The first sloka of the Durga Saptashati implies that the whole text is an explanation of the root of the Devi-Mantra, ie. Many commentaries are included in this sacred text that explain it either in a mystical way or in the ordinary manner. The Mantras of Durga Saptashati are recited carefully in a proper manner as the text is very sacred. Durga Saptashati or Chandi Path consists of 3 sections which are further divided into 13 chapters.
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What is total protection? What is it that we want protection from? Swamiji says: No matter what happens, we remain in the presence of the Divine Mother.
We want protection from the changes and modifications of our minds. Question: I can understand that a pure soul can have total protection, but if a devotee of limited awakening puts on Her armor, does that devotee only gain partial protection?
What can one do to increase the power of Her protection? Swamiji says: We can establish the amount of protection of which we are capable. As much as we do, so much is our benefit. Question: Are there specific mudras, symbolic gestures, or physical actions intended to accompany the chanting of Kavach?
Is it sufficient to chant the mantras and visualize without doing physical gestures if one has not received instruction? Swamiji says: There are. He or She receives the knowledge, but invariably the knowledge is not practiced. What prevents knowledge from being practiced? Swamiji says: Old habits are hard to break. It is easy to become inspired, but to really make the change is very difficult. What is it that binds the Gods? Swamiji says: Devotion.
Question: Why are the Nine Durgas listed in the Kavach and what are we to take from their mention here? Are they intended as signposts for our sadhana? Do they relate to what occurs in the main text? Are they a kind of table of contents for what happens later? Swamiji says: They do comprise a chronology of events, both in the Chandi and in our lives. Again and again we get an inspiration, cultivate the knowledge, put it into practice, and then things get better and better. Question: Referencing verses 9 and 10, what is the significance of the buffalo, bull, elephant and peacock?
I am especially puzzled by the buffalo since the ego later changes into a buffalo. This one stands for perseverance and is the conveyance of the Goddess Varahi. Question: What is the method of wearing any armor — Devyah kavacham, Kali kavacham, Vishnu kavacham, etc.? Swamiji says: I presume that we are speaking of the physical kavach, or amulet. After it has been prepared, perform the puja and establish the yantra. During the offerings section, offer the amulet on the yantra, just as you would offer a rudraksha.
You can use the Gayatri mantra for the offering. Afterwards, recite the kavach for that particular deity. Then perform the prana pratishtha to the kavach, kara — anga nyasa, and japa of the mula mantra. After the visarjana is complete, remove the amulet and you can wear it. Please do not let others touch the amulet after the offering has been completed. Also, you can remove it from your body during personal functions: toilet, bathing, etc.
Swamiji says: Actually in different books the order is reversed. And in some books the Kavacham comes after the verses. Here we followed the North Indian tradition. Swamiji says: Both inside us and outside, meaning all hostility. Its intent is to make this world to be at peace, and make me to be at peace with the world.
Question: In other texts we pray for Moksha, but why is it in Argala stotram we pray for form and welfare? Swamiji says: The Goddess is often seen as four armed. Each arm is a power. Each arm holds a weapon. For example, in Chapter 6 Her four hands hold a rosary — continuous japa, a gourd — renunciation, a skull — abandonment of the ego, and a lotus — peace. In Chapter 8 Her four hands hold the net — unity, the curved sword — sword of wisdom, bow — determination, and arrow — one-pointed focus.
Question: In the Argala Stotram, what is the bolt in our lives? And how do we unfasten it? Swamiji says: The bolt locks the door to the secret of the Goddess. It is like a dead-bolt lock. We unfasten it by remembering that our prayer is for the perception of your form, welfare or fame as heroic warriors becoming victorious over the ego, and the elimination of all hostility or conflict.
Does it imply change from materialistic to spiritual state? Swamiji says: The wife is the Shakti, and the husband of Shakti is Shiva. Therefore, this verse applies to all without deference to gender. Make me Shiva in harmony with Shakti. No matter where my mind wants to travel, no matter how mind changes or fluctuates, may I always remember that I am Shiva, Pure Consciousness, in complete harmony with Shakti, Pure Energy or Nature.
Swamiji says: Yes. It also means that we become one with pure knowledge, the wisdom of the Vedas. Does it mean that all we will want to do is to chant the Chandi, and thus start working to organize our lives so that we can? Swamiji says: Yes, that is how it works.
As we chant, the world has less and less influence upon us. Therefore, we increase the chanting, and it continues to grow, and worldliness retreats even more. Swamiji says: Yes, you understand. It is the law of karma: you will get the prasad of your offering. Understanding this, you will want to give the most. It is the opposite of every other business transaction, where everyone desires to give the least and tries to get the most. In our relationship with God we want to give the most and receive what She wills as prasad.
Swamiji says: There are many levels of initiation in the Chandi. Question: Could you explain more about the relationship between the seed, shakti, and pin? Swamiji says: Consciousness is in the seed, Nature is the energy, and the Cause of the subtle body the mind moving into perfect union in that idea is the pin.
In general, is the seer the one who is credited as the original composer of the verses? Swamiji says: Yes, the seer is the one who made the original composition, or discovered the original mantras. May we see Her effortless, unimpaired movements upon the earth as a bird sees from its dwelling in a tree, remaining only the witness. When we become the witness then She is no longer impaired, because we are no longer attached to her changes? Swamiji says: Excellent!
As long as we are saying, I like things the way they are, please do not change, we are trying to restrict Nature to what is pleasing to us. We become the witness of all the changes of Nature.
Perhaps during the Night of Duality our desperate search was for the Goddess of Night who else was there?
We tried to come closer to Her by pursuing our many selfish desires. Swamiji says: Exactly! All movement in creation is seeking a greater degree of perfection. Now, consciously we are seeking to recognize Her in every movement. Question: What does it mean for an animal or bird to desperately search for Her? Swamiji says: To seek a greater degree off perfection through their efforts.
Swamiji says: Anuswara — literally the sound of an atom. Are these associated with specific gunas? These are not necessarily associated with specific gunas. Of course, it is possible to relate everything to all three gunas at any point in time, but this Tantric Ratri Shukta is more a description of Her various attributes for the purpose of praising Her. And then, who can praise Her? Question: In verse 14 of Tantroktam Ratri Suktam, could you comment on the cause of ignorance of the ego to fall upon those two thoughts: Too Much and Too Little?
Swamiji says: When we succumb to egotism, we act from ignorance, and invariably we make mistakes. Swamiji says: To describe the highest meaning.
Swamiji says: The Navarana mantra should be received in initiation, but that is not always possible. There are no ill effects of reciting the mantra without initiation, if you have the intention of self purification, but the energy contained in the mantra is ever so much more potent after having received it from a qualified guru.
In the absence of such a relationship, if you are devoted to the Divine Mother, then recite Her mantras with full faith, and when the circumstances permit, She will bring the appropriate guru to give you initiation. This is true for all mantras performed with the intention of self-purification. If you have other intentions, please consult a qualified teacher. But do not ever hesitate to read, study, or practice.
She is said to be the most fierce incarnation of Chandrika, Adi Parashakthi form is said to be extremely fierce and obscure of her anger. She cannot allow evil acts. Chandi Devi wont like evil doers and become terribly angry on seeing them. She eliminate evil doers without mercy. Her anger is convey in Devi Mahatmya.
Chandi Path Questions
Kalika These are the Dwadasha Angas prescribed for Navarna mantra. The Chandika Chakra is constructed by drawing an eight-petalled lotus with a Shatkona six-pointed star in its center. The first three Bijas of the Navarna mantra are written in the center of the Shatkona. The rest of the Bijas are written in the Shatkona starting from the east. The Bijas should be written in a clockwise pattern, from right to the left. It should be noted that during Akshara Nyasa and Yantra lekhana, all letters should be used along with the Bindu. One may perform a minimum of 4 lakhs of Japa and then perform dashamsha homa with Payasanna.
Chandi Homam – Telugu
Chandi represents the shakti or power of Brahman. The word Chanda hints at extraordinary traits and thus refers to the Brahman, who is extraordinary due to its complete independence with respect to time and space. The word Chandi also refers to the fiery power of anger of the Brahman. Scholars who trace her tracks show that she was very much a part of an early theistic impulse as it was being crystallised in the Indic mind. Mackenzie Brown writes: "Hymns to goddesses in the late portions of the great Mahabharata epic and in the Harivamsa AD reveal the increasing importance of female deities in Brahminical devotional life. As Chandi or the destroyer of opposition, she can be invoked for removing obstacles to allow us to attain any of the four goals of life.
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