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Chamundi Viche

Celebrating the Mother of Mothers and obtaining her blessing

Within Hinduism, Chamunda/ Durga is the fierce aspect of Devi, the Supreme Mother and Goddess. Characteristically she is portrayed as a doll-like figure riding a lion or tiger, or at times other animals depending on her purpose. But there is no doubt that when she is astride a lion or tiger, her intent is more serious.

For a moment, put aside the iconography and the plethora of and the basis of Devi being the earth mother, representing the earth and everything she gives us. Remember too that we come into this life through our mothers and we owe her a debt of gratitude. That debt also extends into the earth from which we get all the nourishment and our human mother gives us the first elements of our education.

Remember when you were a 'good' child? Mother was generally sweet and nice unless confounded by her own troubles when you were a 'bad' child, some mothers really knew how to instill fear, not because they had anything against you but they wanted to set you on the right path in life so that you would grow to appreciate the nature of existence and reproduce while helping to create a very pleasant world to live in.

The best-known wrathful forms of Devi are Kali and Durga, and while their appearance may seem intimidating, the correction of your psyche is the purpose.

Unfortunately the relationship with the holy mother has largely been forgotten, today will bring their hands together in prayer beseeching her for blessings and other boons. Constant supplication may sometimes yield results that she is not interested in your prayers, she is interested in your actions.

According to legend, Durga killed the daemons Chanda and Munda, and these are psychological elements that we carry and need to subdue in ourselves and others. 

The legend

Mahishasura was a half man-half buffalo demon who prayed to the Gods with such devotion that they allowed him to ask for a boon. When his request for immortality was turned down, he asked that no man would be able to kill him, and – betting that no women would be strong enough to defeat him – that if he had to die, it would be at the hands of a woman. The gods granted him his wish, and Mahishasura, thinking that he was unbeatable, began harassing the people of the world, and even the Gods.

Finally, unable to tolerate this tyrant, Lords Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver) and Shiva (the destroyer), along with the other gods channeled their divine energy to create Chamundi (an incarnation of Durga) – a fearless and fiery fighter with thousand arms – each carrying the weapon of a different god, and riding a lion. After a brutal battle, the Goddess was finally able to slay Mahishasura and good triumphed over evil. The celebration of this victory is called Dasara and held all over the world during late September and early October.

Hinduism contains a pantheon of gods and goddesses to enable our journey through life in support of the principles of Sanatana Dharma. Due to our transition through the early stages of life in a corrupted world, we take on unhelpful characteristics that make us less willing, and less able to perceive and support life. Knowing you are sick and calling out for medicine may influence you to turn towards the holy mother but the real secret is in being with her, spending time in her presence.

The mantra is said to mean; we seek Blessings from Mother Durga, who embodies the forms of Saraswati (Giver of Knowledge), Maha Laxmi (Giver of Wealth) and Maha Kali (Giver of Justice), to give us a Shield of strength and energy to untangle ourselves from the knots of negativity and evil from our Mind and Body.

Press Play and listen

Literal meaning of the Mantra:

Om = Sound of Universe
Aim = Maha Saraswati
Hrim = Maha Lakshmi
Klim = Maha Kali
Chamundaye or Chamunda = Vanquisher of what hinders us
Vichhe = Shield

As I have said, prayer gets you facing in a better direction, but to use this mantra as a tool for your own growth and progression, one must become one with or merge with the deity. This is a form of yoga or sādhana (sadana), so to practice it is advisable to be freshly bathed, to have a clean and pleasant atmosphere free of distractions and perhaps a small altar or shrine. Light a candle, and perhaps some incense in dedication to the Goddess. Bring your palms together before your chest and bow in humility before adopting a stable asana (padmasana for the supple and perhaps a chair for the stiff).

Visualise the deity resplendent before you, her weapons ready to vanquish any daemon, ignorance and sloth within you, and the wisdom to overcome obstacles in your life.  You may use any audio support as pleases you, simply listen and reflect the words in your mind or you can vocalise them. As you listen or recite, reflect on the meaning of the words and allow yourself to relax internally. The practice is of Pratyahara, a process of withdrawing your senses from the world and turning them inwards while retaining the mantra. When you are successful, you will merge into the light body of the mother which begins your process of transformation, inner engineering and alignment with mother nature.

As a footnote I should add that humility combined with an alertness and openness to grace is essential. This practice does not come easily and in abandoning oneself to the practice, one must retain one's sensibility.

Page Image credit to Chamunda devi temple, Himachal Pradesh by danielwamba
Cover image credit; Durga by Ekabhumi Charles Ellik

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