Musings by Veronica Yacco
Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati - these three forms of the Goddess are linked in Navaratri to demonstrate the kind of inner transformation that is always taking place within us. From a very confused place where our mind is fixated on the outside world, we are led to confront this habitual belief in separation (and all the fears that stem from it) and to begin to disentangle our perception from it. This is Durga's energy. In the wake of that perception shift, we become conscious of the auspiciousness of our participation in the physical world and its connection to the subtle, energetic Source that is empowering it. We learn to relate to the world in a friendlier way while discovering the beauty of our own Spirit. This is Lakshmi's energy. As we become more immersed in this experience of wholeness, where the physical world and the subtle realm are intertwined within our perception, the line between them begins to blur and the true feeling of merging with everything just as EVERYTHING begins to arise. The meaning of yoga (union) becomes clear in a fully embodied way, rather than an intellectual way. We know what it is to be One with EVERYTHING even as we experience things through our individual perspective. This is Saraswati. Each Goddess form lays the foundation for the one that follows, moving our conscious understanding to more and more subtle or etheric layers. But if the Goddess Herself is One Being, then moving through Her forms is not really moving at all is it? As awareness takes shape as Lakshmi and Saraswati (and all of the others) have we really left Durga behind? To be immersed in Oneness means nothing is ever left behind. So what is it that we are experiencing in this journey of Navaratri?
Another one of Lakshmi's gifts is the gift of Maha. The word means "more" or "bigger/greatest version" of whatever you are speaking about. Lakshmi as a principle of abundance can be identified on many levels so, when you are aiming for the most complete and extensive version of abundance, you are looking for Maha Lakshmi. This understanding that there is always more to be uncovered, more that exists beyond our ability to perceive and measure, is a great spiritual Truth. We use words like unconditional and infinite to describe the reality that underlies what we can see and touch with human consciousness. But even those words have some sense of limitation - or rather our thinking minds cannot comprehend them properly. We can't actually understand infinity just by thinking about it. We will always reference something open-ended like that with the limits that we do understand and then try to imagine what is "outside" of that. The tricky thing is, if we are already within that Oneness that underlies everything, then there is nothing that lies "outside". There is only more of what we are already immersed in. We cannot reference the infinite with something else because there is NOTHING else. *MIND BLOWN* All we have is Maha, the knowledge that whatever we can take in, however vast and expansive or deep and embracing, is not all there is. To know the extent of EVERYTHING we have to cease to be "something", to remove all references to limitation. To translate that to human consciousness is difficult. This is why most individuals who have had profound experience say there are no words to describe it. There literally are not words to describe Maha. It is a Truth that can only be felt. And Lakshmi is the place where the profound, but abstract Truths of consciousness can be translated into human experience. We can FEEL what the Truth is even if we cannot properly describe it. Lakshmi's gift of "Maha made manageable".
I feel more and more, as I sit with the Goddess in these forms, that they magnetize our awareness to the place that we are most ready to go to. At times this means we may stay very focused on Durga as the primary energy we feel connected to, and through Her all the other forms can be accessed. At other times it may be Lakshmi that draws us or Saraswati that seems to be calling the loudest. It doesn't matter the form because within each of the them, all of the others are present. We usually use that description only for Durga, but it is true for all forms of the Goddess. Durga simply makes a very obvious point of how easily Her full Essence can be accessed as it is needed (a very useful attribute for helping to rip away our belief in things being separate). There is ono pressure to "get through" the teachings of any of the forms. None are better or more spiritual than the others. As long as we are reaching for any form of the Goddess, we will be pulled toward the appropriate energy to bring us to our own Maha, whatever that happens to look like at the time. And whatever we arrive at, we can be sure that it is not the end of the journey. We will be constantly pulled towards whatever opens us to an even greater Maha. There is no end to the opportunities to explore the depth of our consciousness. That is the gift of Oneness. No matter where we think we are "going" we never leave anything behind and whatever we are "heading to" is already inside of us. We just awaken joyfully to whatever Truth is currently being displayed to us. No winning, no losing, no progress - just awakening. Like Lakshmi rising from the ocean of consciousness, we too continuously ride the wave of awakening through our own consciousness. Such a blessing to know that you can never truly get lost in that vastness. The Goddess will always call you back to yourself. That's why she takes form in the first place, to call consciousness back to its True Self.
Wherever you are on your journey, know that circumstances are conspiring to draw you into your Maha, which will be the foundation for a future Maha that is even more expansive, and so on and so forth. Within Durga, we already begin to realize Lakshmi and then Lakshmi appears as if by magic. Of course not. Our consciousness calls Her form into Being to show us what we already know internally. But the mind needs a reference, so a form is born. And as Lakshmi begins to ebb before the flow of Saraswati, know that Saraswati's gifts have already begun to awaken through Lakshmi. Now the mind is ready to realize the form that can expand our understanding further. The next Maha. The next step in exploring EVERYTHING. It's all contained within this moment. Embrace the Maha that is yours with every breath.