Spiritual Transformation & The Goddess
Kali Durga Retreat Last Autumn
Our third Kali-Durga Retreat awoke more deeply within the sangha recognition of the comprehensive Reality we call Mother. Sri Ramakrishna describes the Divine Mother like a snake that alternately wriggles and is at rest. We might consider that Her wriggling motion is the projection, preservation, and dissolution of the universe. But in the course of this retreat, Babaji took us through his newest chart that expresses Her action and Her rest in inspiring detail – “Spiritual Transformation & the Goddess.”
He explored Mother's pillars of Nirguna Reality (without attributes, nondual) and Saguna (with attributes, all of phenomena). With him we gazed into Her activities in the Causal, unmanifested realms, in the Subtle, mental realms, and in the Gross/Solid realms. Babaji presented teachings on Her seed syllables and mantras – how these are used to trace ourselves back from phenomena to immersion in Her. Her Four Arms were symbolically represented as Her Four Shaktis that wield the cosmic powers of Will, Knowledge, Action, and Matter. We explored some of Her infinite aspects that appear as ignorance-destroying philosophical systems attended by inspiring religious streams. For the first time, Babaji presented to the sangha the different kinds of philosophical proofs that are used to convince one of Truth and hone one's discriminative powers for penetrating through the cloud of ignorance.
The chart looks exhaustive, but of course, She is infinite. One of the ripening fruits of those four days was a view into how all seeming dichotomies of philosophical and religious perspectives, whether nondual, qualified nondual, or dual, are all harmonized in Her — they all stream from Her — with the open Secret of all secrets being that recognition of this via "our intelligence" is nothing other than Her very Being. She is the Intelligence we are using as we make our way along the path of Liberation and Devotion. As the SRV slogan says, and which this retreat unwrapped, "None else than Self; none other than Mother."
Throughout the series of four days, all teachings were sweetened with sacred music offered by Babaji and the Jai Ma Music ensemble, with Anna Fiasca on harp for the closing. The setting of the retreat, in the early Fall along the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge, nestled in a large forest cabin, was imminently conducive to contemplation, deeper inquiry, intensification, and the ongoing and cumulative deepening spiritual awareness of the sangha as a whole.
Retreat Reflection by Savitri
The Navaratri Retreat. For me a jeweled dance in the jnana. I forget the words of the teachings, but the essence of them remains as I see my life transformed in texture, perception, knowing, understanding. The space of the Sangha is a loving space which, in its vibration, expresses the deepest truths of the spiritual aspirant. The trials and tests of worldly life are illuminated by spiritual wonders. I know Babaji says not to mix the worldly with the spiritual, but this ceases to apply when all is Mother.
Fueled by the treasures shared at the retreat, I am strengthened to continue in the worldly life, unattached, offering the fruits of work to Ramakrishna and Kali. The desire to succeed in the world is funded by courage found in the teachings. To give back to the Guru, the Sanga, is the reason for pursuing material success. The Navaratri Retreat filled me with courage, peace, tenacity, and love. In Gratitude. And our hosts were wonderful.