Devi Suktam, Durga Saptashati & Navaratri

Starting this article with a clarification for readers’ benefit differentiation between the Devi Suktam or Vaak Suktam or Vaagambhrini Sukta of Rigveda and that we often confuse with the Devi Suktam of Durga Saptashati of Markandeya Purana. The Article is about the latter i.e. Devi Suktam of Durga Saptashati of Markandeya Purana.

Rigvediya Devi Suktam or Vak Suktam (Vaagambhirini Suktam), is the oldest sukta dedicated to Universal Mother Divine. A Hymn of 8 verses (mantras) from Rig Veda. It is the 125th sukta in the 10th mandala of the Rig Veda. This is much older to the Markandeya purana and also believed to pre-date even Tridevi concept (three principal female Deities – Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati). One of the unique feature of Rigvediya Devi Suktam is that the suktas (or the hymns) are not composed by Poet in praise of Mother Divine, but her own elucidation of Her Glory (called Atmastuti in Samskrutam). Texts further indicate that Rigvediya Devi Suktam was composed and sung by the Rishika Vaak Ambhrini, in a state of supreme bliss upon uniting with Mother Divine – Vaak, which means Primordial sound of Speech. Thus it is considered as a composition of the Mother Goddess in Glory of Herself. (Will write about this after thorough reading of the scripture and consulting experts of the Text) Please note that many websites wrongly describe the History attributing it to Rishika Vaagambhrigi breaking into a dance after a realization that her life originated from a single source of infinite consciousness that had no perceptable form and it was omnipresent. It is also wrong attributed to the superlative praising the ultimate source of consciousness Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu whereas it is Rigvediya Devi Suktam (Vaagambhrigi Suktam) that has this history.

One of the chants that is prevalent during Navaratris is the Tantroktam Devi Suktam – the Slokas from 9 through 82, in the 5th Chapter of Durga Saptashati, which is a part of Devi Mahatmyam. More popular are the 21 verses (6 to 26) that begins with “ya devi sarva bhuteshu‘. Tantroktam Devi Suktam is a part of Markandeya Purana.

Pic Courtesy: By ShotgunMavericks – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Namo Devyai Mahadevyai Shivayai Satatam Namaha
Namaha Prakrityai Bhadrayai Niyataah Pranataah Sma Taam |1|

Roudrayai Namo Nityayi Gouryayai Dhatrayai Namo Namaha |
Jyothsnayayai Chendurupinyayai Sukhayayai Satatam Namaha |2|

Kalyannyai Pranatam Vridhyayai Sidhyayai Kurmo Namo Namah |
Nairutyayai Bhybritaam Lakshmyai Sharvanyayai Tey Namo Namah |3|

Durgayai Durgapaaraayai, Saaraayai Sarvakaarine |
Khyatyai Tadhiva Krishnayai Dhumrayai Satatam Namaha |4|

Ati Soumyati Roudrayai, Nataastastastyai Namo Namaha |
Namo Jagatpratishtayai, Devyayai Krityayai Namo Namah |5|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Vishnumaayeti Shabditaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |6|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Chetanety-Abhidhiiyate |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |7|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Buddhi-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |8|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Nidra-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |9|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Kssudhaa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |10|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Chaayaa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |11|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Shakti-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |12|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Trshnnaa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |13|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Kshaanti-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |14|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Jaati-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |15|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Lajjaa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |16|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Shaanti-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |17|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Shraddhaa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |18|

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Kaanti-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |19|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Lakshmii-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |20|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Vrtti-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |21|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Smrti-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |22|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Dayaa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |23|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Tushtti-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |24|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Maatr-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |25|

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Bhraanti-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |26|

Indriyaannaam-Adhisstthaatrii Bhutaanaam Ca-Akhilessu |
Yaa Bhuutessu Satatam Tasyai Vyaapti-Devyai Namo Namah |27|

Citi-Ruupenna Yaa Krtsnam-Etad-Vyaapya Sthitaa Jagat |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah |28|

Maa Durga

Significance of the Chant

As Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji, Spiritual Guru and Founder of The Art of Living Foundation says, “The chant shows the deeper facets of the Devi which are often missed. It represents the Devi’s presence across universe and time. With Devi’s presence in the things, people, and situations we dislike and like both, the chant is meant to evoke irrevocable equanimity in a devotee. Let us understand how the Devi is present everywhere and at all times.

Photograph: Gurudev in Yagyashala, Art of Living, Bengaluru Ashram – 25th September 2022

Omnipresent: Devi is present as consciousness in everyone. There is no place where the Devi is not present.
In all forms: Nature and its distortions are all forms of the Devi. Beauty, peace are all forms of the Devi. Even if you get angry, that too is the Devi. If you fight, that too is the Devi.
Ancient & new: Every moment is alive with consciousness. Our consciousness is ‘Nith nutan’ ancient and new at the same time. Objects are either old or new, but in nature you will find the old and the new existing together. The sun is old and new too. A river has fresh water flowing in it, every moment but yet is very old. In the same way, human life is very ancient but it is new at the same time. Your mind is the same.

Happy Navaratri to you & all your near ones. May Nava Durgas bestow Her choicest blessings on you.

Jai Mata Di

Navaratri – Significance of Colors – 2022

Each region has its own set of rituals and practices associated with this festival. A compilation of some of them here specifically with respect to the attire here.

List of the nine colours of Navratri to be worn by Goddess Durga as well as Devotees, with their significance:

Navaratri Colors – 2022

First Day – Paadyami
Shailaputri Maa is the first amongst Navadurgas worshipped during Navarathri. On the first day this Goddess is dressed in a ‘Grey‘ saree. The colour to wear on the first day for devotees is ‘White‘.

Second Day – Dwitiya
Bharmacharini is the second form of mother goddess which is worshipped on the second day. It is believed that this goddess enlightens elegant forms with great power, divine and spiritual grace. The goddess is dressed in ‘Orange’ attire. The colour for devotees on this auspicious day is ‘Red‘.

Third Day – Tritiya
Chandraghanta is the third appearance of the goddess who symbolises peace, serenity, beauty and bravery in one’s life. She is decorated with a ‘Green‘ saree and on this day Gauri Vrata is done. ‘Royal Blue‘ is the colour of the day for devotees.

Fourth Day – Chaturthi
Kushmanda is the fourth form of goddess that is worshipped on the fourth day of Navratri. She is mainly considered as the creator of the universe. Mother goddess is drape with ‘Red‘ coloured saree. The colour for the devotees is ‘Yellow‘.

Fifth Day – Panchami
Skandamata is a face of Maa Durga always known for demolishing the demons. She is dressed in a ‘Blue’ saree and on this day and the Upang Lalitha Gauri Vrata is observed. Devotees are supposed to wear ‘Green’.

Sixth Day – Shashti
Katyayani is worshipped on the sixth day of Navratri. She is dressed in ‘Yellow‘ attire & devotees are supposed to wear ‘Grey‘ on this day.

Seventh day – Sapthami
Kaalratri is the seventh figure of Goddess Durga.The goddess on this day is supposed to be adorned with a ‘White‘ coloured saree. Maha Saptami is the day when Maha Saraswathi Devi is wordhipped and the colour of the day must be ‘Orange’ for devotees.

Eighth day – Ashtami
Maha Durga is worshipped on the eighth day(Durgashtami).The goddess is dressed in ‘Peacock Green‘ . On this day, ‘Peacock Green‘ is regarded as the colour for all.

Ninth day – Maha Navami
Siddhidatri is the form of Maa Durga for the ninth day of Navratri and is known to have great supernatural powers. This miraculous goddess is dressed in ‘Purple‘ attire and Maha Navami puja is done. ‘Pink’ is the colour of the day for ardent devotees.

Tenth day – Vijaya Dashami

Vijayadashami is the day of Victory of Good over Evil. The Goddess is dressed in Glowing Gold & the color for devotees is also Gold!

To summarize: Colors of attire advised on 9 days of Navratri

Day 1: White
Day 2: Red
Day 3: Royal Blue
Day 4: Yellow
Day 5: Green
Day 6: Grey
Day 7: Orange
Day 8: Peacock Green
Day 9: Pink

Baggage of the Old (past) – Good or Bad?

Some lessons from 34 years in the industry – experiential learnings that I thought would be worth sharing. Not sure who I should credit this pictorial story, but with due credits to the original author I am taking the liberty to share it and Copyright owners can get it touch with me for suitable remedial measures, if required

I have been fortunate to have been working in Development function almost all the time (and even when I had Business/Sales development function, I ensured training and development and R&D was my additional responsibility. For the simple reasons that I would be forced to be abreast of the developments in the Technological world and benefits of working with young minds (fresh with no prejudices or judgements) who invariably drive us to an “out of the box” thinking. No doubt it is challenging when every decision are questioned in a manner unthinkable for old-timers (Not all, but most of them in my experience in about 7 huge multinationals that I worked in)

A Harvard research (I think it was in 2015 or so) in a survey of around 10,000 companies revealed that more than 70% of the organisation considered Older Age a Competitive Disadvantage. This agreed with another research of American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) whose findings that age based discimination (Over 2/3 of samples between 45-75 years Old) is indeed prevalent in the industry.

With an aging demographics, it is indeed a challenge since elderly folks will clearly outnumber the young workforce. Most importantly, there is another school of thought – Older professionals bring their expertise and why to let precious skill that took many years to acquire go waste. On the flipside, that is a job that another youngster rightfully should have been entitled to. Remember King Charles III waiting for 73 years to be crowned the King – Pitfalls of Longeivity.

And in any case, going by my experience, I have seen most of us wanting to continue working much past their retired life. As Stephen Hawking said : “Work gives you meaning and purpose, and life is empty without it.”

Organisations, when hiring an elderly resource, assume that we bring wisdom to the table by virtue of being old and experienced.

The Big Question – Is a business looking for someone Wise or someone Careful?

One obvious drawback is the “idea” Baggage we bring in to the workplace. By and large, all progressive ideas that is seemingly risky (even those considered worth taking) is spiked at source. Younger workforce, raring to go would obviously find it discouraging. Do the elderly workforce bring in Congnitive diversity? In practice, I find it is a myth, though statistics shows a mix of age groups in the workforce. The ideas and perceptions of the elderly will invariably swamp suggestions of youngsters and they get pushed towards implementation. This is a dangerous situation for any enterprise when the world is borderless, and technology is changing every second. We cannot solve the the problems of today’s business with solutions that worked in our prime times.

Ideally the elderly resources should be in self-actualising mode – guiding the young leaders on a path that lets them sprint but don’t trip and just in case they do, just spread the net so that the fall is arrested. Instead what I found is that each one of us attempt to become a part of the same rat-race chasing Fancy Job Titles, Personal Career Growth, Bigger money and Greater Power, frustrating the younger Thinkers and Doers, but also many times, frustrating themselves. The rats who are anyway in the race will never know if the cat is chasing them or part of the race. It is good for us to avoid this confusing situation for the younger ones, who are the future of the enterprise.

Can you Spot the Cat among the rats in this race?

Another serious area of challenge is total resistance to Change. There is almost total unwillingness to adopt modern technologies and adapt to the changing work styles. Less flexible with their preconceived notions about the way things are (or the way it should be), the rigidity more often paralyses the growth of the enterprise.

More often than not, it is a myth that elderly workforce don’t get into workplace politics or show more responsible attitude towards work (as a Harvard Business review piece suggests). The Old Boy club is so well entrenched and have a great affinity to each other. We gang up much easily when our ego is bruised or when our inability to adapt becomes obvious. What we don’t realise is that not only it harms the organisation, but in the end takes us down too.

The Old Boy Club – It still exists and is thriving – though it has no place in the modern world
PC: https://vocal.media/

It is important to realise that agility both physically and mentally is no longer there. It is not those days when we could afford to let some slips happen and recover. Every slip today sets the organization irrecoverably back, considering cut-throat competition, who are waiting to sort us out.

Don’t disturb the applecart is our oft repeated advise. Why do we have to do it that way, is a question that would find a stock answer “We don’t know – that’s how things are done around here” Can there be a more dangerous phrase we can hear in workplace? This thinking is far worse than the possibility of best competition that would clean us out. We will do it the same way since this is how we have always done it this way.

Not naming the organisation, but even in the face of steady decline YoY or even MoM in the numbers (Per capita) the consolation peddled was that the absolute numbers have risen (disregarding the expenditure that has proportionately risen). Until it was too late, the reason why the numbers kept dropping was never realised, because we always did that in the past and it worked, losing sight of the customer who was becoming wiser by the day? Customers don’t live in the past, they live not just in the present, but also look much ahead into the future. If there is no value add, they subtract you from the equation and go to someone else. Unless there is innovation (nothing to do with your past or breaking away from the past) which by nature is resisted by the Old-timers, it is a cinch that competition will sort us out. The worst part is that every organisation would have fantastic young Leaders who are the future – if only there is a small shift in the mindset of the older leaders, if only there is a realisation that these youngsters are the future of the organisation, not us who are just the railings for them to seek support, if at all they need it. Instead of getting into the turf protection essays, nurturing a coterie running personal errands, using them to circle to shield ourselves to make reality beyond the shield invisible, but does a world of good to remember reality exist. Any incompetent shield will sooner or later fizzle out & will sort us out. No one can live on past glories because the world is dynamic – what is good in the morning, may be obsolete, and even a threat, by lunch time. Ideas or business methods have very short shelf life. Let the mindset also be aligned to that shelf life.

Let us respect the Biological norms. We are in the evening of our lives (Flourescent lamp or incadescent lamp times) and let us be catalyst for brigher luminaries (LED luminaires). They are the light of the future and make some allowance for them to trip. Didn’t we trip then? The newer generation are far better informed and careful than what we were (or what we are). Is there a guarantee that our decisions will not boomerang?

I recall this Tweet that was not in this context but applicable here too. It was to drive home a point to someone that number of followers on Social Media is not a privilege but a responsibility

It is our single most important responsibility to be factual, backed by data. Good to remember that this generation give a tinker’s damn to opinions not backed by data. By the way, I say it is our responsibility because someone who trusts our wisdom may quote our opinions as gospel truth and if it was just an opinion pulled out of the hat and not based on data, not only they lose their face among those where our opinion was quoted as fact, we lose our credibility too. Bluffing and getting away assuming that by the time fact check is done it will be forgotten, is a thing of past. Today the truth can be discovered with a click of a button. Therefore, it serves everyone including ourselves well if we stick to Facts, instead of bluffing our way to win some arguments.

If you cannot back it with Data, keep your opinion Packed

To sign off, in these IT and Tech world, dominated by young, enthusiastic and highly capable bunch of qualified professionals, “grey hairs” may be respected but may not be valued. It is the “Grey Cells” that matters. And it helps us to act our age instead of acting a sulking or jilted lover especially in workplace. If we have not adapted or incapable of adapting, bidding a goodbye is the best for everyone around.

“Its not how old you are, its how you are old.” ― Jules Renard

Let us age gracefully, age responsibly instead of just growing old. It is not our chair that should give us a value, but we who should make the chair valuable. How we are to the world, without that Chair is true reflection of one’s worth. Increase that, instead of bank balance or position.