Aravindan Neelakandan's series on the Sri Lalitha Sahasranama has a new title, 'Sahasra'. This Navratri, we bring to you one article each from this series, each day.
Humans often ask the Divine to take care of them and grant every wish of theirs. The Divine is considered the ruler of the Universe. To approached with appropriate.
Hindu wisdom saw a transactional spirituality in such an approach. Even so, it is an important aspect of the spirituality on the planet. Hindu culture does not condemn it. It accepts it.
But it also shows an alternative way.
What if humanity becomes the nurturing parent of the Divine? What if we experience the Divine as a child, without any expectation from Her or Him? A child who is playful, innocent, and adorable. A child who responds to your love and devotion with joy and affection. A child who is the source of all bliss and beauty.
For many seekers of the ultimate truth, this became a chosen path of meditation.
The idea of humans providing the Divine a parental nurture can be traced to Vedas. In later Bhakti literature, we see that the bellowing of the cow for the calf, a Vedic imagery, becomes the call of the Bhakta to his or her chosen form of Divine.
In Sri Lalita Sahasranama, She is Bala – the eternal nine-years-old girl child.
She first appears in the battle with Bhandasura. The Asura supremo unleashes his thirty sons, from Chaturbahu to Upamaya, into the battle field. From the shining armour of the Goddess arises Her Divine Child form – nine-years old Bala. Bala fights and conquers the thirty young Asuras.
When Bala fights with the determination to slay the Asura princes, the Goddess delights in that valour. That is the 74th Name: Bhanda-putra-vadhodyukta-Bala-vikrama-nanditā
In Yogic psychology there are three chief inner pollutants or malas. They are:
-anava-mala: impurity of ego
-karma-mala: impurity of actions
-mayika-mala: impurity caused by maya.
With their binding grip strong on the self, these three malas exert their influence through the ten indriyas or the sense organs: the five jnanendriyas, which are the five cognitive organs and five karmedriyas, the five motor organs. The three malas through ten indriyas form the thirty sons of Bhandasura.
Saiva Siddhanta too uses the attachment of the number of these malas to the sentient beings to categorise the seekers in three categories.
Those with all three malas are Sahalars.
Those who have two malas (freed from the bondage of mayika-mala) are called Pralayakalar.
Those who have only one mala namely anava-mala, are called Vijnanakalar.
More the weakening of the malas, more the spiritual progress leading to a critical mass that allows the Arul of Goddess to happen through the Guru. This pouring down of Arul (crudely but not completely synonymous with grace) - Sakthinipatham effects the ascent of Kundalini.
In other words the progressive weakening of the grip of the malas over the self is the victory of Bala.
This victory becomes the essential condition for pleasing the Goddess who in Her joy showers Her Anugraha to awaken the Kundalini.
The child-warrior Goddess, who is seen here as Her daughter, is also the Goddess Herself. This is revealed in the Name 965: which is Bala. And Her child-like nature is revealed in the next Name: Lilavinodini.
She takes delight in Her playful nature. What is that playful nature? She creates the universes or Her play is creating the multiverse: Lilaklipta-brahmanda-mandala (Name 648). As part of Her playful nature She delights in taking various forms (Lilavigrahadharini).
The vision of Lila as the motiveless motive behind the formation of the multiverse by the child-Goddess eliminates the need for creator-based teleological expectations in studying the universe around us.
This integrates evolution with its chancy branching of many worlds at the cosmological level and branching of phylogenetic tree at the biological level. The taking of various forms by the Goddess as Her divine play, allows the spiritual seeker to empathise with every spiritual tradition and venerate theo-diversity.
From guiding individual spiritual growth to venerating theo-diversity to feeling at home in a chancy yet spiritually meaningful universe, the Goddess becomes a delightful, playful presence.
She is at once our Mother and all our daughters.
Today, when we talk about stopping violence and abuse against girl child Her worship as Bala assumes even greater significance. Seeing every girl child as Bala makes it mandatory for every Shakti-upasaka, every Devi devotee to make safety and protection of and respect to every girl child an inviolable Dharmic duty.
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