Being Creative in Teaching Kids About Indian Culture

Being Creative in Teaching Kids About Indian Culture

At Raising World Children, we are on the constant look out for world changers. People who are trying in small or big ways to make the world a better place. Today, we meet Ajanta Chakraborty, a fascinating woman of wonder : choreographer, author, you tube content creator, teacher, mom and much much more !

1. What exactly do you do?

I am the co-founder of Culture Groove  and Bollywood Groove

  • Culture Groove publishes bestselling children’s books and has an educational kids YouTube channel.
  • Bollywood Groove teaches 30+ dance & fitness classes in Chicago to kids and adults.

2. How did you come about this passion/profession?

A techie by profession, I worked in Silicon Valley for 7 years before realizing that my true passion was to spread the joy of Indian culture! In 2011, I quit my job to pursue Bollywood Groove first and then Culture Groove and have never looked back.

3. Tell us about your family.

My husband, who is also the co-author of our Maya/Neel book series, and I live in Chicago with our 4-year-old son. Other than the usual trucks and light sabers, my son has developed a strong interest in our work. He is officially a YouTuber helping his mom teach about India! The funniest experience is watching him trying to sell our books at various events 😊

4. How many places have you lived? How has that affected your world view?

I was born and raised in the small city of Bhopal in India. Since then, I have lived in Vancouver, Canada for education, California for work and now in Chicago.

Living in multiple cities has given me the unique immigrant lens of learning, comparing and picking the best of two worlds. It also opened my mind to not only embrace diversity but also strive to make it a norm.

5. What do you think are three biggest struggles most parents go through teaching kids about Indian culture?

  • The lack of quality and fun content. A lot of the content is either superficial – they provide very little actual knowledge or they are too boring for kids to engage in.
  • The lack of non-religious content. Believe it or not, there are lot of families like ours. They want their kids to learn about the cultural aspects without religion.
  • We have to accept that kids of Indian origin around the world are growing up in a different environment than someone in India. No matter what we are trying to teach them about our culture, it has to be done in a relatable manner. The 100% immersion is not the right approach for every kid and it’s hard to find resources that adhere to that mindset.

6.  How do you suggest parents encourage kids to follow their passions?

Don’t impose your dreams on them. Let them navigate the world at their own pace and in their own way. We are supposed to give them wings and watch them fly. Teach them the importance of finding joy in their everyday life. My parents did precisely that I am incredibly grateful for that.

6. Please tell us about your vision to teaching kids about the world.

We have a 3-fold mission with our work:

  • Help raise multicultural kids irrespective of their ethnicity and background. This extends to adults as well!
  • Help kids connect to their roots.
  • Help kids of color to see themselves in literature and media.

This is exactly what has driven us to teach a unique combination of dance and culture classes to 200 kids every year; to write children’s books exploring festivals, places and cultural concepts of India; and finally to create a free learning resource via our YouTube channel.

8. What are your three top advice to parents?

  • Read, read, read to your kids! It is such a wonderful way to open up their minds.
  • Teach your kids that there are many ways to live in this world – try new foods, explore a different festival, do something that helps them experience the diversity in this world.
  • Constantly reinforce the message of standing up to discrimination, intolerance and bias because of who they are. Proactively help them gain pride of their origin, their orientation, and anything else that the society boxes them in.

9. How does one raise multicultural kids today in an ever evolving world?

I believe it is actually getting easier. With technology bringing the world closer together, we now have more opportunities to learn about each other. Even in places where there is an environment of intolerance, I see parents and educators working ever harder to ensure that the kids grow up with an outlook of acceptance.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT HER YOUTUBE CHANNEL

10. Do you have anything exciting for our readers?

We produced 8 books in 2 years so there is always something exciting 😊 Our latest book is about Delhi and Taj Mahal and it recently hit the Amazon bookshelves. But we are equally excited about our videos. We add one new video a week and there is so much more coming in the way of learning about Indian languages, festivals, food, clothes etc. We request parents and educators to help us spread the word about this free resource and to join us in our mission: CultureGroove.com/YouTube.

Let’s Raise Multicultural Kids!

Click here to join parents raising multicultural children on Facebook !

Click here to buy Ajanta’s Latest BestSelling Diwali Book right NOW! Makes a great Diwali gift. 

How Can You Be Creative in Teaching Kids about Any Culture. Meet Ajanta Chakraborty, woman of wonder.

 

The Many Lessons Hidden in the Varied Origins of Diwali

The origin of Diwali is a wonderful way to explain to children, how good always conquers evil. The many stories that form the foundation of this world celebration, are a lesson in life about how to always stand true when faced with difficult choices. You may be surprised to learn, Diwali is celebrated across different sub cultures of India for various reasons. And thus, holds an extremely special meaning in the lives of many. Contrary to popular belief, not all Indians traditionally follow the same Hindu culture and yet, Diwali is  one of the most auspicious days in the lives of many. People from different parts of India celebrate this day for different reasons.

North India

Lord Ram, the most beloved prince and son is sent to exile by his father because of a promise he made to one of his wives (granting any two wishes when she wants). Laxman, his devoted brother chooses to go on exile with his brother and sister in law Sita. After years of hardships, Sita one day sees a deer she desires and on her behest Sri Ram and Laxman go after it. She consequently gets kidnapped by Raavan when she crosses the Laxman rekha (a spellbound line made outside their home to keep her safe by her brother in law). Ram and Laxman slay Raavan, saving her with the help of Hanuman an ardent devotee of Sri Ram. They all come back home to Ayodhya (on Diwali) among great pomp and show only to send her into exile all on her own when a citizen of the city raises a question of her purity after living with Raavan for so many years. She goes into the forest where she brings up her two sons. After years, when his sons cross his path in battle, Lord Ram goes back to bring his wife home. She in turn chooses to go back to Mother Earth instead. The Return of the Pandavas: Another story about the origins of the Diwali is within the great epic ‘Mahabharata,’ it was ‘Kartik Amavashya’ when the five Pandavas (brothers Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva) appeared from their 12 years of banishment as a result of their defeat in the hands of the Kauravas at the game of dice (gambling). The subjects who loved the Pandavas celebrated the day by lighting the earthen lamps.

South India

In South India, Lord Krishna slaying Narakasura. Narakasura was a demon drunk with power stole the earrings of Aditi (mother of all Devas) and kidnapped 16000 women. The Devas were unable to stop him and so they went to Lord Vishnu to reincarnate as Krishna, so as to destroy the evil demon and save the women.

Marwaris and Gujratis

Diwali is the new year time for Marwaris and Gujaratis.  This is when the merchants close the accounts of the old year and pray to the goddess of wealth that the new year should open with even bigger increase of trade.  Kali Chaudas is devoted to the worship of Maha-Kali or Shakti as this is the day Kali killed the wicked Raktavija. Also referred to as Narak-Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas is the day to abolish laziness and evil. Thus, many regions pray to Goddess Laxmi (giver of weath) on this day. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, emerging from a feud between the gods and demons, who were tangled in a race to obtain the nectar of immortality. Consulting Lord Vishnu in this pursuit, they could successfully churn the nectar of immortality from Goddess Lakshmi, who chose Vishnu to be her companion, consequently Lord Vishnu carried goddess Lakshmi to the heavens.

Jains  

To the Jains it marks the day after Lord Mahavira attained nirvana. He was released from his worldly body on the night of the full moon. So the people of Pavapuri, where he attained nirvana, lit lamps in their doorways as a symbol of their guru’s enlightenment.

According to Myth Gyan , Mahavira attained Moksha at the dawn of the Amavasya (new moon). He was cremated at Pawapuri. It is believed that many Gods were present there illuminating the darkness. But the following night was pitch black.

So people illuminate their houses in order to symbolically keep the light of their master’s knowledge alive.


Sikhism

This day for Sikhs celebrates the release of Guru Hargobindji along with 52 Indian kings who were imprisoned along with him at the Gwalior fort by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1619. This day is thus also known as Bandi Chorr Diwas (meaning the day of freedom).

Nepal

Diwali is also celebrated in Nepal and the Indian states of Assam, Sikkim and Darjeeling in West Bengal. The five-day festival in these places is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the Gods, but also to the animals like crows, cows and dogs who maintain an intense relationship with humans.

Arya Samaj

It was the new moon day of Kartik (Diwali day) when the 19th-century scholar Maharshi Dayananda, one of the greatest reformers of Hinduism and the founder of Arya Samaj, attained his nirvana. Dayananda’s great mission was to ask humankind to treat one another as brothers through practices of nobility.

http://localhost/raisingworld/2017/10/12/easy-diwali-family-problems-home/

Historically 

In history, this day is celebrated as the coronation day of One of the greatest of Hindu kings, Vikramaditya. He was crowned on the Diwali day. The legendary emperor, who may have been a historical figure or based on one, is thought of as the ideal king, known for his generosity, courage, and patronage of scholars. Thus, Diwali became a historical event as well.

And thus, this day is celebrated across five days,

1. Dhanteras. 2. Choti Diwali (Naraka Chaturdasi). 3. Badi Diwali (Laxmi Puja). 4. Naya Saal (New Year). 5. Bhai Dooj. Many today, celebrate this day the whole month as the only time to rejoice available is on weekends. What is your reason to celebrate?

What does this conversation about origins of Diwali teach kids? 

  • Love your family.
  • Support your loved ones always.
  • Stand by what is right.
  • Freedom is a birth right.
  • Choices have consequences.
  • Women should be nurtured.
  • Every woman has a right to make her own choices.
  • Above all, be loyal.
  • Be careful about spending and save.

Do Not

  • Think ill of others.
  • Let ego get in the way of your relationships.
  • Disrespect those you care about.
  • Make decisions in haste.
  • Be selfish or greedy.

Matches Are Made In Heaven

Matches Are Made In Heaven

Matches are made in heaven !!

Its true! Indeed !!

Initially, I was quite dubious of the fact — Matches are made in heaven.

Our Arranged Marriage

But after getting married to my husband, I have started believing in it. Ours was a totally arranged marriage, wherein the bride’s parents meet the groom’s parents. The Kundlis were exchanged. And it’s only when the Kundlis match, the conversation regarding the two people — the girl and the boy,starts. And as per our tradition, I also believe in these nity gritty things. After all, it’s for us only.

Fortunately, our Kundlis matched.Then the day was fixed on which we will meet face to face. So on the a decided day, we met. Though our meeting had to happen but it was still very unusual. As we both were working , so neither of us was interested in taking a leave just to meet the partner in question.

Knowing he felt the same, attracted me towards knowing him more. So, it was decided that we will ll meet in a park during the morning hours.The morning where everybody was busy in their morning walk, jogging, yoga and what not, we were there to discuss our serious future.

And on that day, in those 10-15 minutes, to be precise, something happened – which changed our lives!

He was his normal quiet self while I was doing the chatting and the questioning. I felt somewhat irritable too when I was not getting the responses from him. But there’s an element of simplicity and something was there in his eyes, which got stuck somewhere.

After the meeting got over, we both went to our respective offices and from my office, I agreed to my father to move ahead in this relation. Right! I said yes and in just one hour two complete strangers became everything for each other.

So, the match was fixed. And we got engaged on 17.4.2005. But, still the marriage had to wait. There was a long courtship period of 7 months. And that was the time, we got to know each other, somewhat. His way of surprising me in one form or another had surprised me.

When I was least expecting him or his call, I used to get the shock of my life by seeing him outside my workplace , which was admired by me always. As he was not a very chatty person, so he used to make it up by something or the other.

arranged marriage

And thus, the cupid finally struck! We got married on 14.11.2005, Children’s Day. See, it felt like God had also made plans for us. The date got inscribed along with the celebration of children’s day and our dear Nehruji’s birthday. On that day, amidst our families and friends,in a large set up, he came on the horse like my prince charming and I became his better half, forever.

Though we had our ups and downs,struggles and rewards, fights and romance, still the bond of love and trust for each other has kept us tied with each other. Touch wood!

Thus, I concluded, whether it is arranged marriage or love marriage, love can happen anytime and anywhere. These are just the names to help us move further. Rest is all our faith, trust, love, respect ,maturity and responsibility towards each other, which matters a lot. Gradually, I had realized that love doesn’t mean to ignore the flaws of the person but it means to accept the flaws of the person and let him also accept yours so as to have a pious and lovable life.

Because—Matches are made in heaven. Share your wedding story with me.

 Ruchika Rastogi, an Indian who was born and brought up in Delhi. She loves to explore the unexplored. A mother of two lovely kids, she works as a teacher and her passion for writing has helped her survive during her hard times. Her first non fiction book got published last year with the name-A Mystical Majesty-the woman. As a contributing author, her anthology with the title–Wait Till I Tell You got launched recently. With dreams in her eyes, she believes in living life optimistically.
Celebrating Different Colors of Rangoli This Diwali

Celebrating Different Colors of Rangoli This Diwali

No Diwali is complete without the beautiful Rangoli adorning your home. Be it in with powder, side walk chalk or playdough. Rangoli brings many colors together to form a very unique design. Similarly, people from around the world rejoice together every Diwali lighting up their homes, creating intricate designs, celebrating with delicious fare and paying homage to age old traditions passed on from generation to generation.

Rangoli - Diwali Reasons - Raising World Children Ankur Avashti Patel

©Ankur Avasthi Patel

Diwali is essentially a series of five days –

1. Dhanteras.
2. Choti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdasi.
3. Badi Diwali or Laxmi Puja.
4. Naya Saal or New Year.
5. Bhai Dooj.

Home made Diyas

Home made Diyas

 

People traditionally buy silver/gold/new utensils for the kitchen. Hang up the toran (door decor) and create the rangoli.  Light Diyas outside your house. Choti Diwali and Badi Diwali are the actual Diwali days on which you pray  for well being and prosperity of your family.

Badi Diwali is the last day of the Hindu calendar and thus specially auspicious. Naya Saal is when you wish all your near and dear ones a very Happy New Year as the new Hindu year begins. Bhai Dooj is a day for siblings to grow close as we cherish their love and pray for their well being.

The Varied Shades Of Diwali : Different Origins One Celebration

 

India is a land of many languages and sub cultures. Diwali, originally known as Deepavali is celebrated by Indians all over the world and for different reasons.

North India

Every mythological story Diwali is derived from teaches that good will always triumph over evil.

In the Ramayan, when Lord Ram returned home, the city was lit up with diyas and the people rejoiced as the prodigal son returned home.

Lord Ram, the most beloved prince and son is sent to exile by his father because of a promise he made to one of his wives (granting any two wishes when she wants). Laxman, his devoted brother chooses to go on exile with his brother and sister in law Sita. After years of hardships, Sita one day sees a deer she desires and on her behest Sri Ram and Laxman go after it. She consequently gets kidnapped by Raavan when she crosses the Laxman rekha (a spellbound line made outside their home to keep her safe by her brother in law). Ram and Laxman slay Raavan, saving her with the help of Hanuman an ardent devotee of Sri Ram. They all come back home to Ayodhya (on Diwali) among great pomp and show only to send her into exile all on her own when a citizen of the city raises a question of her purity after living with Raavan for so many years. She goes into the forest where she brings up her two sons. After years, when his sons cross his path in battle, Lord Ram goes back to bring his wife home. She in turn chooses to go back to Mother Earth instead.

Kavitha Dhawan

South India

In South India, Lord Krishna slaying Narakasura. Narakasura was a demon drunk with power stole the earrings of Aditi (mother of all Devas) and kidnapped 16000 women. The Devas were unable to stop him and so they went to Lord Vishnu to reincarnate as Krishna, so as to destroy the evil demon and save the women.

Marwaris and Gujratis

Diwali is the new year time for Marwaris and Gujaratis.  This is when the merchants close the accounts of the old year and pray to the goddess of wealth that the new year should open with even bigger increase of trade.  Kali Chaudas is devoted to the worship of Maha-Kali or Shakti as this is the day Kali killed the wicked Raktavija. Also referred to as Narak-Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas is the day to abolish laziness and evil. Thus, many regions pray to Goddess Laxmi (giver of weath) on this day.

Jainism 

To the Jains it marks the day after Lord Mahavira attained nirvana. He was released from his worldly body on the night of the full moon. So the people of Pavapuri, where he attained nirvana, lit lamps in their doorways as a symbol of their guru’s enlightenment.

Sikhism

This day for Sikhs celebrates the release of Guru Hargobindji along with 52 Indian kings who were imprisoned along with him at the Gwalior fort by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1619. This day is thus also known as Bandi Chorr Diwas (meaning the day of freedom).

Nepal

Diwali is also celebrated in Nepal and the Indian states of Assam, Sikkim and Darjeeling in West Bengal. The five-day festival in these places is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the Gods, but also to the animals like crows, cows and dogs who maintain an intense relationship with humans.

Celebrating DIfferent Colors oF Rangoli This Diwali - Different Reasons For Significance of Diwali Origin

So what is it that all these origin stories teach kids ? 

  • Love your family.
  • Respect those you care about.
  • Listen to your parents.
  • Support your loved ones always.
  • Stand by what is right.
  • Freedom is a birth right.
  • Choices have consequences.
  • Women should be nurtured.
  • Every woman has a right to make her own choices.
  • Above all, be loyal.

Do Not –

  • Think ill of others.
  • Let ego get in the way of your relationships.
  • Disrespect those you care about.
  • Make decisions in haste.
  • Be selfish or greedy.
  • Pay heed to the negative voices.

 

© Aditi W. Singh

Aditi Wardhan Singh is a mom of two, living it up in Richmond Virginia in USA. Raised in Kuwait, being Indian by birth she has often felt out of place. A computer engineer by profession, she is now a freelance writer and entrepreneur having founded Raising World Children. In her spare time she volunteers for Circle of Peace International and impromptu dance parties with her little one are her ultimate picker upper. She provides tools to open minded parents to empower their children to raise positive, gracious, global thought leaders. She currently writes for the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, RMB and is author in an upcoming Anthology 100+MomsOneJourney as well.

Janmashtmi - Krishna Celebrated At My Home

Janmashtmi – Krishna Celebrated At My Home

As soon as I hear the word Janmashtmi, my lips broaden, the pupil of my eyes narrow down.The thought of the festival reminds me of my lord, Lord Krishna and it seriously gives me immense pleasure to think about him!

Krishna, who is considered to be the most colorful God in Hindu mythology, is really the most favourd one too among the young as well as the adults.

Reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, Krishna has always appealed kids with his unique naughtiness.As kids, we always heard about him teasing his mother Yashoda or Gopis or stealing butter from the houses in the village. Simultaneously, we had also heard about his courage , respectfulness and humility.

All the qualities certainly make him a role model. Also because the existence of both negative as well as positive qualities make him more like us humans. This is something I only realize now as an adult.

I remember going to well lit, decorated temples with my parents on Janmashtmi during my childhood. In spite of huge rush that gathered to have a glimpse of lovely Kanhaiyya, he really looks different on that day, may be like a cute little kid, rejoicing on his birthday.

Those remembrances are now precious memories.

How We Celebrate 

We also do puja (at my in laws) in our house. Since the birth of Krishna happens to be at midnight, people keep fast till that time. After their fast breaks, then only they have their meal. But at our place, we make delicious delicacies like Kuttu Pakori with curd, Coconut Burfi , Potato Chaat, Makhana Kheer, Curd and Charnamrit. My little ones relish Kuttu pakori and Potato chaat).Then after the puja and aarti (the poetic hymns), we have our meal comprising of the above mentioned dishes only.

After the puja, we visit the temples, like my parents,  with my kids. Now, there are beautiful scenaries everywhere depicting unusual stories related to the birth of Lord Krishna.The kids remain excited and exuberant to see the Lord . My daughter wants to pull the thread of the swing in which Krishna sits.I have to pull her back many times but this is childhood. Isn’t it?The festival comes to an end after the visit, but the festive spirit never dies.We to look forward to celebrate next year with more fervor and different decorations.

Cant imagine how I am loving writing this piece about my dear Lord. Seem to write endlessly about Krishna, my diety.But I know the religious feeling can be cherished endlessly with the trust and faith in the Lord.

Jai Shree Krishna!!

  Ruchika Rastogi, an Indian who was born and brought up in Delhi. She loves to explore the unexplored. A mother of two lovely kids, she works as a teacher and her passion for writing has helped her survive during her hard times. Her first non fiction book got published last year with the name-A Mystical Majesty-the woman. As a contributing author, her anthology with the title–Wait Till I Tell You got launched recently. With dreams in her eyes, she believes in living life optimistically.
Guide to Meditation & Fasting During Navratri

Guide to Meditation & Fasting During Navratri

Navratri, literally meaning “9 nights” is the beginning of the fall harvest, the change of seasons. When we align our system to Nature, we rest in balance. We feel energized, light in our body, and ease in our movements. We will spend the nine divine days of Navratri honoring the victory of positivism over negativity. The victory is of the absolute reality over the apparent duality of self and consciousness.

Whether in silence or active in the world, spend just a few moments to honor yourself and body during these precious nine nights.

We will detox by taking some disciplinary actions like juice detox, khichidi detox, on fruit diet, one day at a time. Traditionally, these days include chanting of divine mother (Eg; Lalita Sahastra namam, Kadgamala, Devi Kavacham, etc), and fasting.

Today I will share my celebration of Navratri, that include bringing the mind, body and spirit in tune.

 

First Day

Self
Today is among the first three days of self-purification in which goddess Durga is worshiped in her terrifying, destructive and powerful aspect. We pray to the goddess to destroy our imperfections. We pray to make us pure.

Body
See where you can make shifts in your lifestyle habits that allow for your system to rest. Small changes make bigger results. Eat lighter, increase fruits and vegetables, increase water intake, sleep earlier or reduce time in front of the computer or TV. Rest to your digestive, and nervous system, and even eyes can go a long way. Set an intention for these nine days.

Mind
These nine day we will be practicing dissolve the discriminating ego, our judging intellect and our doubting mind into Divine Knowledge that makes us hollow and empty to come into awareness of Who Am I.

Second Day

Self
It is with the power of the above that we pray to destroy the negative tendencies of selfishness, jealousy, prejudice, hatred, anger, and ego we hold in our heart and mind.

Body
Eating foods that suit our constitution and are gentle to our system along with movement/exercise help to keep the whole body in balance. Proper digestion, and elimination are an important indicator of overall health and well-being.

Mind
Meditation, and journal writing are all effective ways of letting go of thoughts and emotions that do not serve us. Practice surrendering the events, thoughts and emotions to the divine which are not in your circle of influence, will help to see the shift in you.

Third Day

Self
We renew our commitment to acquire triumph over all of our negative tendencies.

Body
What works for one does not always work for another. Tapping into the wisdom of our own body gives us the guidance to know what works for us. Take note of the foods you eat, and how it makes you feel: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Take note of sleep habits and your daily energy levels. This simple understanding of our body allows us to function optimally; we feel light and energized.

Mind
We attract prosperity and abundance and protect courageously the Inner Child to enjoy the journey in this body by dropping the cowardice and weakness.

Fourth Day

Self
The next three days, we move from self-purification to self- transformation. Our worship is now devoted to Goddess Lakshmi, the prosperity-bestowing form. Devotees pray for removing obstacles and bringing success in their paths.

Body
By changing bad habits to good ones come from putting attention on what is already working for you than trying to fix what is not.

Mind
Observe the transition of thoughts. Your thought and action affects your cosmos out there. The cosmos around you is what makes your world within you.

Fifth day

Self
Goddess Lakshmi does not merely bestow material prosperity, but also grants qualities which we as spiritual seekers require, namely calmness, peace, equanimity, compassion, and love.

Body
Today we take the opportunity to practice eating with awareness. So often we stuff food into our mouths while distracted, agitated or hurried. This diminishes the pleasure that food gives us and the nutrition it provides for the body. Take notice of the scent, texture, taste of your food while taking slow, gentle breaths. Place your fork down between bites. Eating with awareness is a form of love and compassion towards your body.

Mind
Surrender to the universe that bursts open with Universal Inspiration to create newness with every breath.

Sixth day

Self
Today is the third and final day which honors the Mother Divine as Lakshmi, the energy that manifests as the complete well-being of a person.

Body
In our diets, the more we eat from natural, whole food sources, the less we require in overall food intake. In our lives, the more we engage in activities of service and truth, the less we require in life. Keep food and life simple. Continue with yoga/ Exercise.

Mind
Observe the tendencies of mind clinging to the negativity, angry about the past and anxious about the future. Realize that you can drop them and can move forward.

Seventh Day

Self
We moved from self-purification to self-transformation and now we prepare ourselves to receive self-knowledge. Our prayer is devoted to Goddess Saraswati. She is the one who gives the essence (Saara) of the self (Swa), the one who gives the essence of self. She is the bestower of the true light of knowledge, wisdom and understanding.

Body
Keeping a gentle awareness of our body gives us the understanding of what foods best suit us, how much sleep gives us adequate rest, how much exercise or movement provides energy, and those activities that uplift our spirit. Take this knowledge of yourself as a toolbox for well-being. This toolbox and all the knowledge in it is yours, and it’s the duty of self-knowledge to always be there for you.

Mind
We surrender our doubting mind, judging intellect and Discriminating Ego to dissolve into recognizing and being whole and complete and balanced.

Eighth Day

Self
Today, we continue our worship for Goddess Saraswati. We first have to purify ourselves to get to the path of wisdom. Goddess Saraswati bestows the shakti (energy) to devotees so that they can attain knowledge.

Body
Take a moment in the day or just before going to bed to check in with yourself of physical and mental/emotional symptoms as indicators of what is going on in the body and mind. Physical symptoms are bodily sensations– Imbalance: heaviness, sluggishness, weakness. Balance: energy, stamina, steady breathing. Mental/Emotional symptoms are feelings, thoughts– : tense, restless, agitated. Balance: calm, relaxed, focused

Mind
In order to merge in to our pure self we release our weak self that attracts violence and abuse in any form.

Ninth Day

Self
Today is the  final day which honors Goddess Saraswati. She is often depicted as being seated on a rock. Knowledge, like a rock, is steadfast support. She plays the veena, a musical instrument, which mellifluous notes bring harmony and peace to the mind. Similarly, spiritual knowledge brings relaxation and celebration to ones’ life.

Body
The nine days of Navratri gives us the opportunity to pause, reflect and reset our mind, body and self. With the help of the traditions, masters and powerful goddess energies, we set clear intentions, put forth attention and receive the biggest gift of all: knowledge of the Self. The simplicity of knowing the appropriate foods and exercise for our body and the correct practices for our mind brings assurance and the confidence that no other type of knowledge provides. With renewed energy and knowledge, we are able to move ahead.

Mind
In these nine days we dissolved into the divine by dropping the discriminating ego, judging intellect that separates us from others and conquering the doubting monkey mind. Let’s pray to the DIVINE MOTHER to keep us on this practice though out.

Happy Dussehra

The 9 days lead us to the celebration of Dussehra, the day of victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishaasur. For the spiritual seeker, misery in the mind is the true fight or conflict. We dedicate our life to spiritual practices, service, Satsang (being with likeminded people) and knowledge as the way to overcome this conflict. We become victorious and feel full in celebration of life.

Wanting, Doing and knowing of the self are all manifestations of the same energy that is YOU. At any given time one of these will dominate.

  • When the ‘Wanting’ dominates then we will be experiencing sorrow and sadness.
  • When ‘Doing’ dominates then we will experience the anxiety and attachment to results.
  • When ‘Knowing’ dominates we will experience the awareness and happiness.

Last but not least when our ‘Wanting’ and ‘Doing; are dedicated to the highest good of society and to serve humanity our consciousness automatically elevate and self-knowledge will day.

Guide to Meditation and Fasting during Navratri | Raising World Children | Fasting | Meditation | Navratri | Indian Festivals

 Durgamadhavi Mamidipalli is a certified yoga teacher, Marma therapist, Relationship and Spiritual coach. In 2013, Durga took the leap of faith and founded Be Free Now LLC by leaving her flourishing career in corporate to do what she loves doing the best healing and serving the World. Through her coaching and other modalities she is able to assist others in getting in touch with their innermost being and through a deeper knowing within themselves, eventually feel empowered. The awakening love and joy they experience within themselves will continue to grow through sharing.” You can connect with her at www.befreecoaching.com https://www.facebook.com/befreecoachingandhealing/