in the SYDA Foundation invited Santosh Mudgal, a Brahmin priest from Vajreshwari, India, to perform puja on each of the nine nights. For two generations, priests in Santosh bhau’s family—first his father and now Santosh bhau himself—have been performing many puja and havan in Gurudev Siddha Peeth, the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Ganeshpuri, India.

The title of this photo gallery, Oṁ Namaścaṇḍikāyai, is a mantra that invokes the blessings of the Devi. Baba Muktananda loved to sing hymns extolling the greatness of the Devi. You can listen to Baba singing these Devi hymns, including the stirring invocation Oṁ Namaścaṇḍikāyai, on Shri Devi Stotram, a recording in the Siddha Yoga Bookstore.

The Oṁ Namaścaṇḍikāyai gallery depicts the celebration of Navaratri in Shree Muktananda Ashram, including the puja performed by Santosh bhau to three main forms of the Devi that are honored during this festival: Mahadurga, Mahalakshmi, and Mahasarasvati. Included in this gallery are images of the majestic murti of the Devi in Gurudev Siddha Peeth and the landscape around Gurudev Siddha Peeth.

Some of the images of the puja in the gallery depict the yajaman, a ritual role traditionally fulfilled by a married couple, who make offerings on behalf of everyone participating in the puja.

You may have already read about the Siddha Yoga Universal Hall in “Relocation of Bhagavan Nityananda’s MurtiA History and Narrative.” Here in the Universal Hall, you too are participating in these ancient and timeless Navaratri celebration puja, as your eyes have the darshan of these images filled with shakti.

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Seeing the devotion and focus in the faces of the participants in these pujas has made a new level of devotion arise in my own heart. Suddenly, making offerings and waving lights have taken on a new and deeper meaning, and my heart fills with love. I’ve become aware of the enormous spiritual abundance we've been given.

Thank you, dear Gurumayi, for always leading us deeper into the Truth.

Florida, United States

Through this gallery, I feel that Gurumayi is showering the entire world with protection, courage, and devotion.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for your endless blessings and love, and for giving us this wondrous view into the sacred space of Shree Muktananda Ashram during this auspicious time of Navaratri.

West Vancouver, Canada

This exquisite photo gallery is filled with light and creativity, mood and atmosphere. It makes the sacred visible for me. I am inspired to look at it again and again, to taste the atmosphere of prayer and collective goodwill that I sense in the photos and in the Navaratri puja itself. 
Thank you, Gurumayi, for this event that I feel is so clearly designed to be for the benefit of all beings. Thank you for conveying the true nature of worship to us.

Summer Hill, Australia

On the first night of Navaratri, as we were honoring Mahalakshmi, we received beautiful rain, along with powerful lightning and thunder. This was an absolute blessing for us here in southern California. It was quite unexpected and everyone was so grateful for the showers and the display of lightning, a very rare occurrence here. It feels as though Mahalakshmi herself visited us last night and bestowed her infinite grace.
I am awed by the power of this time of Navaratri.

California, United States

My experience of viewing this photo gallery "Om Namashchandikayai" was one of receiving a gift that flowed directly from the Guru's boundless compassion and generosity. I was so touched that Gurumayi wanted to include me, as part of the Siddha Yoga global sangham, in this powerful and moving ceremony.

Every part of the gallery called out to my heart, helping me to experience the ceremonies with all my senses awakened: my eyes rejoiced in the vivid forms and colors, my ears tingled as I imagined the sounds of the prayers and the silver bell, my nose delighted in the imagined aromas of the fragrant flowers and incense. Even the photos were arranged in such an expressive sequence that I could witness not only the puja ceremonies, but even the starlit skies and crescent moon over Shree Muktananda Ashram.

Thank you, Gurumayi, for bringing all of us together for these sacred nine days.

Illinois, United States