Reflections & News
What's the trouble of this world anyhow?" - Ramprasad Sen
It’s interesting that in Hinduism we find steadfast traditions of ancestor reverence existing peacefully alongside a deeply embedded belief in reincarnation. To some, it may seem that these two ideas are irreconcilable. Yet, it is rather the case that they coexist within a framework of beliefs that include conceptions of time and space that are…
I am a priestess of Kali. With these few words, a whole cacophony of syllables arises in me. These are not the seed sounds of mantras turning on my tongue. Rather, they are the tones of language rushing to respond. Some attempt to elucidate, help the uninitiated understand what it means to occupy this space…
Most of us grow up knowing about heaven and hell. Whatever our faith or place of birth, and by whatever names we might choose, the split of light and dark into above and below seems to be a fact of our heritage as human beings. It is reflected in myriad cultures ancient and modern, from…
Mahalakshmi, wisdom keeper and guardian of secrets, be among us. From your reserves of kindness, fill us a basket of daring, of yearning, of helpfulness, and of home-spaces filled with sweetness. Come to us radiant to remind us each of our own gifts and gratitudes, of our own capacity and caring. You who are gifted in making dreams reality, we ask for your benediction, your blessings and your boons in our troubled times.
Aindri, She whose four arms and thousand eyes radiate from a golden visage, open us to the expanse of richness that lies within. Holding your thunderbolt, you are a flash of cosmic power; please lend us your insight. With spear and club in your hands you conquer ill-will and pierce the walls of deceit. Let us, oh goddess, do the same.
Chamunda, goddess of all reckoning, you who inspire fear with a glance, you who licks the wounds of asuras (demons) as you laugh and trample them to death, come to us drunk on the blood of life, inebriated on the wings of hope. Your skeleton red reminds us of our origins in Mama’s darkness as your digambari (garbed in space; sky-clad) pleasure makes us tell the need for nothingness. Garbed in space, your hair aflame in a cobra tiara, you dance on cremation grounds and bring joy to despair, laughter to sorrow, mirth to uneasy embarrassment. Holding your kapala (skull cup) full of your enemies’ blood, you choose life at every juncture and will us to do the same. Divine mother of might who rides the owl of death, the corpse of ultimate transformation, be with us now.
Varahi, goddess with the head of a boar, we beseech you to let us ride with you upon your elephant tonight. Let us ride with you in your search for reason, in your quest for the ultimate sacrifice, in your march towards responsibility and justice. You who are adorned with ornaments made of coral, bring to us your knowledge of the sea, that primordial ocean of bliss from which you come, that reservoir of infinite love, that place of belly-wrenching righteousness and surreal splendor. You who represent the color of clouds before illumination, you who kill the enemies of freedom, you who devour darkness, be with us now.
Vaishnavi, we call to you. She who rides a Garuda to the crest of the waves and the valleys of grief, She whose beautiful visage marks enlightenment, be with us now. Honor us with the long-sighted goal of your cakra thrown in the name of unity and common purpose. Bring us the power of your club, bow, and sword to deter our egos and false illusions. Sound for us your conch shell so that we may hear the resonance of perspectives garnered from about the globe in support of sustainability, nurturance, mindfulness and peace. To you who comes to us in the colors of dawning preservation, we bow.
Kaumari, goddess of the springtime, of the melting snow and birthing doe; you who are six-faced, come to us with your news of foreign lands, discoveries, reverie, and insight. Hold us in your sight as we enter into the dreamtime of ritual, seeking to commune with all those who have birthed innocence and peace. You whose memory is first in the minds of ancients, come to us bringing the many-colored eyes of your peacock to help us understand. Lend us your spear so that we may pierce the veil of ignorance. From your four hands, give us the gifts of perseverance, humility, passion and desire; and accept our offerings this evening of honesty, devotion, reverence, and respect. To you who resides under the fig tree, She who is ever strong, we bow.
Maheshvari, woman of the bull, carrier of the trident, and seer of the moon, we honor you as manifest courage, strength and guided, transformational rage. You who are colored white, remind us of our pure potential. You who are four-handed, bring us the knowings of the four directions, the bounty of the earth, air, fire and water. You who have five faces, each with three eyes, see with us into the past, present and future; hold us in your gaze as we venture in our individual and collective quest for wholeness, righteousness, and sublime adoration of truth and beauty. You who in name manifests the supreme power located in the heart that unites all opposites, we bow to you.
Brahmani, you of the Great Revelation, we bow to you. Dressed in yellow of the newest day, you who make your enemies inert with the blessed water from your womblike pot, tonight make us inert in wonderment, open to receive your boons and blessings. Let us count with you upon your akshamala (rosary) the names of love and compassion that you have manifested upon this earth. In our minds and hearts, we hold with you all the beings and spirits who have touched us through your golden visage, golden grace. We call upon you to be with us, bringing your red lotus seat to fire our imaginations, and your swan companion to grant us the wisdom of ages.