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The Nine Nights Of The Goddess – Navarātri

Yoga and tantra provide maps and paths through the maze of complex existence. They aim to transform the body-mind from raw, mundane states of existence to refined, exalted states of experience and realization.

Within many yogic and tantric traditions, certain seasons, months, and times of the day are given special importance.

They are ‘auspicious’ times when cosmic energies are heightened and, as such, support psycho-spiritual practice. These auspicious moments in time assist us in achieving positive results. For example, dawn and dusk are said to be ideal times for yoga and meditation.

The festival of Navarātri or Nine Nights (‘nav’ is nine and ‘rātri’ is nights) is one of the great ceremonies in the lives of Hindus in India. The exact time of this celebration varies according to the lunar calendar. It begins on a dark moon in the Indian autumn (in the month of Ashwin, usually in October) and ends ten days after. In 2018 Navaratri started on the 8th of October (depending on which part of the world and time zone you live in).

This period of The Nine Nights is devoted to invoking The Great Mother Goddess, The Divine Creative Power, or Shakti, the creator and supporter of the universe. She is most closely identified with Durga, an exquisitely beautiful goddess who rides a lion, and who wields in her many hands’ awesome weapons, including the ‘shul’ (pike), ‘chakra’ (wheel), ‘parashu’ (ax), and ‘talvar’ (sword).

Durga is said to be the manifestation of the power of all the goddesses that, long ago, faced a terrible and irresistible demon called Mahishasura.

Mahishāsura is a mythic representation of the human ego in its demonic form

Many yogis do not see Navaratri as a religious process, but rather as a psycho-spiritual one, and a unique opportunity for yogic practice. 

They adopt certain practices and rituals to understand their psychological shadow and to confront their egos.

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The Power of Sankalpa (Intention) to Overcome Adversity, and Near Death

We have spent the past few months supporting students to create a powerful Sankalpa (a resolve) and to identify their heart’s desire through our Find Life Purpose Online Course.

The Sanskrit word sankalpa means “a resolve or intention formed in the heart”.

We’re greatly heartened to know that so many of our students have been empowered to make meaningful changes in their lives, some small, some large, all significant.

The ability to make a powerful Sankalpa – one that empowers us to manifest our intention is difficult to achieve because the mind is innately unstable, full of doubts, and conflicting desires.

To counteract these conflicts and doubts, students of our course are given various tools and exercises to examine each desire. Using Yogic Knowledge, Meditation Practices and Integration Exercises students test their desires and intentions through different perspectives or lenses. For example, how each desire fits into a particular stage of life and how to cognize the different desires that arise from each of the seven chakras. This results in an ability to form a holistic relationship with desires.

If we only listen to what one part of us wants we are silencing another part of us, and sooner or later this part will demand to be heard.

The Clarifying Power Of Adversity

Sometimes it takes a negative experience to stir up a powerful Sankalpa. In this way, adversity can be a blessing because it thrusts us into reconnecting with our will to survive, to overcome the odds, to heal, or to repair. And it is the aim of the course to support all of our students being able to remain on track while facing difficult, challenging and powerful life experiences, experiences that have the potential if they are managed wisely, to change your life for the better.

In our moment of truth we either collapse under the weight of the adversity or, if we are lucky and able, we muster all of our internal resources to rise to the challenge. The course will help you do this.

Case Study: How our student overcame a near death experience and taught her doctors about the power of Sankalpa

The story by Sanyasi Yogamitra epitomizes what we can do, even when faced with life-threatening illness, in what appears to be insurmountable odds.

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