Today is the eighth day of Ati Rudra Yaga. It is also Navami (ninth day of the lunar fortnight), the day Mother Goddess’s form emerges from all eleven Homa pits. Wherever there is Rudra Parayana, Rudra Yagna, Rudra Abhishekam or penance for Rudra, Mother Goddess Bhagavati is present. Her very form is there to nurture and give strength, health and protection as a Mother. Today and tomorrow – Navami and Dasami – are important days for Mother Goddess’ worship. Swamiji gave the mantra oṁ aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ lalita parameśvaryai namaḥ during Devi Bhagavatam discourse. Many of you also chant the mantra regularly. Chant the mantra at all times.
The complete form and principle of Mother goddess includes creation, sustenance and dissolution of this universe. After dissolution, Lord Vishnu in the form of an infant continued floating on a leaf in the ocean near a banyan tree. He did not know where he was floating to. After a long time, he was astonished to see a light so effulgent, he was barely able to look at it. He prayed to the light wondering, “Who are you? Where did you come from?” That light too is God’s form. Kasi’s principle too is light. Light is knowledge. Kasi is the form of knowledge. One who, with devotion prays in Kasi and sleeps on the holy land and remembers Lord Siva gains knowledge. That knowledge is itself Mother Bhagavati. All this is explained comprehensively in Devi Bhagavatam.
When Lord Vishnu prayed to the light, Mother Goddess Bhagavati revealed herself. She uttered the syllable “aiṁ”. aiṁ represents jnana or supreme knowledge. Other meanings of the word include learning and penance. Lord Vishnu himself narrated this story in Devi Bhagavatam for the benefit of the Gods. Lord Vishnu revealed that Goddess Bhagavati gave him the secret of supreme knowledge. That is when Lord Vishnu learned that it was not him, but Goddess Bhagavati that was the cause for everything. Lord Vishnu never had the pride of doership, but he learned now that Mother Goddess was the energy behind everything. The Mother has no form. Mother Goddess Bhagavati revealed to Lord Vishnu that she was Herself Brahma, Vishnu and Sarasvati. She is responsible for creation, sustenance and dissolution. The universe runs due to the Mother’s energy. All forms including Brahma, Vishnu and Siva are hers. She revealed that she was herself the power of illusion corresponding to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. She was carrying out the functions of creation, sustenance and dissolution through them. She gave her aspects to Brahma, Vishnu and Siva as Mother Goddess Saraswati, Mother Goddess Lakshmi and Mother Goddess Parvati. She entrusted Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva with the responsibility of taking care of the Goddesses. Therefore, Lord Vishnu placed Goddess Lakshmi in his heart. Lord Brahma placed Goddess Saraswati on his tongue and Lord Shiva placed Mother Ganga on his head. In this manner, women have been glorified and respected. It was on Navami day that Mother appeared to the infant form of Lord Vishnu.
Those who worship Lord Siva in Kasi will get rid of the sins of seven lives. As humans we take birth in many wombs and commit innumerable sins to satisfy our desires. Our sins again lead to repeated births and deaths. The Mother gave the command that those who worship Lord Siva will get rid of all their sins.
Swamiji is talking about Mother Goddess today because today is Navami. The Mother herself revealed that the only way to get rid of all our sins is to remember Lord Shiva, pray to him and meditate on him.
This story was narrated by Lord Vishnu. So, Lord Vishnu himself is instructing us to worship Lord Siva. Kasi is the most sacred of Jyotirlingas. We are fortunate to do Ati Rudra Yaga here. Even those who are unable to move came all the way here for the Yaga only out of love and devotion for Swamiji. I did not instruct anyone to come. I only asked if they are coming or I said “I'll see you in Kasi" or “You are coming too?”. That was enough. People come in large numbers.
This book (Rudra Bhashyam book released by Swamiji is the compilation of Pujya Bala Swamiji’s Chaturymasya discourses on Rudram in Machilipatnam) has the meaning, explanation and commentary on Rudram and its mantras. Rudram commentary is usually hard to understand. But this has been explained simply in this book so laypeople can understand. Read this book to understand the Rudra Yaga we are doing.
(Swamiji was about to bless all devotees with Tulsi mala (women) and rudraksha mala (men). The mala is only for those who are present here. You cannot take them home for family members. Even if you wished to give them one, you will not be able to. Your merit and sin are yours alone. You cannot share them. Of course, they can earn the Tulsi Mala separately from Swamiji. But you cannot take this from here to give them.
Saint Kabir Das’ story is itself a good example. The saint would set out of his house everyday telling his wife he was going to Vaikuntha. Sitting under a tree and chanting Vitthala's name was Vaikuntha for him. His wife was not sure where he was going, she would take care of all the chores in the house. Kabir Das would barely eat at home. He would eat the alms others gave him. They used to be millionaires that gave away all their wealth and were leading this relatively simple life.
One day, Kabir Das asked his wife if she wanted to go to Vaikuntha as well. She said she had to take care of the cow that just gave birth. She had workers to take care of it, but she was very interested in the task. Kabir Das said that, that day’s trip to Vaikuntha was special and that she should go with him. She refused saying she wanted to milk the cow and cook delicious treats. The third time he persuaded her to go with him, she dismissed him as being deaf to her replies and said she was not going with him. After thus persuading her three times to go with him, Kabir Das left his house chanting Vithala’s name. On that day, Vishnu's attendants came for him and took him on their plane to Vaikuntha. He was so absorbed in his chanting that he did not even realize he was actually being taken on the plane. When the plane flew over his house, his wife saw him and cried out loud to be taken along, but no one could hear her. So, like this, when some devotees said they were going to Kasi to be with their Sadguru, some family members may have dismissed the opportunity. Now, when Swamij is giving these blessings, they will realize. So, this Tulsi mala is only for you. You can buy several Tulsi malas from the poor vendors here and distribute to your friends and neighbors as blessings from Swamiji.