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Michigan Parashakthi Temple Navaratri Specials 2014

Day 1
Shakambari Alankaram

Day 2
Kamakshi Alankaram

Day 3
Kanaka Durga Alankaram

Day 4 - Meenakshi Alankaram

Day 5 - DhanaLakshmi Alankaram

Day 6 - Mahalakshmi Alankaram

Day 7 - Annapoorneswari Alankaram

Day 8
Mookambika Alankaram

Day 9 - Saraswathi Alankaram

Day 10 - Vijayadasami Mahishasuramardini Alankaram

Tales of Nine Sparkling Nights An exclusive feature of Navaratri celebrations 2014
@ The Eternal Mother Parashakthi Temple, Pontiac

Navaratri (Nine Nights) is a sacred festival where the Goddess Shakthi (Supreme Energy and Power) is worshipped and her manifested forms are celebrated. Every home is lit up with fanfare and reflects the many meanings the festival brings. The beginning of summer and the beginning of winter are two important junctions of climatic and solar influence. These are taken as sacred opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother. Everyone is forgiven by her divine mercy and everyone is protected by her divine grace. Shakthi represents the Divine Mother. She is the energy aspect of the Lord (Shiva). Without Shakthi, Shiva has no expression and without Shiva, Shakthi has no existence. Shiva is the soul of Shakthi; Shakthi is identical with Shiva. Lord Shiva is only the silent witness. He is motionless, absolutely changeless. He is not affected by the cosmic play. It is Shakthi who does everything.

The Parashakthi temple at Pontiac, MI is the spiritual abode for several devotees coming from various parts of the world. Every year, the temple celebrates the divinity of mother in various forms and practices that enlightens and protects the world we live in.

Welcome to the tales of Nine Nights, Nine Forms, Nine Spiritual Lessons we as humans need to learn to co-exist in this life. Spirituality is beyond any religion. Manifestations happen when humans seek control to destroy the world. Nature takes over and as humans, we are humbled and helpless.

Navaratri in the year 2014 starts on Wednesday 24th September and ends on Thursday 2nd October with Vijaya Dasami celebrated on Friday 3rd October 2014. Click here for Navaratri 2014 event & sponsorship details»

Navarathri Day 1 - Goddess Shakambari Alankaram  |  Wednesday, Sep. 24

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It is believed that Shakthi/Durga incarnated as Shakambari to mitigate famine and severe food crisis on the Earth. She is also known as Goddess of vegetables, fruits and green leaves and depicted with green surroundings of fruits and vegetables. ‘Shaaka’ means vegetables; ‘ambari’ means the one who bears; ‘bhri’ means to nourish. As Durga’s manifestation, Shakambari gives food to the hungry during famine. In Hindu mythology, as Aadi Parashakthi (Goddess of Supreme Energy), Shakambari kills the demon Durgam and manifests as Durga. Shakambari is also known as Goddess Satakshi, meaning one who has countless eyes. That is a reference to the Shambari who was so moved by the plights of the needy, so much so, tear rolled down from her eyes continuously for nine days and nights to flow in the form of a river. In contemporary times, famine and drought relate to the mind and constant nourishment is required for a peaceful co-existence.

May Goddess bless us and guide us; may Her Grace stand by us and help us to overcome the current conditions of war and intolerance.

Navarathri Day 2 - Goddess Kamakshi Alankaram  |  Thursday, Sep. 25

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Kamakshi = KAma +Aksi = love + eyes = Eyes full of love. Embodying the autonomy of nature, Kamakshi is defined as the Supreme Goddess of Beauty and Tranquility. Mother is an incarnation of Goddess Shakti. As Lord Shiva’s wife, she is known as Kamakshi in South India and Kamakhya in the East. The word is derived from the heritage "Ka" means Goddess Saraswati (God of Education), "Ma" means Goddess Lakshmi (God of Wealth), "Akshi" means Eye. The name as a whole refers as the god who lives in Kanchi with Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi as her both eyes. The sitting posture is called the Padmasana (meditative) posture signifying peace and prosperity. The Goddess holds a sugarcane bow on her left upper arm and Lotus, parrot in her right upper arm- all symbols of love. The Goddess also has divine chakras called Pasa (weapon that binds obstacles and ignorance) and Angusa (weapon that steers control and direction) in her arms.

In one legend, Shiva, opened his third eye to destroy Kama, the God of Love. What Shiva destroys and resists ends up becoming his better half. Another legend reveals that Goddess Kamakshi was praying under a mango tree with a Shiva lingam made of sand to marry the great Lord Shiva. After a long duration of dedicated and devoted meditation to Lord Shiva, Lord Shiva appeared before her and married the Goddess Kamakshi, a divine form of Parvati. In another legend, she fights like a warrior against the devil Bhanda and proves that a woman can be delicate and beautiful, yet destroy evil with the strength of her mind. These legends goes to prove how Goddess Kamakshi is able to be devoted to her Consort Siva, but to maintain the independence she needs to fiercely lead her army to war. Kamakshi shows how to live in balance, for people with numerous responsibilities. She demonstrates that it is possible to honor the family and other responsibilities, without disappointing anyone.

May the goddess bless your home with prosperity, harmony and love.

Navarathri Day 3 - Goddess Kanaka Durga Alankaram  |  Friday, Sep. 26

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Thousands of years ago, a Yaksha named Indrakeela, who was a great shakta(worshipper of the goddess), worshipped Amba and as a boon Amba granted her eternal presence to him. As a result, he assumed the form of a hill named Indrakeeladri and Devi began to reside on this hill. As described in Kena Upanishad, Amba appeared as umA haimavatI, adorned with beautiful shining jewels and with incomparable beauty and it is this form of Amba that also came to be referred as kanaka-durga by shAktas. The name durgA means –that power which cannot be attained or reached even with the greatest of difficulty. In other words, Durga is that supreme power which has no second. Kanaka Durga is the presiding deity of Vijayawada in India.

At a later period, a king named Madhava Varma ruled that region. Once when his son was accused of accidentally killing some infants, he ordered his son to be hanged till death. Pleased with his righteousness, Devi showered gold and resurrected the dead infants. Thereafter, Vijayawada came to be known as Kanakapuri and Amba as Kanakadurga. One of the many mythologies associated with this place is that Arjuna prayed to Lord Shiva on top of Indrakeela hill to win his blessings and the city derived its name "Vijayawada" after this victory. This is the place where Arjuna obtained the Pasupatha astra (weapon) after his great penance for Lord Shiva.

Kanaka Durga is an incarnation of Devi or the Mother Goddess, a unified symbol of all divine forces. Durga also obtained very powerful weapons, such as the chakra from Vishnu and a trident from Shiva. The name "Durga" in Sanskrit means "invincible". The syllable "du" is synonymous with the 4 devils of poverty, sufferings, famine and evil habits. The "r" refers to diseases and the "ga" is the destroyer of sins, injustice, irreligion, cruelty and laziness. Kanaka Durga is seen with a trident that stands for the three primary evils which need to destroyed in order to make progress towards the divine. They are the evil of anger, the evil of lust and the evil of pride. The trident also represents the three aspects of time, the past, the present and the future.

May the goddess illuminate your home with goodness and benevolence.

Navarathri Day 4 - Goddess Meenakshi Alankaram  |  Saturday, Sep. 27

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The legend has it that the King Malaya Dhwaja, a great devotee of Lord Shiva was childless and hence conducted Puthra Kameshti yagna (ritual sacrifice to beget children). Goddess Parvathi was born and named as Meenakshi (Her eyes (akshi)being in the shape of fish(meena)). Akshi also means to abide, reside, dwell, inhabit , take possession. This “akshi” could also mean sun and moon. We consider the right and left eye the sun and the moon - Siva & Sakthi.

Meenakshi was a great devotee of Lord Sundareswara (Shiva) and the Lord comes in disguise followed by 64 thrilling episodes known as thiruvilayadal (sixty four divine games), before marrying the goddess Meenakshi. The goddess is the presiding deity of Madurai (birthplace of Tamil literature) and not Sundareswarar - this is unlike most Shiva temples in South India where Shiva is the principal deity. The green parrot resting on Her shoulder is the celestial partner imparting knowledge of all the 64 arts to Devi. The green parrot plays a great role as a symbol of love, peace and transfer of knowledge. The parrot also symbolizes Meenakshi’s love for Shiva. Therefore it is not astonishing that the parrot is also the vehicle of Lord Kamadeva, the god of love and passion. While having darshan of the Goddess, it is essential to seek the blessings of the parrot for upliftment in the knowledge of fine arts. The parrot, apart from enhancing speech, also has a tendency to repeat all it hears, symbolizes the inexorable law of karma, the belief that one cannot escape the consequences of one's acts. It also represents the world of nature. Madurai Meenakshi statue is made of a particular green color stone called Maragatha Kal. But it is not the precious emerald. Hindus associate green color with the planet Mercury (Bhudhan). Anyone who has got a weaker Bhudha in their horoscope come to Madurai to cure the evil effects of the planet. It is a Bhudha Kshetra (Place of Planet Mercury).

For the literary fans, the glory of Meenakshi-Sundareshvarar has been extolled in immortal hymns by the Shaiva saints Appar, Sundarar, Tirujnanasambandhar, and Manikkavachakar, and in the works of erudite scholars like Paranjyoti Munivar, Kumara Guruparar, and Nilakantha Dikshitar.

May your homes be blessed and illuminated with knowledge and wisdom of the supreme energy and divine forces.

Navarathri Day 5 - Goddess Dhana Lakshmi Alankaram  |  Sunday, Sep. 28

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Dhana Lakshmi is one of the aspects of the eight secondary manifestations of Goddess Lakshmi. The name "Lakshmi" is derived from the Sanskrit elemental form "lakS," meaning to observe or perceive. This is also synonymous with "lakSya," meaning aim, goal or objective. Lakshmi is thus a Goddess who is regarded as the means to achieving several goals, importantly, becoming prosperous. Lakshmi is also considered a Mother Goddess when it comes to providing wealth in its 16 forms: Knowledge, intelligence, strength, valor, beauty, victory, fame, ambition, morality, gold and other wealth, food grains, bliss, happiness, health and longevity, and virtuous off-springs. The story of Dhana Lakshmi and the power of material wealth is closely associated with the story of Goddess Padmavati and Lord Balaji.

Dhana means wealth in the form of money or gold; at an intangible level it may even mean inner strength, will power, talent, virtues and character. So, Dhana-Lakshmi represents this aspect of the human world, and with her divine grace, we can get an abundance of wealth and prosperity. This form of Goddess Lakshmi is portrayed as six-armed, wearing a red sari, and holding in her five hands a discus, a conch, the holy pitcher, bow and arrow, and a lotus while the sixth arm is in Abhaya Mudra (a hand pose that is the gesture of reassurance and safety, which dispels fear and accords divine protection and bliss to the devotee. In Abhaya Mudra, the right hand is held upright, and the palm is facing outwards) with gold coins rolling from her palm. Her four arms signify Purity, Prosperity, Perfection and Freedom from bondage and the gold coins continuously flowing out of her left hand represents endless material prosperity.

Although Goddess Lakshmi has numerous other attributes and symbolisms but this is most popular form of Goddess Lakshmi for majority of people in today’s world. Symbolically, Dhana Lakshmi teaches the importance of material wealth in modern society. Dhana Lakshmi is only an aspect of Goddess Lakshmi. But unfortunately many people are immersed in this one aspect – making material wealth. Too much of anything isn’t good. Wealth is just like water. You need water for survival but too much of it can drown you as well. You need different types of wealth and resources to be rich in a real sense.

May the goddess bless your home with material and spiritual wealth!

Navarathri Day 6 - Goddess Mahalakshmi Alankaram  |  Monday, Sep. 29

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Mahalakshmi is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual. In Hindu mythology, Goddess Lakshmi, also called Shri, is the divine spouse of Lord Vishnu and provides him with wealth for the maintenance and preservation of the creation. The goddess depicts auspiciousness, purity, prosperity and generosity. She also embodies charm, beauty and grace.

In our vision, Mahalakshmi is depicted in a female form with four arms. She is standing or sitting on a lotus. Two elephants (some pictures show four) are shown next to the Goddess. The four arms represent the four directions in space and thus symbolize omnipresence and omnipotence of the Goddess. The lotus seat, which Lakshmi is standing or sitting upon, signifies that while living in this world, one should enjoy its wealth, but not become obsessed with it. Such a living is akin to a lotus that grows in water but is not wetted by water. The four hands represent the four ends of human life: dharma (righteousness), kama (genuine desires), artha (wealth), and moksha (liberation from birth and death). The two elephants standing next to the Goddess symbolize the name and fame associated with worldly wealth. The idea conveyed here is that a true devotee should not earn wealth merely to acquire name and fame or only to satisfy his own material desires, but should share it with others in order to bring happiness to others in addition to himself. Lakshmi's vahana (vehicle), the Owl (or the Ulooka in Sanskrit) is a bird that signifies wisdom and that sleeps through the day and prowls through the night. This is because it can only see in the dark, and goes blind in the day. This partial blindness in the creature is actually indicative of a sadhaka's (seeker) tendency of going toward the pursuit of secular instead of spiritual wealth.

Salutations to the Goddess Mahalakshmi - the destroyer of the demon Mahishasura, who is the consort of the one with blue throat (Lord Shiva), who has many relations in this world (being the Cosmic Mother) and who created abundance (in creation). May the divine grace of Mahalakshmi be symbolic of your continuous self-effort, in accordance with dharma and governed by wisdom and purity, leading to both material and spiritual prosperity.

Navarathri Day 7 - Goddess Annapoorneswari Alankaram  |  Tuesday, Sep. 30

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Ma Annapoorna, the Goddess of Food or the Goddess of Nourishment is an aspect of Shakthi. In Sanskrit Language the word ‘Anna’ means food and grains and ‘Poorna’ means full or complete. Eswari means Shakthi/Wife of Shiva. She is depicted with a jeweled vessel containing food in one hand and a spoon in the other to distribute the food to her devotees.

According to the legend, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati used to play the game of dice. Once the game became so interesting that they started betting – Parvati kept her jewels and Shiva his trident. Shiva lost the game and lost his trident. To get back his trident, Shiva betted serpent and this time too he lost the game. Finally, when the game ended, Shiva lost all that he had including his begging bowl. A humiliated Shiva left for the Deodar forest. Lord Vishnu approached Shiva and asked him to play again to win back all that he had lost. Taking advice from Vishnu, Shiva played again and won all that he had lost in the previous game.
Goddess Parvati grew suspicious about Shiva’s sudden turn of fortunes and called him a cheat. This led to a verbal duel between the couple. Finally, Lord Vishnu intervened and revealed that the dice moved as per His wish and they were under the illusion that they were playing. Symbolically, life is like a game of dice - unpredictable and beyond control.

Verbal duel soon turned to philosophical discussion and Lord Shiva said that possessions are temporary…everything is Maya (illusion)…even the food we eat is Maya. Goddess Parvati did not agree that food is illusion. She argued that if food is illusion, she is also an illusion. She wanted to know how the world would survive without food and disappeared. Her disappearance meant Nature came to a standstill. There were no seasonal changes. Everything remained barren. There was regeneration or birth. Soon there was severe drought and shortage of food. Shiva soon realized that he is incomplete without Shakti. Gods, humans and demons all kept praying for food. Goddess Parvati could not see her children perishing with hunger and so she appeared and started distributing food. Shiva appeared before her with a begging bowl and Goddess Parvati fed Shiva. Shiva said that food cannot be dismissed as mere illusion as it is required to nourish the body in which resides the Atma (Soul) .

May the Goddess Annapoorna nourish your homes and loved ones with good health and happiness.

Navarathri Day 8 - Goddess Mookambika Alankaram  |  Wednesday, Oct. 1

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The evergreen Kodachadri hills of the Western Ghats and the perennial Sauparnika River trace back their history to the days of legends when a sage and a demon meditated side by side. While the sage had no aim but to eventually achieve oneness with the Lord, the demon obviously had power and invincibility on his mind. Which is why, when the time came for the Lord to grant their boons, the goddess of speech made the demon a mute. Thus foiled from his aims, the demon came to be known as Mookasura – the demon who was mute. Of course, being a demon, he turned to troubling the sage and disturbing his penance. The sage invoked the help of the Goddess, who obliged. She appeared on this site with all the other Gods and vanquished the demons. On the sage’s request, she agreed to remain here, and came to be known as Mookambika – the vanquisher of the demon Mooka.

Yet another legend says that Adi shankara once worshipped goddess Saraswati in order to bring her to Kerala, where none of her temples existed. When Devi answered his prayers, he told his wish to bring her to Kerala. She agreed to come, but only in one condition - that when he was going she would follow and if he stops and looks backs,she will stay there itself and not continue.Adi shankaracharya readily agreed.So they started walking down from Kodachadri hills. While walking he could always hear her anklets, so he knew that she was with him. Suddenly, the sound stopped. Adi shankara looked back in intense doubt. When he saw she was still with him, Adi shankara apologized, knowing that he had broken her condition. The Goddess Mookambika is in the form of Jyotir-Linga incorporating both Shiva and Shakthi. The Panchaloha image (five element mixed metal) of the Goddess on Shree Chakra is stated to have been consecrated by Adi shankaracharya during his visit to this place. There is an exquisite sculpture of Panchamukha (five faced) Ganesha. The right half of the Jyotirlinga is regarded as the 3 Hindu Trinity Gods -Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The left half stands for the three Hindu Goddesses Parvati, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. Goddess Mookambika is an embodiment of all divine powers.

May your home be blessed with the best!

Navarathri Day 9 - Goddess Saraswati Alankaram  |  Thursday, Oct. 2

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Saraswati is one of the many faces reflected in the image of the Divine Mother. Called the Goddess of the Word, Saraswati means "the one who gives the essence (Sara) of our own Self (Swa)”.

She is also known as the Goddess of Learning and is the consort (wife) of the Hindu God Brahma (the Creator). Saraswati is closely identified with culture, language, speech, wisdom, intellect, creativity and inspiration. She contains all forms within her, pervades all creation, and is the power of intelligence and thought. As the embodiment of speech Saraswati teaches us the power of the spoken Word. She helps us to become aware of our speech and to understand the importance of choosing our words carefully. She teaches us about idle chatter and gossip which benefit no one and actually dissipate the light in our chakras (spirituals centers). Legend has it that Sri Maha Saraswati is born from the body of Devi Gauri (one of shakthi’s forms) and manifests in order to destroy Sumbha and other demons.

The lotus is a symbol of the Supreme Reality. By sitting on a lotus, Saraswati signifies that She is Herself rooted in the Supreme Reality, and symbolizes supreme knowledge. The white sari that the Goddess is wearing denotes that She is the embodiment of pure knowledge. The two front arms indicate her activity in the physical world and the two back arms signify her presence in the spiritual world. The four hands represent the four elements of the inner personality. The mind (manas) is represented by the front right hand, the intellect (buddhi) by the front left hand, the conditioned consciousness (chitta) by the rear left hand, and the ego (ahankara) by the rear right hand.

A book in the rear left hand signifies that knowledge acquired must be used with love and kindness to promote prosperity of mankind. The rosary signifies concentration, meditation, and contemplation, leading to samadhi, or union with God. The Goddess is shown playing a veena (stringed instrument). This symbol conveys that the seeker must tune his mind and intellect in order to live in perfect harmony with the world. A swan is said to have a sensitive beak that enables it to distinguish pure milk from a mixture of milk and water. A swan, therefore, symbolizes the power of discrimination, or the ability to discriminate between right and wrong or good and bad. Saraswati uses the swan as her vahana (vehicle). This indicates that one must acquire and apply knowledge with discrimination for the good of mankind. Knowledge that is dominated by ego can destroy the world. She helped Brahma see how to change chaos into creation.

May the goddess of speech and wisdom enlighten your homes with goodness and purity.

Navarathri Day 10: "VijayaDasami" -  Goddess Mahishasura Mardini – The Grand Finale  |  Friday, Oct. 3

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Over the past nine days, you saw how our scriptures narrated many legends and episodes of Parashakthi coming in different incarnations for different purposes. Each day of Navaratri (Nine nights) is dedicated to one such form of Parashakthi (Supreme Energy).

It marks the end of the Maha Navratri or the nine days of Durga Puja. This day is also symbolic of the end of Mahishasur, the king of demons who was killed by Goddess Durga on this day. According to mythology, Durga was created by the Gods by pooling in their spiritual powers as they wanted to create ‘shakti’ that was ultimate and could annihilate Mahishasur. So it is a celebration of righteousness over evil. This is why she is called Mahishasura Mardini, the destroyer of Mahisha asura (demon), mahisha meaning “buffalo.” Buffalo represents darkness, ignorance and inertia.

Vijayadasami also celebrates the victory of Lord Ram over Ravana as cited in the epic Ramayana. This is when Lord Ram rescues his wife Sita who was abducted by Ravana and imprisoned in Lanka. Effigies of Ravana are burnt to mark the victory of good over evil. The word "Dussehra" is derived from Sanskrit "Dasa-Hara" means "removal of ten heads" which is representing the triumph of Lord Sri Rama over the demon King Ravana, the victory of Good over Evil.

The word "VijayaDasami" is also derived from Sanskrit word Vijaya-Dasami meaning "the victory on Dasami" (Dasami is the 10th lunar day of Hindu calendar month).

May god bless your homes with happiness, peace, success and good health!

 
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