Navaratri Retreat Notes & Reflection

Navaratri Retreat in Seattle


With 20 people in attendance, last October’s Navaratri Retreat was one of the largest we have ever had.  At the first class, Babaji looked out at the overflowing classroom, stating, “Vedanta is a great science, therefore it needs a great alliance!”

This retreat marks the first of 7 retreats to be centered on the Goddess Upanisads. In the 108 Upanisads extant, there are seven named for aspects of the Divine Mother.  As far as we know, this is the first time any of these particular Upanisads have been taught in the West.  What a fortunate sangha we are!  Babaji selected the Devi Upanisad for this retreat and instructed us to memorize (at the very least) the Mother Mantra, verse 26.

Brahma & others know not Her Essence, so She is called The Unknowable.
She has no end, so She is called The Endless.
She is not grasped, so She is called The Incomprehensible.
Her birth is not known, and so She is called The Unborn.
She alone is present everywhere, and so is She called The One.
She alone wears all forms, and so She is called The Many.
For these reasons is She called The Unknowable, The Endless,
The Incomprehensible, The Unborn, The One, and The Many.
Om Peace, Peace, Peace

The following are notes from this retreat:

Slokas 1 & 2: All the gods waited upon the Goddess, and asked: “Great Goddess, who art Thou?” She replied: “I am essentially Brahman.  From Me has proceeded the world comprising Prakriti and Purusha, the Void and the Plenum.  I am all forms of Bliss and non-bliss. Knowledge and ignorance are Myself.  Brahman and non-Brahman are both to be known – says the scripture of the Atharvans.

There are some who try to just know Brahman, as if one can cheat Maya.  But the Goddess says we are to know Brahman and Prakriti.

[Babaji sang the Bengali bhajan “Shukere Vasana Karo Ar Kadin,” which has the line:
“Then, when you receive the blessed Feet of Brahman as your eternal treasure, you will remember this very important day.  Obtaining this precious treasure, creation, preservation, and destruction, as well as the various gods and goddesses, will be under your control.]

See that Sristi, Stithi, Laya (creation, preservation, etc) are all within you – they are your powers.  Now, look at it that way!

The Divine Mother states in the Upanisad:

“I am the world” – and thus fleshed-out the three worlds.
“I support the Trinity.”
“I am the void.”
“I am the plenum.”

Waking, the first world = all matter
Dream, the second world = all conceptualization, i.e. thought
Sleep, the third world = all objects as seed essences.  You project the worlds with 8 billion human cohorts and billions of ancestors, gods and goddesses, using these seeds.

The Devi instructs that, “Brahman and non-Brahman are to be known,” so I spend much time using dharma to fill in the gaps.  People will come to understand Brahman faster if they are not constantly being thwarted by karmas that are created by not understanding the dharma.

For us in the West, cosmology is just outer space.  But in the East it includes inner space.  Unfortunately, even in India the connections are being lost – that is, not being kept current in these times.