Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Meaning of being Sanatani

Yesterday evening, as I was attending the sandhya aarti at the local KaliBari, waiting for the unveiling of Durga's pratima, I had a moment that felt too deep to not be shared.

As the pujari carried out the aarti with the lamp, camphor and flowers among other things, the dhak drummers called in for the puja accompanied the aarti by giving it rhythm. As Maa Kali kept staring at us, there were two small kids who were dancing to the beats of the dhak inside the temple, absolutely overjoyed by the musical overtones to the aarti.

All of a sudden it dawned upon me that there's Shakti everywhere. It was in the beats of the dhak, it was there in the joy and dance of the children, it was there in the vigorous aarti of the pujari, it was there in the bells that people entering the sanctum rang. It was an overwhelming moment to experience the leela and maya simultaneously getting dissolved into the realization of this connect that we humans have with the divine force that flows through this universe, nurturing it and giving it strength to carry on and achieve its true potential.

While several people question rituals and ask for complete abandon, rituals cannot be thrown out of the window because they carry great significance with them. The ability to create such moments of realization, where ego dissolves and you shine forth in true splendor of your being, are reasons why they provide to be an important first step.

As I understood it personally in that moment, each and everything carried great significance. The image of Kali is black not because it is a color, but because it questions our ability to understand the significance of darkness and light, as someone had said. Her blood red tongue and the blood filled bowls signifies the life force flowing in our blood through the arteries and veins. The pushp mala is not just to please Devi; it also helps us understand the fickleness of everything on this planet. The aarti lamps remind us of the internal light our aatma, and its connect with the Divine, while the dhoop and gandha help us to unite our various senses to make us understand that our understanding Paramesvara is beyond the senses unless you completely surrender them after being overwhelmed. In these moment realization I understood why I am proud of being a Sanatani, and what it means to be one.

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