The Goddess Resides in All Beings

The Goddess Resides in All Beings September 23, 2014

navratriOne of the most popular Navratri songs is the Devi Stuti, which you may recognize for it’s familiar refrain, “Ya Devi, sarva bhutesu…namastasye, namastasye, namastasye namo namaha.”

In the fifth chapter of the Devi Mahatmyam (Chandi), the gods remember the Devi had given them a boon that if they call on Her in a time of distress, She will save them from calamity. Threatened by the asuras (demons) Shumbha and Nishumbha, they compose the hymn to Her, praising her as “the Goddess, who resides in all beings as [fill in the blank]” and saying, “We bow to you, we bow to you, we bow to you, continually we bow.” (See the relation to the word namaste which means, “I bow to you.”)

These are the things She resides in all beings as:

  • consciousness
  • intelligence (buddhi)
  • sleep (nidra)
  • hunger
  • shadow
  • power (Shakti)
  • thirst
  • forgiveness
  • order
  • modesty
  • peace (Shanti)
  • faith
  • loveliness
  • good fortune (Lakshmi)
  • activity
  • memory
  • compassion
  • contentment
  • mother (Matri)
  • error

Some of these are things we like (peace, loveliness, Mother, Lakshmi), while others seem like they don’t belong on the list (sleep, hunger, thirst, error). One thing I’ve noticed is that She is Shakti (power) and that sleep, hunger, and thirst are powers stronger than us which force us to take action. There is no one among us so strong they don’t succumb to sleep, hunger and thirst; there is none of us who is above error.

In The Veiling Brilliance: A Journey to the Goddess (which is a sort of novelization of the Devi Mahatymyam), Devadatta Kali writes,

Everything emanates from the ever-gracious Mother and is filled with her presence. “Salutation to her who is terrible,” the gods say. They worship her not only in her serene benevolence but also in the raw power of nature, in her destructive fury — in the howling of a tempest or the crackling roar of a conflagration raging through a dry forest. And they remember that however impetuous or violent she may appear at times, she remains the eternally changeless, self-luminous support of all…

…she is the essence of all, who possesses both the concealing and revealing powers that make worldly existence and spiritual liberation possible. In this play of existence, how easily the Mother is overlooked or forgotten! Yet she is everywhere present, if only we allow ourselves to be aware.

May the Mother bless you this Navratri! Jai Maa!

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