In my Meditation Today: I realized that the essence of the promise of Krishna in the Gita is not that he would incarnate to fight injustice and evil in the outer world, but rather that he is continually incarnating to fight injustice and evil within. Every time I pivot from despair to hope, sadness to joy, hate to love, and separation to unity, I am experiencing a manifest incarnation of the divine within me.
The Sapta Shloki consists of seven verses from the Devi Mahatmyam – The Grand Story of the Divine Mother. Reciting these seven verses is considered equivalent to reciting the entire 700 verse scripture. The seventh and last verse of the Sapta Shloki is:
Sarva Bhaada Prashamanam
Evam Eva Twaya Kaaryam
Asmat Vairi Vinashanam
Remove all obstacles Oh Goddess of the three worlds
You help us to defeat all our enemies
This verse is the 39th in the 11th Chapter of the Grand Story. The Goddess has defeated all the rakshasas ( demons /forces of evil) that have manifested in various forms throughout the myth. This chapter is a long hymn in praise of the Goddess. Pleased by the praise of the devas ( Gods/ forces for good) who invoked her help to fight the demons, the Goddess asks if they had any last requests. This verse is their response.
For those of you who have been following my posts, it is probably obvious that my use and interpretation of these verses in my spiritual practice is often not faithful to the translation :). This verse is not unusual in that respect.
I am very conscious of the fact that this blog is inspired. The desire to share my experiences, the format in which to share them, the verses with which to begin the blog have all been a result of that inspiration. So I view each post I write as an offering to the Great Mother. When I sit down to write a post, I am consciously seeking guidance, open to the message that she wants to communicate through me.
Today, it was the line about Devi helping me to defeat my enemies that was I was led to focus on. My mind wandered through the various myths in the story. In each one of them, as the dark forces rise, they have some leeway; they are allowed to play; to create havoc and destruction until the countervailing forces for good are forced to take a stance. At that point, Devi incarnates and annihilates the enemy.
Images of events in world history that illustrate this endless cycle of the rise of evil and the overcoming of it flashed through my mind. Slavery and Lincoln; the British Empire and Gandhi; apartheid and Mandela; segregation and Martin Luther King; the depths human depravity – the complete separation from divinity overpowered by the magnificence of the human spirit- the incarnation of God in human form and the constant dance between the two played out again and again on the world’s stage.
In all of these examples, I saw the incarnation or the manifestation of divinity as something separate from me, outside of me. The expression of man’s highest possibility as something that happened to a Gandhi or a Mother Theresa or Mandela but not me.
“The miracle is that she manifests within me,“ I wrote as my contemplation deepened. “ Whenever my back is to the wall, my knees have buckled, and I have nowhere else to turn, there is always a rescue.” It might be a sliver of light or a big revelation. But she is there unfailingly, holding out a hand to lift me up to my highest possibility at that moment.” The question is – Do I see the hand? Do I trust her enough to allow myself to be lifted up?
Even when I do not, the promise is that her hand is ever present, waiting for the moment that I am ready to rise to my full potential. Every time I pivot from despair to hope, sadness to joy, hate to love, and separation to unity, I am experiencing a manifest incarnation of the divine within me.
In the Power of the Myth, Joseph Campbell said,
“Heaven and hell are within us, and all the gods are within us. This is the great realization of the Upanishads of India in the ninth Century B.C. All the gods, all the heavens, all the world, are within us.”
As I have taken you through the seven verses of the Sapta Shloki, I have tried to demonstrate how Campbell’s words are borne out in my life. The names of the Gods you worship may be different, or you may not worship any particular god, but I hope the sentiments and my experiences still took you on a journey of your own.
Next week, I will start telling the actual story in the Grand Story of the Divine Mother.
Until then wishing you
Peace & Joy.