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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 2020 Navaratri starts on the 17th 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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Should Your Passion Be Buried Or Reborn?

Christine, a 40-year-old Australian artist, now living in the US, almost fell into the wrong career and surrendered her passion. But a conversation with someone she greatly admired re-orientated her life.

Words by Christine

Art and the artist’s life were my passion all through my 20s, but my 30th birthday and a broken 8-year relationship gave me a harsh reality check. Then, a steady income became more important to me than anything else.

I’d worked part-time in aged care homes. With my new aim, I trained to gain a better income, and I soon turned full time.

I planned to paint in my spare time, but it became unsustainable with a hectic social life that involved a lot of wine (and other substances), art openings, parties, celebrations, etc. Although I continued to call myself an artist, life was fun, and pleasantly uncomplicated without actually making art.

Watching Success

Years flew by without a single painting being completed. Then over a 6-month period, I noticed a fellow artist, Lucas (whose work I respected), turning out an astounding amount of work – a solo show one month, a group show the next, paid commissions the next.

“Have you hired a secret helper,” I joked at one of his exhibitions? “Oh yes, ten little fairies,” he joked back. “Seriously, what has changed”, I pressed.

“I did a course about life purpose, and it messed with my head, in the best possible way,” Lucas said.

I remember his words because, although I was happy with my therapy work and doing more training to advance my career, the fact that I did not know my life purpose made me quite sad, and very curious.

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How I Found My Inner Calling And Revolutionised My Life {Case Study of Louise Gardener}

Mother of two teenage children and owner of a prestigious UK social research company, Louise Gardener knew she needed to respond to an inner calling even though it threatened her status, finances, and lifestyle. Here’s how she discovered and answered the call.

Words by Louise

As a 40-year-old co-owner of a successful independent research company with a family of two teenagers, creating time to study the find life purpose course both challenging and life-changing.

Having graduated from Oxford University and married soon after, I worked as a special-effects and computer graphics producer with some of the biggest names in film and TV during my 20s, then decided I really wanted children as I turned 30.

Blessed with a healthy son and daughter by the age of 33, I knew that being present and caring for them was the most important thing, so I left the film and TV industry. I formed a company offering social research and analysis to the UK government, international charities and liaising between academia and public policy on issues of education, sustainability, health, and justice.

It meant I could align and orientate my work around my family.

A longtime friend, Sebastian Pole founder of Pukka Herbs pointed me in the direction of Big Shakti’s work. I am a lover of learning and found their meditations extremely effective. I enjoyed them daily with my young children after lunch.

When the Find life’s Purpose Course became available I was excited to take part. I found the learning process deeply engaging and supportive. The guidance, using the two wings of theory and practice to fly, encouraging action even if we make mistakes and taking as much time needed, resonated with me.

Through following the deceptively simple yet profoundly effective yoga and meditation knowledge and practices, I became increasingly aware of a gnawing feeling inside.

Something in me needed to be expressed.

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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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