The Navratra Celebration started at 6:20 this morning and will continue for 9 days. Wow, my experience is so different this time--not just bobbing around on the ocean taking in the sights and trying to get a grasp of the ceremony. It feels like being dropped into the middle of the ocean and going deep.
I have been giving a lot of thought to Gurudev's teaching around prashad and thankfulness. Watching the ceremony stirs such deep gratitude for the Divine Genealogy, the Ashram, and all of the devotees who help make it all run so beautifully. The preparation leading up to the morning start has been a lot of cleaning, painting, planting, stringing flowers/leaves, ordering supplies, and more. As the priests start to create the adornment of Durga and the supporting Beings, it is amazing to consider that each flower necklace was hand strung, each flower adornment is so thoughtfully positioned and acknowledged, each word recited or chanted has a deep resonance and connection to the Divine, and Gurudev thoughtfully overseeing the unfolding--as he does for all of us daily. Afterwards, prashad, tea, and a bowl of tasty rice was provided, so more thoughtful care and detail by all of the people who support and make a generous offering of their time, skills, and/or goods. One giant prashad!
(A note of personal gratitude for the remarkable opportunity to learn and absorb teachings from all of the people who partake in the ashram community. There isn't enough blog space to thank Gurudev appropriately, but a sliver of that for his encouragement to take pictures, videos, and share with the world beyond the ashram walls.)
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” — Denis Waitley
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”