Jai Maa! OM MAA! Jai Maa!
This weekend’s Kali Puja was a glorious coming together of friends old and new…a veritable Tantrick festival within the walls of the Doubletree in San Jose! I hope you were able to join us for Kali Puja: Devotion & Worship of the Divine Mother; and if not, don’t fear – come be with us this upcoming weekend in San Francisco when we gather for Shivaratri and Kali Puja in Her name on Sunday (Feb 22nd – more details and RSVP on our website).
Over 150 people joined us in chanting the divine names of the Goddess, and we filled the space with our love, devotion, prayers, mantras and sacred meditations. The ethers were alight as the first sounds of OM Maa! filled the San Jose/Santa Clara meeting rooms (we just know that whoever holds an event there this week will feel the reverberations in the walls!), and everyone came together through rosemary water blessings to honor Kali Maa.
The mood of the evening (we began at 11pm) was one of love and heart opening even as we remembered and gave witness to the dark spaces and work of the shadow…all necessary on the spiritual path if one is to come into the wholeness of the soul’s potential. During the first thirty minutes of the program, we challenged ourselves to go deeper into spiritual awakening by conjuring just such a relationship to the dark; one that ultimately heals us by inviting us to kiss the wounds of this and other lifetimes. With and by Her grace, we are able to do this…for Maa is one goddess who holds the totality of the Real, both seen and unseen.
We worked our breath together through sacred syllables, beginning with Sa’Ham – She I Am, taking the in-breath on “Sa” and the outbreath on “Ham.” Enlivened in our bodies, we were also able to touch deeper places of connection to Her, learning the mantra, “OM KRIM KALYAI NAMAH,” an invocation and honoring of the Divine in its absolute, undifferentiated state; its essence and essential qualities; and its personified form as Kali, the Mother and Dark Goddess who is there in our images, reflections, visualizations and other manifest forms.
After our opening contemplations and explorations of the inner mysteries (“What is true?”), we transitioned into our puja with a scream, a heart-opening, soul-tugging scream set to unleash the wildness of our insides, our passions, our fears, and our longing. Energy thus released and our bodies and emotions freed from some of their entanglements, we proceeded to cast our circle, call the directions, and invoke the deities and spirits of our worship: Agni, Ganesha, the ancestors, Shiva and Maa Kali.
All gathered and circled as community began aarati, the honoring of Maa’s presence with light and other offerings, singing “Jai Maa!”, Victory to the Divine Mother! Thus called and celebrated, everyone got to receive darshan, the gift of connection to Maa through the meeting of soul and Spirit given through Her eyes.
Our deepest gratitudes to everyone who participated in the puja. Your love and willingness to explore Her so fully made for an electric event. Gratitudes too to those in the SHARANYA community who helped in the creation of the evening by building altars, holding space, grounding and otherwise adding to the beauty of the ceremony.
If you have attended this or other SHARANYA pujas, we’d love to hear your comments about the ritual and your experiences born of that and Maa’s crucible. Jai Maa! Hope to see you at another puja soon!