Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Patience, flexibility, love, and the ability to soothe are some of the qualities we would very easily associate with our mothers. These are the same virtues we glorify during the nine days of Navarathri (Nava = nine, rathri = night) as nine different manifestations of the Universal Mother. The Universal Mother is commonly referred to as Durga (or Shakthi or Devi), which literally means the remover of the miseries of life. In the Hindu culture, God is looked upon as our Mother, and vice versa. ‘The first manifestation of God is the hand that rocks the cradle’, as Swami Vivekananda aptly puts it.

Navarathri is divided into sets of three days to honour three different aspects of the Mother. During the first three days, we pray to Durga (or Kali), who is the destroyer of all our impurities, our vices. Then for three days, the Mother is worshipped as Lakshmi, who bestows upon us spiritual wealth. The final three days are spent in worshipping Saraswati, the Goddess of wisdom.

According to the great Hindu scripture, the Ramayana, Lord Rama performed a Holy prayer to invoke the blessings of Durga Maa to ensure success in bringing back his wife Sita from Ravana who had abducted her. The day, in Ramayana, when Rama vanquishes Ravana is celebrated as Dusshera (also known as Vijayadashami), which is the day after the nine nights of worship. During the nine days many in India fast. Fasting is seen as one of the best methods to improve one’s self control and overcome one’s desires. The fast, which is performed in the name of Durga, is akin to the prayer by Lord Rama. On Vijayadashami, Ravana, who symbolises our vices and desires, is finally conquered.

A prayer for the Mother –

Ya devi sarva bhooteshu matru roopena samsthita
namastasyai namastasyai namastasyai namo namaha - Devi mahathmyam

Salutations to the divine mother,
Whose art manifest in every being's existence.
As mother, I worship thee, over and over and over again.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Letters from Edinburgh V

I have started getting used to spelling out my name whenever I call someone on the phone here. I had to do it so many times - with the British Airways, British Gas, British Telecom, Royal Bank of Scotland. A for alpha, N for number, U for up, P for Pakistan, and then NAMBIAR.

Spelling out 'Sainath Lakshminarayanan' for the Natwest bank was the best training I could get. I got so lost that evening. I could not get any word for L. L for ... for ... LOVE! Yes that is the only thing I got to say to that Natwest lady.