I performed sadhana for nine days of Navaratri with Swamiji.
The first day I sat with Swamiji, I made a deal with my body that we would only sit for six hours, even though I knew Swamiji would be going for eight.
I wanted to make sure I didn’t upset my body too much on the first day. I had done six hours before so I knew we could make it at least that far.
Afterwards I took rest and made sure to recuperate and stretch. This is similar to how the second day went.
On the third day, I made sure that all my worldly affairs were in order before sitting down. Everyone at work knew I would be unavailable, and no duties or chores were left undone.
While we were chanting I asked my body if there was anything it needed and whether we could sit with Swamiji, no matter how long. I promised that I would make sure we were comfortable if we could just sit still together.
The agreement came, and we continued to sit. Pranayama became mechanical and effortless: breathe in the mantra, breathe out the mantra. I remember at one point I heard my mind say, “If there is nothing to do and no pain … what are we supposed to think about?!”
“Ah! Let us pay attention to what we are chanting.” We had just gotten into the Chandi Path after completing the Cosmic Puja.
At this time, there was a deepening of awareness and a consciousness about what we were chanting and what it meant to me. The Divine Mother can see my pain and darkness which hides in the crevices of my mind and body.
As I focused on the mantras, she gently revealed the parts of me which I had hidden away as secrets.
Entire episodes of suffering began to surface, but in those moments of external harmony, it was possible to observe this churning inside with humility and surrender.
The selfishness of body was no longer pulling me away. There I am; naked in the hands of the Divine Mother.
Each scripture brought a different bhavana. After completing Chandi we started chanting the Panch Ratna Gita and all manner of inspiration was coming forth as Krishna expounded on the ideals of perfection.
With my ego subdued by Chandi, I could only sit in awe of the depth of importance being highlighted to me.
Next was the Devi Gita and by this time I was admittedly overwhelmed by the sheer reality of what we were doing.
There was no longer a concept of time, only a desire to see more of what the Divine Mother would show me and teach me.
What was happening was between my soul and Her. I have no other explanation. My mind cannot comprehend and words cannot express.
We finished and Swamiji proceeded to perform arati. I gazed at him in amazement. He ferried us across the churning of the milk ocean. There is no chance that I would have been able to do this without him. The amount of energy necessary to lead a group through ten hours of chanting is unfathomable. He has been telling us and showing us for all these years.
There is this stillness inside of me that is so much easier to access now. I can see how, by training our bodies and mind to sit still, we can more easily experience this stillness in other areas of our lives. In work, in school, in relationships and in our worship. I still have a long way to go, so I pray for even greater devotion so that I may be blessed with conducive circumstances to sit still and pay attention exclusively to Her.
Thank you Shree Maa and Swamiji!
All we had to do is budget our time, organize our lives, and Sit Still!