Sunday, November 4, 2007

Mata Pratyangirae and Diwali

Amma Pratyangirae is coming to my house for Diwali. Diwali is known as the festival of lights and will take place on the dark moon on November 9th this year. At this time Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Spiritual and Material Abundance, Harmony, and Beauty is celebrated and worshiped in the homes. People pray for the success of their businesses and peacefulness in domestic life. Hundreds of candles of lit, footsteps are drawn on the path leading to the front door, and inside flowers, sweet foods, incense, music, and devotees await Her…

Mata Pratyangirae is a fierce primordial goddess of over 2000 lion heads. She is ancient and all powerful. She has appeared to us in the 21st century in the body of a Tamil Indian woman from Singapore. While Durga removes difficulty and fear, Lakshmi brings abundance, and Kali helps us deal with our anger, Pratyangirae is the Goddess we call on to help us remove negative karmas. She has come in human form to "eat" our fears, worries and problems and help us to find and live our true light. It is not that she takes all the difficulties away from us, but with her guidance a challenging situation may suddenly be less formidable, or a bad habit may release its hold on us. We cannot sit back passively waiting for all the stress to dissipate from our lives even when we are blessed to be in the presence of a realized being like Amma Pratyangirae or Swami. We must also do the Work and we can begin with opening our hearts.

Diwali is the perfect ritual for accessing the blazing radiant light of our souls. The candles we light are symbolic of the flames that burn within each of our hearts. This is yet another sacred time in the autumnal season of death and decay, where we have an opportunity to dispel the darkness of our ignorance and suffering through ritual practices. Such rituals teach us of the inherent cycles in our lives. Everything has its season. Life is a constant battle-
or it is a dance between the tensions of opposites that are continuously at play within our lives. All things that are born will eventually die. This is a seemingly simple truth, and yet most of us in the West have trouble accepting the reality of death. We run from it, deny it, repress the fact of its inevitably. We do so much to try to prolong and enhance this life and to keep a firm hold on all of our attachments. What if we took a different approach? What if we understood our lives as a preparation for perhaps the greatest spiritual initiation there is, death of our physical bodies? Our physical death is going to happen to each of us, so how can we live more consciously, so that in the end, we can die more consciously? Every day we experience death-whether of the moment, a feeling, a relationship, time, or even a loved one. In this season of lessening light, rituals like Diwali help us to stay connected to our inner light.

During the Durga Puja and fall equinox we celebrate the fruits of our labor from the past 9 months. But the bounty of the harvest too will pass. Fall is a season of celebration and letting go. Here in the Northern hemisphere as the days get shorter and the nights longer, a ritual like Diwali or even sitting in the presence of a Spiritual Teacher can aid us in preparing our hearts and our minds to approach death in her myriad guises in a more present way. To me this season is a time of preparation for dissolution. I may or may not be conscious of what I need to release, but I have come to respect the often cold harshness of these days as a time to go within myself, to hibernate and reflect. A sacred time when the veils between the worlds are thin and messages from our ancestors come streaming in...I I take comfort in fall's cold inky darkness and these opportunities to contemplate the mysteries of death and life. It is a wondrous blessing that Amma and Swami are coming here to perform these rituals.

Over the past several weeks, I have experienced numerous synchronicities pointing to Amma Pratyangirae’s arrival. Too many to share, but they continue to occur whether through 'out of the blue' phone calls, seemingly random encounters, or 'odd' experiences that have a numinous essence. I merely observe and surrender to them- trying not to judge or interpret. A female saint is coming to my home, but not as an award nor as a punishment. I, my ego mind has no idea why we are hosting the ritual gatherings here, and it does not matter. I am not sure what it all means and hope to be able to open to the spiritual potential for deeper awakening. Still, I remain awestruck by the blessing that is being presented. Being in their presence I have the sense of being with two very wise and realized souls. Grace, peace and love permeate my experiences with them. May this be true for all who encounter them.

Last Friday I saw Amma Pratyangirae in San Francisco. Swami, Amma’s Shiva (for they are indeed the embodiment of Shiva and Shakti!), performed a flower puja and Amma went into her bhava or “mood.” When someone enters a bhava they usually exhibit mystical qualities, signs of spiritual states of consciousness. Amma’s eyes roll back till only the whites show between her trembling eyelids, her voice changes, she performs mudras in a trance-like state, then gives darshan-or a blessing, and sometimes offers prophecies. The energy in the room intensifies. It feels hot, electric, enlivening. Everyone present is captivated by the sacred play or Lila. Amma is here to awaken our own divinity, which she describes as Love. One by one we sit or kneel before her and she presses sacred ash on each devotee’s forehead-right between the eyebrows. Sometimes she mutters mantras to various goddesses like Aum Bhubaneswaryay Namaha or Kali Kali Kali Kali, or She emits a deep throated AUM whose resonance seems to shake the walls! Occasionally she cries out, PHET! in a very fierce deliberate tone—for cutting or severing emotional and mental afflictions. This one is quite startling as the vibration of the syllables coming from Amma cut through the thick waves of Shakti circling around us and for a moment I experience a state of dissolution. Hearing PHET! makes me shudder—perhaps my own negative tendencies do not want to be banished and are raising up in protest. Nevertheless almost instantaneously the Shakti resurges and continues to stir the energies within and around us. Sometimes the energies make us cry, others laugh—we never know what to expect. These Shaktified experiences truly are different than ordinary reality. And yet it is pretty amazing how “easy” it is for us to access the Shakti. Ultimately it is within each of us, waiting to be stirred and awakened.

When it was my turn to kneel before Amma, I began to cry (which does not happen to me out of sadness or joy, but out of a profound sense of recognition and relief). “Hey Mata”, Amma said to me. Hello Mother, which she has called me from the moment we first met. She has greeted many women I know in this way-to Amma we are all the Mother. Amma tells us she is here to help us find Pratyangirae in our self and all others. It was such a relief to be in her presence again. Everything around me dissolved and for a moment, I found a refuge from the chaos of life. Amma placed her finger on my third eye and my head fell back. All my thoughts disintegrated, crumbled and collapsed. There were things I had wanted to pray for, offerings of gratitude I wanted to give, blessings I had hoped to ask to receive, but no words came into form, all of my thoughts turned to dust. I became part of a vast blanket of emptiness. I felt deep peace and tranquility. Tenderness and sweetness. There was nothing to do, I could just Be. I drank it all in and a part of my consciousness clicked in and made an imprint of this serene awareness that I would call forth in stressful times in waking life.

After many seconds (that to me had stretched into hours), I heard Mata Pratyangirae chanting, Ambika-Durgayay, Ambika- Durgayay. I was called back to ordinary consciousness. When I awaken from such states it takes me a moment to remember where I am. My eyes rested on Amma's physical form. Beautiful Amma Pratyangirae standing before me, beaming. It felt as if we had never been separated even though a year had passed since we last met. I cherish such moments of ease and freedom. Presence. I moved away filled with sweet gratitude and then received a blessing from Swami.

On Diwali, people begin new business ventures, and this year I will begin one too. A couple weeks ago I began making special amulets out of silver and glass boxes and circular lockets within which I secured two different images of the Goddess. I wanted to talk to Swamiji and Amma about selling them and donating a percentage to the Ekatvam organization, so I wore one the night I went to their puja. Swami noticed it right away and was astonished that this locket held an image of Mother Pratyangirae. When I showed Amma, she was very excited. She told me the Mother had just been saying three days before that they needed to have an amulet of Her image to sell on the website and at events. And here I was wearing the amulet. We had both received the same guidance. Here is a sweetly divine opportunity for us all to invoke more Lakshmi energy into our lives.

***My dear new yogini sister, Sri Acala called just now! I must share this synchronicity as this is exactly the kind of thing that keeps happening. These subtle, yet powerful messages of alignment, of flow. SriAcala was the lead priestess of the Durga Puja I attended. A CLEAR EMBODIMENT OF DURGA MAA HERSELF. This woman has SHAKTI. Her friendship has been one of several great blessings that have evolved since the Durga puja. Acala called as I sit writing about Mata Pratyangirae to tell me how one of her jyotish teachers just emailed his list of 2000 people about how powerful Amma and Swamiji are and how they must try to meet them in Berkeley. He also had tremendous experiences with them. This, yet another fabulous synchronicity in a mala of Goddess-infused prayer beads…Jai MAA!

If you live in the Bay Area and wish to join us on November 9th and 11th, please email me and I will send directions. For more info on Mata Pratyangirae and Swamiji go to


jessa walters said...

laura!!! i can't wait to see these new amulets you are creating....! this experience you wrote of sounds very healing. thank you so much for sharing....sending you so much love....

Anonymous said...

get you advice me on how to purchase amma's amulet sister?